100 Years of Deaconesses

Today, September 17, 2019, we celebrate 100 years and one month of deaconesses in the LCMS:

The roots of the office of deaconess go back to the first two verses of Romans 16, when Paul commends to the saints at Rome “our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae…for she has been a patron of many and of myself.”

Some 1,800 years after Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, Lutheran deaconesses in Germany were bringing aid to widows, orphans, and the sick and disadvantaged in response to the hardships that arose from the industrial revolution. These trained church workers particularly cared for women in distress, serving in girls’ schools, hospitals, homes for the mentally ill, and in training schools for teachers and deaconesses. Today, deaconesses function in much the same roles: as nurses, social workers, and parish assistants to pastors in a congregation.

However, when the LCMS came into being in Chicago in 1847, though the new Synod was well aware of the work of deaconesses from reports back in Germany, they were wary of doctrinal issues and cautious about beginning a training program on new soil. Some had accused (not always wrongly) deaconesses of being a copy of the Roman Catholic nuns, while others feared that training female diaconate would bring unbiblical ideas and practices into the Church.

For decades, the LCMS essentially left the issue alone. Each congregation cared for the needs of their own flocks, though as populations and need grew they began banding together into welfare societies and institutes that served wider geographic areas. In 1904, the Associated Lutheran Charities brought together every synodical agency involved in charity work and convened for their first convention. By 1908, a couple of pastors in the association noted that other Christian denominations used trained deaconesses to great advantage, and began the conversation of how to secure trained deaconesses for the Lutheran church. The suggested answer: “Why not begin the training of deaconesses for our work?”

Synod was not immediately enthusiastic. Though they recognized the gifts and talents of women in mercy work, officially recognizing a female diaconate and training deaconesses for service remained controversial because of the history of doctrinal issues associated with the role. In 1911, Rev. Herzberger, the first urban missionary installed in Missouri (and one of the pastors in the 1908 conversation), addressed Synod at Convention, hoping for their blessing on the creation of a Deaconess Home. He said (in part):

“We emphasize that this be a Lutheran Deaconess home. The representatives and supporters of this Lutheran Deaconess Home do not want it to be from the unbiblical Deaconess existence such as found in the days among the “schwaermer” schismatic and pseudo Lutherans who would have nothing more than a Protestant nunnery…

“What motivated the representatives of this conference to plan such a Deaconess Home is not because of business or to look for something new, but because of a crying need of the many places that desire such Deaconess ministry. Our Lutheran hospitals and boarding schools especially desire them. How greatly feminine care makes itself felt. Often it is difficult to obtain such a woman leader (head nurse) or Director in our Institutions.”

Synod didn’t reject the idea of the home, but neither did they give it their blessing. The committee that responded to the matter recommended that Synod not take the existence of the Deaconess matter into their own hands though a synodical committee should oversee and safeguard any such program from “getting out of hand.” The committee also requested “that Synod promise this establishment in the Lutheran—that is Biblical spirit—from the beginning and while in operation. Since Deaconesses, especially in our times, would find a blessed circle of activities in the hospital, in city missions as care givers for the sick and the poor in our congregations, in our mission to the heathen, being recognized as care givers they could bear witness to the Gospel in the course of their service of mercy.”

Four months later, Rev. Herzberger expounded on the scriptural and historical basis of a confessional Lutheran diaconate. Only notes from the presentation, written down by a pastor in attendance (the Rev. Herman Bernard Kohlmeier), remain. Seven alphabetized points summarized Rev. Herzberger’s main arguments, three of which were:

A. There is only one divinely instituted office, the holy ministry. All other offices are auxiliary offices, and may be established, changed, abrogated by the church as she deems best for her welfare.

B. The office of the female diaconate is such an office. It flourished in the early Christian church, lost its character, however, and disappeared under popery, and has been re-established in some parts of Christendom in our time.

E. It is not implied that deaconesses are a special spiritual order in the church, nor serving in the ministry. Scripture bars women from the office of the ministry but they can exercise the right and obligations of the priesthood of believers. Therefore deaconesses give instruction, admonition, comfort of Scriptures as the situation requires.

