From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Our adversaries approve of the First Article of our Confession, in which we declare that we believe and teach that there is one divine essence, undivided, etc., and that nevertheless, there are three distinct persons, of the same divine essence, and coeternal: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have always taught and defended this article. We believe that it has sure and firm testimonies in Holy Scripture that cannot be overthrown. We constantly assert that those who think otherwise are outside of the Church of Christ; they are idolaters and insult God.
Pulling It Together: The Church in Rome believed the same thing about God's nature that Lutherans believed. Yet, as we shall soon see, there was much in the Lutheran Confession at Augsburg that they found disagreeable. It is good that we may live together in unity (Psa 133:1) on this Article.
Jesus declared that his followers are to go into all the world, baptizing and teaching. He said that they are to do so in the name. The word “name” is singular—not only in English but in the original Greek as well. Although they are to go in the singular name, three names are given: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians are to go into the world in the one name of the three. Lutherans and Roman Catholics confess that this is God. We believe from Scripture that the name of God given by Jesus is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From these verses in Matthew and from many other evidences in Scripture, we believe that God is Trinity, one divine essence of three persons.
Prayer: Help me believe the mystery that your Word affirms, Lord. Amen.
This pocket edition of Luther's Small Catechism includes quotations from the English Standard Versions (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.