The Book of Concord and Why You Should Read It
An excellent explanation by a Lutheran pastor to his congregation on why the Book of Concord is important, and why they need to read it. You might want to consider using this in your congregation's newsletter, or on your own blog site. Thanks, Pastor Krenz. Pastor Jonathon Krenz serves a parish in Dorr, Michigan.
Beloved in the Lord, hopefully you’ve been reading and meditating on the Book of Concord readings included in your bulletin each week. These come to us from the Book of Concord website, www.bookofconcord.org, where you can read the entire Book of Concord, along with background information, some great Lutheran resources, a blog devoted to the Book of Concord,
as well as finding links to Lutheran sermons and a daily devotion
called “Five Minutes with Luther.” I highly recommend this website and
encourage you to check it out.
The Book of Concord is
also known as the Lutheran Confessions, or the Confessions of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church. Published as a collection in 1580, it
contains the three ecumenical creeds (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene
Creed, and the Athanasian Creed), the Augsburg Confession (written in
1530) and its Apology (defense) (1531), the Smalcald Articles (1537),
the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537), Luther’s
Small and Large Catechisms (1529), and the Formula of Concord (1577).
Together these writings, known as symbols, tell us what it means to be Lutheran.
Lutheran Confessions are not the Bible. No one claims that they are.
The Holy Scriptures alone are the inspired and inerrant Word of God and
the sole rule and norm of our doctrine and life. But as Lutherans, we
believe the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord
are the correct “summary and explanation” of the Scriptures. This is
what the frequently asked questions
section of the Book of Concord site says: “Since we have the Bible, why do we have the Book of Concord?
The Lutheran Confessions are a summary and explanation of the Bible.
They are not placed over the Bible. They do not take the place of the
Bible. The Book of Concord is how Lutherans are able to say, together,
as a church, ‘This is what we believe. This is what we teach. This is
what we confess.’ The reason we have the Book of Concord is because of
how highly we value correct teaching and preaching of God's Word.”
So why should you read the Book of Concord? There are many reasons. Here are at least five:
1. If you’re a Lutheran, the Lutheran Confessions are your confessions. The Lutheran Confessions tell us what it means to be Lutheran. At the very least, you should know the Small Catechism and be familiar with the Large Catechism and the Augsburg Confession. We include the weekly Book of Concord readings with the hope of familiarizing you with these confessions.
2. You should read these confessions precisely because
they are the correct “summary and explanation” of the Scriptures. They
will help you grow in your knowledge and understanding of Scripture and
strengthen your faith. The Lutheran Confessions can be prayed and read
3. The Lutheran Confessions unite us to our
fathers in the faith throughout history, including the Reformation and
the Early Church. The Early Church fathers wrote the creeds, and our
Reformation fathers wrote the rest of the confessions. The Reformation
fathers also made use of many of the Early Church’s writings. In other
words, the Lutheran Confessions show us to be an authentic catholic
church body, solidly grounded in the Holy Scriptures and one with the
one holy Christian (or catholic) and apostolic Church confessed in the
4. The Lutheran Confessions promote the unity of the Christian Church. The word “concord” means “harmony.” The Book of Concord
was compiled as a collection of confessions around which Christendom
could be united. If anyone confesses the Christian faith as we confess
it in the Book of Concord, we consider him one with us. The Book of Concord
also serves as a piece for doctrinal discussion with other church
bodies. These church bodies know where we stand on the basis of the
Lutheran Confessions, and what we require for altar and pulpit
5. The Lutheran Confessions proclaim Christ, and Him
crucified (1 Cor. 1:23, 2:2). They proclaim above all else the chief
doctrine of the Holy Scriptures and the Christian Church: justification
by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This is the chief
reason you should read the Lutheran Confessions.
continue reading and studying these confessions together in Bible
classes and in the weekly bulletin. I encourage you to read them at
home as well. We can only be strengthened as we use them to gain a
deeper understanding of the Scriptures and what it means to be a