The Lutheran's Confession
Helping Lutherans Reclaim Their Witness
The Judge and The Witnesses:
Lutherans are sometimes questioned by other Christians who are offended by the fact that we study, quote, and even commit ourselves to writings such as Luther's Small and Large Catechisms, the Augsburg Confession, and the Formula of Concord. They claim that we are elevating the writings of men to a place of honor that should be held only by God's Word.
In response to this very valid concern, we must first commend our brothers and sisters in Christ who recognize that the Bible is in fact God's inspired word and infallible.
We agree. “We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and guiding principle according to which all teachings and teachers are to be evaluated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testament alone...” (Formula of Concord, Summary Epitome, paragraph 1)
In other words, we agree that the Bible is God's Word. It is the ultimate and only judge over everything else that has ever been spoken or written (this authority reaches far beyond the confessional writings of a church and even includes the words of a parent to a child or a political leader to the people that have elected him, or a friend trying to provide comfort to another friend). God's Word is the standard by which every expressed thought is judged good or evil.
But we also recognize that this judge (The Bible) has many good and accurate witnesses. Many Christians have given witness to the truth of God's Word and their witness can be a source of strength for God's people as well as a necessary rebuke and warning for the erring or unbelieving.
We do not put our confidence in the wisdom or literature of men. Instead, we give thanks to God who has revealed his will and his plan of salvation through the Holy Scriptures. We also thank God without a moment’s hesitation for faithful witnesses whose dedication to speaking the truth in love have guarded the faith of believers and searched out the lost for 2000 years.