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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
You are mistaken if you think that churches should be retained only by force and arms. Men ask to be taught concerning religion. How many do you suppose there are, not only in Germany, but also in England, Spain, France, Italy, and finally even in the city of Rome, who are beginning to doubt because they see that controversies have arisen concerning subjects of the greatest importance. How many of them are silently indignant because you refuse to investigate these subjects, and rightly judge such weighty matters? For you do not rescue wavering consciences; instead, you simply command us be overthrown and annihilated by arms.
Pulling It Together: People doubt from time to time. Jesus said, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41). It is unrealistic to think that everyone will always be strong in faith. So it is up to those who are strong in the faith to bear with the weak (Rom 15:1) and have mercy on the doubting. This is especially the case when things happen in church and society that run counter to expectations, to the way things have always been thought and done. At such times, people will naturally question and even doubt. This is not the moment to toss the lambs to the wolves. Instead, they should be the more carefully shepherded, so that, by God’s grace, they may be snatched from the fire, and spared to eternal life.
Prayer: Jesus, keep me in your love and mercy. Amen.
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The Wise & The Foolish is a nine-session Bible study that focuses on Jesus' "people parables" — or what might be described as discipleship parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus.