<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1758373551078632&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Presentation of the Augsburg Confession

As we remember the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, we read about what the reformers confessed the church to be—or rather who she is, and who is her head. Our devotion is from Augsburg Today: This We Believe, Teach and Confess.

Devotional Reading

The year 1530 marked one of Christendom’s historic moments, as the Protestant party, accused of heresy, defended itself at the imperial Diet of Augsburg. Organizational structures, ceremonies, religious rules and dress, pontifical power and edifice did not constitute the church, they asserted.

Luther could not go to Augsburg for this crucial gathering of political bigwigs and sundry ecclesiastical figures. But the Large and Small Catechisms had come from Luther’s pen in 1529, and the Lutheran confessors had these and other documents with them at Augsburg. In the Large Catechism, Luther had written concerning the church: “[It is] a unique community in the world . . . , the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God.” He had further explained that “the creed calls the holy Christian church a communio sanctorum, ‘a communion of saints’” and that “both expressions have the same meaning.”

This “little holy flock or community of pure saints under one head, Christ, . . . is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith, mind, and understanding.” Luther expressed it in very personal terms to which we, too, can resonate: “I was brought to it by the Holy Spirit and incorporated into it through the fact that I have heard and still hear God’s Word, which is the first step in entering it.” And though we remain sinners till we die, “everything in the Christian church is so ordered that we may daily obtain full forgiveness of sins through the Word and the signs [sacraments] appointed to comfort and revive our consciences as long as we live” (LC 2, 47ff.).

The church is no mere theoretical concept, but a very real, existential, true-to-life fact in this world. Indeed, this household of faith, or fellowship of believers, built upon Christ reaches also into heaven. But it is first of all right here on earth, for wherever the Word is, there God builds His church, and He promises that the preaching of His Word will never be in vain but will bear fruit (Is. 55:11; Acts 2:37–42; 10:43).

Devotional reading is adapted from Augsburg Today: This We Believe, Teach and Confess, pages 52–53 © 1997 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Explanation from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation

202. What is the Church?

It is the Body of Christ—that is, all people whom the Spirit, by the Means of Grace, has gathered to Christ in faith throughout the world. . . .

Note: The Creed in its original words speaks of the Church as “catholic” (universal)—that is, existing throughout all time and throughout the world, including people who confess and believe in Jesus Christ from every background. . . . Another way to say this is to speak of the “Christian Church.”

Explanation is from Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, pages 206–07 © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

Featured

How to Be a Good (Adult) Child to Your Parents

Even though you're not living under your parents' roof anymore, God calls adult children to honor, obey and care for their parents,...

5 Summer Reads for Sunday School Teachers

This summer, use your free time to learn more about running a successful Sunday School program by reading these five books.

Luther’s Teaching on Law and Sin

Read an excerpt from Luther's Works Volume 73 on Law and sin to see Luther's insightful arguments against theses brought forward for him to...

Latest

Four Bible Verses for Rejoicing Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

God's promises break through our trouble and turmoil and turn us to joy. Dive into four Bible verses that help you rejoice during these...

Kneeling for Justice

The Christian walk requires believers to constantly seek God's forgiveness, to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.

Planning Your Ideal Devotional Time

Despite the best intentions, daily devotional time isn't always perfect, quiet and neat. Often, it's loud, messy and chaotic. But God still...