The presentation kept the discussion alive in Lutheran circles for the next eight years, while Rev. Herzberger (and others with the Associated Lutheran Charities) wrote letters to the presidents of districts and Synods affiliated with the Synodical Conference. These men began to express their support for a deaconess training school. In 1918/19, Rev. Herzberger wrote a tract on “Woman’s Work in the Church,” expanding on these points:

“So we learn direct from Scripture [earlier in the tract he referenced Romans 16:1 and 2 as well as the saintly widows in 1 Tim. 5:9 and 10] that it was customary for the congregations in times of the Apostles to employ women workers! They were servants of the particular congregation in which they labored and were under the jurisdiction of the local congregation and assistants of the pastor or bishop. It is of the highest importance to remember that fact that the female diaconate is an auxiliary office of the Holy Ministry…there is but ONE divinely created office in the Church viz. the office of the Holy Ministry. The pastor is exclusively THE teacher, THE shepherd and overseer of his congregation and will have to give an account to God for his stewardship. (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:1-3; Hebrews 13:17). Because of that fact all other offices in the Church are but human ordinances. They can and ought to be created as exigency and the welfare of the local congregations demands. But they must all have their root in the divinely appointed Ministry and stand in vital relation to it…

“The Apostle Peter tells us emphatically, I Peter 3:7: “that Christian women are heirs together with the men of the grace of life” and hence, they belong to that “chosen generation and royal priesthood” of which he speaks in his second chapter, “who are to show forth the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.” On account of their SPIRITUAL PRIESTHOOD women have the same call to labor in the Church of Christ that Christian men have. There is but one limitation—imposed by the Lord of the harvest Himself—they are not to preach the Gospel in public worship [I Cor. 14:34-35 and I Timothy 2:11-14)…

“Our sorrow grows greater when we think of the many opportunities we miss for winning souls for Christ because of our NEGLECT in training and supporting gifted and pious women in our midst for missionary and charitable work. The World War may be over, but the sad conditions it has created in all ranks of society are not over! If ever the Church of Christ was called upon to bend every effort for the saving and uplifting of redeemed souls that time is NOW!”

Diaconal service grows from the mercy so richly poured out on undeserving sinners. “Mercy is central to who God is, as evidenced in the Father’s compassionate giving of His Son, in Christ’s bearing of our sins, and His sacrificial work on the cross for us, and in the faith-creating and sustaining work of the Spirit,” Associate Director of the Deaconess Formation Programs at CTSFW, Deaconess Amy Rast, would write nearly a hundred years later. “Mercy is a way of life for God’s people, as they respond to His mercy in faith toward Him and in love toward one another. Therefore, mercy is central to the life of a deaconess as she attends to physical needs, shares God’s Word, teaches the faith, encourages believers in the Christian life, consoles the suffering, confronts the sinning, and tells the Good News of salvation. CTSFW Deaconesses teach, reach, and care—and that is a life of mercy.”

Years of writing letters, giving presentations, and persistently teaching the Biblical basis of the role of women in the Church and their work as members of the royal priesthood met with success. One hundred years and one month ago, on August 17, 1919, the Lutheran Deaconess Association was formed at a meeting held at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne. Diaconal training in the LCMS had begun.


Today’s history lessons was summarized with quotes ransacked (save for the quote from Deaconess Rast) from the first chapter of “In the Footsteps of Phoebe” by Cheryl D. Naumann (CPH, 2009).

The Seminary Guild and Disruptions in the LCMS

Rev. Fundum leads devotion.

The 2019/2020 academic year marks the 174th year of our existence, but it owns another significant milestone: it is the 80th anniversary year of the Seminary Guild. Yesterday was the first monthly meeting of the academic year for the women who work so tirelessly to support our students. Formed in 1939 in response to rising food and board costs, their support has been ongoing for 80 years.

