The first annual Magdeburg Conference took place on Saturday, August 27th, at Christ Lutheran Church in Normal, IL, with about 70 people present. The conference aims to provide ongoing education about the Lutheran Confessions for lay men and women as well as clergy. Since this was the first year, we started at the beginning. The Rev Brian Saunders, President of the Iowa District East, explained the first three articles of the Augsburg Confession.
During the sessions, Rev Saunders showed how a document as old as the Augsburg Confession is still relevant for today’s church. Using examples from his years in parish ministry and teaching experience, the audience came to understand more fully what it means to confess with the church catholic that we believe in the Triune God, that we are all corrupted with sin from our conceptions, and that we come to know God fully only through His Son, Jesus Christ. These doctrines may be old, but Rev. Saunders showed how this doesn’t mean that they are obsolete. Through the use of several quotes from modern sources, as well as anecdotes from his own life, he demonstrated how heresies that have popped up throughout church’s history are still alive and kicking today — only the names have changed.
In addition to the lectures given by Rev. Saunders, conference-goers attended a Matins service and were treated to a traditional German meal served by the gracious host congregation, Christ Lutheran Church.
This year’s conference was recorded and will be made available on DVD in the near future. If you are interested in this, please visit the website of the Lutheran Catechetical Society (thelcs.org) and sign up for email updates, or check back often. We frequently add conferences and lectures to our library of DVDs.
Next year’s Magdeburg Conference will cover the heart of the Reformation doctrine — article four of the Augsburg Confession (Justification). We hope to have a date and presenter selected soon, and we will let you know when we do. Hope to see you there next year!
Rev. Bryan L. Hopfensperger, President
Lutheran Catechetical Society