CHIEF ARTICLES OF THE FAITH
1 Our churches teach that one holy Church is to remain forever. The Church is the congregation of saints [Psalm 149:1] in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. 2 For the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. 3 It is not necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies instituted by men, should be the same everywhere. 4 As Paul says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5–6).
What the Church Is
1 Strictly speaking, the Church is the congregation of saints and true believers. However, because many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled within them in this life [Matthew 13:24–30], it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2). 2 Both the Sacraments and Word are effective because of Christ’s institution and command, even if they are administered by evil men.
3 Our churches condemn the Donatists, and others like them, who deny that it is lawful to use the ministry of evil men in the Church, and who think that the ministry of evil men is not useful and is ineffective.
Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 34
Soli Deo Gloria