Rev. Jim Fundum, admission counselor at CTSFW and spiritual advisor to the Guild, opened the meeting with a devotion, using Scripture passages that reference 80 years. Moses came up (he was 80 when God called to him from the burning bush) as did Barzillai from 2 Samuel 19 (verse 32, “Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old,” began the reading, but Rev. Fundum had to stop at this point in the verse as the Seminary Guild women in their 80s had a good laugh over the description). He finished with Psalm 90:10: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”

But Psalm 90 does not end there. Verse 12: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” and at the last, in verse 17: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

“That’s why you’re here, serving the Guild,” Rev. Fundum said. “He establishes the work of the Seminary Guild’s hands.”

President of the Guild, Phyllis Thieme, sits in the foreground of this shot as they study God’s Word.

Dr. Lawrence Rast Jr., President of CTSFW, served as yesterday’s keynote speaker. A historian first and foremost, Dr. Rast spoke of the Guild in the context of church history, particularly that of the Lutherans in America, focusing around the three major “disruptions” that rocked the Synod’s history. These are times when all seems to be in flux. “We as a church body, as a seminary, as congregations, find ourselves in situations that are unique,” Dr. Rast explained. “We experience things we have never experienced before, that threaten to derail our work.”

These disruptions are a reality of the fact that we are a member of the church militant. “’Their span is but toil and trouble,’” Dr. Rast quoted, calling back to Psalm 90.

Yet through those disruptions, through the toil and trouble, next academic year CTSFW will celebrate 175 years of existence, grown from a class of 11 students in October of 1846. The following year, our entire church body will celebrate another 175th anniversary: that of the LCMS. “That really is something,” Dr. Rast said. “One hundred and seventy-five years. God continues to bless us.”

Lutheranism in North America officially set foot on the continent 400 years ago this month. A few days into September of 1619, Lutheran Danes attempting to find a route to China got stuck in Hudson Bay. Realizing that winter would soon set in, on September 7 they decided to make camp at what is now Churchill, Manitoba; an area famous (though unknown to the 66 sailors onboard their ship at the time) for polar bears. Their Lutheran pastor, Rasmus Jensen, held the first Lutheran services on the continent. Of the 66, three men survived the winter (Rev. Jensen not among them), most dead of scurvy or lead poisoning. The survivors returned to Denmark.

Nearly 250 years later, the LCMS formed on April 26, 1847, in Chicago. At the time, there were dozens of Lutheran synods. So why begin another?

When the LCMS started in 1847 as Die Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio und andern Staaten, the “Deutsche” (“German”) was inclusive, not exclusive. Germany didn’t exist and wouldn’t until 1871. German speakers hailed from across Europe, from many smaller states and regions that fall under entirely different countries now. The first-generation of Dr. Rast’s family in America spoke German and are listed in the US census as either Prussians or Russians. Though that particular geographic area is now in the middle of Poland, the family remains emphatic: “NEVER Poland,” Dr. Rast insisted, laughing.

In 1847, including all German speakers was an important part of the church’s outreach strategy. Into the early part of the 20th century, Lutherans were the most ethnically diverse denomination in America. It wasn’t just the Saxon church or the Prussian church; it was the church for all German speakers. The language was central to the Lutheran church’s identity.

However, by 1917, that became a liability: WWI had begun. The “German” in “German Lutheran” was suddenly dangerous. For example, Dr. Rast’s vicarage church, Immanuel Lutheran in Terre Haute, Indiana, originally had a school. But in 1918, the school was forcibly closed when the town grabbed the school’s only teacher and threatened to tar and feather him for, as they claimed, “Teaching the children to be German spies.” He escaped tarring and feathering, but was driven from town. Immanuel Lutheran hasn’t had a school since. In Nebraska, new state laws demanded that the German Lutherans stop teaching in German. The Lutheran church fought the law on legal grounds, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court. They won. “And then stopped using German a couple of years later,” Dr. Rast finished with a laugh.

Dr. Rast asked the women of the Seminary Guild to imagine how the transition, pressed on them by outside forces out of their control, must have felt to the founders and first generation. Their children were bilingual, many of whom favored English over their parent’s native tongue, but for that first generation of immigrants, German was their heart language.

