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Therefore the power of the Church and the civil power most
not be confounded. The power of the Church has its own com-
mission, to teach the Gospel and to administer the sacraments.
Let it not break into the office of another ; let it not transfer the
kingdoms of this world ; let it not abrogate the laws of civil
rulers ; let it not abolish lawful obedience ; let it not interfere
with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts ; let it
not prescribe laws to civil rulers concerning the form of the
Commonwealth. As Christ says [John 18 : S] : " My kingdom
is not of this world;" also [Luke 12: 14] : "Who made me a

judge or

or a divider over you ? " Paul also says [Phil. 3 : 20]:
" Our citizenship is in Heaven ;" [2 Cor. 10 : 4] : " The weapons
of our warfare are not carnal ; but mighty through God to the
casting down of imaginations." After this manner, our teachers
discriminate between the duties of both theue powers, and com-
mand that both be honored and acknowledged as gifts and bless-
ings of God.

If bishops have any power of the sword, that power they
have, not as bishops, by the commission of the Gospel, but by
human law, having received it of Kings and Emperors, for the
civil administration of what is theirs. This, however, is another
office than the ministry of the Gospel.

When, therefore, a question arises concerning the jurisdiction
of bishops, civil authority must be distinguished from ecclesias-
tical jurisdiction. Again, according to the Gospel, or, as they
say, according to Divine Law, to the bishops as bishops, that is,
to those to whom has been committed the ministry of the W^ord
and the sacraments, no jurisdiction belongs, except to forgive
sins, to discern doctrine, to reject doctrines contrary to the Gos-
pel, and to exclude from the communion of the Church wicked
men, whose wickedness is known, and this without human force,
simply by the Word. Herein tlie congregations are bound by
Divine Law to obey them, according to Luke 10 : 16 : " He that
heareth you, heareth me."

But wnen they teach or ordain anything against the Gospel,
then the congregations have a commandment of God prohibiting
obedience [Matth. 7 : 15] : " Beware of false prophets ; " Gal.
[1 : 8] : " Though an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel
let him be accursed;" 2 Cor. [13 : 8]: "W^e can do nothing
against the truth ; but for the truth." Also [v. 10] : " The power
which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruc-
tion." So, also, the Canonical Laws command (II. Q. vii. Cap.,

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Sacerdotea and Cap. Oves). And Augustine (OorUra FMicmi
Epistolam) : " Not even to Catholic bishops must we submit, if
they chance to err, or hold anything contrary to the Canonical
Scriptures of God."

If they have any other power or jurisdiction, in hearing and
judging certain cases, as of matrimony or of tithes, they have it
by human law. But where the ordinaries fail, princes are bound,
even against their will, to dispense justice to their subjects, for
the maintenance of peace.

Moreover, it is disputed whether bishops or pastors have the
right to introduce ceremonies in the Church, and to make laws
concerning meats, holydays and degrees, that is, orders of min-
isters, etc. They that claim this right for the bishops, refer to
this testimony [John 16: 12, 13] : "I have yet many things to
say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. вАФ Howbeit when he,
the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth."
They also refer to the example of the Apostles, who commanded
to abstain from blood and from things strangled [Acts 15 : 29],
They refer to the Sabbath day, as having been changed into the
Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is
there any example whereof they make more than concerning
the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power
of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Com-
mandments !

But, concerning this question, it is tatight on our part (as has
been shown above), that bishops have no power to decree any-
thing against the Gospel. The Canonical laws teach the same
thing (Dint. ix.). Now it is against Scripture to establish or
require the observance of any traditions, to the end that, by such
observance, we may make satisfaction for sins, or merit grace and
righteousness. For the glory of Christ's merit is dishonored
when, by such observances, we undertake to merit justification.
But it is manifest that, by such belief, traditions have almost
infinitely multiplied in the Church, the doctrine concerning faith
and the righteousness of faith being meanwhile suppressed. For
gradually more holydays were made, fasts appointed, new cere-
monies and services in honor of saints instituted ; because the
authors of such things thought that, by these works, they were
meriting grace. Thus, in times past, the Penitential Canons in-
creased, whereof we still see some traces in the satisfactions.

