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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 48

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Psalm 118:19–24

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Concerning the Papacy

The pope is not, according to divine law or the Word of God, the head of all Christendom, as this position only belongs to the one whose name is Jesus Christ. The pope is only the bishop and pastor of the churches in Rome and those that voluntarily or through a human institution (that is, a secular power) have attached themselves to him. They are not under a lord, but with him as fellow Christians and comrades, as the ancient councils and the age of Cyprian establish.

Pulling It Together: There is only one who is the head of the Church (Col 1:18). Jesus Christ must be given this honor, for the Father has conferred that authority and power on him alone (Matt 28:18). Furthermore, he has earned the title and the honor (Phil 2:8–9). Let us commit it to him alone. Otherwise, humans begin to believe they have the power to make up new rules and rites in the Church, things that have no basis in Scripture, or are even opposed to the clear teaching of God’s Word. This too, removes the honor from Christ alone. When his Word is dishonored, the Chief Cornerstone is rejected.

Prayer: Open to me, Lord Jesus, the gates of your righteousness. Amen.

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