WHAT IS A “CONFESSIONAL” LUTHERAN?

WHAT IS A “CONFESSIONAL” LUTHERAN?

The Gospels record how Peter boldly confessed His faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God.  

The word for “confess” in the language of the Bible literally means “to say the same thing.”

When we “confess” our sins, we are “saying the same thing” God says about us.   We are agreeing with what God tells us about ourselves.  We are admitting that we are sinners in need of Christ’s forgiveness.

When we “confess” Christ or “confess” our faith, we are “saying the same things” God says about Himself in the Scriptures.  We are acknowledging our agreement with the teachings of the Bible.

We sometimes call ourselves “confessional” Lutherans.  This means that we “confess” or “agree with” the Lutheran “confessions” or “creeds” set down in The Book of Concord, published in 1580 at the time of the Lutheran Reformation.

“Confessional” Lutherans believe that these creeds or statements of belief “say the same things” the Bible says.

Most of us have known one of these confessions since childhood. The Small Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther is a brief summary of the Bible teachings given in greater detail in the rest of The Book of Concord.

Not every Lutheran church body today is a confessional Lutheran church.

Some have chosen not to be.   Others claim to be confessional, but their teachings and practices do not reflect it.

By God’s grace, we are still a confessional Lutheran church. We humbly pray to remain that.  There are no guarantees.  Old hands can get careless.

Our pastors and teachers publicly vow to remain faithful, without reservation, to the teachings of Scripture as summarized in the three universal creeds and in the six Lutheran confessions.

New confirmands do the same when they promise to remain true to the teachings of the Bible as summarized in The Small Catechism.

The Book of Concord (The Lutheran Confessions) contain the following creeds or statements of belief:

The Three Universal Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene & Athanasian)

The Augsburg Confession

The Apology (Defense) Of The Augsburg Confession

The Smalcald Articles

The Large Catechism

The Small Catechism

The Formula Of Concord

In more recent years, to address other attacks on God’s Word, we have also confessed our faith with a pamphlet entitled This We Believe.”  

There are many who say they have no use for creeds, that they believe in deeds.  But the fact is, everyone has a creed.  As soon as someone opens his mouth about what he believes about God — even if he says his belief is that there is no God — that is his creed, his confession, his belief.  The only question that really matters is whether that creed or confession agrees with the word of God, the Holy Scriptures.  God give us the courage to “confess” Christ and His Word clearly even unto death.

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