Again, the authors of traditions do contrary to the command
of God when they find matters of sin in foods, in days, and like
things, and burden the Church with bondage of the law, as if
there ought to be among Christians, in order to merit justifica-

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tion, a service like the Levitical, the arrangement of which God
has committed to the Apostles and bishops. For thus some of
them write ; and the Pontiffs in some measure seem to be misled
by the example of the Law of Moses. Hence are such burdens,
as that they make it mortal sin, even without offence to others,
to do manual labor on holydays, to omit the Canonical Hours,
that certain foods defile the conscience, that fastings are works
which appease God, that sin in a reserved case cannot be for-
given but by the authority of him who reserved it ; whereas the
Canons themselves speak only of the reserving of the ecclesias-
tical penalty, and not of the reserving of the guilt.

Whence have the bishops the right to lay these traditions
upon the Church for the ensnaring of consciences, when Peter
[Acts 15 : 10] forbids to put a yoke upon the neck of the disci-
ples, and Paul says [2 Cor. 13 : 10] that the power given him
was to edification, not to destruction ? Why, tnerefore, do they
increase sins by these traditions ?

But there are clear testimonies which prohibit the making of
such traditions, as though they merited grace or were necessary
to salvation. Paul says [Col. 2 : 16] : " Let no man judge you
in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new
moon, or of the Sabbath days ; " v. 20, 23 : " If ye be dead with
Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living
in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not ; taste not ;
handle not, which all are to perish with the using) ; after the
commandments and doctrines of men ? which things have indeed
a show of wisdom." Also in Tit. [1 : 14] he openly forbids tra-
ditions : " Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments
of men, that turn from the truth." And Christ [Matt. 15 : 14]
says of those who require traditions : " Let them alone ; they be
blind leaders of the blind ; " and he rebukes such services [v. 13] :
"Every plant which my Heavenly Father hath not planted,
shall be plucked up."

If bishops have the right to burden churches with infinite
traditions, and to ensnare consciences, why does Scripture so
often prohibit to make and to listen to traditions? Why does it
call them " doctrines of devils " [1 Tim. 4:1]? Did the Holy
Ghost in vain forewarn of these things ?

Since, therefore, ordinances instituted as things necessary, or
with an opinion of meriting grace, are contrary to the Gospel,
it follows that it is not lawful for any bishop to institute or exact
such services. For it is necessary that the doctrine of Christian
liberty be preserved in the churches, namely, that the bondage
of the Law is not necessary to justification, as it is written in the

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Epistle to the Galatians [5:1]: ^' Be not entangled again with
the yoke of bondage." It is necessary that the chief article of
the Gospel be preserved, to wit, that we obtain grace freely by
faith in Christ, and not for certain observances or acts of wor-
ship devised by men.

What, then, are we to think of the Sunday and like rites in
the house of God? To this we answer, that it is lawful for
bishops or pastors to make ordinances that things be done orderly
in the Church, not that thereby we should merit grace or make
satisfaction for sins, or that consciences be bound to ludge them
necessary services, and to think that it is a sin to break them
without offence to others. So Paul ordains [1 Cor. 11:5], that
women should cover their heads in the congregation [1 Cor. 14 :
30], that interpreters of Scripture be heard in order in the
church, etc

It is proper that the churches should keep such ordinances for
the sake of charity and tranquillitv, so far that one do not ofiend
another, that all things be done m the churches in oi>der, and
without confusion ; but so that consciences be not burdened to
think that they be necessary to salvation, or to iudge that they
sin when they break them without oflfence to otners ; as no one
will say that a woman sins who goes out in public with her head
uncovered, provided only that no oflfence be given.

Of this kind, is the observance of the Loi-d^s Day, Easter,
Pentecost, and like holydays and rites. For those who judge
that, by the authority of the Church, the observance of the
Lord's Day instead of the Sabbath Day was ordained as a thing
necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath
Day ; for it teaches that, since the Gospel has been revealed, all
the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted. And yet, because it
was necessary to appoint a certain day, that the people might
know when they ought to come together, it appears that the
Church f the Apostles] designated the Lord's D^v for this pur-
pose ; and this day seelns to have been chosen all the more for
this additional reason, that men might have an example of
Christian liberty, and might know that the keeping neither of
the Sabbath, nor of any other day, is necessary.

