On this date in history (June 25, 1530), 487 years ago, the Augsburg Confession was presented by our Lutheran forefathers to Emperor Charles V.
Dr. Martin Luther, with a price on his head ever since his famous stand before the emperor at Worms in 1521, corresponded with the Lutheran princes and theologians from the Castle Coburg by a sort of pony-express arrangement. This arrangement was meant to protect the great reformer. Even Luther’s most powerful friends were not sure they could protect him outside the borders of Saxony.
Meanwhile, at Augsburg, Luther’s friend, Melanchthon, gave a clear expression of Luther’s Biblical teachings in a document signed by the pastors, princes and theologians of the Lutheran Reformation.
The Augsburg Confession set forth the clear teachings of the Bible – by grace alone – through faith in Christ alone – by Scripture alone. It declared that the differences between Luther and Rome could not be settled by compromise, but only by a return to the Scriptures. The break with Rome was now inevitable and would prove to be irreversible.
Sadly, after Luther died in 1546, Melanchthon lost his nerve. He made some alterations to the wording of the Augsburg Confession in an attempt to unite the Lutheran and Swiss Reformed churches through compromise on such matters as the Real Presence of our Lord’s body and blood in Holy Communion. (The Lutherans confessed that the true body and blood of Christ are really present in the sacrament; the Reformed said the bread and wine were mere symbols of the body and blood).
The genuine Lutherans rejected these changes and held fast to Luther’s pure teachings as expressed in the original document presented to the Emperor on June 25, 1530.
To this day, you may see some old Lutheran churches with the abbreviation U.A.C. on the cornerstone. This stands for: Unaltered Augsburg Confession. This statement of faith, along with the other creeds or confessions of the Lutheran Church are included in The Book of Concord – 1580, also known as The Lutheran Confessions.
These confessions include: The three universal creeds – the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, The Augsburg Confession, The Apology (Defense) of the Augsburg Confession, The Large & Small Catechisms of Dr. Martin Luther, The Smalcald Articles and The Formula of Concord.
Our pastors and teachers pledge themselves at the outset of their ministries to teach in accordance with these Confessions because they are a correct expression of Bible teachings. God grant us the faith and courage of our forefathers to resist the countless compromises of our own times and to stand firmly on the Scriptures.