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Pulling It Together
Today, I reverse the order of the lesson. Why? I want you to pay closer attention to what may seem a simple afterword of the Treatise, or even of the Augsburg Confession and its Apology. There is something more to these articles than doctrine; there is an attitude expressed at number 32 below that would serve the Church of Christ well. If we would adopt his approach, theology and biblical literacy among our churches would vastly improve. Blauer’s paragraph is removed from modern copies of Lutheran Confessions. I keep it here and hope you read his passionate words.
I also pray you will read these Confessions again (“and again and again”). Look up the passages in your Bible and pray. The repetition does you good. You may want to go all the way back to the beginning and start over. Perhaps you started somewhere in the middle anyway.
Yet, if you wish to keep moving forward with me, then know that tomorrow we begin The Small Catechism section of the Book of Concord.
From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope
Doctors and preachers who subscribed to the Augsburg Confession and Apology, A.D. 1537
According to the command of the most illustrious princes and of the orders and states professing the doctrine of the Gospel, we have reread the articles of the Confession presented to the Emperor in the Assembly at Augsburg, and by the favor of God, all the preachers who have been present in this Assembly at Smalcald harmoniously declare that they believe and teach in their churches according to the articles of the Confession and Apology. They also declare that they approve the article concerning the primacy of the pope and his power, and the power and jurisdiction of bishops, which was presented to the princes in this Assembly at Smalcald. Accordingly, they subscribe their names.
1. I, Dr. John Bugenhagen of Pomerania, subscribe to the Articles of the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, and the Article presented to the princes at Smalcald concerning the papacy.
2. I also, Dr. Urban Rhegius, Superintendent of the churches in the Duchy of Lueneburg, subscribe.
3. Nicolaus Amsdorf of Magdeburg, subscribed.
4. George Spalatin of Altenburg, subscribed.
5. I, Andrew Osiander, subscribe.
6. Magister Veit Dieterich of Nuernberg, subscribed.
7. Stephen Agricola, Minister at Hof, subscribed with his own hand.
8. John Draconites of Marburg, subscribed.
9. Conrad Figenbotz, subscribed to all throughout.
10. Martin Bucer.
11. I, Erhard Schnepf, subscribe.
12. Paul Rhodius, Preacher in Stettin.
13. Gerhard Oeniken, Minister of the Church at Minden.
14. Brixius Northanus, Minister at Soest.
15. Simon Schneweis, Pastor of Crailsheim.
16. I, Pomeranus [John Bugenhagen], again subscribe in the name of Magister John Brentz, as he ordered me.
17. Philip Melanchthon subscribes with his own hand.
18. Anthony Corvinus subscribes with his own hand, as well as in the name of Adam of Fulda.
19. John Schlainhauffen subscribes with his own hand.
20. Magister George Helt of Forchheim.
21. Michael Coelius, Preacher at Mansfeld.
22. Peter Geltner, Preacher of the Church of Frankfort.
23. Dionysius Melander, subscribed.
24. Paul Fagius of Strassburg.
25. Wendel Faber, Pastor of Seeburg in Mansfeld
26. Conrad Oettinger of Pforzheim, Preacher of Ulric, Duke of Wuerttemberg.
27. Boniface Wolfart, Minister of the Word of the Church at Augsburg.
28. John Aepinus, Superintendent of Hamburg, subscribed with his own hand.
29. John Amsterdam of Bremen does the same.
30. John Fontanus, Superintendent of Lower Hesse, subscribed.
31. Frederick Myconius subscribed for himself and Justus Menius.
32. Ambrose Blaurer.
I have read, and again and again reread, the Confession and Apology presented at Augsburg by the Most Illustrious Prince, the Elector of Saxony, and by the other princes and estates of the Roman Empire, to his Imperial Majesty. I have also read the Formula of Concord concerning the Sacrament, made at Wittenberg with Dr. Bucer and others. I have also read the articles written at the Assembly at Smalcald in the German language by Dr. Martin Luther, our most revered teacher, and the tract concerning the papacy and the power and jurisdiction of bishops. In my humble opinion, I judge that all these agree with Holy Scripture and with the belief of the true and genuine catholic Church.
In so great a number of learned men who have now assembled at Smalcald, I acknowledge that I am the least of all yet, as I am not permitted to await the end of the assembly, I ask you, most renowned man, Dr. John Bugenhagen, most revered Father in Christ, that your courtesy might add my name, if it be necessary, to all that I have mentioned above. For I testify in this my own handwriting that I hold, confess, and will constantly teach these things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
John Brentz, Minister of Hall
Done at Smalcald, February 23, 1537.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, keep me in the faith, through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
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Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.