From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Human Traditions in the Church
Although the holy Fathers had both rites and traditions, they did not maintain that these are useful or necessary for justification. They did not obscure the glory and office of Christ, but taught that we are justified by faith for Christ’s sake—not because of these human ceremonies. They observed these human rites for the sake of the body, that the people might know when to assemble, for an example in the churches how things may be done in order and decorously, and lastly, that common folk might receive a sort of training. For the distinctions of times and the variety of rites are valuable for instructing the common people.
Pulling It Together: Occasional services are useful tools in the churches. They help us to do things that promote good order, without having to invest a lot of time developing these services. Even the rubrics for the liturgy that are printed in the service books are very helpful. Yet when we begin to call upon these services—these human inventions—as those things which define Christians, we have gone overboard, and like Peter, have begun to lose our faith in Christ. Thus, we will surely sink, for our focus has become the wind of our opinions, instead of Christ. When this happens, even those things meant for good order will divide us.
Prayer: Take my hand, Lord, and give me faith in you. Amen.
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