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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Mass
We have briefly stated these things about the Mass so that all good people in all parts of the world may be able to understand that we zealously maintain the dignity of the Mass, that we demonstrate its true use, and that we have the most just reasons for dissenting from our opponents. We would have all good people warned to not aid these adversaries in profaning the Mass, lest they burden themselves with other people’s sin. This is a great cause and a great issue, no less than the ministry of the prophet Elijah who condemned the worship of Baal. We have presented such an important case with the greatest moderation, and now reply without casting any rebuke. But if our opponents require us to compile all kinds of abuses of the Mass, the case will not be treated with such good nature.
Pulling It Together
It is a tightrope. We are taught to be patient and gentle, loving one another with humility and forgiveness. At the same time, we are to admonish one another from the Scripture. Often the two seem at odds, impossible to harmonize. Yet that is the task before us, as it was the labor of the Lutheran Reformers. How does one reform an errant church without people being offended? Nonetheless, that is precisely what we are to always do, as another saying of the Reformation states: semper reformanda, always reforming. The trick is to do so gently, patiently, humbly, and lovingly.
Prayer: Give me wisdom, Lord, to be faithful to your Word, and loving to all people. Amen.
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