Saturday, December 3, 2011

Confessional Saturdays #9: Chief Articles of the Faith 20 - 21


Worship of the Saints

1 Our churches teach that the history of saints may be set before us so that we may follow the example of their faith and good works, according to our calling. For example, the emperor may follow the example of David [2 Samuel] in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. For both are kings. 2 But the Scriptures do not teach that we are to call on the saints or to ask the saints for help. Scripture sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Atoning Sacrifice, High Priest, and Intercessor [1 Timothy 2:5–6]. 3 He is to be prayed to. He has promised that He will hear our prayer [John 14:13]. This is the worship that He approves above all other worship, that He be called upon in all afflictions. 4 “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1).

[A Summary Statement]

1 This then is nearly a complete summary of our teaching. As can be seen, there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church universal, or from the Church of Rome, as known from its writers. Since this is the case, those who insist that our teachers are to be regarded as heretics are judging harshly. 2 There is, however, disagreement on certain abuses that have crept into the Church without rightful authority. Even here, if there are some differences, the bishops should bear with us patiently because of the Confession we have just reviewed. Even the Church’s canon law is not so severe that it demands the same rites everywhere. 3 Nor, for that matter, have the rites of all churches ever been the same. 4 Although, in large part, the ancient rites are diligently observed among us. It is a false and hate-filled charge that our churches have abolished all the ceremonies instituted in ancient times. 5 But the abuses connected with the ordinary rites have been a common source of complaint. They have been corrected to some extent since they could not be approved with a good conscience.

A Review of the Various Abuses That Have Been Corrected

1 Our churches do not dissent from any article of the faith held by the Church catholic. They only omit some of the newer abuses. They have been erroneously accepted through the corruption of the times, contrary to the intent of canon law. Therefore, we pray that Your Imperial Majesty will graciously hear what has been changed and why the people are not compelled to observe those things that are abuses against their conscience. 2 Your Imperial Majesty should not believe those who have tried to stir up hatred against us by spreading strange lies among the people. 3 They have given rise to this controversy by stirring up the minds of good people. Now they are trying to increase the controversy using the same methods. 4 Your Imperial Majesty will undoubtedly find that the form of doctrine and ceremonies among us are not as intolerable as these ungodly and ill-intentioned men claim. 5 Besides, the truth cannot be gathered from common rumors or the attacks of enemies. 6 It can easily be judged that if the churches observed ceremonies correctly, their dignity would be maintained and reverence and piety would increase among the people.

Both Kinds in the Sacrament

1 The laity are given both kinds in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper because this practice has the Lord’s command, “Drink of it, all of you” (Matthew 26:27). 2 Christ has clearly commanded that all should drink from the cup.

3 And lest anyone misleadingly say that this refers only to priests, in 1 Corinthians 11:27 Paul cites an example. From this it appears that the whole congregation used both kinds. 4 This practice has remained in the Church for a long time. It is not known when, or by whom, or by whose authority, it was changed. Cardinal Cusanus mentions the time when it was approved. 5 Cyprian in some places testifies that the blood was given to the people. 6 Jerome testifies to the same thing when he says, “The priests administer the Eucharist and distribute the blood of Christ to the people.” 7 Indeed, Pope Gelasius commands that the Sacrament not be divided (dist. II., De Consecratione, cap. Comperimus). 8 Only a recent custom has changed this.

9 It is clear that any custom introduced against God’s commandments is not to be allowed, as Church law bears witness (dist. III., cap. Veritate, and the following chapters). 10 This custom has been received, not only against the Scripture, but also against old canon law and the example of the Church. 11 Therefore, if anyone preferred to use both kinds in the Sacrament, they should not have been compelled to do otherwise, as an offense against their conscience. 12 Because the division of the Sacrament does not agree with the ordinance of Christ, it is our custom to omit the procession [with the host], which has been used before.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 44
Jesu Juva,
Sole Deo Gloria

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