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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Mass
Ceremonies should be observed to teach people Scripture, and that those who have been reproved by the Word may have faith and fear, and may then also pray. So, we retain the Latin language for those who are learning and understand Latin, yet mingle with it German hymns so that the people may also learn things that evoke faith and fear. This custom has always existed in our churches. Some sing German hymns more frequently, and others less often, nevertheless people almost everywhere sang something in their own language. However, it has nowhere been written or even suggested that the act of hearing lessons is a benefit to people when they do not understood the language, or that ceremonies are a benefit ex opere operato, because they are performed or are gazed upon—instead of because they teach or admonish. Away with such pharisaic opinions!
Pulling It Together: One must trust the promise of God, believing with true faith. Yet, as we have said, this cannot be accomplished without the Word. One must actually hear the words of Scripture, not a babbling in another language but real, understandable words. What would Christ himself have accomplished if he spoke to his disciples and the multitudes in Mandarin or English? They had a hard enough time comprehending his parables when spoken in their own language. Now we might insist that they should simply trust he was saying something very important and that they should just believe it. But believe what? Exactly what? There is the rub. One may say she believes, and feel quite pious for being so devout. But where is the faith in that?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for working faith within me through your Word. Amen.
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The season of Advent is not only a time of preparation for Christmas, it is a time to consider God's long-term plans and how God has promised that he will intervene in the lives of his people, and the world itself, on the coming Day of the Lord. Prophecy Fulfilled is a four week Bible Study about the Old Testament prophecies of our Lord's Advent, showing how these prophetic words were fulfilled not only in the coming of Christ over 2,000 years ago, but how they also point ahead to the return of Christ in his Second Coming.