Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions

Photo:Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions-A Readers Edition of the Book of Concord - 2nd edition This is an awesome book.  It is handsome, sturdy, well-formatted, and easy to use.  The subtitle is correct: it is A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord.  Editorial props go to Paul McCain, Edward Englebrecht, Robert Baker, and Gene Veith as well as Concordia Publishing House for a job well done.

Now, I’m no Lutheran, but this book “almost maketh me” one!  Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto is right: the book is “a wonderful guide out of the spiritual labyrinth created by liberal fudge on the one hand and simplistic self-righteousness on the other” (ix). 

Why the title, Concordia?  It means with and heart in Latin.  “It describes a commitment to the truth so strong and so deep, it is as if those who share it have a single heart beat” (xiii).

What is genuine, historic Lutheranism?  “To embrace the freedom of truth means rejecting the slavery of error.  That is why this book uses two phrases to capture the essence of biblical confession: ‘we believe, teach, and confess’ and ‘we reject and condemn.’  One cannot believe, teach and confess the truth without also rejecting and condemning everything that endangers or contradicts the truth” (xiv).

What is in this 700+ page book?  A helpful introduction on confessional Lutheranism, how to use the book, overviews, a reformation timeline, and what it means to subscribe to Lutheran confessions.  The confessions are: The three Creeds (Apostle’s, Nicene, and Athanasian), The Augsburg Confession (1530), the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531), The Smalcald Articles (1537), The Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537; the title is a tad misleading – this treatise discusses authority in the church from a Lutheran perspective), The Small and Large Catechism (1529), The Formula of Concord, Epitome (1577) and The Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration (1577).  There are also great historical introductions to those confessions, as well as a glossary, topical, and Scripture index.

You can get this book shipped to your door for well under $30 if you shop around.  I’ll post on it from time to time, to be sure, but suffice it to say that this is a mini “Lutheran Library” in one book.  All students of theology and church history should have one of these so you can learn from the Lutherans what Lutherans teach and confess.  Though I have the usual Reformed qualms with certain aspects of Lutheran theology, I deeply respect their confessional stance in a day and age of confessional drifting. 

shane lems

sunnyside wa

8 thoughts on “Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions”

    1. Wes: you’ll eat it up. When you get it, I bet you won’t be able to set it down for at least 20 minutes (after an initial skim-through)!

      shane

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  1. Interesting … Looks like one for my Christmas break reading! (Along with some Newbigen, of course!)

    BTW: I like how the blog is snowing now!

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  2. Shane,

    Thank you so much for calling attention to this! I’ve recently finished going through Luther’s Larger and Shorter Catechism, and am about to pick up the Augsburg Confession and Smalcald Articles. This will greatly help my reading, I’ve no doubt.

    Thanks,
    Matt

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    1. Thanks Rev. McCain – for the fine work on this volume. Let us know over here when/if you do other similar works.

      Matt/Andrew: Reading the Lutheran confessions from this book will be a great help, since solid Lutherans actually set it up, commented on it, and did everything they could to help the reader “read the confession with the Lutheran church.”

      And yes, the December snow. As long as it stays on the screen, I like snow…

      blessings,
      shane

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