The three questions regarding the use of the confessions.
Overview of the Book of Concord
The Catechisms of Martin Luther (1529)
Norwegian-American Lutheranism 1846 - 1900
Intro. To the Augsburg Confession.
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
The Smalcald Articles
Formula of Concord
Ralph Arthur Bohlmann
Robert Preus (1924 - 1995)
President, CTS-FW (1974 - 1989)
Concerning the Church
In the AFLC there is a charge for those who do ministry to always preach the Word of God in its purity, as found in the Prophetic and Apostolic Writings, and as taught in the Confessions of the Lutheran Church, and in the Fundamental Principles of the AFLC.
This is on page 57 of the Ministerial Acts book.
In this setting we are referring to the creeds, doctrines, confessions of the Lutheran Church. The documents that mark the Lutheran Church.
Referring to the Lutheran confessional heritage.
Creed; summary of doctrine or faith; confession of faith used as a distinctive emblem.
In Lutheran Churches generally these are used:
Augsburg Confession and Apology
The Large and Small Catechisms
The Smalcald Articles
The Treatise on the Papacy
The Formula of Concord
Concordia comes from two Latin words meaning “with” and “heart”.
It describes a commitment to the truth that is intended.
To embrace truth we must reject and condemn falsehood.
Historic, genuine Lutheranism holds that the Bible is actually the Word of the Living God.
Book: Let Christ be Christ
Essays on the reformation
“The Scandinavian Reformation, Ramifications for Lutheran Confessional Identity
Article written by Trygve R. Skarsten
The Book of Concord has documents that predate the Reformation.
The 3 Creeds.
Apostles’ Creed - Second Century
Nicene Creed - AD 325 and AD 381
Athanasian Creed - 6th and 8th Centuries
The two Catechism were the earliest parts of the BC
Small and Large Catechism written in 1529.
The Augsburg Confession. The Turks were knocking on Europe’s door and the emperior wanted unity. This is the chief Lutheran Confession and is made up of various other documents.
Then the Apology of the Augsburg Confesion is a response to the Roman Catholic objections stated about the Augsburg Confession. It was the defense of the Augsburg Confession.
Smalcald Articles were prep for meetings with other churches. Pope Paul 3rd announced a council in 1537 to address the concerns of the protestants. They wanted Luther to prepare articles for discussion. The articles pointed out where the Lutherans would stand fast and other points in which Lutherans might be able to discuss room to come closer to the Roman Catholics. Luther got sick and these articles were never publically presented.
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. Written by Melanchthon.
Formula of Concord. Written in 1577. Luther passed away in 1546 and was not around. It was a generation after Luther’s death. There were controveries within those who followed the Augsburg Confession. The Formula deals with doctrine controversies within those who followed the Augsburg Confession.
Catechism: A ringing out of teachings. Luther used a German word that meant children teaching. It’s format is question and answer. Some think that the Gospel of Matthew was formatted as a catechism. To catechize was one of the most important roles of the pastor.
For Luther the Catechism was a collection of teachings. Luther has two. The smaller and larger. It fell into disuse after the death of Luther. There was a revival in catechism traced back to Philip Spener the piotist. Luther’s intent was for the parent to teach the child.
How can technology be used? Apps? Presentations of the teaching? What are the questions the kids want to know? Should catechism be done at an earlier age?
One of the most important roles for the pastor is to work with the youth during the time of Catechism. To encourage their faith walk with the LORD.
Preaching of Luther (1516 to 1517)
Ten Comman. published 1518
Explanation of the Lord’s Prayer - 1520
1527 and 1529. Luther visited many congregations in Saxony. Large illiteracy relating to the Bible and doctrine.
Motivation: The teaching of children, correcting error, dealing with Biblical illiteracy.
1) Teaching the children.
2) Correcting error. There were false teachers there in Wittenberg.
3) Dealing with Biblical illiteracy.
The project begins - January 15, 1529
The Large Catechism
The Small Catechism (published as 2 posters) (last edition written by Luther was done in 1542).
The Ten Commandments
The Apostle’s Creed
The Lord’s Prayer
The Words of Institution (Baptism; the Lord’s Supper)
The Explanation of the Parts
Luther’s pastoral concern - for pastors and congregants. He felt that the Small Catechism represented basic knowledge that a Christian should know.
Purpose: To strengthen true Christians in their faith. To help pastors in their shepherding ministry.
Luther’s Small Catechism
It’s intended uses:
It is a living confession of evangelical faith.
