Today is a big day. Today is one of the reasons why I’m a pastor; it’s definitely the reason I’m a pastor in a Lutheran church. That’s because 484 years ago today, a group of princes in the area we know today as Germany presented their confession to Emperor Charles V in a city called Augsburg. Their confession, which we know as the Augsburg Confession, marks the start of the Lutheran church.
This might seem like minutiae of history, something that only pastors and church history buffs would care anything at all about. But it’s not like that. Today I’m reminded that my spiritual forefathers in the Lutheran church, including Martin Luther himself (who wasn’t at Augsburg because of a price on his head!) — I’m reminded that they stood for something. It wasn’t, “we want our own church” or “we want to do things our way.” It was, “let’s get back to what God actually says in his Word.”
That’s really what the Augsburg Confession does: it points back to the Bible as the true source of everything we need to know about God. For me, I don’t agree with the Augsburg Confession because it’s Lutheran or I’m Lutheran; I agree with it because it is true to God’s Word. And like those people 484 years ago today, I want my church to stand for something, to stand on what God says, on his Word alone.
If you haven’t read it before (and even if you have), today would be a great day to take a look at the Augsburg Confession. There’s a free, online version available to read here. Enjoy!
I mentioned the Lutheran Confessions in a previous post when I showed you a video on what the Confessions are and why they’re important.
I think it takes a while for the importance of these Confessions to sink in, though, especially for those of us who have gone to church and been Lutheran all our lives. It’s easy to start to think that these Confessions just aren’t that important or relevant.
The best way to remedy this, of course, is to actually read and work with the Confessions! That’s when we see how relevant they really are for us in our faith now, instead of just museum pieces that were important almost 500 years ago.
I ran across an interesting post from Pastor Johnold Strey, a WELS pastor in Belmont, CA. He shows how one of his members recognized that our confessional heritage isn’t something to forget or put on a shelf, but rather something to be proud of. So, please, go check out his post!
I consider myself a confessional Lutheran. Well, to ask a good Lutheran question, “What Does This Mean?”
It means, first and foremost, that I use the Bible as the source and norm of all true teaching. What I teach and what I believe is what God teaches me in the Bible. There I find the truth of the Triune God, my sin, and God’s rescuing me through the person and work of God the Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. All of God’s Word centers on him, and every teaching points back to him.
So…why do we need the Lutheran Confessions, then? I ran across a video that has shown up several places around the internet in the past few weeks. The man in the video, Pastor Jonathan Fisk of the LCMS, attempts to answer some questions about and to show the importance of the Lutheran Confessions. And he does a pretty good job of it!
Don’t let the length of the video scare you off. It goes really fast with Pastor Fisk’s informal and humorous style. Seriously, check it out!
Hope you liked it. Check out more on (and read) the Lutheran Confessions at http://bookofconcord.org. Also, you can check out a quick summary of the various documents in the Lutheran Confessions here.