Sunday, September 7, 2008

What do Lutherans mean by the Book of Concord?

The Augustana or Book of Concord is the correct exposition of the Scriptures. It must not be seen as a collection of doctrines but rather a singular confession of what the Lord has graciously given His church. The Book of Concord is not an exercise of systematic theology with far ranging hermeneutical directives. The Augustana does not seek to reinterpret the Scriptures, that we might have lordship over them. We stand under the Scriptures which interpret and define us. Confess – means to “say the same.” We confess that the symbolic writings are in perfect harmony with the Scriptures. His performative Word is the doctrine that saves men, in which He gives eternal life.
A distinction must be made between holding to a confession quia (because) it agrees with Scripture versus only quatenus (in so far as) it agrees with Scripture. The quatenus subscription is a conditional subscription with reservations – making it no real confession at all. The rise of Pietism and Rationalism in the Lutheran Church brought about an increasing acceptance of conditional subscriptions to its Symbols. What is ever so important is the understanding that the Confessions are not the doctrine of any group of individual but of the Church. Confessionalism is not about "liberalism" versus "conservative" but rather simply a love of Christ, a love toward lost sinners so dearly in need of forgiveness.

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