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The Book of Concord  
Concordia, Dresden 1580 - fba.jpg
Title page from the 1580 German Edition of the Book of Concord
Author Compiled by Jakob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz
Country Germany
Language German
Subject(s) Lutheranism, Doctrine of the Lutheran Church
Publication date 1580
Lutheranism
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The Book of Concord or Concordia (1580) is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century. They are also known as the symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.[1]

The Book of Concord was published in German on June 25, 1580 in Dresden, the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg. The authoritative Latin edition was published in 1584 in Leipzig.

Those who accept it as their doctrinal standard recognize it to be a faithful exposition of the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Scriptures are set forth in the Book of Concord to be the sole, divine source and norm of all Christian doctrine.[2]

Contents

Origin and Contents

The Book of Concord was compiled by Jakob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz at the behest of their rulers, who desired an end to the religious controversies in their territories that arose among Lutherans after the death of Martin Luther in 1546.[3] It was intended to replace German territorial collections of doctrinal statements, known as corpora doctrinæ (bodies of doctrine) like the Corpus doctrinæ Philippicum or Misnicum.[4] The list of writings predating the Formula of Concord that would be included in the Book of Concord are listed and described in the "Rule and Norm" section of the Formula.[5]

Following the preface written by Andreae and Chemnitz (1578-80)[6] the "Three Ecumenical Creeds" were placed at the beginning in order to show the identity of Lutheran teaching with that of the ancient Christian church.[7] These creeds were the Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed, which were formulated before the East-West Schism of 1054, but the Nicene Creed is the western version containing the filioque.

The other documents come from the earliest years of the Lutheran Reformation (1529–77). They are the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, both by Philipp Melanchthon, the Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, his Smalcald Articles, Melanchthon's Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord, which was composed shortly before the publishing of the Book of Concord and intended for the same purpose: the pacification and unification of the growing Lutheran movement. The preface of The Book of Concord was considered to be the preface of the Formula of Concord as well.[8]

The Augsburg Confession has singular importance

as the unanimous consensus and exposition of our Christian faith, particularly against the false worship, idolatry, and superstition of the papacy and against other sects, and as the symbol of our time, the first and unaltered Augsburg Confession, which was delivered to Emperor Charles V at Augsburg during the great Diet in the year 1530 ...[9]

A recent book on Lutheranism asserts, "To this day ... the Augsburg Confession ... remains the basic definition of what it means to be a 'Lutheran.'"[10]The Apology, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise, and the Formula of Concord explain, defend, or serve as addenda to The Augsburg Confession.[11]

Contents

Context in Christendom

The simple Latin title of the Book of Concord, Concordia, (Latin for "an agreeing together"[13]) is fitting for the character of its contents: Christian statements of faith setting forth what is believed, taught, and confessed by the confessors "with one heart and voice." This follows St. Paul's directive: "that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Cor. 1:10)(NKJV). Lutherans believe that the creeds and confessions that constitute the Book of Concord are not the private writings of their various authors:[14]

Inasmuch, however, as they are in complete agreement with Holy Scripture, and in this respect differ from all other particular symbols i.e., denominational creeds and credal statements, the Lutheran confessions are truly ecumenical and catholic in character. They contain the truths believed universally by true Christians everywhere, explicitly by all consistent Christians, implicitly even by inconsistent and erring Christians. Christian truth, being one and the same the world over is none other than that which is found in the Lutheran confessions.[15]