By 1938, the LCMS had officially stopped using German as the Synod’s official language. “It was almost a non-event,” Dr. Rast said. In 1917, Die Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio und andern Staaten dropped “Deutsche” from their name and thought that would be enough. It was not. In 1921, they officially adopted the English translation: “The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States.” Seventeen years later, at the 1938 Synod Convention in St. Louis, a delegate got up and suggested they no longer keep minutes in German.

Another delegate seconded, and that was it. “In 20 years,” Dr. Rast pointed out, “they went from a German Church to an American Church.”

The Seminary Guild came into existence in 1939, less than a year after Synod officially dropped German from their minutes and during CTSFW’s Springfield days. The Fort Wayne Seminary had already moved twice at that point, first to St. Louis in 1861 to study alongside their sister seminary (reputedly to keep their students from being drafted into the union army, “But I suspect that was just a smokescreen,” Dr. Rast added as an aside. “The frugal Germans wanted to save money. Two seminaries, one faculty.”), then to Springfield in 1875. Between the two seminaries they had run out of room and Concordia Theological Seminary decided to move to Milwaukee.

It was a practical choice: the area was filled with Lutherans and Lutheran churches, which offered plenty of fieldwork opportunities for their students. However, at almost the last moment they received an unbelievable deal in Springfield instead. The city had only one Lutheran church, but the campus and grounds were basically given to Synod. The frugal Germans were pleased. They taught seminarians in Springfield for 100 years, until Concordia Theological Seminary moved back to Fort Wayne in 1976.

Dr. Rast points out the Seminary Guild sign, recently discovered in the archives of the Seminary–meaning, he explained with a laugh, that it had likely been found and dug out of a closet.

The year that the Seminary Guild formed in 1939, the Wizard of Oz had premiered in Hollywood (asbestos served as the snow in the poppy field scene), the Girls Scouts sold Thin Mints for the first time (then known as Cooky Mints), and on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland; Britain and France would declare war a couple of days later. The longest-serving president of the Synod had recently begun his first term in 1935 (he would remain in office until 1962), just as WWII would bring a second wave of anti-German sentiment to America.

Known as one-eyed Jack (an accident with a baseball had robbed him of an eye when he was a child), the Rev. Dr. John Behnken was the first truly bilingual president. He was American-born and preferred English. Dr. Rast’s connection with Dr. Behnken is even more personal: One-eyed Jack (then serving as a District President) introduced his grandfather to his grandmother. Dr. Behnken asked two sisters to sing a duet at the young Rev. Rast’s ordination service, then gave this sage advice to the new graduate: “Choose one.”

He chose Edith. Then, twenty years later, the former district president found a place for one of their sons at Concordia River Forest. The young music teacher met a Chicago undergraduate. “My mother,” Dr. Rast explained. “I owe Dr. Behnken my life, not just once but twice.”

With these stories always come the “What if?” What if he’d missed the train? What if he’d worked somewhere else? What if Dr. Behnken hadn’t asked two sisters to sing a duet? “You all have stories like these,” Dr. Rast said to the women of the Seminary Guild. “Stories end up fitting together, working together. The Lord has put all these pieces together.” He has done so in the small, personal matters; He has done so through the disruptions that have shaken the LCMS throughout her history; He has done so on the cross, where justice and mercy at last met one dark Friday afternoon.

Dr. Rast’s concluding point: 80 years is something to celebrate, as is the ongoing impact of the Seminary Guild to the Seminary’s mission. “It’s huge!” he declared. The Seminary Guild serves in “small” ways. They provide snacks for the students during finals week, birthday cookies for the single students, homemade t-shirts and booties for the newborns, furniture projects in student services, a book project for the new students during fieldwork assignments, and the annual donation day to support the work of the Food & Clothing Co-op. “We can’t qualify [these tasks] from this side of heaven,” Dr. Rast said. Only when we step back—and perhaps only when we finally step back into eternity—will we see how the puzzle pieces all fit together, according to God’s good will and purpose and promises.

Members of the Guild register for the first meeting of the year. Deaconess Amy Rast (in black), Dr. Rast’s wife, greets the ladies.

