Reading through the Book of Concord, Online

One of the goals of the Brothers of John the Steadfast is the creation of reading groups all around the country whose intention is to get with a Pastor and read through the Book of Concord. This, though, is a slow process, and not everyone can gain access to reading groups as quickly as they would like. One of the advantages of having a reading group is if you come across a section you don’t understand, you can ask others of the group and get answers to your questions. Also, insights provided by others may lead to a better understanding by everyone in the group.

For those people who do not have access to a reading group, it occurred to us that we might try creating an “online reading group” right here on the BJS site. There is space here for discussions on the reading, and there are enough Pastors reading this site who may be able to help clarify unclear sections.

Each Sunday we will post the readings for the week, broken down into daily readings, as an article on this site. Read through the passages yourselves, either using your copy of the Concordia or using the website. We will provide a page number from Edition 2 of the Concordia, as well as direct links into the reading for each day.

We have pulled the readings out of the reading guide at the start of Concordia, and have permission to post these links here. You can read more about the reasoning of distributing these on the site. We could start at week 1, but since people will naturally be joining and leaving the group over time, and therefore people have to jump in the middle at some point, it’s probably best to just follow the guide and start at the reading for the week.

We start at week 40 of the reading guide (for Sept 29th through Oct 3rd in 2008) in the middle of the Formula of Concord, the Solid Declaraction, page 515 in Concordia:

Monday Article I paragraphs 33-42.
Tuesday Article I paragraphs 43-49.
Wednesday Article I paragraphs 50-62.
Thursday Article II paragraphs 1-7.
Friday Article II paragraphs 8-14.

Please try to keep discussion limited to the readings for this week or topics that grow out of them.* Remember, no question is a stupid question, and insights you see clearly may not be evident to others, so write about anything you want regarding these readings!

Norm Fisher, Technical Editor
Pastor Rossow, Editor

* Since this is the first posting on this, there may be some discussion this first week on how the system should operate, or ideas to make the process smoother.

Links —

Next week’s reading

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Reading through the Book of Concord, Online — 6 Comments

  1. As brought out by Monday’s reading, something I wonder about:

    The crux of Monday’s argument is that humans are created separately from original sin, because God does not create that which is not good. (I suppose if they let me tighten up the book, it would be a few inches thinner). Now it’s a great argument and all, but at times we Lutherans say “there is another answer to this and we don’t understand it.” For example, the elements of communion. We go to great lengths to say “we don’t really know how it is, but we’re told it is and we believe it.” Or else you can take the creeds, where Christ is fully man and fully God. When people pursue this rationally they end up with all sorts of strange heresies; we are smart enough to throw up our hands and say “yes” and “yes.”

    Now if there are things that we believe rational but indescribable, things that defy all logic, aren’t we concerned about going out and saying “Of course original sin can be considered apart from the created being?”

    Good scientists generally preface their findings with “it appears that…”


  2. But you see, James, that’s been part of our nature since the Fall. We want concrete, rational, answers.
    And so the Calvinist says, “It’s not rational that Christ’s body and blood are truly present in the bread and wine, because He has ascended into heaven.” That’s the “scientific” approach. Or it only “appears” that it was really his body and blood that he gave to his disciples because it’s irrational for him to be standing there in front of them and be in the bread and wine at the same time.
    That’s where “science” fails us…and faith reigns.

  3. James,

    Theological deductions are acceptable as long as both premises are drawn from Scripture and the conclusion does not contradict other clear Scripture.

    Nestorians assert that Christ is fully human and fully divine. Both are premises drawn from Scripture. But then they deduce that he is like two boards glued together which never cross over into each other. (Actually this is not a deduction but speculation but it works for the example I am using.) This is a conclusion that denies the clear teaching of Scripture, i.e. that the human and divine natures are communicated one to the other.

    Calvinists assert that Christ is located in heaven. Anything located in heaven cannot be located on earth. Therefore they draw the conclusion that Christ is not really present in holy communion. This is a deduction that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture – “this is my body.” Of course, the first premise is also faulty since it is not a Scriptural assertion that Christ is located in heaven alone.

    I guess the deduction you are talking about would go like this. God does not create evil. Original sin is evil. Therefore God did not create it. Premises and dedcution are consistent with Scripture.

    That still does not explain the “existence” of evil. Thomas Aquinas may have the right approach on that one, calling sin a privation of a good (e.g. the blind man lacks the good thing called eyesight – therefore, the evil of blindness does not exist at all). However, I am not entirely comfortable with this Aristotelian approach – why I am just not sure, a hunch I guess. But I must admit that it seems to work. This is why the half-Aristotelians, the Lutherans, taught that original sin is not substantial being – it is an accident added to human nature.

    Food for thought…

    Pastor Rossow

  4. My understanding of Original Sin:

    God creates Adam and Eve with the freedom to know and choose. They chose wrong, and thus inscribed sin/death into human nature, marring the image of God. They are therefore banished, for how can death stand in the presence of the living God? How can sin withstand his just wrath? This marred human nature is passed down.

    We are born with the consequence of that choice. Original Sin, it seems to me, is not a question so much about “are babies born good or are babies born bad?” but it is a statement that babies are born connected to a society that is manifestly fallen from the time of its earliest members (Adam, Eve) That’s the bad news: that we’re all connected, and that the consequences of the sin of the parents is visited upon the children, which is simply a natural fact. But that is good news too: that we’re all connected, and that Christ, when he takes up this marred and mortal human nature thereby includes this humanity into his divinity, thus restoring that humanity to the Father. The problem with that, though, is now the Son has included this death, this mortality, into his story as the living God, which is an utter paradox. So now what? So now the Resurrection! And thus this death, the Son’s death, is now holy, and by the grace of baptism we can enter into that death so that we may live again in the Resurrection of He who defeats death by death.

    My understanding of it, anything true that I say, it’s from the Holy Spirit, and may it be remembered, anything false that I said, it is my own sin, and may it be forgotten.

  5. If we can not will, do, act, concur, etc. in preparation to receive faith (this I believe), then is it equally incorrect for us to believe that we will, do, act, concur,e tc. in the preparation of others to receive faith? I understand that faith comes through the hearing of the Word. With faith only, do I believe this. But how do we then reconcile personal evangelism with this doctrine? It seems that the sections on free will indicate that ONLY the Word of God in Holy Scripture impart faith (this I believe). So 1. I have to get other people into my church to hear the Word of God preached or 2. I have to proclaim the Word of God, chapter and verse, in order to be practicing any sort of effective evanglism? So my “good example” to my neighbor….meaningless?

    Please comment or correct my understanding of the Free Will section listed above for assigned reading.

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