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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 56

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2 Thessalonians 2:3–4

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 26

This teaching powerfully demonstrates that the pope is the actual Antichrist, who has exalted himself above and set himself against Christ. For the pope will not allow that Christians are saved unless by his power, which nevertheless, amounts to nothing, being neither ordained nor commanded by God. He is actually doing what Paul says is exalting oneself above all that is called god (2 Thes 2:4).

Pulling It Together: We cannot have it both ways. Either Christ is head of his Church, or the pope is. It was claimed that the pope was supreme in the Church. Furthermore, it was declared that this must be believed in order to be saved. None of this is found in Scripture. It is not only outrageous; it must be firmly refuted by all Christians, for this is the very spirit of the one we are warned to expect at the end, and that is already in the world (1 John 2:18).

Prayer: Lord, prepare me for the end by keeping me through faith, now and always. Amen.

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A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

• Leader's Guide   • See also: Sola Scriptura, Part 2: The Norm of Faith

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