2 Thessalonians 2:13–15
From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Lastly, there remains the pope’s bag of tricks that contains foolish and childish articles, such as the sanctification of churches, the baptism of bells, the baptism of altar stones, and inviting sponsors to these rites who would make donations towards them. Such baptizing is a reproach and mockery of Holy Baptism, so it should not be tolerated. Additionally, there are the blessings of candles, palm branches, cakes, oats, spices, etc. These cannot be considered consecrations, but are sheer mockery and fraud. We commend these numberless deceptions for adoration to their god and to themselves until they are weary of them. We will have nothing to do with them.
Pulling It Together: The Word of God united with faith makes things holy. Human rituals, especially when devised to make money, have nothing to do with consecration. Baptism, for example, was instituted by God to join us to Christ’s death and resurrection, and is to be received by faith in God’s promises. Other washings are not merely lesser, they hold no significance at all and are a parody of God’s intentions. They remove the focus from what God does, to what people do. Let us be content with what God has ordained and subscribe to his Word alone.
What follows are the names of all those who subscribed to Martin Luther’s Smalcald Articles, keeping to the Reformation teaching of Sola Scriptura: that the Holy Scriptures are the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice.
1. Dr. Martin Luther subscribed.
2. Dr. Justus Jonas, Rector, subscribed with his own hand.
3. Dr. John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, subscribed.
4. Dr. Caspar Creutziger subscribed.
5. Niclas Ambsdorf of Magdeburg subscribed.
6. George Spalatin of Altenburg subscribed.
7. I, Philip Melanchthon, also regard the above articles as right and Christian. But regarding the pope I hold that, if he would allow the Gospel, his superiority over the bishops which he has otherwise, is conceded to him by human right also by us, for the sake of peace and general unity of those Christians who are also under him, and may be under him hereafter.
8. John Agricola of Eisleben subscribed.
9. Gabriel Didymus subscribed.
10. I, Dr. Urban Rhegius, Superintendent of the churches in the Duchy of Lueneburg, subscribe in my own name and in the name of my brethren, and of the Church of Hannover.
11. I, Stephen Agricola, Minister at Hof, subscribe.
12. Also I, John Draconites, Professor and Minister at Marburg, subscribe.
13. I, Conrad Figenbotz, for the glory of God subscribe that I have thus believed, and am still preaching and firmly believing as above.
14. I, Andrew Osiander of Nuernberg, subscribe.
15. I, Magister Veit Dieterich, Minister at Nuernberg, subscribe.
16. I, Erhard Schnepf, Preacher at Stuttgart, subscribe.
17. Conrad Oetinger, Preacher of Duke Ulrich at Pforzheim.
18. Simon Schnevveis, Pastor of the Church at Crailsheim.
19. I, John Schlainhauffen, Pastor of the Church at Koethen, subscribe.
20. The Reverend Magister George Helt of Forchheim.
21. The Reverend Magister Adam of Fulda, Preacher in Hesse.
22. The Reverend Magister Anthony Corvinus, Preacher in Hesse.
23. I, Doctor John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, again subscribe in the name of Magister John Brentz, as on departing from Smalcald he directed me orally and by a letter, which I have shown to those brethren who have subscribed.
24. I, Dionysius Melander, subscribe to the Confession, the Apology, and the Concordia on the subject of the Eucharist.
25. Paul Rhodius, Superintendent of Stettin.
26. Gerard Oeniken, Superintendent of the Church at Minden.
27. I, Brixius Northanus, Minister of the Church of Christ which is at Soest, subscribe to the Articles of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, and confess that hitherto I have thus believed and taught, and by the Spirit of Christ I shall continue thus to believe and teach.
28. Michael Coelius, Preacher at Mansfeld, subscribed.
29. The Reverend Magister Peter Geltner, Preacher at Frankfort, subscribed.
30. Wendal Faber, Pastor of Seeburg in Mansfeld.
31. I, John Aepinus, subscribe.
32. Likewise, I, John Amsterdam of Bremen.
33. I, Frederick Myconius, Pastor of the Church at Gotha in Thuringia, subscribe in my own name and in that of Justus Menius of Eisenach
34. I, Doctor John Lang, Preacher of the Church at Erfurt, subscribe with my own hand in my own name, and in that of my other coworkers in the Gospel, namely:
35. The Reverend Licentiate Ludwig Platz of Melsungen.
36. The Reverend Magister Sigismund Kirchner.
37. The Reverend Wolfgang Kismetter.
38. The Reverend Melchior Weitmann.
39. The Reverend John Tall.
40. The Reverend John Kilian.
41. The Reverend Nicholas Faber.
42. The Reverend Andrew Menser.
43. And I, Egidius Mechler, have subscribed with my own hand.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for the gift of your Word. Amen.
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