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The Reformation

Lutheranism is not a new faith, but a continuation of the historic, Christian faith of all times and places.  In this sense Lutheranism is catholic, a word that comes from two Greek words, meaning “according to the whole.”  With Christians of all times, and in all places, we confess what God’s Word teaches – nothing more, and nothing less.
The Reformer of the Holy Christian Church was Martin Luther.  He never intended to undermine the Church or to start a new one, but rather to purify the one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic Church.  During His day, the Word of God was no longer looked to as the sole source of faith and doctrine.  Also, the free and eternal gift of salvation in the finished work of Jesus Christ was abandoned and commingled with works righteousness.  Church leaders had also been practicing the selling of indulgences as payment for sins.  Abuses were everywhere and God’s people were like sheep without a shepherd.  Martin Luther refused to keep quiet about these abuses.  They were matters of eternal salvation.  He sought to bring these abuses to light so that the Church could return to its historic Christian confession of Christ alone and Him crucified for salvation.
On October 31st, 1517, he posted 95 theses for debate about these non-Biblical practices on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg.  Luther was accused of false teaching and summoned before various gatherings of leaders.  When Luther resisted the threats of the pope and emperor in order to address the teachings against God’s Word, the pope responded by excommunicating him in early 1521.
Pastor Herman Sasse noted that in that miracle of disunity the pure Gospel was preserved.  The doctrine of justification by God’s grace alone through faith was presented.  The central teaching of the Church had again been confessed.  It may have been exiled on that day with Martin Luther’s excommunication, but it had been rediscovered.  May the churches of our day never exile the precious Gospel from within their walls!  The Church must forever hold firmly to this teaching of God’s justification of the sinner through Christ.  It alone distinguishes Christianity from all false religions, delivers comfort to repentant sinners, and gives all glory to God for His undeserved mercy in Christ.

    *Some excerpts from the Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord

The Book of Concord

Jesus asked His disciples the question in Matthew 16, “Who do you say I am?”  On that day, Christ called on His Church to confess Him.  People often say things like “I believe in deeds not creeds” or “the Bible is my only creed.”  The problem with these statements is that sinful human beings don’t always do good deeds or interpret the Bible correctly.  We consistently slant things to fit our individualistic perspective or our cultural standards.  The historic Creeds of the one, Holy Christian Church protect us from our shifty and shaky selves.  They boldly confess the Triune God of the Bible and His mighty deeds.  
God is looking for an echo from the people of the world of everything He has clearly spoken in His Word.  The Church answers with an audible and clear confession.  When Jesus asks the question, we answer “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”  We must faithfully confess Him and His saving work alone (Matthew 10:32, Romans 10:9, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 John 4:2).
During the Reformation, the Church had to reclaim the confession of the early Church amidst the confusion of works righteousness.  The Book of Concord contains documents Christians have used since the fourth century to explain what they believe and teach on the basis of the Holy Scriptures.  It contains the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.  It also contains the Reformation writings known as the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord.
Lutherans have always held that creeds and confessions are necessary for the well-being of the Church.  Just as the disciples and all Christians were called upon to confess their faith, so the Church, if itis to continue to proclaim the pure Gospel in season and out of season, must for many reasons construct formal and permanent confessions that all pastors and teachers of the faith must subscribe to.  It is impossible for the Church to be a non-confessional church.  We are ever believing, teaching, and confessing.  And so today and ever since the Reformation, Lutheran churches all over the world have required their pastors to unconditionally subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions.  These are the confessions of the orthodox, catholic (universal), and evangelical Church on earth.   You may investigate these teachings for yourself at by clicking here – THE BOOK OF CONCORD.  There is nothing secretive about them.  We put them forward for all to see.  In the words of the Formula of Concord, “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.”  If you read and understand them, you will not be able to do anything other than love them.  For they are a clear confession of God’s rock-solid Word and they keep Christ and His treasures of grace in the center.

   *Some excerpts from the Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord

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