There are monstrous disputations concerning the changing of
the law, the ceremonies of the new law, the changing of the
Sabbath Day, which all have sprung from the false belief that
there must needs be in the Church a service like to the Levitical,
and that Christ had given commission to the Apostles and bish-
ops to devise new ceremonies as necessary to salvation. These
errors crept into the Church when the righteousness of faith was

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not cleariy enough taught. Some dispute that the keeping of
the Lord's Day is not indeed of divine right ; but in a manner
so. They prescribe concerning holydays, how far it is lawful to
work. What else are such disputations but snares of con-
sciences? For although they endeavor to modify the traditions,
yet the equity can never be perceived as long as the opinion re-
mains that they are necessary, which must needs remain where
the righteousness of faith ana Christian liberty are disregarded.

The Apostles commanded to abstain from blood. Who doth
now observe it ? And yet they that do it not, sin not ; for not
even the Apostles themselves wanted to burden consciences with
such bondage ; but they forbade it for a time, to avoid offence.
For, in any decree, we must consider what is the j^rpetual aim
of the Gospel. Scarcely any Canons are kept with exactness,
and, from day to day, many go out of use even with those who
are the most zealous advocates of traditions. Neither can due
regard be paid to consciences unless this equity be observed, that
we know that the Canons are kept without holding them to be
necessary, and that no harm is done consciences, even though
traditions go out of use.

But the bishops might easily retain the lawful obedience of
the people, if they would not insist upon the observance of such
traditions as cannot be kept with a good conscience. Now they
command celibacy ; they admit none, unless they swear that they
will not teach the pure doctrine of the Gospel. The churches
do not ask that the hishops should restore concord at the expense
of their honor ; which, nevertheless, it would be proper for good
pastors to do. They ask only that they would release unjust
burdens which are new and have been received contrary to the
custom of the Church Catholic. It may be that there were
plausible reasons for some of these ordinances ; and yet they are
not adapted to later times. It is also evident that some were
adopted through erroneous conceptions. Therefore, it would be
befitting the clemency of the Pontiffs to mitigate them now;
because such a modification does not shake the unity of tlie
Church. For many human traditions have been changed in
process of time, as the Canons themselves show. But if it be
impossible to obtain a mitigation of such observances as cannot be
kept without sin, we are bound to follow the Apostolic rule [Acts
5 : 29], which commands us to obey God rather than men. Peter
[1 Pet, 5 : 3] forbids bishops to be lords, and to rule over the
churches. Now it is not our design to wrest the government
from the bishops, but this one thing is asked, namely, that they
allow the Gospel to be purely taught, and that they relax some

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few observances which cannot be kept without sin. But if they
make no concession, it is for them to see how they shall give
account to God for having, by their obstinacy, caused a schism.


These are the Chief Articles which seem to be in controversy.
For although we might have spoken of more Abuses, yet, to
avoid undue length, we have set forth the chief points, from
which the rest may be readily judged. There have been great
complaints concerning indulgences, pilgrimages, and the abuses
of excommunication. The parishes have been vexed in many
ways by the dealers in indulgences. There were endless conten-
tions between the pastors and the monks concerning the parochial
rites, confessions, burials, sermons on extraordinary occasions,
and innumerable other things. Things of this sort we have
passed over, so that the chief points in this matter, having been
briefly set forth, might be the most readily understood. Nor
has anything been here said or adduced to the reproach of any
one. Only those things have been recounted, whereof we thought
that it was necessary to speak, so that it might be understood
that, in doctrine and ceremonies, nothing has been received on
our part, against Scripture or the Church Catholic, since it is
manifest that we have taken most diligent care that no new and
ungodly doctrine should creep into our churches.

The above articles we desire to present in accordance with the
edict of Your Imperial Majesty, so that our Confession should
therein be exhibited, and a summary of the doctrine of our
teachers might be discerned. If anything further be desired,
we are ready, God willing, to present ampler information accord-
ing to the Scriptures.

John, Duke of Saxony, Elector.
George, Margrave of Brandenburg.
Ernest, Duke of Luneburg.
Philip, Landgrave of Hesse.
John Frederick, Duke of Saxony.
Francis, Duke of Luneburg.
Wolfgang, Prince of Anhalt.
Senate and Magistracy of Nuremburg.
Senate of Reutlingen.

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THEN gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees
a council, and said, What do we? for this man
doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all
men will believe on him ; and the Romans shall come
and take away both our place and nation. And one
of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that
same year, said unto them. Ye know nothing at all, nor
consider that it is expedient for us that one man should
die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest
that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that
nation ; and not for that nation only, but that also he
should gather together in one the children of God that
were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they
took counsel together for to put him to death.

