A Laymen’s Confession, the Church’s Confession – Celebrating the Augsburg Confession

Today (at least out here in the Mountain Time Zone) it is still June 25th, the 481st anniversary of the Augsburg Confession.

Some thoughts on Augsburg:  (please add your own)

It is a testament to God using all people to confess the truth.

It is a testament to lay-theologians (compiled/edited/written by the layman Phillip Melancthon)

It is a testament to laymen in general (the confessors at Augsburg were laymen)

It is a testament to the Lutheran civil authorities (who confessed the faith courageously)

It is a testament to the power of the Gospel [or maybe the fear of God as in Acts 4] (the Emperor did not punish/imprison/execute the rebelling princes)

The movement and order of the articles is beautiful to study on its own.


Here is a good questions for discussion:  What does the fact that our foundational confession was confessed by princes/mayors mean for church and state relationships? Have we missed something in our teaching on this that our fathers in the faith understood?


If you haven’t in a while, go back and re-read the Augsburg Confession.  If you have never read it, get a copy and read it (or go to the Book of Concord website and read it there).

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


A Laymen’s Confession, the Church’s Confession – Celebrating the Augsburg Confession — 7 Comments

  1. A slight correction: The Emperor, Charles V, did eventually punish and imprison John Frederick of Saxony and Philip of Hesse after 1547. They both could have lost their lives too. John Frederick lost about 1/2 of his territory and the right of electing the emperor.

  2. @mcp #1
    Thank you mcp for the slight correction. My thoughts were based upon the actual time of the confession at Augsburg, but you do show that the Emperor had patience.

  3. As we contemplate leaving the LCMS because it is not practicing consistent with our Confessions it occurs to me that our laymen fall far short of these men and that the church does not remain faithful because of a few Pastors but because of thousands of laymen. It just may be that the laymen of the LCMS are more culpable for the decayed state of the church and its “leadership”than is understood at this time.

  4. @mames #3
    It just may be that the laymen of the LCMS are more culpable for the decayed state of the church and its “leadership” than is understood at this time.

    That is very probably true. The solution is not to encroach on the Word and Sacrament ministry of the Pastor but to uphold him and require that he exercise his call according to Lutheran principles.
    Perhaps we ought to require more of laymen than that they are ‘warm bodies’ (or related to the founders) to be elected Elder. Elders and church officers should be setting an example by encouraging adult study under the Pastor and attending the classes. Then they can speak out of knowledge when they encourage the laity on their “Elder’s list” to attend church and classes.

    Laymen educated in the Word might make more intelligent choices at district and synodical conventions. We need fewer by-laws and more Scripture study there, too.

    If we can manage the logistics of NYG for 25,000, why can’t we gather half as many for synodical convention, i.e., Pastor and lay rep from each congregation?

    [Why is that the one thing, seemingly, that we have NOT tried to borrow from the Baptists!?]

  5. This is from my web site but I think it applies to the above.

    I think one answer lies in the loss of the fundamental foundation of Loving education that flowers into that unshakeable knowledge of “GOD BE WITH YOU” instead of the “good bye” into which it has become in our Church! You can not replace that life long house built up by the Christian education of living loving Parents and Church. You can not replace a hard won Living Bible knowledge with easy ephemeral emotional crying and empty “Praise Worship”!

    In short, would the situation be different if Luther’s “small” was prayed every day by all LCMS members as Luther suggested?

  6. Mark,
    No, you “can not replace a hard won Living Bible knowledge with easy. Ephemeral emotional crying and empty “Praise Worship”!” I agree with you on that.

    However, neither are the two mutually exclusive. The assumption that contemporary/praise worship cannot effectively communicate and celebrate “living Bible knowledge” is a leap of logic that bears a more careful observation. Has your statement been studied, defined, or proven? Or, are you assuming that what you have “heard” is true?

    To be sure of your conclusions, and this if course is my own opinion, they must be founded in examples from God’s Word, not from the interpretation of God’s Word in Lutheran writings which reflect the opinion of men.

  7. You are of course correct. The above statement assumes a replacement not “in addition to”. If anything knowing the Bible and at least Luther’s “small” greatly increases the efficacy of any paster’s choice of worship format! I am not in any way against the above dimensions of worship. I am very much opposed to the replacement of Lutheran Sunday school with empty worship of any kind. Unfortunately the above forms are a very easy barn to hit and the mud of late sticks very well!@Sue wilson #6

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