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From the Word: 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter responded to him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you this, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not overwhelm it.” (Matthew 16:15–18)
From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface
Our children should be taught to recite these parts each day when they arise in the morning, when they sit down to their meals, and when they retire at night. Until they repeat them, they should be given neither food nor drink. Likewise, every head of a household is obliged to do the same with servants, and not keep them in his house if they do not know these things or are unwilling to learn them. A person who is so rude and disorderly as to be unwilling to learn these things is not to be tolerated. For in these three parts everything that we have in the Scriptures is comprehended in short, plain, and simple terms. In these, the holy Fathers or apostles (whoever they were) have summarized the doctrine, life, wisdom, and study that occupies the conversation and interests of Christians.
Pulling It Together: Luther’s words seem extreme and even cruel to us. Yet there is nothing so cruel as to abandon one’s children at the gates of Hell. Our children, and all for whom we bear responsibility, should be taught the Scriptures — at very least, this summary of Scripture contained in The Small Catechism. In these three (or four) parts are lessons for the whole life. We may find material for lifelong conversation there, and guidance for living a life that pleases God. For what do we find in the Catechism but that we are to hold nothing above God, that all things come from him, and that he is in control of all creation, including our salvation and eternal life. In the Catechism alone, we, along with our children, will find ample inspiration to join with Peter, adding our own confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Furthermore, how else would one come to this declaration, if not by Christ himself working through the Word?
Prayer: Be my bedrock, Lord, in these difficult days and always. Amen.
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We Still Believe is offered as a resource for reflecting on key themes in biblical, Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.