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Monday, November 10, 2008 

What Is A Confessional Lutheran?


What is a confessional Lutheran?” That’s the question that was asked of me in a private email last week. Until I get back up on email I thought I’d give the readers a shot at this question. It should be noted that the question came from someone not terribly familiar with Lutherans.

I would argue that there are a good many folks who say that they are confessional but what they mean varies a great deal from the historic context of the phrase.

So, what is a confessional Lutheran and what does that mean?

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Well, literally it means someone who believes that the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord are an accurate and faithful summary and explanation of Biblical doctrine.

But I think in general usage it has a bit more narrow meaning. One example that comes to mind is that those who call themselves "Confessional" Lutherans tend to be Lutherans who are unashamedly, unapologetically Lutheran. That's different, I think, than Lutherans who are kind of embarrassed by things like closed communion and a baptism that actually "does something" and who wish we wouldn't make such a big deal over those things that separate us from other church bodies.

But the way I look at it, if I didn't think Lutheran theology was the best thing since, well, the Reformation, why would I stay Lutheran? I wouldn't. I'd go shopping. But I DO think Lutheran theology is the best & most accurate expression of what the Bible teaches. So here I am.

You asked Frank. Here goes:

What Is a Confessional Lutheran?

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who believes the Creeds and articles of faith contained in the Book of Concord, because they accurately reflect the doctrine contained in the Scriptures.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who believes in the inerrancy, inspiration, sufficiency, and efficacy of Scripture, believing it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who stands on the mighty solas of the reformation.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who confesses those same beliefs by sharing them with others and teaching them to their family.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who believes that our Confession is worth defending, because it is Christ’s honor that is at stake.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who renounces secret and shameful ways, avoiding deception and distortion of God’s Word, instead setting forth the truth plainly for all to see.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who proclaims God’s saving message through their vocation, both in what they say and in what the do.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who is willing to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching, even at the cost of being called “unloving,” when our Confession is ignored or distorted.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who recognizes that God’s strength is manifested in weakness, and that suffering is often the calling of a Christian.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who is always watching from the wall, constantly vigilant for those who cause divisions and create obstacles that are contrary to the teaching we have learned.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who stands on our Confession, renouncing theologies of glory that would follow the ways of the world in such things as women’s ordination, open Communion, and the like.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who rejoices because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who recognizes that they serve God when they serve their neighbor.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who is daily baptized into Christ’s death, so that also being baptized into Christ’s resurrection he might be forgiven, walking in newness of life for Christ’s sake.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who demolishes arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who Confesses.

In short:

A Confessional Lutheran is someone who loves his church and the Confession on which it has, through the centuries, taken its stand, and he looks forward to the day in which all Christians will be united with one voice under Christ’s banner at the banquet feast on high.

A confessional Lutheran is a perso nwho subscribes, not insofar as but because they wholly agree with the teachings of Scripture, to the Lutheran Confessions, and who believes, teaches, and confesses accordingly.

A confessional Lutheran may
be and believe many other things. But he or she must to that- and absolutely nothing more or less.

Bob has the definition right, it is also often true that the life lived in accord with the Lutheran Confessions (which is in accord with the Holy Scriptures)reflects what Scott describes.

I find though, that my actions do not always match my confession - may God help me. My Lord Jesus Christ though, always does grant His gifts, in accord with the Christian (Lutheran) Confessions.

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  • From The Haut South
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