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October 2017 - The Unaltered Augsburg Confession - Remaining Faithful


The Unaltered Augsburg Confession – Remaining Faithful

Most folks know us as St. John’s Lutheran Church, but that is actually an abbreviation of our full name:  Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.  The Unaltered Augsburg Confession, or UAC?  What is that about?  You may have run across other LCMS congregations that have the UAC at the end of their names as well.  So what does that mean?   Philip Melanchthon, the author of the Augsburg Confession, had a habit of revising his books and writings over and over again.  Certainly one is free to rework his writings as needed, but when a work has become a public profession of faith, publically subscribed to as a binding confession, then you don’t mess with it.  To do so defeats the purpose of a binding and unifying confession/document.  And the first edition of the Augsburg Confession, read before Emperor Charles V June 25, 1530 was the document that clearly stated what the Lutherans believed and taught.  It was a stating of the historic Christian Faith as taught by the Apostles in God’s Word that they held to and confessed – and were willing to die for.  So don’t go messing with the wording!

But to make matters worse, as time went on, Melanchthon also wanted a unified Christianity:  peace between Rome and the Lutheran Church, a reunion of them if possible, as well as joining with the Reformed churches as well.  And so, as the years went by the revisions of the Augsburg Confession (AC)  reflected a softening of language and changes in wording that he hoped would enable more people to be willing to agree with it and sign it.  These watered down versions of the AC became known as the Variata and reached a point where the Lutherans could no longer sign it or agree with it.  That was when confessional Lutherans started to state that they held to the 1st edition, or the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as was presented before Charles V in 1530 to be what the Christian faith truly was, and what true, confessional Lutherans held to and believed. 

And it remains that way today, and why it is a part of our name as well as many of our sister congregations.  Indeed, when pastors are installed into our LCMS congregations, they must state their agreement with and holding to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession along with the other confessional documents within the Book of Concord as being a true exposition and confession of the Word of God. 

With October 2017, we have arrived at the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  For 500 years we Lutherans have enjoyed and rejoiced in the sweet Gospel and pure Word of God that had been restored to the Church.  But we are to be ever vigilant, for our enemies (satan, the world and even our very fallen natures) are constantly working at trying to remove the Word of God and the sweet comfort and rest we have in Christ from our lives.  The devil is always about twisting and denying the Word of God and joining with our sinful flesh in getting our eyes off of Christ, and will never stop.

             Paul warns us in Romans 16:17 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” And in 2 Timothy 4:2-4 he cautions: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  (3)  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  (4)  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

            Certainly we see such things around us today.  We are under increasing pressure from the world (and even other “Christians”) to compromise on the Word of God.   But to abandon the clear Word of God is to give into the Lie of satan, that God and His Word cannot be trusted.  That was the very first sin, and the root of all our sins.  And it is to rob us of the Life and Joy we are to have in Christ and our Heavenly Father.  God grant us the grace this Reformation season and every day of our lives to resist such satanic efforts and cling instead to the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  That with other faithful Christians we hold to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession!








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