Middle Point, IL is now called Norway, IL
1825 the first Norwegian immigrants came to America.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - Elling Eielsen (1846). Norway was part of Denmark until the Nepolianic Wars. After the wars Norway was given to Sweden. Against the law to be a lay preacher but Eielsen was a lay preacher in Norway. He came to America in _ Heard of the Fox River Valley and the lack of pastors. Heard that Methodist and Mormons were preying upon the Norwegian immagrents. Not an organizer but an evangelist. Was ordained by a German Lutheran pastor was the first Norwegian to be ordained in America.
He founded the Eielsen Synod. Early Divisions. The significant one was between Eielsen and P.A. Rasmussen. Turned over the Lisbon area to Rasmussen. Rasmussen went to Springfield, MO to study with the LCMS. Issue with Eielsen over the constitution. For a short time there was a Seminary in Lisbon, IL.
Another issue was with Osten Hanson (took issue with Eielsen) The synod split from Eielsen and left him out and formed the Hauge Synod (1876). Hanson had more of a Gospel focus.
1841 Elielsen had the Small Catechism translated into English. Felt that English was the coming language.
June 25, 1530 - Dr. Christian Beyer and Dr. Gregory Bruck present copies of the AC to the emperor, Charles V.
“Most gracious Emperor, this is a Confession that will even prevail against the gates of hell, with the grace and help of God.” Beyer said this.
Theology is very similar to Luther’s. Very close in thinking. But more willing to “soft step” when meeting with other Christians. “Stepping softly for the sake of unity.”
Melanchthon wanted badly to find peace at the Diet of Augsburg that at one point he sat in his room and cried.
Aug 3, 1530
The papal response: the Potifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession.
Philip Melancthon was willing to compromised the Lutheran Confession.
Sept. 22, 1530
Charles V gives the Lutherans until April 15, 1531, to comply with his demands.
The call for a church council (1537)
Luther commissioned to prepare a statement of faith; his illness. Luther was very ill. Luther thought this was his only change to prepare something for a general council. He thought he was dying and wanted to confess his faith once again.
The Meeting at Smalcald (Feb. 8, 1537):44 of 49 delegates sign the document.
Was not used in public debate. The general church council did not take place.
Luther was disappointed that the Articles were not unanamously accepted. Finally a council was held at Trent. Council of Trent.
The Council of Mantua did not meet. But the Council of Trent did meet. The Council of Trent met over a 20 year period.
Martin Chemitz responded to the Council of Trent. His work was called The Examination of the Council of Trent.
To lose a significant leader is always a difficult transition time. 1546 when Luther died, it seemed that his work was in danger.
Brave lay people and pastors stood firm.
1545 Council of Tren’ts first session
1546 Luther dies at Eisleben, Feb 18. Pope Paul III and Charles V conspire to end the Reformation by force, June 26. This was a secret agreement until the Pope published a statement on July 4, 1546. Whoever, would fight against the Protestants would get forgiveness of sins.
1547 Battle of Muhlberg Smalcaldic League defeated, April 24. The Protestant armies lost.
Augsburg Interim proclaimed, May 15, 1548. The Lutheran leaders and clergy had to bow to Rome. The Philippists were willing to compromise. It looked as if Rome had won and would have its way with the Protestants.
Leipig Interim. Melanchthon’s response to the Augsburg Interim with a hope that something could be saved out of Lutheranism. Not a strong leader.
Celle Interim. This was a compromise. Philip Melancthon and John Buganhaugen signed this compromise.
Opposition arose from the Gnesio Lutherans. 1548 to 1578 was a period of controversy among the Lutherans.
1552 Maurice attacks, drives Charles V out of Augsburg, April 5. The Treaties of Pasou were signed and these allowed religious freedom. These treaties put Lutherans and Catholics on the same footing in the empire. The rulers decided what the religion of his region would be.
1555 Peace of Augsburg allows territorial rulers to decide religion for their subjects.
Martin Flacius led Gnesio-Lutherans.
Martin Chemnitz and Jacob Andreae were a middle road but still opposed the Phillipist. Moved the argument away from personality conflicts back onto the theological.
1560 Philip Melanchthon dies, April 19
Six sermons by Jacob Andreae helped to form the Formula of Concord. These become the Swabian Concord.
Martin Chemnitz was instrumental in the Formula of Concord. He rewrote the Swabian Concord. This came to be known as the “The Torgau Book” .
1577 Key leaders signed the concord. This became the Formula of Concord.
1580 the Book of Concord was published. and over 8000 people, leaders, pastors signed it.
