An apology of sorts

When you issue an apology, you are supposed to be sorry for something that you have done. But when Lutherans issued an Apology in September 1530, they were not repenting. Instead, they were confessing the pure truths of the Bible.

Emperor Charles V had asked Lutherans and Roman Catholics to settle their differences so that they could unite against the threat of Muslim armies in Europe. In June, 1530, in the city of Augsburg, the Lutherans had presented their Confession of faith from the Bible. It has become known as the Augsburg Confession.

In response, the Roman Catholics had thrown together a Confutation. It was such a hasty process that they could not provide a document to the Lutherans. It was a response of very uneven quality. Much of it was contradictory to the Bible.

The Lutherans were shocked when the Emperor declared the Confutation to be his confession, something that the Lutherans should embrace. Realizing that they needed further explanations from the Bible, they prepared their document and used the technical term “Apology” (a writing in justification of religious doctrine) as its title.

When they presented it to the Emperor in late September, he refused to accept it, breaking off the negotiations between the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics. 

Here is an example of what he would not accept: “We obtain the forgiveness of sins only by faith in Christ, not through love, nor on account of love or works, although love follows faith. Therefore we are justified by faith alone” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, paragraph 77).

God bless the faithful Lutherans who will not apologize for presenting the truths of Scripture in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession.

By Rev. Paul Prange