Of course he could discuss these foundations, he could find out that another school was better for him than this school. But even the philosophical schools were not without dogmata.

In the same way the Christian doctrines were understood as doctrines distinguishing the Christian school from the philosophical school, and this was natural and nobody was angry by this. It was no red pieced cloth for anybody at that time. This is seen in the characteristics of the Christian dogma in the early period.

First of all it is an expression of the Christian conformity, of that which all Christians who, with the risk of their lives and with a tremendous transformation of their lives, entered, the Christian congregations, accepted when they did so. So a dogma is never an individual statement or a theoretical statement: it is an expression of a reality, the reality of the Church.

Secondly, all dogmas are formulated negatively, namely as a reaction against misinterpretations from inside the Church. This is even true of the Apostolic Creed.

We will come to the first article, “I believe in God the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” This is not simply a statement which says something in itself, but it is the rejection of dualism, of Manichaeism, after a life and death struggle of a hundred years. And so also with all the other dogmas. The later they are, the more they show clearly this negative character. They are PROTECTIVE DOCTRINES, protecting the substance of the Biblical message. This substance was fluid. It had, of course, a core which was fixed, the confession that Jesus was the Christ, but beyond this everything was in motion. But now doctrines came up which seemed to undercut this fundamental statement, and the protective doctrines were added to it. In this way the dogma arose. Luther still knew this, that dogmas are not results of a theoretical interest, but of the need for protection of the Christian substance.