Today, June 25, is the anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession, which happened in 1530. Now it was not just one monk saying “Here I stand.” The Reformation had become a movement. Read it today. (Non-Lutherans, what do you think?)
After the jump, background on the event and how this particular confession ties the Reformation to the church universal.
From Herbert Mueller, first Vice-President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod:
October 31 is rightly celebrated as Reformation Day, the day in 1517 Martin Luther published 95 Theses for debate, an action considered to be one of the sparks of the Reformation. June 25, however, is at least as important. On this date in 1530, Chancellor Christian Beyer, a member of the government of Duke John, elector of Saxony, read before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and a gathering of princes (a “Diet”) in the city of Augsburg, Germany, a confession of faith signed by seven princes and two city councils in whose lands the teachings of Luther and the Wittenberg reformers had taken root in the previous decade. Luther’s colleague, Philip Melanchthon, is the principal author, though he used several previous documents in the preparation.
As he was still under the imperial ban, Luther himself was unable to attend the meeting in Augsburg. When Melanchthon and other Lutheran theologians and princes arrived at Augsburg, they found that they were being accused of just about every heresy known to the church. So they decided to make a united Lutheran defense of their teaching, both confessing the Gospel teaching of the reformation, and also showing that it was nothing new. Not only is Lutheran teaching based solely on Scripture, it is essentially the doctrine of the church universal from the beginning. The purpose of the confession was also to explain why and how the churches of the Lutheran reformation had corrected certain abuses that had sprung up in the church.
The genius of the resulting Augsburg Confession is that, in clear and unambiguous terms, it shows how the Gospel, the good news of justification by grace for Christ’s sake received through faith alone, is the heart of every major teaching of the church. Drawn from Scripture, Lutheran theology seeks to bring the greatest comfort to hurting and broken people, to penitent sinners.