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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Ecclesiastical Power – part 11

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2 Corinthians 13:12–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

The use of such ordinances, therefore, should be left free, provided that offenses are avoided, and that they not be judged as necessary acts of worship. The apostles themselves prescribed many things that have been changed with time, since they did not hand them down in such a way that they were not to be changed. For they did not disagree with their own writings, in which they worked hard so the Church would not be oppressed by the opinion that human rites are necessary acts of worship.

Pulling It Together: It is amusing to consider the things that each Christian group focuses on, as though they were God’s perpetual commandments. Do this particular thing or else you are not really a Christian—or at least not a very “good” one. Let us imagine that one of today’s verses, verse twelve, was the dogmatic focus of a church. The exhortation to “greet one another with a holy kiss” is also found in three other New Testament letters of Paul (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 1 Thes 5:26). He told the churches four times to greet one another this way. But if the “holy kiss,” or even a hug or a handshake, were regarded as an ongoing and necessary act of worship, this would become a burden to the churches that has nothing to do with faith in God.

Prayer:On that Day, Jesus, joy of heaven, greet me with the eternal kiss of grace. Amen.

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