From 1932-1962, the LCMS doubled in size from one to two million. This is not the trend we see today; we too are living through significant disruption as the world howls in hostility at the inerrant Word of God. “We remember the really good days, always,” Dr. Rast said. But the reality is that the golden years were probably not as golden as we imagine. “Don’t pine for a past that probably never was.”

Instead, we are simply called to be faithful. And so we pray Psalm 90, the only psalm attributed to Moses, a man of God whose life began, in many ways, at 80:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.

You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger;
by your wrath we are dismayed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?

So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!

Commemoration: Presentation of the Augsburg Confession

Today is the Commemoration of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. Below is a copy of Dr. Benjamin Mayes’ sermon from chapel this morning, which focused on the confession, laying out the history of its presentation on June 25, 1530:


“Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

Dearly beloved: Today’s text is a warning. It is possible to be deceived, and you must take care that this does not happen. If you are deceived about our holy faith, if you go astray with regard to God, you are being “taken captive.” In that case you would no longer belong to God, you would belong to someone else. You would be a mental captive of man or of the devil.

It’s a warning. It’s possible to be deceived. We do not agree with the once-saved-always-saved doctrine. Salvation is not as easy as making a decision for Jesus to come into your heart. Grace is not cheap, it is costly. It cost the Lord Jesus His blood, and once you belong to Him through Baptism and faith, it may cost you your life.

It often comes with a burden—the holy cross. People who belong to the Lord Jesus, what happens to them? The Holy Spirit comes to them, raises them from their spiritual death, and begins to make them really alive. But at the same time He conforms them to the Lord Jesus, and in this life, our Lord’s path was marked by the cross and suffering. It was also marked by the devil’s temptations. And that is what happens to us, who belong to the Lord Jesus.

It is not an easy life. There will be temptation, attempts at deception by the devil and other people. If they deceive you about our holy faith, you will be taken captive. Therefore take to heart St. Paul’s warning: “Beware lest anyone take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

In this same passage, Paul shows there are two categories of empty, deceitful philosophy: according to the tradition of men, and according to the basic principles of the world. The first is through superstition; the second is through secular thinking.

What Paul means by “philosophy” is not exactly the same as everything that’s called “philosophy” today. At its best, philosophy is clear, rational thinking about the created world, at a high level—and that is a gift of God. The problem is when this clear, rational thinking wants to make judgments on the will of God, and that happens when it takes something else as a source of truth that is higher than God’s revelation. And again, the two basic categories are “tradition of men” and “basic principles of the world,” that is, human inventions and secular, scientific thinking when it’s misapplied.

Thanks be to God, we have an excellent statement of the doctrine that is “according to Christ” in the Augsburg Confession, which was written 489 years ago, in the year of our Lord 1530. If you are a student at our Seminary, you will study this confession in detail. It sets forth everything of which today’s reading speaks in abundant detail: perseverance in true doctrine and faith, discernment about which traditions must be kept and which must be rejected, the person of Christ, Baptism, Christian perfection, the bondage of the will in conversion to God, the holy Law of God, and the atonement—in which it was not our works, but Christ who reconciled the Father to us, and who was our propitiation, by His obedience to the Law and His innocent death, and that we receive all His benefits through faith alone. All of those themes are prominent in the Augsburg Confession.

The presentation of the Augsburg Confession in 1530 is a remarkable story of steadfast faith under pressure to conform to the popular errors of the day. When Emperor Charles V, the mightiest man in Europe, summoned the Lutherans to the congress that would take place in Augsburg, the tone was peaceful. It seemed that the Lutheran confession of faith would be given a fair hearing. Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, and Elector John the Steadfast were naively overjoyed.

But that joy was quickly shattered when Melanchthon reached Augsburg. A book by John Eck was being read by everyone, accusing Lutherans of every heresy imaginable, and the book had been commissioned by the Emperor’s brother Ferdinand. It showed Melanchthon and the Evangelical side that there would be no peace. The Word of God would not be given free course. The Evangelicals would be branded as heretics. The memory of John Hus burning at the stake for his true teaching a century before was in their minds.

