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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
“One Church”

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Galatians 6:11–18

From the Confessions

The Nicene Creed: “And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

Pulling It Together

We believe in the Church established by God, not a church established by Luther (as if Luther ever started a church). Nor do we believe in the churches or denominations begun by any other parties. The Church of God is first, catholic, including other assemblies so long as they are apostolic. “We believe one, holy, catholic church in all ages, from the beginning of the world until the end of the world” (Luther’s Works, vol 2, p 228). “The Israel of God” spans the Old Testament and the New; it is comprised of Jews and Gentiles, so long as they are in Christ (Gal 3:28).

We confess a Church united in its apostolic doctrines and practices, one that is orthodox, rightly teaching the Word and observing the sacraments. Though it gathers behind a variety of signage, it assembles under the banner of Christ. The Church is apostolic in that it has what the Church has had since the time of the apostles: a right devotion to Christ's Word. “Where the Word is not, even though the titles and the office are there, the church is not, because God is not there either” (ibid. p 229).

As to this catholic and apostolic Church, we believe in only one such Church and that it is holy. Though there be many denominations, so long as they are in Christ, they are in his one Church. They are a holy people, a kingly priesthood of all believers called and gathered by God to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:9-10). This is the Church in which we confess to believe.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for baptizing me into Christ's death, thereby killing my old nature, and making me fit for your Church on earth and in heaven. Amen.

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