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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

27 August 2005

Confessional Theology

Q: What is “confessional theology”? I need to know for a religion course I’m taking.

A: First of all, to be “confessional” means to believe and speak in a way in which the Christian Church has formally agreed and published in written statements of belief. At one time, most all of Christendom was “confessional” in that it confessed the Nicene Creed (although East and West argued about whether or not the Holy Ghost proceeded from Father or from Father and Son). Theology is, of course, “words about God,” so confessional theology is talking about God by using agreed-upon statements of belief.

Among Lutherans, our first Confession is the Bible. More specifically, it is the Gospel &mdash the message of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. The Augsburg Confession is then the most widely held doctrinal statement of Lutherans worldwide. Other Confessions included in the Book of Concord of 1580 are the Large and Small Catechisms, the Apology (Defense) of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord (both the Epitome and the Solid Declaration).

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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