If you were like me, I was a Charismaniac Calvinistic Evangelical - who had no confession. Deep down inside I knew the problem was this - what should I confess? Because frankly, my confession at that time came from the kitchen. It did not come from the study room.
If you are one of those who walked the same path as I did, here are some tips for the trip, based on my experience.
Don't start off reading some Lutheran theologian like Walther and Pieper. Not that they do not have useful things to say, and not that one can not learn from them, but the issue for you is not what this or that theologian said. Because at the end of the day, you will not be signing your name on the books they have written. At the end of the day, you will have to sign your name to a confessional statement.
I know, I know, some give you the impression that Walther's and Pieper's books etc are part of the BoC, and they appear as if they have signed thier names on the Synodical Father's books. But let us be honest, their books are not part of the Book of Concord.
Most Calvinists who turn Lutheran almost invariably become a fan of the Synodical Fathers, they get loved and get considered to be their hero. For after all why would a Calvinist read a Lutheran theologian if in the first place, he/she did not have anything already bothering the conscience? Mind you these Fathers do have a lot to say about the perils of Calvinistic theology. They pinpoint well the ills of Calvinism. Saying they are anti-Calvinists is an under statement. So for a Calvinist who is already sad about the uncertainty brought about by that theology, reading the Fathers seems like having a liberator releasing you from the jail of mental anguish, and depression, the misery induced by uncertainty . Their reputation of being anti-Calvinists are so strong amongst (what is called - repeat-after-me) Lutherans that a Lutheran questioning these Fathers is immediately branded - guess what - a Calvinists! (I wanted to say I laugh my ___ off, but this blog is rated G).
There was a time when I was bothering more with some books other than the BoC, finally I slapped myself in the head and I said - you must go through the process. The process is the BoC first! Is the Lutheran confession Biblical? That is the question on the table. I said to myself I have no right reading this or that book if I have not answered the question about the BoC. That is why today I do not have lots of books authored by Lutheran theologians. I got delayed by the BoC. I have a few but not a lot.
So as you read and listen to say Issues Etc. never forget to take the Bible in your left hand and take the BoC on your right. Then start scrutinizing what the BoC says compared to Scripture. Spend time doing that. For my case I went to the heart of the whole thing - Justification like that found in the Apology Article IV. I would also read what the BoC says on Original Sin, Repentance, Free Will, Election etc. I cannot part with my Tappert BoC because it is heavily annotated with my notes, incidentally the red covering has turned to white, due to handling.
Why do I say go to the BoC first? Because IMHO if we do not go to the Confession, then we will be repeating the mess we found ourselves in and then all over again. It is again sailing through the high seas with a ship that has no rudder. Also when controversies explode, and they will, you will not know where to stand. You will have a pastor dictating to you and ruling over your conscience. So we are back again, in the same mess.
It is a great shame, if someone can quote what the Synodical Fathers said, but that someone does not have a clue as to what the BoC said. It is a great shame too is to endorse the BoC and not have read it. That would be terrible too.
Let me share with you what the late Reformed theologian H O J Brown said. He said that between Calvinism and Lutheranism, Calvinism has produced more heresies than Lutheranism (but who knows, it may be catching up). You can read this in his book - Heresies. Brown was impressed that when the BoC came out 8,000 pastors and thelogians signed it.
One more thing. Whereas in Calvinism, you see regional confessions, you won't find that in Lutheranism. In Calvinism you have confessions like Heidelberg, Belgic, Helvetic, Westminster, Savoy Confessions. Notice how many confessions there are? You have none of this in Lutheranism. There is no such thing. It does not matter which country you come from, if you cannot in good conscience endorse the BoC as correct exposition of Scripture - then you are not a Lutheran (at least not Confessional that is).
Lastly, where does the BoC shine? In its exposition of Justification By Faith Alone.