The Augsburg Confession: An Introduction and Exposition by Matthias Loy

“Sincere believers of the truth revealed in Christ for man’s salvation have no reason to be ashamed of Luther, whom God sent to bring again to His people the precious truth in Jesus and whose heroic contention for the faith once delivered to the saints led to the establishment of the Church of the Augsburg Confession, now generally called the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

“The object had in view in the preparation of the book was not to make a contribution to theological science, but rather to serve the people by helping them to understand the faith and character of the Evangelical Lutheran Church… The whole purpose of the book is practical. It steadily pursues the aim of helping our Lutheran people to a better appreciation of their Church and its precious heritage, and to a firmer stand and a more zealous labor to maintain them and make others partake of the blessings of the Reformation…” — Matthias Loy.

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate: Some subject matter knowledge helpful.

Book Contents

  • Preface.
  • Part I. Introduction To The Augsburg Confession.
    • 1 Historical Survey.
    • 2 The Confessing Church
    • 3 The Fundamental Principles
    • 4 Confessional Authority
    • 5 Relation To Our Other Confessions
    • 6 The Condemnations
    • 7 The Banner Of The Church
    • 8 Loyalty To The Banner
      • 1 We Must Have Faith
      • 2 Faith Works By Love
      • 3 Faith Manifests Privately and Publicly
      • 4 Faith Stands With Other Christians
      • 5 Faith Joins Churches into Synods
      • 6 Salvation Is Only In Christ’s Kingdom
  • Part II. Exposition
    • Introduction
    • Article I. Of God.
    • Article II. Of Original Sin.
      • 1 Sin Is Universal.
      • 2 Our Confession Sets Forth The Nature Of This Sin.
      • 3 This Appetite Is Really Sin
      • 4 The Consequence Is Eternal Condemnation and Damnation For All Who Are Not Born Again
      • 5 Current Errors
    • Article III. Of The Son Of God And Of The Holy Spirit.
      • 1 The Lord’s Person According To The Scriptures
      • 2 The Reconciliation And Sacrifice For All Actual Sins of Men
      • 3 The Application by The Holy Spirit
    • Article IV. Of Justification.
    • 1 Sinners Are Justified
    • 2 The Scriptural Ground of Justification By Faith
      • 1 That Man Needs Justification Was Not A Subject Of Contention In The Battles Of The Reformation
      • 2 Our Confessors “Teach That Man Cannot Be Justified Before God By Their Own Powers, Merits, Or Works”
      • 3 Our Churches Teach That While “Men Cannot Be Justified Before God By Their Own Powers, Merits, Or Works,” They “Are Justified Freely, For Christ’s Sake, Through Faith”
    • 3 Justification Is By Faith
      • 1 It Is Needful, First Of All, To Understand What Is Meant By The Word Faith, Or Believing
      • 2 Some Believe That Faith Fulfills All God’s Requirements
      • 3 The Faith Which Embraces Christ Is The Gift of God
      • 4 The Faith Which The Holy Ghost Works In Our Hearts Is The Only Means Whereby The Righteousness Acquired For Us By The Vicarious Work And Suffering Of Our Savior Can Be Appropriated.
      • 5 The Faith Which The Holy Spirit Works By The Gospel And Which Appropriates The Righteousness Of Christ Presented In The Gospel, Is A Living Power In The Realm Of Grace
    • Article V. Of The Ministry Of The Church
      • 1 God Has Instituted Means of Grace To Execute His Saving Purpose On Earth
      • 2 These Means Of Grace Are The Word Of God And The Holy Sacraments
      • 3 The Holy Spirit Works The Faith Which Embraces Salvation in Christ Through Means
      • 4 The Answer To Those Who Believe The Holy Spirit Is Given Apart From The Word
    • Article VI. Of New Obedience.
      • 1 Of Course Good Works Ought To Be Done
        • God’s Commandments Are The Test of Good Works
        • Faith Brings Forth The Good Fruits Required
      • 2 Doing Good Works Is God’s Will
      • 3 Salvation By Faith Not Works Is The Teaching Of Scripture and Of The Church From The Beginning
    • Article VII. Of The Church
      • 1 The Product of Human Reason
      • 2 Restoration Occurs Here On Earth
      • 3 Why “In Which The Gospel Is Rightly Taught and The Sacraments Rightly Administered” Was Added
      • 4 Right Understanding of The Test
      • 5 True Unity Depends On The Doctrine of the Gospel And Administration Of The Sacraments
      • 6 The “One Holy Church Is To Continue Forever”
    • Article VIII. What The Church Is.
    • Article IX. Of Baptism
      • 1 Baptism Is Necessary To Salvation.
      • 2 “Children are to be baptized, who by Baptism, being offered to God, are received into God’s favor.”
      • 3 Our churches therefore rightly “condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the Baptism of children, and affirm that children are saved without Baptism.”
    • Article X. Of The Lord’s Supper.
      • I. The True Body and Blood
        • 1 Communicated and Received
        • 2 “Truly Present”
        • 3 “Under the Form”
        • 4 “Communicated”
      • II. Proofs of the Doctrine
      • III. Those Who Teach Otherwise
    • Article XI. Of Confession.
      • I. Absolution must be retained in the churches.
        • 1 Those To Whom Absolution Is Distasteful
        • 2 The Heavenly Consolations of the Gospel
      • II. Pastoral Care
        • 1 Confession and Absolution Prior to Lord’s Supper Predates the Papacy
        • 2 The Lutheran Church Did Not Reject The Ancient Usage
    • Article XII. Of Repentance.
      • 1 The Right of Absolution to Fallen Christians Who Repent
      • 2 What is Embraced in True Repentance
        • 1 The Soul’s Awareness of Sin
        • 2 Contrition is Not Atonement
        • 3 The Proper Fruits of Repentance
        • 4 The Errors Which Faithful Christians Must Condemn
    • Article XIII. Of The Use Of The Sacraments.
      • I. The Nature and Design of the Sacraments.
        • 1 Not Only Marks of Profession
        • 2 Their Higher Purpose
      • II. The Necessity of Believing The Gospel
      • III. Not The Work Done
    • Article XIV. Of The Ecclesiastical Office.
    • Article XV. Of Ecclesiastical Rites.
      • I. External Rites are Unavoidable
        • 1 Distinguishing Between Divine and Human Rites and Ceremonies
        • 2 Distinctions in Human Ordinances
      • II. Adminitions In This Article
        • 1 Liberty and Love
    • Article XVI. Of Civil Affairs.
      • I. Civil Government Is A Divine Institution.
        • 1 Human Equality and Individual Liberty
        • 2 Civil Government is a Divine Institution
        • 3 Scriptures Do Not Prescribe The Form of Government
        • 4 An Ordinance of God
        • 5 Subjection “not absolute”
        • 6 Sometimes Christians Must Refuse
      • II. More Regarding Civil Affairs
        • 1 False Notions of Holiness
        • 2 The Affairs of Life in General
    • Article XVII. Of Christ’s Return To Judgment.
      • I. The Consummation is Not Yet
        • 1 The Lord Will Come Again
        • 2 The Object of His Coming
        • 3 The Resurrection of the Dead
        • 4 The Full Enjoyment of Eternal Life
        • 5 Eternal Torments For The Ungodly
      • II. Two Specific Errors Condemned
        • 1 Anabaptists
        • 2 The Chialists [Millenialists]
    • Article XVIII. Of Free Will.
      • I. Civil Righteousness
        • 1 Man’s Essential Atttributes
        • 2 The Will Is Still Free
        • 3 Man’s Freedom To Act Limited
      • II. The Righteousness of God
        • 1 Spiritual Righteousness
        • 2 Inability of Man to Attain Spiritual Righteousness
        • 3 Free Will Cannot Work The Righteousness of God by Faith
      • III. Pelagianism Condemned
        • 1 The Pelagian Spirit
        • 2 The Obligation To Condemn Error
    • Article XIX. Of The Cause Of Sin.
      • I. God Is Not The Cause of Sin.
        • 1 God creates all nature.
        • 2 He who made all things preserves them all.
        • 3 Sin Is Never The Will of the Holy One.
      • II. Sin’s Cause Is The Will of the Wicked.
        • 1 Will Enables An Intelligent Creature To Fall Into Sin.
        • 2 The Sinning Creature Turned Away from The Creator.
        • 3 How Did Wicked Persons Enter Into The World?
        • 4 How Could Man Created In The Image of God in Righteousness and True Holiness Choose to Disobey?
    • Article XX. Of Good Works.
      • II. Justification by Faith Alone Cannot Be Abandoned.
        • 1 The One and Only Way of Salvation.
        • 2 Salvation by Faith is the Fulfillment of the Law.
    • Article XXI. Of The Worship Of Saints.
      • I. Proper Honors To The Saints
      • II. No Invocation To Saints
      • II. Articles In Which Are Recounted The Abuses Corrected.
    • Article XXII. Of Both Kinds In The Lord’s Supper.
    • Article XXIII. Of The Marriage Of Priests.
    • Article XXIV. Of The Mass.
    • Article XXV. Of Confession.
    • Article XXVI. Of The Distinction Of Meats.
    • Article XXVII. Of Monastic Vows.
    • Article XXVIII. Of Ecclesiastical Power.

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Publication Information

  • Lutheran Library edition first published: 2020
  • Copyright: CC BY 4.0
Matthias Loy
Matthias Loy
(1828-1915)

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