What are the “Lutheran Confessions,” and why do we read them today?
In addition to the weekly “Why on Earth” article, we have been including readings in the bulletin from various documents, such as the “Large Catechism” or the “Augsburg Confession.” These documents are part of a collection called the “Book of Concord.” At the time of the reformation, there was much political and theological turmoil in the various states and churches which were being separated from Rome. They gradually began to form into three distinct schools of thought: the Lutherans, the Reformed, and the Anabaptists. Many of these groups began to write documents, or confessions of faith, expressing what they believed and why. These served to unify their churches and keep their doctrine consistent despite political and military pressure. For a time the turmoil became so great it looked as if all that the Lutheran reformers had fought to achieve would be lost. But they came together and began to work through their disagreements. They assembled their various confessions of faith, catechisms, and treatises, compared them against the God’s Word, and came to an agreement on which they believed to be true and accurate summaries of the teaching of Scripture. In 1580, these documents were assembled into a single source, the Book of Concord, which brought peace and unity to our churches. We read them today in order to understand what Scripture teaches better.
From the Large Catechism: on the Second Article of the Creed: Let this, then, be the sum of this article: the little word Lord means simply the same as redeemer. ...it explains that He suffered, died, and was buried so that he might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owe, now with silver or gold, but with His own precious blood. And He did all this in order to become my Lord. ...After that He rose again from the dead, swallowed up and devoured death, and finally ascended into heaven and assumed the government at the Father’s right hand. He did these things so that the devil and all powers must be subject to Him and lie at His feet until finally, at the Last Day, He will completely divide and separate us from the wicked world, the devil, death, sin and such.