Principles of Biblical Interpretation in the Lutheran Confessions.
Part I - The confessional view of Holy Scripture.
The form of Holy Scripture. How one views the Scriptures will influence the interpretation of Scripture.
Preface: The confessions are consistent in their view of Scripture.
Intro: A lot depends on whether the Lutheran of today does with the confessions. They may or may not accept them or accept them in part or whole.
The confessions are a summary of doctrine coming from the Word of God.
Ch 1 The Form of HOly Scripture
Three reasons for not a specific article dealing with Holy Scripture. The Medieval Western Church had never questioned the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture. There was not a systematic of each doctrine. Third, the primary focus was on a Christocentric approach, They understood the reader to accept the Word already. There was no pressing need to address Holy Scripture. Calvin, Luther, etc all accepted the Scriptures as God’s Word.
The primary focus was to clarify the doctrine of justification. Not to argue about the Scriptures themselves.
Ch 2 The Functions of Holy Scripture
Source and Norm of Christian life
To bring salvation
The Word is powerful to affect the will of God. The Word can be both written and spoken to be effective.
Ch 3 The Clarity and Understandability of Scripture
The Bible was understood as a hidden writing that only the Church could understand. It was obscured. The common man just did not have access to the Word. Obscurity lies in the mind of the reader, not in the text.
The HOly Spirit is needed to bring understanding. The HOly Spirit gives understanding.
The clarity of Scripture is noted in how the Reformers use Scripture. They act as if the text they present is open for the clear interpretation of the text. You cannot build doctrine on unclear passages. Allow the clear passages guide you in the interpretation of the less clear passages.
Ch 4 The Central Message of Holy Scripture
By the illumination of the HOly Spirit man can begin to believe and understand.
You can’t sit under the Word and not be neutral.
In Scripture God speaks Law and Gospel. Death and Life.
Chapter 5 Principles of Grammatical Exegesis
view Scripture as a unit. Unity of content. All of it teaches Law and Gospel, the purpose of Scripture is salvation.
The principle was to seek the intended meaning of the text through understanding the grammar. They did careful exegises. Insisted that each passage had but one meaning. They sought that single meaning. The author has a single meaning for each text.
Chapter 6 Let Scripture Interpret Itself.
In the difficult passages let the Bible interpret itself. Only it can give light to the more difficult passage. Passages dealing with the same subject matter may be used to explain or corroborate each other. The Less clear passage have to be understood in the more clear passages.
Also use article of faith to understand Scripture.
Chapter 7 The Hermeneutical Function of Law Gospel and justification
The primary function of Scripture is to make man wise unto Scripture.
The alien work of Scripture is the Law. For example John 3:16 is gospel. But it can be heard as Law. The alien work of the gospel convicts the sinner and the gospel comforts the saint and the troubled sinner.
Chapter 8 The testimony of the Fathers in Biblical interpretations
The confessions appreciate the work of the Church Fathers.
Chapter 9 Confessional Biblical interpretation today.
The confessions serve as our church fathers too. In a sense.
Today’s Lutheran interpreter accepts the BOC through accepting the confessions and the principles used to exegete those confessions.
The BOC is expositions of Scripture.
Luther, Melanchthon and the writers of the Formula of Concord used the same hermenutic principles.
They see Scripture as a unit. One author, the Lord via the working of the HOly Spirit.
The Unit Principle of Exegesis.
The analogia scripture: the NT sheds light on the OT. The entire canon must be brought to bear on any topic.
The clear passages give light to the unclear passages.
Our preconceived ideas upon entering Scripture are important. We do enter into the text with existing thoughts. We need to admit this.
The Spirit Principle of Exegesis.
We are dependant on the Holy Spirit to open up the Text for us.
The Spirit opens up the text and heart.
THe Hauptartikel Principle in Exegesis.
He is subjecting certain biblical data of the Christian faith the heart of the gospel, the fact that Christ is mediator.
eg for Lutheran’s the doctrine of “justification by faith” as our chief doctrine and this is a useful lenses through which to do exegesis. This informs exegesis.
This is like the analogy of faith.
The Eschatological Principle in Exegesis
There is a hope found in Scripture. Written for our instruction so that we have hope.
The main truth wrestled with in the Book of Concord.
This was the focal point for Luther. On the Article of Justification all Luther’s doctrine rested.
This is the Chief Article of the entire Christian Doctrine.
Luther stated that where this doctrine stands pure then the rest stands pure. Where this does not stand then all other error can enter.
It is the work of satan to obscure this doctrine.
Luther made an anthesis between works and faith.
