Oh no he di’n’t! Arriving at lecture 14, Walther wheels his artillery around to attack “The Reformed” (and he stays on this topic for six lectures)! I think it’s fair to say that we Reformed view the religious landscape as having Arminians/Anabaptists/Revivalists on one side, Romans on the other, and we brothers (or at least cousins) of the Reformation, both Lutherans and Calvinists, standing in the middle. Not so Walther. As we shall see, he has a hard time distinguishing “The Reformed” from “the sects of Reformed origin, including the Baptists, the Methodists, the Evangelical Alliance, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians. All these are only branches of the great tree of the Reformed Church.” (If he can’t even tell that Presbyterians belong with “The Reformed” rather than “the sects of Reformed origin”, so many more grains of salt should we apply when we feel he is attacking us)
So, without even getting to the next Thesis yet, here is the closest I can find to a legitimate beef with The Reformed (although of course presented with Walther’s Lutheran bias). Hold on to your hats…
Nowadays any Lutheran child that has received at least a passable instruction in the Christian doctrine knows that there is indeed a great difference, involving the principal articles of Christian doctrine, between the Lutheran and the Reformed Church. To-day the Lutheran people are well informed on this point: Lutherans adhere firmly to the words of Christ, forever true: “This is My body; this is My blood.” Lutherans, accordingly, believe that the body and blood of Christ are substantially and truly present in the Holy Supper and are administered to, and received by, the communicants, while those clear words, plain as daylight, are interpreted by the Reformed to mean: “This signifies the body of Christ; this signifies His blood.” Accordingly, the Reformed contend that the body and blood of Christ are removed from the Holy Supper as far as the heavens are from the earth, because they are limited to the heavenly mansions and His return to earth is not to be expected until the Last Day.
Nowadays all Lutheran people know that according to Scripture, the Book of eternal truth, Holy Baptism is the washing of regeneration, a means by which regeneration is effected from on high through the Holy Spirit; while the Reformed contend that Baptism is merely a sign, symbol, or representation of something that has previously taken place in a person.
Nowadays all Lutheran people know that the human nature of Christ, through its union with the divine nature, has received also divine attributes, namely, that omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and the honor of adoration have been communicated to it; while the Reformed contend that between the man Christ and other men there is a difference only of degree, namely, that Christ has received greater gifts. However, even the highest gifts which His human nature possesses are claimed to be creature gifts, the same as in other creatures.
Nowadays all Lutheran people know that according to the Holy Scriptures the saving grace of the Father is universal; so is the redemption of the Son, and likewise the effective calling of the Holy Spirit through the Word; while the teaching of the Reformed Church on these three points is particularistic, because the Reformed most emphatically contend that God has created the greater part of the human race unto eternal damnation and has accordingly assigned them even in eternity to everlasting death. In the clear light of the precious, saving Gospel this is an appalling, a horrible doctrine.
To be brief, every Lutheran knows nowadays that the difference between the Lutheran and the Reformed Church is fundamental: it lies, not on the circumference, but in the very center of the Christian doctrine.