Contemporary subscription

To this day The Book of Concord is doctrinally normative among traditional and conservative Lutheran churches, which require their pastors and other rostered church workers to pledge themselves unconditionally to The Book of Concord.[16] They often identify themselves as "confessional Lutherans." They consider the Book of Concord the norma normata (Latin, "the normed norm") in relation to the Bible, which they consider the norma normans (Latin, "the norming norm"), i.e. the only source of Christian doctrine (God's authoritative word). In this view the Book of Concord, on the topics that it addresses, is what the church authoritatively understands God's authoritative word to say. This is also called a "quia" (because) subscription to the Lutheran confessions, i.e. one subscribes because the Book of Concord is a faithful exposition of the Scriptures. It implies that the subscriber has examined the Lutheran confessions in the light of the Scriptures in order to arrive at this position, which in the subscriber's view does not require the disclaimer implied in a "quatenus" (insofar as) subscription. One who subscribes the Lutheran confessions quatenus, insofar as they are a faithful exposition of the Scriptures, believes that there might be contradictions of the Scriptures in them. In some cases this is the manner of subscription of some other Lutheran churches, which regard the Book of Concord as an important witness and guide to the historical teachings of the Lutheran Church although not necessarily doctrinally binding. The largest Lutheran church to subscribe unconditionally to the Book of Concord is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland with 4.6 million members.[17][18]

Current Editions of the Book of Concord

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Contemporary printed editions

  • Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch=lutherischen Kirche. Herausgegeben in Gedenkjahr der Augsburgischen Konfession 1930. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1976. ISBN 3-525-52101-4.
  • The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959. ISBN 0-8006-0825-9.
  • The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8006-2740-7.
  • Concordia Triglotta. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921.
  • Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions — A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, Second edition, 2006. ISBN 0-7586-1343-1.

Online texts

Versions of the Book of Concord available today.
Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions: A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord
Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions: A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord 
Kolb-Wengert edition of The Book of Concord
Kolb-Wengert edition of The Book of Concord 
Screen shot of the on-line edition of the Book of Concord
Screen shot of the on-line edition of the Book of Concord. 

Footnotes

  1. ^ F. Bente, ed. and trans., Concordia Triglotta, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), p. i
  2. ^ Formula of Concord, Epitome, Rule and Norm, 1 (Bente, op. cit., 777)
  3. ^ Robert Kolb et al., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 481-485.
  4. ^ F. Bente writes in his Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, §1: "Book of Concord, or Concordia, is the title of the Lutheran corpus doctrinae, i.e., of the symbols recognized and published under that name by the Lutheran Church" (F. Bente, ed. and trans., Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 3). The German Wikipedia article [1] states: "In diesem Sinne kann es auch als Kanon oder Corpus doctrinae der lutherischen Kirche bezeichnet werden": "In this sense it can also be described as the canon or corpus doctrinæ of the Lutheran Church." The Kolb-Wengert edition of the Book of Concord states: "The authors of the Formula of Concord responded to objections from followers of Melanchthon who treasured the Corpus doctrinae Philippicum, and therefore they did not use the term corpus doctrinae when they prepared the Formula for publication with the ancient creeds of the church, the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, and Luther’s Smalcald Articles and Catechisms after the completion of the Formula in 1577" (Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds. and trans., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000, p. 2).
  5. ^ Theodore G. Tappert, trans and ed. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959), 503-506; Kolb, op cit., 526-529
  6. ^ Tappert, op. cit., 3, note 1
  7. ^ ibidem, 17; Kolb, op. cit., 19.
  8. ^ Tappert, op. cit., 3, ftn. 1.
  9. ^ Tappert, op. cit., 465.
  10. ^ Robert Kolb and Charles P. Arand, The Genius of Luther's Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 16.
  11. ^ ibidem, 8, note 9; 97-98; 287ff.; 319; 465; 504-505.
  12. ^ See the The Book of Concord, edited by Kolb and Wengert (2000) and the second edition of Concordia: The Lutheran Confesions (2006).
  13. ^ Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), 402 sub loco.
  14. ^ F. Bente, Historical Introduction to the Lutheran Confessions, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House: 1921, pp. 3, 23, 24, 46, 247; Edmund Schlink, Theology of the Lutheran Confessions, Paul F. Koehneke and Herbert J. A. Bouman, trans., (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1961; reprint, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004), xvii–xviii.
  15. ^ ibid., p. 3 words in square brackets added for clarity.
  16. ^ C. F. W. Walther, Why Should Our Pastors, Teachers and Professors Subscribe Unconditionally to the Symbolical Writings of Our Church
  17. ^ Kirkkolaki (1054/1993). 1:1–2 §. Retrieved 10-11-2007. (Finnish)
  18. ^ Kirkkojärjestys (1055/1993). 1:1 §. Retrieved 10-11-2007. (Finnish)