The Catholics made a synthesis between works and faith.
There must remain one holy, Christian church. There is where the pure Word is preached and the holy sacraments are administered.
What is the Church? An assembly of both sinners and saints.
Donatists denied the validity of the ministry of those who had become unfaithful under Roman persecution. They questioned the vailidity of ministry if the pastor fell, denied, or was apostate. This is a strict sorting out of the membership. The Lutheran Brethern practice a form of this.
The Catholics focused on outward nature of the chuch and Lutherans focused on the inner faith life of the church.
The nature of the Church in lift of the AC (art. VII and VIII)
It is important that an AFLC understand and agree to the Lutheran Confessions. At ordination we pledge to this.
This agreement is a statement that the Lutheran Confessions are in agreement with the Word of God.
In the AFLC:
The Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
The three creeds: Apostle, Nicene and Anthanasian Creed.
The Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 48)
Gustavus Adolfus II (1594 - 1632) of Sweden, the “ Lion of the North,” led his armies to victory at the battle of Lutzen, ensuring the survival of the Reformation. Gustavus died in the fighting.
The Apostles Creed was not written by the Apostles. Used by early Christians in Rome as a Baptismal Creed.
Nicene Creed - Many congregations use during communion. Revised on 381 AD. Epiphanius from Cyprus did something with it. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and this is significant to this creed.
The Athanasian Creed - Not normally used. Some congregations will use it on Trinity Sunday. Athanasian was in the 4th century and was a champion of orthodoxy.
The connection to the ancient creeds connects Lutherans to the ancient and historic faith.
Creed means “I believe” they are confessions of faith confessed by the ancient church.
“catholic” - from two Greek words, meaning “according to the whole.” To say that they adhired to the three catholic creeds meant that they held to the ancient creeds that the historic church has always held to.
The Lutherans were not starting a new church but understood they were returning to the correct teachings of the ancient church. This was according to the Word.
Three sections. Trinitarian order. Only positive affirmations. While the other creeds also had negative comments. Matthew 28. It may be based this text.
Focused on Jesus. in the larger second section. Appeared around AD390.
II Tim 2:8 and 11 - 13
This is a confessional statement.
II Tim 4:1
Jesus will come to judge the living and dead is in this verse and also the creed.
There were two previous forms. Shorter and longer.
The shorter was known as the Old Roman Form. dating around AD140. Found in England.
The Longer form is from a later date. From this we get the received form. There were variations in this form. Faustaus in 460AD the present form had been established.
The most troubling line “descended into hell”
Traced back to the 4th century. Several of the church fathers mention it. This is still debated today. Most people have questions.
Solid Declaration, Article 9
Concerning Christ’s Descent into Hell pg 634
Luther preached a sermon on this topic in 1533.
1 Peter 3:18 - 19. For Christ also msuffered2 nonce for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death pin the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,
Luther’s thought this passage was strange and challenging. Luther seemed hesitant to use 1 Peter 3:18 - 19 as biblical bases but he also wrote that he would not stand in the way of this interpretation.
Calvin’s position is that Christ really died. Christ really died and went to the place of the dead. He was there. He saw the Peter passage as referring to the agonies of death. Not a descent into hell.
The Nicene Creed
Council of Nicea - AD 325
The Athanasian Creed
The Value of teaching the catechetism
The catechism gives direction
Also expresses great Bible doctrines with simple clarity
The catechism is brief
As a preaching resource
The catechism is mobile
A tool for witnessing
Binds believers together
A means of stimulating discussion
The catechism gives a sense of progression
Preaching the Catechism
anthropological constantly falling short of the Law’s demands.
christological - Christ comes and fulfills the law for us.
there was some confusion about the Sacraments during the Reformation. Luther gave an explanation to help clear up the confusion.
How does the this paradigm help us in our preaching? It provides a shared language within the community and a basis for speaking to those outside it. It sets up a paradigm for preaching.
Don’t go into a person’s closet to drag out dirty laundry. Look for the points where the Law is bearing down and give comfort.
Season of Lent is the best time to teach on the catechism.
Norwegian Lutherans (representing the Norwegian State Church)
Claus L. Clausen - came to teach. He was ordained by a German. Was uncomfortable with Eielsen.
J.W.C. Dietrichsen - He was a state churchman. Did not get along with Eielsen. Went back to Norway.
The Norwegian Synod (1853) founded by Dietrichsen.
