Ekklesia – A Confessing Church
Ekklesia – A Confessing Church
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(Adapted from the Barmen Declaration, 1934 AND The Preface to Martin Luther’s Large Catechism, 1529)
Jesus Christ, as he is attested to us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God whom we have to hear, and whom we have to trust and obey in life and in death.“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved.” John 10:1,9
As Jesus Christ is God’s comforting pronouncement of the forgiveness of all our sins, so, with equal seriousness, he is also God’s vigorous announcement of his claim upon our whole life. Through him there comes to us joyful liberation from the godless ties of this world for free, grateful service to his creatures.
We reject the false doctrine that there could be areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ but to other lords, areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him.“Jesus Christ has been made wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption for us by God.” 1 Cor. 1:30
The Christian Church is the community of brethren in which, in Word and Sacrament, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ acts in the present as Lord. With both its faith and its obedience, with both its message and its order, it has to testify in the midst of the sinful world, as the Church of pardoned sinners, that it belongs to him alone and lives and may live by his comfort and under his direction alone, in expectation of his appearing.
We reject the false doctrine that the Church could have permission to hand over the form of its message and of its order to whatever it itself might wish or to the vicissitudes of the prevailing ideological and political convictions of the day.“Let us, however, speak the truth in love, and in every respect grow into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body is joined together.” Eph. 4:15-16
The Church’s commission, which is the foundation of its freedom, consists in this: in Christ’s stead, and so in the service of his own Word and work, to deliver all people, through preaching and sacrament, the message of the free grace of God.
We reject the false doctrine that with human vainglory the Church could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of self-chosen desires, purposes and plans.“See, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20 “God’s Word is not fettered.” 2 Tim. 2:9
That the Ten Commandments, The Chief Articles of Our Faith, and The Prayer Which Christ Taught are the most necessary parts of Our Christian Faith.THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. 2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain [for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain]. 3. Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day. [Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.] 4. Thou shalt honor thy father and mother [that thou mayest live long upon the earth]. 5. Thou shalt not kill. 6. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 7. Thou shalt not steal. 8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle [ox, nor his ass], nor anything that is his THE CHIEF ARTICLES OF OUR FAITH. 1. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. 2. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 3. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. THE PRAYER, OR “OUR FATHER,” WHICH CHRIST TAUGHT Our Father who art in heaven. 1. Hallowed be Thy name. 2. Thy kingdom come. 3. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 4. Give us this day our daily bread. 5. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. 6. And lead us not into temptation. 7. But deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.] Amen.