"The deplorable, miserable condition that I discovered recently when I, too, was a visitor, has forced and urged me to prepare this catechism, or Christian doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form. Mercy! Dear God, what great misery I beheld! The common person, especially in the villages, has no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine. And unfortunately, many pastors are completely unable and unqualified to teach. This is so much so, that one is ashamed to speak of it. Yet, everyone says that they are Christians, have been baptized, and receive the holy Sacraments, even though they cannot even recite the Lord's Prayer or the Creed or the Ten Commandments. They live like dumb brutes and irrational hogs. Now that the Gospel has come, they have nicely learned to abuse all freedom like experts." (Preface to the Small Catechism)
This predicament has not changed over the centuries but worsened. It is largely due, no doubt, to the public hatred of doctrine in favor of some nebulous thing called praxis. Christians are regularly taught from all sectors (not least the church) that a pleasing life has nothing whatever to do with what you believe but how you live. Fie on this deplorable statement (which is really a doctrine, and that a damnable one)! Those who clearly preach this have divorced love from the knowledge of the truth. But according to St. Paul, love always rejoices in the truth (1 Cor.13:6). If we have no time for sound doctrine (the purpose of which is to make plain the truth about God) then we have no time for love.