The Preus Brothers
Ulrich V. Koren
Events leading to Augsburg
Nine years earlier. April 18, 1521, at the Diet in Worms, Charles V witnessed Martin Luther refusing to recant his teachings:
“I cannot and will not recant. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. God help me. Amen.” Luther
1529 - Diet in Speyer: The princes loyal to Reformation protested and came to be labeled Protestants.
1530 - Charles orders all rulers to attend the Diet of Augsburg. He was seeking unity in order to stand up against the Turkish threat.
1529 - 1530 - Foundational documents: The Schwabach, Marburg, and Torgau Articles. The 17 Schwabach articles helped to form the Augsburg Confession.
The Gathering at Augsburg
George, Margrave of Brandenburg, (one of the German border provinces) refused to concede to Charles’s demands, saying, “Before I let anyone take from me the Word of God and ask me to deny my God, I will knell and let them strike off my head.”
Writing the Augsburg Confession
John Ech attacked Luther and attempted to attach Luther to other reformers such as Zwingli and the Ana-baptist.
The response was the AC. The AC was intentionally crafted to present a gentle and peaceful response to the emperor.
June 25, 1530 - Lutheran laymen present the confession.
August 3, 1530 - The papal response: The Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession. Couched in politcal language was the message that the Lutherans should back down.
Melancthon worked on the response. Labored from the end of Sept. 1530 until April 15, 1531 on the Apology.
The Apology is the longest and most detailed of the confessions. It repeatedly teaches justification by faith alone through Christ alone. Melancthon returns to this over and over again.
In 1531, the Smalcaldic League, an organization of German territories and cities, was formed. A requirement of membership was acceptance of both the AC and the AAC.
1531 Smalcaldic league meets, Feb 8
1536 William Tyndale strangled, then burned at the stake for heresy
1537 A Treatise Compiled by the Theologians Assembled at Smalcald. It is treated as an appendix to the Smalcald Articles, but is better regarded as a follow-up to Augsburg Confessi on and the Apology.
Catechism to the Catholic Church
They say that Peter was the leader of the disciples. The bishops are the successors to the disciples and the pope is the successor to Peter. Peter is understood by the RC to be the foundation. The congregation does not have the power of the Keys to
some teach that Paul had a theology different from Peter. Or James. They present the writers as being in conflict.
This is spoken against by the analogia of Scripture. With this understanding we cannot pit Paul against Peter.
Article IV of the Augsburg Confession
1 Cor 2:14 natural man does not consider what God says about salvation. He only considers his own throughts.
Natural man always thinks that one must work harder to gain a right relationship with God.
The Catholics wanted to include works in the justification of man and this is what Luther fought against. This Catholic doctrine left the repentant sinner in doubt. The sinner should have assurance according to the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote of assurance. Romans 8:15, Romans 5
1517 - The 95 thesis. Nailed to the door.
1530 - The Augsburg Confession
1580 - The Book of Concord
Everything that a Christian says or writes about their faith is a CONFESSION. The sermon also serves as a confession of the pastor’s faith. The pastor should confess his faith in the sermon.
Settles a controversy regarding the essence of Jesus Christ. This position holds that the essence of the Father and of the Son is identical.
John 14:26 and John 15:26
The Father sends and so does the Son
John 14:16 Jesus asks the Father to give the Helper
Phil 1:19 The Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Not written by Athanasius
Written in Latin (Athanasius wrote in Greek)
Presupposes later heresies: >Nestorianism and >Eutychianism - the human nature of Christ was swallowed up by the divine nature.
Seeks to state the doctrine of the Trinity in Augustinian terms. By the 9th century it was part of the German liturgy.
Luther regarded this creed as possibly the grandest production of the church since the time of the apostles.
The Reformation created a new appreciation for the teaching function of the Church. Luther preached his catechism.
Luther published Passionale in 1529. Included Biblical pictures and stories.
Swedish and Norwegian Lutherans
The Synod of Northern IL - 1851
Scandinavian Augustana Synod - 1860
i. Augustana Seminary
Division - 1870
Norwegian - Danish Augustana Synod
Norwegian - Danish Conference.
Broke off from Northern IL Synod and formed the Scandinavian Augustana Synod.
Scripture for Lutheran position on Justification
Romans 3:24; 5:15
Efficient cause - Grace
Middle cause - means of grace and faith. Faith is given through the Gospel by the Holy Spirit.
Meritorious cause - Romans ch 3 and 4. Jesus is the cause of our justification. There is a negative and positive side to justifcation.
We are forgiven. The sins are taken away from the sinner. Then the sinner is given the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, we can speak of the great exchange.
Faith - personal trust in the saving work of Christ.