A Clear Confession
Monday of the Last Week of Pentecost
26 November 2018

31 October is the day on which Dr. Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, (unintentionally) sparking a Reformation movement, which again uncovered for the church the gospel of the free forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake through faith. The Reformation was not a revolution, but a recovery of the central teachings of God's Word. These are what the Lutherans called "the chief articles of our Christian religion." They could not help but faithfully confess the truth of God's Word even in the face of overwhelming odds and the oppressive power of both the government and  the medieval church. They were not silenced by fearful political calculations, but boldly confessed the lordship of Christ, taking it as their mission to speak as they believed.

 

Their faithful confession was put into writing and presented at the German parliament (Diet) at Augsburg in the presence of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V in 1530. This confession was called the Augsburg Confession. The confession simply put into writing what was already being taught in the churches of Germany based on God's Word. The Augsburg Confession was nothing new; it only repeated the old faith of the Christian church as it was in God's Word.

 

How different this confession is from modern ecumenical wrangling! First, it was clear. Second, it was based on God's Word. Third, it spoke the truth, even though it caused great consternation and offense at the time. Fourth, it highlighted the eternal saving gospel of Jesus Christ. We too might well repeat the judgment of second generation Lutherans and say of the Augsburg Confession, that "it remains unrefuted and undefeated to this day." Thank God!


Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

  Formula of Concord
"By the Almighty's special grace and mercy, the teaching about the chief articles of our Christian religion (which under the papacy had been horribly clouded by human teachings and ordinances) had been explained in purified again from God's Word by Dr. Luther, of blessed and holy memory. The papistic errors, abuses, and idolatries had been rebuked by him. Nevertheless, this pure Reformation was regarded by its opponents as a new teaching. It was violently (though without foundation) charged with being entirely against God's Word and the Christian ordinances. In addition, the Reformation was burdened by unsupportable slanders and accusations.
 
"The Christian electors, princes, and estates of the Empire at that time had embraced the pure doctrine of the Holy Gospel. They also had their churches reformed in a Christian manner according to God's Word. At the great Diet of Augsburg in the year 1530 they had a Christian Confession prepared from God's Word and delivered to Emperor Charles V. In this way they clearly and plainly made their Christian confession about what was being held and taught in the Christian evangelical (Lutheran) churches on the chief articles. They focused especially on the articles in controversy between themselves and the papists. Although this Confession was received with disfavor by their opponents, still, thank God, it remains unrefuted and undefeated to this day."

The Introduction to the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord
2 Corinthians
4:7-15

We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
 
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (ESV)
Prayer
Almighty God, in all generations you have preserved to your holy bride the church the evangelical truth of God's Word, that Christ is the sole and only Savior from sin. Grant that we too might faithfully confess this truth even to the point of death, and thus receive the crown of life. Amen.
 
For Paul Kehrer, who is undergoing back surgery at Orthopedic Hospital, that God the Lord would bring him healing through the surgeon and medical team
 
In thanksgiving to God for beautiful fall weather
 
For all Lutherans who are still seeking to be faithful to the unrefuted and undefeated Augsburg Confession, that they would be upheld in the confession of the holy truth
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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