Do the Lutheran Confessions Restrict our Theology?
Here is a question that was put up on Facebook. It is one of those questions that reminds me of the old “when did you stop beating your wife” type of questions; that is, the way it is worded it is meant to elicit a “no” from you, but the question is predicated on a faulty premise, that the Lutheran Confessions are somehow a “restriction” on our thinking. Just the opposite is true, the Lutheran Confessions liberate us from our preconceptions and errors in theological reflection. Here then is the qustion, and how I responded. How would you have responded?
Were our Confessions conceived as a theological box with intentionally fixed boundaries unaffected by changing contexts?
We ask our pastors and other church workers carefully to study the Book of Concord so as to determine if they can, with joy and confidence, say, “Yes, this is my belief, teaching and confession.” . . . they are a “fixed boundary” for what we believe, teach and confess to be the teachings of God’s Word.
Here is how the Formula of Concord concludes:
“Since now, in the sight of God and of all Christendom [the entire Church of Christ], we wish to testify to those now living and those who shall come after us that this declaration herewith presented concerning all the controverted articles aforementioned and explained, and no other, is our faith, doctrine, and confession, in which we are also willing, by God’s grace, to appear with intrepid hearts before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ, and give an account of it; and that we will neither privately nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to it, but, by the help of God’s grace, intend to abide thereby.”