Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holding Fast to Our Confession

Holding Fast to Our Confession

“Then why, beloved brothers, do we stand by each other? Why can’t we leave one another? It is because we cannot let go of the one truth, which we, in fellowship with all the saints, have acknowledged, do believe and confess, as it is in the confessions of the Lutheran Church. These confessions [The Book of Concord] bear witness to the truth clearly, plainly, and powerfully on the basis of the Holy Scriptures, against all the desires of Satan, to the whole world.

And why do we hold so firmly to our confession, that we happily endure the hatred of the world and also of the rest of Christianity, which is difficult to bear? Why, with God’s help and grace, would we suffer persecution and death before we would give up even a small part of that confession? We do so because we have come to make the truth set forth in that confession our own, not in times of good leisure and rest, like we might appropriate other natural or historical truths. The Holy Spirit has revealed this truth to us in the midst of the burdens of troubled consciences, as our only salvation. The Spirit has through the Word borne witness to the truth in broken and troubled hearts. Our consciences are bound to the Word, and therefore to the confession of the church. As poor, forlorn, and condemned men, we have learned to believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The peace of conscience, the peace of our souls, the hope of eternal blessedness, our very being and life, hang on this truth. To surrender it would be to surrender our salvation and ourselves for time and eternity.

Therefore neither can we let go of the most insignificant portion of the confession, because the entire series of the individual teachings of the faith are for us one chain. This chain not only binds our understanding in the truth, it binds our consciences and lives. The loss of an individual part of the same would break this chain, and we would be torn loose from Christ, tumbling again into the abyss of anxiety, doubt and eternal death. Therefore we hold fast to our confession, as to our very life.”

—Friedrich Wyneken, as quoted by Matthew Harrison in “It’s Time” p. 15,16

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