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From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Part III, Article XII. Concerning the Church.
We do not concede to them that they are the Church, for they are not. Nor will we listen to what they command or forbid under the name of Church. Thank God that a seven-year-old child knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. Children pray, “I believe in one holy Christian Church.” This holiness does not entail albs, tonsures, long gowns, and other ceremonies devised by them beyond Holy Scripture, but consists in the Word of God and true faith.
Pulling It Together
The Church is the communion of saints, that blessed fellowship of those who believe in and are faithful to Jesus Christ. Her holiness is not a sanctity or purity of her own, that depends upon and results from acts of devotion and ceremonies. The righteousness of Christ’s Church is the outcome of faith in God’s Word, namely that God gives the Church the good gifts of his Spirit, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and everlasting life.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, keep me in true faith, through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. The Leader's Guide that accompanies this study is a resource for those facilitating group discussion, or may serve as a reader's commentary for those who are studying the Book of Concord on their own.