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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Church
Now we are not discussing the question whether there is advantage to observe them for the sake of order or bodily profit. Another matter is being considered: whether the observances of human traditions are acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God. This is the point to be judged in this controversy, and when this is decided, it can then be judged whether the true unity of the Church depends upon human traditions being the same everywhere. If human traditions are not acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God, it also follows that people can be righteous and children of God if they do not have traditions that are in use elsewhere. For instance, if the style of German clothing is not worship of God necessary for righteousness before him, it follows that people can be righteous and children of God and the Church of Christ, even though they wear French clothing.
Pulling It Together
I have convictions about what service book I wish to use and what style and order of worship I prefer, and even which half-dozen translations of the Bible I favor. If I dare to make those things qualifications for your righteousness and salvation, please take me to task. When such matters—and there are a host of others—of indifference to justification are considered necessary for church unity, then true worship is harmed. Indeed, idolatry has set in when we venerate these human preferences and traditions. If we give way to these things as the new law in the church, then we have submitted ourselves again to slavery. We will have fallen from grace, having shown that we have no desire for God’s grace, but instead a slavish insistence on our preferences and traditions becoming the observances and ceremonies used by everyone.
Prayer: Help me to worship you, Almighty God, in spirit and in truth, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
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