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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 52

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Matthew 23:9

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The papacy is of no use in the Church because it is not a Christian office. Accordingly, it is necessary for the Church to move on and continue to exist without a pope.

Pulling It Together: In The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien describes 20 rings of power that were forged to rule the inhabitants of Middle Earth. One ring and its wearer was to rule over the other 19 and their wearers. Eventually, the rest of the peoples of Middle Earth would be bound in evil and darkness by this one, supreme power. Oh, the trouble that always happens when one person, having been given imaginary and unchallenged power, rules over the rest. The trouble becomes demonic when that person is allowed divine power such as establishing articles of faith, which may only come from Scripture. The office is not found in Scripture, neither in title nor responsibility.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep me steadfast in your Word. Amen.

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Disciples of the Cross is a two-part Bible study addressing the topic of Christian discipleship from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Part 1: Who We Are is an introduction to the theology of discipleship, laying the biblical groundwork for what it means to be called to live the life of faith as a follower of Jesus. Part 2: What We Do is an introduction to the practice of discipleship, using the Lord's Prayer to take us through key aspects of our life of faith as followers of Jesus.

The study may be used in conjunction with various discipleship programs and studies to highlight themes from the Lutheran tradition that are not often addressed in many discipleship materials. These include: a Theology of the Cross, the centrality of the Word and Sacrament, an understanding of the Means of Grace, and a recognition of the Christian as both "Saint and Sinner."

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