25 June 2007

Commemoration of the Augsburg Confession

Today Lutheran Christians remember with gratitude the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V in Augsburg, Germany, 1530. It invites some of my favorite selections about this Confession:

Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. People are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake. By His death, Christ has made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight. (IV)

So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. (V)

Our churches teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruit. It is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God's will. (VI)

The Church is the congregation of the saints in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. (VII)

Our churches teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church, or administer the Sacraments, without a rightly ordered call. (XIV)

Our churches teach that ceremonies ought to be observed that may be observed without sin. Also, ceremonies and other practices that are profitable for tranquility and good order in the Church (in particular, holy days, festivals and the like) ought to be observed. (XV)

Our churches do not dissent from any article of the faith held by the Church catholic. They only omit some of the newer abuses. (Part II, 1)

Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. The Mass is held among us with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved... (XXIV)

Confession in the churches is not abolished among us. The body of the Lord is not usually given to those who have not been examined and absolved. (XXV)

Furthermore, we teach that every Christian ought to train and subdue himself with bodily restraints, or bodily exercises and labors. Then neither over-indulgence nor laziness may tempt him to sin... Such outward discipline ought to be taught at all times, not only on a few set days. (XXVI)

It is lawful for bishops or pastors to make ordinances so that things will be done orderly in the Church, but not to teach that we merit grace or make satisfaction for sins. (XXVIII)

It is proper for churches to keep such ordinances for the sake of love and tranquility, to avoid giving offense to another, so that all things be done in the churches in order, and without confusion. (XXVIII)

...in doctrine and ceremonies we have received nothing contrary to Scripture or the Church universal. (Conclusion)

Much in there to call us to repentance...

No comments: