What the Church Is

Scripture Text: Matthew 23:1–10

Just as God does not need, nor does he use, a person's virtues to bring her to saving faith, he does not require so-called good men to deliver his grace or make it valid in a congregation.

Concerning the Church

Scripture Text: Ephesians 5:25–27

Building on the confession of “the communion of saints” in the creed, and that God imputes righteousness through faith, Melancthon is emboldened to state that the Church is a “congregation of saints.”

Of New Obedience

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:18–25

The Lutherans also wished it to be known that justification by faith did not negate the command of God for his people to do good works. However, these acts of charity and obedience are a result of faith—not a requirement of justification.

Of the Ministry

Scripture Text: Romans 10:5–17

Real faith does not happen because one decides to believe, because one disciplines herself to be a holy person, or as the result of any other personal or religious preparation.

Of Justification

Scripture Text: Romans 3:21-31

It sounds as though a sixteenth century Lutheran wrote the words but they were penned by the Apostle Paul and inspired by the Holy Spirit in the first century. “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Rom 3:28) There is no mingling of the two.

Of the Son of God

Scripture Text: John 20:30-31

To be as certain as they could be that the Church in Rome understood that the Lutherans were orthodox, they continued to confess key doctrines at Augsburg. So far, there are none where they would disagree.

Of Original Sin

Scripture Text: Galatians 3:21-27

The Lutherans of old wanted to make it clear at Augsburg that they were sinners. Indeed, they wished it understood that they believed all people since Adam (Rom 5:12) were in this condition from the very beginning of their lives.

Of God

Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

The Confession offered at the Diet of Augsburg was designed to show that the Lutheran churches were doctrinally sound, orthodox, of the Church catholic. Orthodoxy begins with a right understanding of God.

A Preface Toward Unity

Scripture Text: 1 Peter 3:13-17

Christians ought to hope for unity, beginning to do so by considering how they agree on matters of the faith. After all, they are called to fellowship together in Jesus Christ our Lord (1Cor 1:9-10). Christians are also to be ready to defend the faith (1Per 3:15), even if it is in confessing it to one another.

Standing On Your Own Feet

Scripture Text: Revelation 20:11–15

At first blush, it might seem to some that a salvation of works is being advocated. That interpretation would contradict the rest of the creed.


Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 2:1–6

The Small Catechism also, even though teaching from the Apostles' Creed that does not deal explicitly with the dual nature, teaches us that the ascended Christ is “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.”

“One Christ”

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 4:1–6

He is not two beings, a god and a man somehow in a kind of symbiosis. Nor is he some kind of compound or complex organism, made by the joining of two beings, but no longer quite human or divine as a the result.

“Equal and Subordinate”

Scripture Text: Colossians 2:8–15

The issue of the Athanasian Creed is not only that we rightly understand the Trinity of God but that we correctly understand the dual nature of Jesus Christ.

“Addressing Heresies”

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18–21

As Paul says, repetition is good for us. We need to hear the difficult teachings many times before we begin to understand. So we hear again that each of the three Persons of the Trinity are uncreated.


Scripture Text: Romans 11:33–36

How can it be that there are three Persons but only one God? We try to make sense of it through human and earthly analogies but, of course, all of them fall short of the glory who is God.

“Trinity in Unity”

Scripture Text: John 14:6–13

Now this is the catholic faith: we worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

“Whole and Inviolable”

Scripture Text: John 20:24–29

The latest theological craze attracts the spiritually distracted like deer to headlights. The more glaring and wilder, the better. What difference does it make, since they will likely be chasing a new idea within the month?

The Athanasian Creed

Scripture Text: Luke 24:44–45

The whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal, so that in all things, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped.

“The World to Come”

Scripture Text: 1 John 5:10–13

Everlasting life is a free gift from God. Jesus was sent by his Father so that we might not perish but by believing in what Jesus has done for us, live with him forever.

“One Baptism”

Scripture Text: Ephesians 4:1–6

The “one baptism” into which we are baptized is Christ's baptism. His baptism is our own; it is why he was baptized: to fulfill all righteousness — even ours.

“One Church”

Scripture Text: Galatians 6:11–18

We believe in the Church established by God, not a church established by Luther. Nor do we believe in the churches or denominations begun by any other parties.

Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Scripture Text: 2 Samuel 23:1–4

Luther teaches (Luther’s Works, vol 15, p 275) us that in his last words, David spoke of the Holy Trinity, that there were three Speakers talking by him or through him.


Scripture Text: Genesis 1:26–28

The Creed helps the uncomprehending to confess and believe the Scriptures so that they may come to understand the incomprehensible.


Scripture Text: John 15:26–27

The Spirit was not birthed, but proceeds from the Father and the Son in eternity, even as Jesus comes from the Father in eternity. Though one proceeds from another, they are undivided in their essence; they are inseparably one.

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