With Intrepid Hearts We Believe, Teach and Confess
Published 9:11 am Friday, May 19, 2017
Article Excerpted from: Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 2006) Edited by Marcia Hopp, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Danville, KY “Reprinted with permission of The Lutheran Witness.”
Since the days of the Reformation, certain key documents and books have been a part of the life of Lutherans: the Bible, the hymnal, the catechism. In addition, Lutherans have treasured the Book of Concord — the Lutheran Confessions — as an essential text to keep their eyes fixed on Christ.
What could possibly be so important that you would stake eternity on it? What gives a person such courage and conviction? Only one thing – the Truth. This is what (the Book of Concord) is all about, the truth of God’s Word.
Lutherans have used the Confessions of faith contained in the Book of Concord for nearly five hundred years as their public witness and testimony of what the Bible teaches. These Confessions give clear, unambiguous, and certain witness to the Christian faith. They unite all those who bear the name Lutheran and wish to be – and remain – genuinely Lutheran.
This declaration…..is our faith, doctrine and confession.
By God’s grace, with intrepid hearts, we are willing to appear
before the judgment seat of Christ with this confession.
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, XII 40
God’s people have always spoken this way. For example, the psalmist wrote, “I will speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame” (PSALM 119:46). Peter confessed his faith when Jesus asked him what he believed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (MATTHEW 16:16). Paul wrote, “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke, ‘ we also believe, and so we also speak” (2 CORINTHIANS 4:13).
The historical introductions, called Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, will help you understand the personal sacrifice made to achieve this “Concordia,” this harmony in the teaching of God’s Word. During the years when these Confessions were written and defended, faithful men and women of God, both laypeople and clergy, sacrificed all they had – in some cases their very lives – to defend and extend the truths of God’s holy Word as confessed by the Lutheran Church. Men died in battle fighting to defend the right to teach Lutheran precepts in classrooms and preach the Lutheran faith in pulpits. They died defending their cities and towns – and most important, their convictions – from armies of political and church leaders trying to stamp out Lutheranism forever.
For example, during the Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648) Roman Catholic rulers attacked the Protestant regions of Germany with the hope of stamping out the Reformation. The battles that followed forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes. Disease and famine deepened the misery. Finally, the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolfus II (1594 – 1632), led his armies to defend the Protestants. His army’s victory at the battle of Lutzen ensured the survival of the Reformation. But Gustavus himself died in the fighting. Every Lutheran who values his or her Confession of faith should remember this “Lion of the North” and thank God for his sacrifice.
Throughout 2017, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. We will eat salty pretzels and sing “ A Mighty Fortress” with gusto. Join us for our festivities throughout the year! Watch for more details!
Contact Pastor Witten at 606-365-8273.
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