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Well, first of all, that assumes there’s something distinctively Lutheran in the first place. Is it sauerkraut, Jello-salads, or casseroles? No, of course not. Is it a particular way of talking or worshiping, singing or celebrating? What does it mean to be Lutheran?
For this we’re best off looking at what makes us Lutheran: our Lutheran Confessions in the Book of Concord. A series of documents were compiled in 1580 including the three ancient Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian), as well as Luther’s Catechisms, and various Confessions ranging from 1530-1577, all under the title Concordia.

Concordia comes from two Latin words meaning “with” and “heart.” That is, these confessions are made with unity of heart because they accord with the truth of God’s word. In the preface to Concordia these confessors say:

“In this work of concord, we have not at all wished to create something new or to depart from the truth of the heavenly doctrine, which our ancestors (renowned for their piety) as well as we ourselves, have acknowledged and professed…But, the Spirit of the Lord aiding us, we intend to persevere constantly, with the greatest harmony, in this godly agreement.” (Preface, 23)

To be Lutheran, then—and to uphold the Lutheran confessions, Concordia—is to say nothing new: no new doctrine, no new practice, no new customs or ceremonies. “We have mentioned only those things we thought it was necessary to talk about so that it would be understood that in doctrine and ceremonies we have received nothing contrary to Scripture or the Church universal.” (Augsburg Confession, Conclusion, 5)

This presents a bit of a problem: if the Lutheran Confessions make us Lutheran; and the Lutheran Confessions claim to say and do nothing new; what does it mean to be Lutheran, then?

Again, our Confessions give us our answer, ordering our faith under the word:
We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and norm according to which all teachings, together with all teachers, should be evaluated and judged (2 Timothy 3:15-17) are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testament alone.”
​(Formula of Concord, Epitome, Summary, 1)
To be Lutheran is to have the Scriptures alone as “judge, rule, and norm;” and to have the writings of the Fathers, the Reformers, and Saints of all times and places as testimonies to and declarations of the faith given in the Scriptures.

Our belief, teaching, and confession at Concordia Academy will follow this lead. The Scriptures are our
“only true standard and norm by which all teachers and doctrines are to be judged” (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Summary, 2). After the Scriptures—and judged by them—are the Creeds and Confessions of the early Church and Concordia. Then come the testimonies of various Councils and theologians, including the Lutheran Confessors and even today’s theologians. What we teach, preach, and confess at Concordia Academy is nothing new. Our students will learn that “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) is defended and confessed in all times and all places and finds a great heritage of confessors throughout the history of the Church. We seek to uphold that history and tradition all because it accords with the Word of God. So it goes also for our worship—which we’ll discuss in the next article.

Find out more about these Lutheran Confessions, Concordia, by getting yourself a copy here. You’ll also find loads of helpful information about the Book of Concord, its texts and history, at www.bookofconcord.org.

So what is Lutheran about Classical Lutheran Education? It’s first and foremost being rightly ordered under the Word.

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