Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Augsburg Confession (Part 1)

In 1530 the emperor Charles V convened the Diet of Augsburg, in part to deal with the religious division within his realm. The Lutherans prepared a confession to be read to the diet which was intended to demonstrate both the error of the Roman Catholic charges against them and the orthodoxy of their faith. However, Charles and the papists rejected the Augsburg Confession, thus marking the full and final break of Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. After June 25, 1530, the Holy Roman Empire effectively was no more.

Here I would like to present the majority of Part 1 of the Augsburg Confession, setting forward the doctrinal beliefs of the Lutheran churches, as formulated primarily by Martin Luther and Philipp Melancthon.

Article I—Of God
The churches, with common consent among us, do teach that the decree of the Nicene Synod concerning the unity of the divine essence and of the three persons is true, and without doubt to be believed: to wit, that there is one divine essence which is called and is God, eternal, without body, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom, goodness, the Creator and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and that yet there are three persons of the same essence and power, who also are co-eternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And they use the name of person in that signification in which the ecclesiastical writers have used it in this cause, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which properly subsists….

Article II—Of Original Sin
Also they teach that, after Adam’s fall, all men begotten after the common course of nature are born with sin; that is, without the fear of God, without trust in him, and with fleshly appetite; and that this disease, or original fault, is truly sin, condemning and bringing eternal death now also upon all that are not born again by baptism and the Holy Spirit.
They condemn the Pelagians, and others, who deny this original fault to be sin indeed; and who, so as to lessen the glory of the merits and benefits of Christ, argue that a man may, by the strength of his own reason, be justified before God.

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