So what exactly is the Book of Concord? That’s what I wondered. I had always ascribed to Lutheran teachings fairly closely, but I never heard the name until about two years ago. So I did some research and discovered that the Book of Concord is the gold mine of my belief system, the first book after the Bible that holds the key to the Lutheran Church’s doctrine. It was written in 1580, a time when the world had exploded into a frenzy of religious fervor. One of the men at her helm was Martin Chemnitz, an eminent Lutheran theologian.
So what does the Book of Concord hold? Lutherans believe it to be in perfect harmony with the teachings found in the Bible. In the book, it is stated that Scripture alone is the basis for Christian belief. Sola Scriptura. A defiant stance in a time of absolutism and bloodshed. The Apostles’ Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Nicene Creed, the three creeds with which every Christian, no matter their denomination, identifies, are included.
|Cover of the Book of Concord in German, 1580|
The inclusion of Martin Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms allowed the Book of Concord to carry on his legacy even after his death in 1546. The Small Catechism is invaluable for its inclusion of the Ten Commandments. The commandments were presented in such a way that children were encouraged to ask questions and further understand each one. The Augsburg Confession (see my post of February 28), and other writings by Philipp Melanchthon are found in the Book of Concord as well.
The Augsburg Confession was, in many ways, a defiant yet beautiful expression of the Protestant mode of faith, especially risky to outline in the late sixteenth century, and its insertion in the Book of Concord immediately skyrocketed the book to the realms of greatness. To this day, it is an invaluable resource to those professing faith in the Lutheran Church.
In closing, I wanted to include the Nicene Creed in its stunning beauty.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved