The Lutheran Confessions

The Book of Concord is the formalized confession of Scriptural teaching that orthodox Lutheran churches subscribe to. The Book of Concord is also known as the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church or the Lutheran Confessions of Faith. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Book of Concord.

The Book of Concord contains:

  1. The Ecumenical Creeds. These are ancient statements of belief of the Christian Church. Each creed is a summary of orthodox Christian doctrine based on Biblical interpretation clarified and resolved by the Patristic Fathers:

    1. The Apostles’ Creed

    2. The Nicene Creed

    3. The Athanasian Creed

  2. The Unaltered Augsburg Confession. In 1530, the Lutherans were required to present their confession of faith before the emperor in Augsburg, Germany. Philip Melanchthon wrote the Augsburg Confession and it was read before the imperial court on June 30, 1530.

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  3. Apology of the Augsburg Confession. In 1531, the Lutherans presented their defense of the Augsburg Confession, which is what "apology" here means. It too was written by Philip Melanchthon. The largest document in the Book of Concord, its longest chapter, is devoted to the most important truth of the Christian faith: the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

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  4. Small Catechism & Large Catechism. Martin Luther realized early on how desperately ignorant the laity and clergy of his day were when it came to even the most basic truths of the Christian faith. Around 1530, he produced two small handbooks to help pastors and the heads of families teach the faith. The Small Catechism and the Large Catechism are organized around six topics: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar. So universally accepted were these magnificent doctrinal summaries by Luther, that they were included as part of the Book of Concord

    1. Read more – Small Catechism

    2. Read more – Large Catechism

  5. Smalcald Articles and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. In 1537, Martin Luther was asked to prepare a statement of Lutheran belief for use at a church council, if it was called. Luther's bold and vigorous confession of faith was later incorporated into the Book of Concord. It was presented to a group of Lutheran rulers meeting in the town of Smalcald. Philip Melanchthon was asked to expand on the subject of the Roman pope and did so in his treatise, which also was included in the Book of Concord.

    1. Read more – Smalcald Articles

    2. Read more – Power & Primacy of the Pope

  6. Formula of Concord. After Luther's death in 1546, significant controversies broke out in the Lutheran Church. After much debate and struggle, the Formula of Concord in 1577 put an end to these doctrinal controversies and the Lutheran Church was able to move ahead united in what it believed, taught and confessed. In 1580, all the confessional writings mentioned here were gathered into a single volume, the Book of Concord. Concord is a word that means, "harmony." The Formula of Concord was summarized in a version known as the "Epitome" of the Formula of Concord. This document too is included in the Book of Concord.

    1. Read more – Formula of Concord

    2. Read more – Epitome