Introduction to the Augsburg Confession
At around 3PM on June 25th a doctor stood up in front of one of the most powerful men in the world. In a loud, clear voice he read from the paper in his hand. 200 or so people in the hall sat on the edges of their seats. Many more people in the courtyard strained to hear the voice that drifted from the open windows. When the doctor was finished he presented the paper to the Emperor.
“Most gracious Emperor,” he said, “this is a confession that will even prevail against the gates of hell, with the grace and help of God.”
The year was 1530. The paper was the Augsburg Confession. The doctor was Dr. Christian Beyer. The Emperor was Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. The significance was that from that day forward there would be two churches in Europe. June 25th 1530 is widely recognized as the birthday of the Lutheran Church.
It all started thirteen years earlier when a Catholic monk and professor in Germany made a discovery. For years he was torn apart because he thought it was up to him, at least partially, to fix his relationship with God. He dedicated his life to God. He prayed, he fasted, he slept on cold stone floors. He did everything he could think of to help fix his relationship with God but he had one problem. He never knew if he had done enough and this thought kept him up at night. It tormented and tortured his life for years.
As a professor of the Psalms he was in God’s word every day. One day he found something in the Bible that he did not know was there up to this point. The Psalms spoke of a way to get right with God apart from any human deeds. His life would never be the same. He eagerly searched the rest of the Bible and found time and again this message. “It is by faith you have been saved, not by works.”
This monk discovered that what he had been taught by the Roman Catholic Church was not what he was finding in the word of God. This monk was concerned and wanted to discuss his findings so he wrote out the problems he saw in the church and hammered them onto the door of his church in Germany.
This monk was Martin Luther. The problems were his 95 Theses which would ignite the Reformation. Over the next 13 years this man’s teaching of the Bible, and Lutheranism, would spread like wildfire though out many parts of Germany. In 1530 the Lutherans were compelled to give a written explanation of what they believed. Point by point the Augsburg Confession laid out the beliefs of Lutheranism.
This is the first blog in a series of blogs on the Augsburg Confession. In essence these blogs will be an in depth look at what the Bible teaches about many basic doctrines.
Why is a confession of faith written almost 500 years ago worth looking at today? First of all it is always useful to know the history of your church and what it teaches. Secondly, this is what Christians do. We confess what we believe. We believe what the Bible teaches.
Jesus has asked us to, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” It is in the nature of a Christian to speak about what we believe. We cannot help it.
My prayer is that your faith grows and is strengthened as we look at the different articles of the Augsburg Confession. Although written almost 500 years ago you will find its teachings very applicable because it confesses what the Bible teaches and we know that God’s word is for all people of all times.
Posted on January 17, 2012, in Church, Preschool and tagged Augsburg Confession, Christian Beyer, Church, Confess, Confession of Faith, Emperor Charles V, Lutheran, Lutheran Church, Martin Luther, School. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.