Announcements for the week of March 1, 2015

 

APOLOGY OF  THE  AUGSBURG CONFESSION

ARTICLE XV. HUMAN TRADITIONS IN THE CHURCH

SavedByGraceWhat need is there of a long discussion? The holy Fathers did not institute any traditions for the purpose of meriting the forgiveness of sins or righteousness. They instituted them for the sake of good order and tranquility in the church.

If somebody wants to institute certain works to merit the forgiveness of sins or righteousness, how will he know that these works please God since they do not have support in God’s Word? How will he inform men of God’s will without the command and Word of God? Does not God throughout the prophets forbid the establishment of additional ceremonies without his command? In Ezek. 20:18, 19, it is written, “Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I the Lord am your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances.”

If men are allowed to establish new rites and if by such rites they merit grace, we shall have to approve the religious rites of all the heathen, as well as the rites established by Jeroboam and others over and above the law. Where is the difference? If we are permitted to establish rites that serve to merit grace or righteousness, why did not the heathen and Israelites have the same privilege? Yet the rites of the heathen and the Israelites were condemned precisely because, in their ignorance of the righteousness of faith, they believed that by these they merited the forgiveness of sins and righteousness.

Finally, what  assurance do we have that religious rites established by men without God’s command can justify since we can affirm nothing about the will of God without the Word of God? What if God does not approve these acts of worship? How, then, can our opponents maintain that they justify? They cannot maintain this without the Word and testimony of God, and Paul says (Rom. 14:23), “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Since these rites have no testimony in the Word of God, the conscience must doubt whether they please God. (¶13-17, Tappert Edition)

15-03-01, Lent 2, BA-2015B

 

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