A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series September 30, 2012 - St. Michael & All Angels [transferred from Sept. 29]
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Matthew 18:1-11 for the St. Michael & All Angels [transferred from Sept. 29], September 30, 2012.
It is from The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, ARTICLE XXI (IX):.
The saints and angels are gifts of God to His Church to be honored with thanksgiving for their example of living in faith that strengthens our faith, and in the case of angels, guard, protect, and pray for us.
ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS [TRANSFERRED FROM SEPT. 29]
THE APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION
OF THE INVOCATION OF SAINTS
4] Our Confession approves honoring the saints in three ways. The first is thanksgiving. We should thank God because He has shown examples of mercy, because He wishes to save people, and because He has given teachers and other gifts to the Church. These gifts, since they are the greatest, should be amplified. The saints themselves, who have faithfully used these gifts, should be praised just as Christ praises faithful business-men (Matthew 25:21, 23). 5] The second service is the strengthening of our faith. When we see Peter's denial forgiven, we also are encouraged to believe all the more that grace truly superabounds over sin (Romans 5:20). 6] The third honor is the imitation, first, of faith, then of the other virtues. Everyone should imitate the saints according to his calling. 7] The adversaries do not require these true honors. They argue only about invocation, which, even if it were not dangerous, still is not necessary.
8] Besides, we also grant that the angels pray for us. For there is a passage in Zechariah 1"12, where an angel prays, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no mercy on Jerusalem?" 9] We admit that, just as the saints (when alive) pray for the Church universal in general, so in heaven they pray for the Church in general. However, no passage about the praying of the dead exists in the Scriptures, except the dream taken from the Second Book of Maccabees (15:14).
10] Furthermore, even if the saints do pray for the Church, that does not mean they should be invoked. Our Confession affirms only this: Scripture does not teach the invocation of the saints, or that we are to ask the saints for aid. Since neither a command nor a promise nor an example can be produced from the Scriptures about the invocation of saints, it makes sense that conscience remains uncertain about this invocation. Since prayer should be made from faith, how do we know that God approves this invocation? Without the testimony of Scripture, how do we know that the saints know about the prayers of each one? 11] Some plainly ascribe divinity to the saints, namely, that they discern the silent thoughts of our minds..… Since the invocation of saints does not have a testimony from God's Word, it cannot be affirmed that the saints understand our invocation or, even if they understand it, that God approves it.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen