Full Text for Confessions 1- Volume 40 - What should be learned from AC 22-28 that can be helpful for life as a pastor? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CONFESSIONS 1 CON1-Q040 JANUARY 2005 CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY: CAPTION FIRST, INC. P.O. BOX 1924 LOMBARD, IL 60148 * * * * * This text is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. * * * * >> PAUL: I find some of the issues raised in Articles 22 through 28, which talk about distinction of foods, marriage of priests and other topics foreign to my life situation. The statement seems somewhat outdated. So what should I learn from these passages that can be helpful for my life as a pastor? >> DR. KLAUS DETLEV SHULTZ: Well, Paul, the question that you have asked there is really taken from a perspective of being in the Lutheran Church and not in the Roman Catholic church. It means we hardly ever share any dialogue with the Roman Catholics today, but consider ourselves living a separate life in the church today. So if you do come across these articles and consider them somewhat outdated, it is perhaps for that reason. But I do argue the point, here, that these articles are nonetheless very pertinent to the life of the church today, and I hope in some ways to illuminate this in the few statements that follow. You are here referring to Articles 22 through 28 in the Augsburg Confession, those that are associated with abuses in the church such as Article 21, the invocation of saints, although that article, of course, still belongs to the first half, I sometimes include it also into the second half because, admittedly, the invocation of saints and their adoration was understood also as an abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. But then Article 22, we have here, clearly the question as to the Lord's Supper and the two kinds; and then 23, the marriage of priests; and then 24 on the Mass, and 25 concerning the confession; and then article 26 concerning the distinction of foods; 27 concerning monastic vows; and finally, 28 concerning the ecclesiastical power of bishops. I would agree that from your comments you made, that we are dealing here with individual items that seem to be foreign to our life. Very rarely do we come across them today because, admittedly, they do not occur in the Lutheran church. Let me then proceed now to some of the articles addressed here in this section. The issue, for example, of marriage for the priests and their vows of celibacy, Article 23. Does that not resound much of the problem that the Roman Catholic is dealing with today? The question of celibacy is a problem because it means that what Luther says, it cannot be grasped by everyone. It is an advice, whereas marriage is something that is given to the church and all its priests. And you know that Luther had to live up to that demand that he made. He married *Catherine from Bora, a nun that had fled the nunnery and came and joined him in The Reformation. And she demanded that she be married to Luther. So marriage was something that was treasured during at the time of The Reformation. And we see today, that this is something we continue to claim in terms of saying that we demand that celibacy is something that is taken voluntarily, rather than mandated by the church. In some ways, the Roman Catholic Church has made advances toward accommodating those that transfer into the Roman Catholic Church that these may remain married. However, it still remains to be seen whether Article 23 is outdated. Let me move on, then, to the next article, Article 22, namely that of administering Holy Communion in only one kind. That is, generally, the Roman Catholic Church practice Communion by giving to its members only the bread, the consecrated host, whereas the wine is withheld for the consecrated clergy. Thereby, the church claimed that it was not necessary to give to all members also the wine at the same time. They devised the rule of concomitance saying, that when you receive Christ's body, you already receive his body. So it was not necessary also to add the wine. The Lutherans said to the rule of concomitance that they would not argue against it, but clearly, in this Article 23, we hear that Melanchthon draws attention to the institution saying that what Jesus Christ said, take and eat, take and drink, sure should apply to the life of the church today as well. So it goes against the institution of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic Church, since Vatican II, has made attempts to change a number of these rulings, also that it encourages the use of both kinds. However, again, that is not implemented all over the world. Today in many Roman Catholic churches, we still see the continual distribution of the body of Christ alone and not that of his blood. So again here, it remains to be seen as to whether Article 23 is truly outdated or not. Let me now speak further to Article 24 on the Mass. It, too, sounds outdated. But here, when we speak about the Mass in Article 24, this is one point I think persists to this day. It is the idea of private Mass. At the time of the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church believed very strongly that the Mass must be understood as a sacrifice. That is, it could be performed by the priest alone together with one of its members, and together, they would celebrate this Mass, and it would serve as the means of forgiveness of those sins of either those that are deceased and in purgatory, or those sins of others that are not present at Holy Communion. Thereby, faith is outruled. If the sacrament of the Mass is performed as a sacrifice brings about forgiveness like that without faith coming into the picture, it means that we are saved by something that is performed there and not receiving the attributes of Jesus Christ; namely, the merits that he has performed on the cross. It is very crucial, therefore, that we speak out clearly against the practice of the private Mass, and that it is necessary to have faith coming along with it. The Roman Catholics speak here of the *ex opera operata rule. That means through the very act of the Mass being performed automatically forgiveness is bestowed irrelevant as to whether that person, individual, is present or not and even if faith is not there, as long as he does not push anything against Holy Communion; namely, rejecting it forthright, he will be forgiven. I now move on to the article on confession. Here we have to ask ourselves, what is wrong with that confession as it was claimed by the Roman Catholic Church. I have already said here that what the Lutherans want to say is, that we, as Christians, must consider ourselves sinful, sinful in being. That is, we do not know exactly what sin we have committed this or that day, but we do know that we are sinful. And for that very reason, enumeration of sins is not always that necessary. Sure enough, if there is a certain sin in your life that bothers you very much, surely you should confess it. But beyond that, it is necessary to understand you more than someone who transgresses this or that Commandment, but you should understand yourself as totally sinful and deprived. Another question that arose is in Article 28; namely, the role of bishops in the church. Now, when we think about bishops we think about those above pastors. But here in Article 28, I think it means more the role of all pastors in the church. It asks the question: What are they to do? And clearly, the answer given here is that we should preach God's word clearly. We should administer His sacraments and forgive those who come to us who ask for forgiveness and to withhold those sins of those who do not show any need for it. So it means that we as pastors should fulfill a role in the church, not take on a political role at that time, as it was done at the time of The Reformation. For example, the Pope himself was known to carry both swords. It means also the sword to rule the kingdom on the left. He could call crusades. He had his own army to lead wars. So, in fact, the Roman Catholic Church did not draw a distinction between both kingdoms. Hear, the Lutherans clearly say the role of all pastors is to apply the order, the ecclesiastical order; namely, a jurisdiction that means they must give forgiveness to those through the Gospel. It means that we, as pastors, have a specific role, a niche to fill, that is, the kingdom on the right. Therein is our position, and we should treasure it and value it. We should not seek any other ways and means of speaking to people than through the word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are other articles that have been touched here in Articles 22 to 28. For example, those of taking vows such as chastity and of obedience and poverty, and the distinction of foods. Why are these a problem? I think also they draw attention very clearly to the fact that one wants to earn merits through something else than through those that have already been achieved on the cross. Why should one take oaths? Is there not just something that we should do but also know we cannot keep them? Vows bind us to a lifestyle without taking into consideration that we consistently break these. And so, Article 27 that speaks here of taking vows, such as that of chastity and obedience and poverty, should, rather, be a voluntary lifestyle and not something that is enforced on individuals such as those in the monastery. In fact, it's very important to note, here, that Luther and the reformers had difficulty in putting and placing that lifestyle of monks in the monastery into the concept of vocation. They found it unbiblical because it enforced on people to keep something that they, in the first place, could not keep, thereby elevating themselves and the understanding of their abilities beyond that than what we are in reality; namely, sinful human beings. Again, I would say it comes down to the simple fact that Articles 22 through 28, if they are not kept clear and discerned properly, theologically speaking, they again would go against the cross of Jesus Christ and that which he has earned for our salvation.