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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Church part 16

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Acts 2:32-36

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church 

Perhaps our adversaries require that the Church be defined as the supreme outward monarchy of the whole world, in which the Roman pontiff must have unquestioned power which no one is permitted to dispute or censure. He may frame articles of faith, abolish the Scriptures according to his pleasure, appoint rites of worship and sacrifices, decree such laws as he may wish, and dispense and exempt from whatever laws he may wish—divine, canonical, or civil. The emperor and all kings receive from him the power and right to hold their kingdoms, according to the command of Christ since the Father has subjected all things to him. It must be understood that this right has been transferred to the pope. Therefore the pope must be lord of the whole world, of all the kingdoms of the world, and of all things private and public. He must have absolute power in temporal and spiritual things—of both swords, the spiritual and temporal. Besides, this definition, not of the Church of Christ, but of the papal kingdom, has as its authors not only the canonists, but also Daniel (Dan 11:36-39).

Pulling It Together

The prophet Daniel represented the Antichrist along similar lines as this sarcastic paragraph from the Confessions. There is no ruler of rulers but Christ. The Lord has not transferred his power and authority to any other. He still sits at the right hand of the Father. He who emptied himself (Phil 2:7) is exalted above all others. The one who took the form of a servant, rules over all. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev 19:16). There is no other power in the political or religious realms that is so high and lifted up—though they may pretend to be as powerful. Jesus is still and will always be both Lord and Christ, as he has not yielded the authority that the Father has given to him alone.

Prayer: I bow to you, O Christ, for you alone are the Lord. Amen.

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