In January 1530, Emperor Charles V issued a summons for a special meeting of the leaders of his kingdom for the purpose of bringing a resolution to the various disputes and tensions that had resulted from the work of Martin Luther and other reformers. This meeting, called a “diet,”was convened in the German city of Augsburg. Philip Melanchthon prepared a text to be presented at the Diet ofAugsburg, based on an earlier set doctrinal articles prepared by Martin Luther and his colleagues in the city of Torgau. Melanchthon’s draft was sent to Luther for his consideration and possible revision. After Luther’s approval was obtained, Melanchthon prepared the final text. The German version of what became known as the Augsburg Confession was read on Saturday afternoon, June 25, 1530.
The Augsburg Confession is the most succinct presentation of Lutheranism. Articles 1–21 have to do with basic Christian doctrines,with the most important of these articles being Articles 3, 4, 5. Articles 22–28 concerns the abuses the Lutherans had worked to correct. The Augsburg Confession focuses especially on the objective and universal message of salvation by God’s grace alone, received through faith alone, all as a result of the work of Christ, alone.
With the Augsburg Confession, the Lutherans were intent on making clear that what they stood for was nothing more, nor certainly anything less, than the ancient faith of the church, a faith that had been corrupted and obscured by Medieval Roman Catholicism. It is the “magna carta” of Lutheranism, setting forth for the first time her beliefs and convictions and rejection of various abuses in the church. This commitment to what the church has always taught, believed and confessed, on the basis of God’s Holy Word, remains to this day a hallmark of genuine, orthodox and confessing Lutheranism. With hope and courage the Lutheran confessors declared, “I will speak of thy testimonies before kings,and will not be put to shame”(Psalm 119:46).
Article VIII: What the Church Is.
1] Although the Church properly is the congregation of saints and true believers, nevertheless, since in this life many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled therewith, it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ: The Scribes and 2] the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, etc. Matt. 23:2. Both the Sacraments and Word are effectual by reason of the institution and commandment of Christ, notwithstanding they be administered by evil men.
3] They condemn the Donatists, and such like, who denied it to be lawful to use the ministry of evil men in the Church, and who thought the ministry of evil men to be unprofitable and of none effect.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
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