Friday, June 23, 2017

A Pastoral Concern -- Confessing the faith with the Augsburg Confession

This Sunday (June 25) is a minor festival, although unique to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (although some other Protestant bodies may acknowledge their debt to it, too).  We will commemorate the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession.  You can look at my previous post to learn more about that particular event.

This post features the confession of faith we will use in our service on Sunday.  I don't think it is right or fair to surprise Christians with a confession of faith which we will say together.  No one should have a confession foisted upon them.  That would burden a conscience, wondering if the confession is accurate, or even Christian for that matter.

Therefore, I submit for your preview the confession which will be in the bulletin.  The confession below is taken from the Augsburg Confession, the essential confession of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

While the confession is Evangelical Lutheran, it does not introduce anything to or take away anything from the confession of the Holy Christian Church.  In fact, the Augsburg Confession and all of the Lutheran Confessions demonstrate throughout that they are consistent with the confession of the church catholic.  We are not a sect; we are faithful confessors of Christendom.

CONFESSION OF FAITH The Augsburg Confession
Selections from Articles 1 & 3

M: In the first place, it is with one accord taught and held, following the decree of the Council of Nicea, that there is one divine essence which is named God and truly is God.   But there are three persons in the same one essence, equally powerful, equally eternal: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

C: All three are one divine essence, eternal, undivided, unending, of immeasurable power, wisdom, and goodness, the creator and preserver of all visible and invisible things.

M: Likewise, it is taught that God the Son became a human being, born of the pure Virgin Mary, and that the two natures, the divine and the human, are so inseparably united in one person that there is one Christ.

C: He is true God and true human being who truly “was born, suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried” in order both to be a sacrifice not only for original sin but also for all other sins and to conciliate God’s wrath.  

M: Moreover, the same Christ “descended into hell, truly rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, is sitting at the right hand of God” in order to rule and reign forever over all creatures, so that through the Holy Spirit he may make holy, purify, strength, and comfort all who believe in him, also distribute to them life and various gifts and benefits, and shield and protect them against the devil and sin.

C: Finally, the same Lord Christ “will come” in full view of all “to judge the living and the dead ...,” according to the Apostles’ Creed.