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Confessing the Faith Boldly

August 21, 2017 No Comment

President Thomas Prachar

by Thomas Prachar

One aspect of Reformation history that is not commemorated as much by Lutherans is the presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The editor’s introduction to the Reader’s Edition to the Augsburg Confession says:

“On Saturday, June 25, 1530, at three o’clock in the afternoon, Dr. Christian Beyer stood, walked toward the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V, and began reading the Augsburg Confession in a loud and distinct voice. Through the open windows a hushed crowd outside in the courtyard hung on his every word, as did the two hundred or so people gathered in the hall…. When Dr. Beyer finished reading, Dr. Bruck took the German copy of the Confession from him, handed both copies to the emperor, and said, ‘Most gracious Emperor, this is a Confession that will even prevail against the gates of hell, with the grace and help of God.’ Thus was the Augsburg Confession presented as a unique Confession of the truth of God’s holy Word, distinct from Romanism on the one hand, and Reformed, Anabaptists, and radicals on the other. June 25, 1530, is a date every bit as important for Lutherans as is the more familiar date of October 31, 1517—the day on which Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses.”

What gave the Reformers the boldness to make this presentation to the Emperor? It is the same thing upon which we rest our faith today: a faith that is grounded in God’s holy Word. The Reformers relied on God’s promise in Psalm 119:46: “I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame.” Like the Reformers, we, too, can have confidence and boldness as we witness to others about Jesus. People may mock us, governments may ignore us, and others may attempt to intimidate us and put us to shame, all because we trust in Jesus. But our faith in Him is solidly anchored in God’s holy Word.

Like the Reformers, we, too, can have confidence and boldness as we witness to others about Jesus.

God’s Word has this wonderful effect of drawing us away from ourselves toward trusting in another, a truly holy One, the sinless Lamb of God, Jesus our Saviour. He took His perfect life and offered it for us when He suffered and died on the cross. As the Holy Spirit builds us up through the study of God’s Word, the reception of our Lord’s body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and as we daily remember our Baptism and how God through water and Word claimed us as His own, our faith is deepened. We become bolder in our witness. Jesus promises: “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Intimidation is cancelled by the gracious promise of our loving God: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

As the Reformers set the example, so we, too, can confess confidently with the apostle Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

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Rev. Thomas Prachar is President of the Central District of Lutheran Church–Canada.