Three Things I Like about the Book of Concord
If you have not taken the time to visit the Book of Concord blog site, I certainly invite you to do so. We are having a good conversation about the Book of Concord. We have "Roundtables" where a certain portion of the Book of Concord is considered both by our blog’s authors and by our readers. We are presently on Article VIII of the Augsburg Confession. Then we also have "Reflections" which are offered by our authors as the mood strikes them. Here is the latest "Reflection" on our BOC blog site.
What impresses me most as I read the Lutheran Confessions is how pastoral, practical and personal they are.
They are pastoral. The constant drum beat throughout them is the goal of comforting and
caring for souls. The Lutheran Confessions are not theological
speculations or abstractions. The times in which it was written called
for pastoral care on a scale that could only be compared to a national
emergency. Souls bruised and bullied by legalisms and demands placed on
them outside of and beyond the Sacred Scriptures were healed by the
healing and life-giving Gospel. Persons who were not healing the
comforting promises of the Holy Gospel, the free and full forgiveness
of all salvation through Christ, received the love of God as they heard
of the Savior who loved them and died and rose for them. The Lutheran
Confessions speak to us today because they speak of the most important
issues any of us ever face in our life. Who am I? What is life’s
meaning? Who do I know God? Am I loved? How can I be sure? What am I do
to with my life?
They are practical.
They go right to the heart of the key issues and, even in spite of the
length of some articlees in them, never wander off on side paths. It is
a book on a mission and that is to deliver the Gospel: purely, cleanly,
correctly and practically, again, for the care of souls. They are not
journal articles indulging in scholarly pursuits, or the pet interests
of their authors in the pursuit of credibility and respect in the
academic community. The Confessions are practical resources for
people’s faith and life, as they live and especially, as they die. Why?
Because the golden thread running throughout them is the chief and most
important teaching of the Christian faith: justification by God’s grace
alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone, the teaching
drawn from Scripture, alone: the Gospel.
They are personal.
The Book of Concord was written by people who had deep and long
first-hand experience with the various theological ills they are
decrying and had first-hand knowledge of just how powerfully comforting
and consoling the Gospel is. Therefore, for example, when you read
about monasticism in this book, always behind these discussions stands
the man who spent well over a decade of his life in this lifestyle,
tortured and tormented no end by the lack of Gospel: Martin Luther. The
book could almost be said to be a spiritual autobiography of all those
who contributed to it. They are not dispassionate scientific essays.
They are not mystical and obscure texts. They are personal statements
of faith expressed on behalf of the Church, and for the Church, in
order to gather more and more into the Church.
Those are three
reasons why I am so passionate about the Book of Concord.
Your turn: Why do you
like the Book of Concord? What about it causes you to keep coming back to it?