The important thing would be to unify as many Evangelicals in a common Lutheran confession and to get this read before the Emperor, since that was like reading a bill in congress. Once it was read to the Emperor, it was in the public record and debate could ensue—debate that could go favorably, or at least could last for a while. The Lutheran confession would in that case have some legal protection for a time.

The emperor and his retinue arrived in Augsburg on June 15, 1530. Immediately he requested that Elector John command that all Evangelical, Gospel-centered preaching must cease. The meeting of the Emperor with Elector John and the other princes was immediately a time of civil jostling. When the pope’s ambassador saw the Emperor greeting the princes, he raised his hands to give a benediction. The Emperor with all the Catholics knelt to receive the blessing from the pope’s ambassador. Elector John and the other Protestant princes remained standing in defiance. Then, in the Augsburg cathedral, the Emperor again knelt in prayer, while the Elector and his ally Landgrave Philipp of Hesse remained standing.

That night, at the Emperor’s quarters, he again made his demands to the Protestant princes. First, there must be no Evangelical preaching. Second, the Protestant princes must join in the Corpus Christi parade the next day, following the consecrated bread of the Lord’s Supper in a display case through the streets of the city, showing by their action that they approved.

Tired though the princes were, they refused to comply. The Margrave of Brandenburg said, “We plead with his Imperial Majesty not to remain in this demand since we preach God’s pure Word as did Augustin, Hilary and other teachers of the past; of this his Imperial Majesty may convince himself. We cannot live without the Word of God nor deny the gospel with a good conscience.”

Landgrave Phillip of Hesse said, “Imperial Majesty’s conscience is not lord and master over our conscience.”

Then the Margrave of Brandenburg said, “Before I let any one take from me the Word of God and ask me to deny my God I will kneel and let them strike off my head.”

In response to this bold resistance, the Emperor gave them until the next morning to reconsider. That night, the Wittenberg theologians worked on a written response. It read, “The Sacrament was not instituted to be worshiped like the brazen serpent of the Jews. We are here to confess the truth and not to confirm abuses.” Despite all pressures, the Lutheran princes stood firm and refused to comply. The Emperor ended up walking in the procession with only about a hundred citizens. This shows the courage of these leading laymen.

In the next few days, the Emperor attempted to prevent the Augsburg Confession from being read and thus entered into the legal record, but the political maneuvering of the Lutheran princes tied his hands. Finally, the confession was read on June 25, 1530, at 3:00 in the afternoon. It was read in a small assembly hall, to avoid the presence of a large crowd. Only about 200 people could fit in the room. The Saxon chancellors Georg Brück and Christian Beyer stepped forward, one with the German confession, the other with the Latin. Beyer read the German version aloud, a feat which took about two hours.

This date, June 25th, marks the real birth of the Lutheran Church as a distinct confession from Roman and Reformed churches. It is the real Reformation Day. There is a lot more that happened. There’s no time now to tell about how the Confession was rejected and how war impended over Germany for the next half a year. Only in 1531, when the Emperor had his hands full with the Turks in southeast Europe, and the military strength of the Lutherans had grown, could fears of invasion be turned into rejoicing and thanksgiving to God.

Our fathers in the faith remained steadfast and did not conform to peer pressure and the popular errors of their day. As a result, we have this glorious, golden statement of faith, which helps us to remain faithful to Christ even now in our day.

Dearly beloved, the pressures to conform to the philosophy and vain deceit of the world are strong, and the battle to maintain the right faith in our hearts and congregations is serious. But the weapons of our warfare are here for you, and with them you are safe. Therefore study, learn, pray, and grow. These things are here for you. May God root you and build you up in Christ our Lord and establish you in the faith, just as you were taught. To Christ be all the glory! Amen.


Dr. Mayes is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology here at CTSFW. Quotes were pulled from “Corpus Reformatorum” 2:106, 114, 115, quoted in M. Reu, “The Augsburg Confession: A Collection of Sources with An Historical Introduction” (Chicago: Wartburg, 1930).

Protestant Museum of Upper Austria (Rutzenmoos): Presentation of the Augsburg Confession – Engraving in a bible from Nuremberg (1736); photograph of image uploaded to wikimedia by Wolfgang Sauber.