Bibliography

  • Bente, Friedrich. Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1921). New reprint edition. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995. ISBN 0-570-03262-8.
  • Fagerberg, Holsten. A New Look at the Lutheran Confessions (1529–1537). Translated by Gene Lund. Paperback Edition. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1988. ISBN 0-570-04499-5.
  • Forell, George W. The Augsburg Confession: A Contemporary Commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1968. LOC 68-25798.
  • Formula of Concord, The: Quadricentennial Essays. The Sixteenth Century Journal 8 (1977) no. 4. ISSN 0361-0160.
  • Grane, Lief. The Augsburg Confession: A Commentary. Translated by John H. Rasmussen. Minneapolis, Augsburg Publishing House, 1986. ISBN 0-8066-2252-0.
  • Kolb, Robert and Charles P. Arand. The Genius of Luther's Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8010-3180-9.
  • Kolb, Robert and James A. Nestingen, eds. Sources and Contexts of The Book of Concord. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8006-3290-7.
  • Preus, Jacob A.O. The Second Martin: The Life and Theology of Martin Chemnitz. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • Preus, Robert D. and Wilbert H. Rosin, eds. A Contemporary Look at the Formula of Concord. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1978. ISBN 0-570-03271-7.
  • Preus, Robert D. Getting Into the Theology of Concord. Reprint. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • Preus, Robert D. Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism: Volume I. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1972. ISBN 0-570-04545-2.
  • Reu, Johann Michael. The Augsburg Confession. Reprint. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995.
  • Schlink, Edmund. Theology of the Lutheran Confessions. Translated by P. Koehneke and H. Bouman. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1961. Reprint, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004.
  • Schmauk, Theodore. The Confessional Principle and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church. Translated by C. Theodore Benze. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, Reprint 2005.
  • The Sixteenth Century Journal 11 (June 25, 1980) no. 3: 450th Anniversary Augsburg Confession. ISSN 0361-0160.
  • Wengert, Timothy J. A Formula for Parish Practice: Using the Formula of Concord in Congregations. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2006. ISBN 0-8028-3026-9.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOOK OF CONCORD (Liber Concordiae), the collective documents of the Lutheran confession, consisting of the Confessio Augustana, the Apologia Confessionis Augustanae, the Articula Smalcaldici, the Catechismi Major et Minor and the Formula Concordiae. This last was a formula issued on the 25th of June 1580 (the jubilee of the Augsburg Confession) by the Lutheran Church in an attempt to heal the breach which, since the death of Luther, had been widening between the extreme Lutherans and the Crypto-Calvinists. Previous attempts at concord had been made at the request of different rulers, especially by Jacob Andrea with his Swabian Concordia in 1573, and Abel Scherdinger with the Maulbronn Formula in 1575. In 1576 the elector of Saxony called a conference of theologians at Torgau to discuss these two efforts and from them produce a third. The Book of Torgau was evolved, circulated and criticized; a new committee, prominent on which was Martin Chemnitz, sitting at Bergen near Magdeburg, considered the criticisms and finally drew up the Formula Concordiae. It consists of (a) the "Epitome," (b) the "Solid Repetition and Declaration," each part comprising twelve articles; and was accepted by Saxony, Wurttemberg, Baden among other states, but rejected by Hesse, Nassau and Holstein. Even the free cities were divided, Hamburg and Lubeck for, Bremen and Frankfort against. Hungary and Sweden accepted it, and so finally did Denmark, where at first it was rejected, and its publication made a crime punishable by death. In spite of this very limited reception the Formula Concordiae has always been reckoned with the five other documents as of confessional authority.

See P. Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, i. 258-340, iii. 92-180.


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