And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve
disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold,
we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written
by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be
accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gen-
tiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and
spitted on : and they shall scourge him, and put him to
death; and the third day he shall rise again. And

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they understood none of these things : and this saying
was hid from them, neither knew they the things which
were spoken.

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to
Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead^
whom he raised from the dead. There they made him
a supper in the house of Simon the leper ; and Mar-
tha served : but Lazarus was one of them that sat at
the table with him. And as he sat at meat, there came
a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spike-
nard very precious ; and she brake the box and poured
it on his head, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and
wiped his feet with her hair ; and the house was filled
with the odor of the ointment. Then saith one of his
disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should be-
tray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three
hundred pence, and given to the poor ? This he said,
not that he cared for the poor ; but because he was a
thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
And Jesus said. Let her alone ; why trouble ye her ?
she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have
the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye
may do them good ; but me ye have not always. Sne
hath done what she could ; she is come aforehand to
anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto
you. Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached through-
out the whole world, this also that she hath done shall
be spoken of for a memorial of her.

On the next day, when they drew nigh unto Jerusa-
lem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of
Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them,
Go into the village over against you, and straightway
ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her ; loose
them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say
aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need oi
them ; and straightway he will send them. All this

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was done, that it might be AilfiUed which was spoken
by the prophet, saying : Tell ye the daughter of Sion,
Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting
upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the
disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and
brought the ass and the colt, and put on them their
clothes, and they set him thereon. The people there-
fore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of
his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.
And many spread their garments in the way ; others
cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in
the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that
followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David :
Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord ;
Hosanna in the highest.

And some of the Pharisees from among the nmltitude
said unto him. Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he
answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these
should hold their peace, the stones would immediately
cry out. And when he was come near, he beheld the
city, and wept over it, saying. If thou hadst known,
even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which
belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from
thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that
thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and com-
pass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and
shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children
within thee ; and they shall not leave in thee one stone
upon another : because thou knewest not the time of thy

And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city
was moved, saying. Who is this ? And the multitude
said. This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out
all them that sold and bought in the temple, and over-
threw the tables of the money-changers, and the seats

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of them that sold doves. And said unto thera, It is
written, My house shall be called the house of prayer ;
but ye have made it a den of thieves. And it came to
pass, that as he taught the people in the temple, and
preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes
came upon him with the elders, and spake unto him,
saying. Tell us, by what authority doest thou these
things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask
of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you
by what authority I do these things. The baptism of
John, was it from heaven, or of men ? And they rea-
soned with themselves, saying. If we shall say, From
heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
But and if we say, Of men ; all the people will stone
us; for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell.
And he said unto them. Neither tell I you by what au-
thority I do these things. There was a certain house-
holder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round-
about, and digged a wine-press in it, and built a tower,
and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far coun-
try. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he
sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should
give him of the fruit of the vineyard : but the husband-
men beat him, and sent him away empty. And again
he sent unto them another servant ; and at him they
cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him
away shamefully handled. And agaiti he sent another,
and him they killed, and many others ; beating some,
and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his
well beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying,
They will reverence my son. But when the husband-
men saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying,
This is the heir : come, let us kill him, that the inherit-
ance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vine-
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yard, and killed him. What therefore shall the Lord
of the vineyard do unto those husbandmen ? They say
unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men,
and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen,
which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them. Did ve never read in the Scrip-
tures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same
is become the head of the corner : this is the Lord's
doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I
unto you. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you,
and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken :
but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to
powder. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the
prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee,
how often would I have gathered thy children together,
ev^n as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
and ye would not ! Behold, your house is left unto you
desolate. For I say unto you. Ye shall not see me
henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh
in the name of the Lord.

And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard
his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared
the multitude, because they took him for a prophet ; and
they left him, and \vent their way.


THEN came the day of unleavened bread, when the
passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and
John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we
may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou
that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold,
when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man
meet you, bearing a pitcher of water ; follow him into

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the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto
the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee.
My time is at hand ; I will keep the passover at thy
house with my disciples. And he shall show you a

Online LibraryEvangelical Lutheran Church in North America. GeneChurch book: for the use of Evangelical Lutheran congregations → online text (page 22 of 53)