It’s Friday! That means we turn out attention to the Augsburg Confession. This week’s topic is The Church. Don't expect an explanation of buildings, but a witness to that communion of saints spoken of in the 3rd Article of the Apostles' Creed.
Article VII (The Church)
1 Our churches teach that one holy Church is to remain forever. The Church is the congregation of saints [Psalm 149:1] in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. 2 For the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. 3 It is not necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies instituted by men, should be the same everywhere. 4 As Paul says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5–6). (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 34)
Article VII has been rightly called the evangelical Magna Carta of the Lutheran Church. It cuts through the clutter of man-made ceremonies that had accumulated by the sixteenth century, focuses on the very heart of the matter, and defines church with eloquent simplicity. Outward unity in the Church is shaped, defined, and normed by biblical truth (teaching), not the other way around. Church fellowship is common participation in the saving treasures of the Church: Christ’s gifts, His Gospel, and His Sacraments. Not any “Gospel” will do, but only that Gospel which is purely taught alongside correctly administered Sacraments (as noted in the German version). (See also Ap VII and VIII; SA III XII.) (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 34)