The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XV, paragraph 51

OK, OK! I’ll post it now!

While I was at synod convention, I was happily able to maintain my daily readings in the Lutheran Confessions by using the pocket edition of the new Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. I made a note to myself that I should post this paragraph from the Apology, because of its relevance to our growing synodical discussion about liturgy and “contemporary worship.”

Sitting at my desktop computer at home, I just consulted my lists of things to do, and found that note. Below it, I found a note to check out, though I don’t remember who mentioned it at convention. Always looking for the easier task, I fired up the web browser and typed in the address. What I saw there was part 6 of a series of blog posts excerpted from an essay by one of my more profoundly influential college professors, Daniel Deutschlander. The essay is on “The Western Rite,” which, for the uninitated, is the collection of liturgies customarily used by our churches.

I couldn’t resist. I meant to wait until I could print it out and read it on paper, but I started reading the full PDF version of that paper. What a weak fool I am. But at the bottom of the first page was a quotation from the Lutheran Confessions, which Deutschlander urges upon those who might like to chuck the Western Rite in favor of something of their own devising. Have you guessed it? Yes, it’s the Apology, Article XV, paragraph 51.

So having been amused by that long-winded introduction (that’s me, not necessarily you), I’ll urge you all the more to consider these words carefully. They are a part of what every Lutheran, by virtue of claiming that name, confesses to be true. Here’s the way it’s written in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions.

Still, we teach that freedom should be so controlled that the inexperienced may not be offended and, because of freedom’s abuse [Romans 14: 13-23], may not become more opposed to the true doctrine of the Gospel. Nothing in customary rites should be changed without a reasonable cause. So to nurture unity, old customs that can be kept without sin or great inconvenience should be kept. 52 In this very assembly we have shown well enough that for love’s sake we do not refuse to keep adiaphora with others, even though they may be burdensome. We have judged that such public unity, which could indeed be produced without offending consciences, should be preferred.

It’s admittedly subjective to judge what is a “great inconvenience.” If you have anything to write on the matter, please do so.

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