A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series May 1, 2011 - Easter 2: Quasimodo Geniti
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, John 20:19-31 for the Easter 2: Quasimodo Geniti, May 1, 2011.
It is from Smalcald Articles, Part III, Article VIII.1-6.
In order to provide the certainty and comfort of the forgiveness of sins to troubled souls, admonition toward repentance for willful and public sinners, and to protect against the false spirits of personal revelation and self appointed prophets, our Lord instituted the Office of the Keys and entrusted it to the called ministers of His church.
1 Absolution, or the Power of the Keys, is an aid against sin and a consolation for a bad conscience; it is ordained by Christ in the Gospel [Matthew 16:19]. Therefore, Confession and Absolution should by no means be abolished in the Church. This is especially for the sake of timid consciences and untrained young people, so they may be examined and instructed in Christian doctrine. 2 But the listing of sins should be free to everyone, as to what a person wishes to list or not to list. . . . Since private Absolution originates in the Office of the Keys, it should not be despised, but greatly and highly esteemed, along with all other offices of the Christian Church. 3 In issues relating to the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one except through or with the preceding outward Word [Galatians 3:2, 5]. This protects us from the enthusiasts (i.e., souls who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word). They judge Scripture or the spoken Word and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, . . . Many still do this today, wanting to be sharp judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet they do not know what they are saying [2 Corinthians 3:6]. 4 . . . 5 All this is the old devil and old serpent [Revelation 12:9], who also turned Adam and Eve into enthusiasts. He led them away from God's outward Word to spiritualizing and self-pride [Genesis 3:2-5]. And yet, he did this through other outward words. 6 In the same way, our enthusiasts today condemn the outward Word. Yet they themselves are not silent. They fill the world with their babbling and writings, as if the Spirit could not come through the apostles' writings and spoken Word, but has to come through their writings and words. Why don't they leave out their own sermons and writings and let the Spirit Himself come to people without their writings before them, as they boast that He has come into them without the preaching of the Scriptures? . . .
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