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 of Augsburg, 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 XXV: Of Confession.
1] Confession in the churches is not abolished among us; for it is not usual to give the body of the Lord, except to them that have been previously examined and absolved. And
2] the people are most carefully taught concerning faith in the absolution, about which formerly there
3] was profound silence. Our people are taught that they should highly prize the absolution, as being the voice of God,
4] and pronounced by God's command. The power of the Keys is set forth in its beauty and they are reminded what great consolation it brings to anxious consciences, also, that God requires faith to believe such absolution as a voice sounding from heaven, and that such faith in Christ truly obtains and receives the forgiveness of sins. Aforetime satisfactions were immoderately extolled;
5] of faith and the merit of Christ and the righteousness of faith no mention was made; wherefore, on this point, our churches are by no means to be blamed. For this even our adversaries must needs concede
6] to us that the doctrine concerning repentance has been most diligently treated and laid open by our teachers.
7] But of Confession they teach that an enumeration of sins is not necessary, and that consciences be not burdened with anxiety to enumerate all sins, for it is impossible to recount all sins, as the Psalm 19:13 testifies: Who can understand his errors? Also Jeremiah 17:9 :
8] The heart is deceitful; who can know it? But if no sins were forgiven, except those that are recounted,
9] consciences could never find peace; for very many sins they neither see
10] nor can remember. The ancient writers also testify that an enumeration is not necessary. For in the Decrees, Chrysostom is quoted,
11] who says thus: I say not to you that you should disclose yourself in public, nor that you accuse yourself before others, but I would have you obey the prophet who says: "Disclose thy way before God." Therefore confess your sins before God, the true Judge, with prayer. Tell your errors, not with the tongue, but with the memory of your conscience, etc.
12] And the Gloss (Of Repentance, Distinct. V, Cap. Consideret) admits that Confession is of human right only [not commanded by Scripture, but ordained by the Church].
13] Nevertheless, on account of the great benefit of absolution, and because it is otherwise useful to the conscience, Confession is retained among us.
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.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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