Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
I might as well tackle all seventeen of the Schwabach Articles, while I’m at it. It’s a good review of Christian theology.
Schwabach Articles, 1529
The First Article
That it is firmly and unanimously held and taught that there is only one true God, Creator of heaven and earth, and that in the one, true, divine Being, there are three distinct Persons, namely, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit; that the Son, begotten of the Father from eternity to eternity, is properly and naturally God together with the Father; and that the Holy Spirit, who exists both from the Father and the Son, is also properly and naturally God from eternity to eternity, together with the Father and the Son, as all of this may be clearly and powerfully demonstrated by the Holy Scripture, as in John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; all things are made through Him, and without Him nothing is made nor was made, etc. And in the last chapter of Matthew: Go, teach all heathens and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and other similar sayings, especially in the Gospel of St. John.
That only the Son of God has become true man, born of the pure Virgin Mary, complete with body and soul; and that neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit has become man, as thepatripassiani heretics taught. Also, that the Son did not take on the body only, without the soul, as the Photinians taught, for He Himself speaks quite often in the Gospel about His soul, as when He says: My soul is distressed to the point of death, etc. But John states clearly in the first chapter that God’s Son has become man, saying: And the Word became flesh, and Gal. 3: When the time was fulfilled, God sent His Son, born of a woman, made under the law.
That the same Son of God, true God and Man, Jesus Christ, is a single, undivided Person, who suffered for us men, was crucified, died, was buried, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, is sitting at the right hand of God, is Lord over all creatures, etc. Therefore, that no one should believe or teach that Jesus Christ as man—in other words, His humanity—has suffered for us, but rather in this way: since God and man are not two persons here, but is one undivided Person, one should hold and teach that God and man—in other words, the Son of God—has truly suffered for us, as Paul says in Rom. 8:God did not spare His only Son, but gave Him up for us all. 1 Cor. 2: If they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, and other similar sayings.
That original sin is a true sin, not merely a failing or a defect, but the kind of sin that condemns all men who come from Adam and separates them eternally from God—if Jesus Christ had not stood in for us and taken such sin upon Himself, together with all the sins that flow from it; and made satisfaction for it through His suffering; and in this way entirely abolished it and eradicated it in Himself, as is clearly written about such sin in Psalm 50 and Rom. 5.
Here is my translation (from German) of the Fifth Article of the Schwabach Articles (1529), prepared by Luther and other theologians. Much of this material was incorporated into Melanchthon’s Augsburg Confession (1530).
In case there was any doubt, faith alone justifies.
The Schwabach Articles, 1529
Since, then, all men are sinners, subject to sin and death, and also the devil, it is impossible for a man to work himself out of this condition by his powers or through his good works so that he may again become righteous and godly. Indeed, he can neither prepare himself for righteousness nor move himself toward it, but the more he attempts to work himself out of his condition, the worse it becomes with him. This, however, is the only path to righteousness and to redemption from sin and death: if, without any merit or works, a person believes in the Son of God who suffered for us, etc., as stated. Such faith is our righteousness; God wishes to reckon and regard it as righteous, godly and holy, forgive all sins and have eternal life given as a gift to all who have such faith in His Son, that, for the sake of His Son, they should be received into grace and be children in His kingdom, etc., as St. Paul and John lavishly teach all this in their Gospel, as in Romans chapter 10: With the heart one believes and so becomes righteous, etc. Rom. 4: His faith was reckoned to him as righteousness. John 3: …that all who believe in the Son should not be lost, but have eternal life.
That such faith is not a human work, nor is it possible by our powers. Rather, it is a work of God and a gift that the Holy Spirit, given through Christ, works in us. And such faith—since it is not a mere illusion or shadow of the heart (like false believers have), but rather a powerful, new, living being—produces much fruit. It always does good toward God—with praise, thanks, prayers, preaching and teaching; and toward the neighbor—with love, service, help, counsel, giving and suffering all kinds of evil, even unto death.
In order that we may attain such faith, that is, in order that God may give it to us men, He has instituted the office of preaching, that is, the spoken Word, namely, the Gospel, through which He causes such faith—and its power, benefit and fruit—to be proclaimed. And through it, as through means, He also gives faith, together with His Holy Spirit, how and where He wishes. Besides this, there is no other means or manner, way or path to obtain faith. For thoughts that are apart from or before the spoken Word are vain lies and error, no matter how holy and good they appear.
Together and combined with this spoken Word, God has also instituted outward signs, namely, Baptism and the Eucharist, through which, combined with the Word, God also cultivates faith and gives His Spirit and strengthens all who long for Him.
That Baptism, the first sign or Sacrament, consists in two parts, namely, water and the Word of God; that is, one baptizes with water and speaks God’s Word. And it is not just plain water—not a simple shower, as those who blaspheme baptism now teach. Rather, since God’s Word accompanies it and since it is founded upon God’s Word, it is a holy, living, powerful thing, and, as Paul says in Titus 3 and Eph. 5, it is a washing of rebirth and renewal of the Spirit, etc. And that this Baptism is to be applied and administered also to the little children. Now, the Word of God upon which Baptism stands is this: Go and baptize in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (the last chapter of Matthew); and whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, there one must believe, etc.
The Eucharist, or the Sacrament of the Altar, also consists in two parts, namely, that the true body and blood of Christ are truly present in the bread and wine, as the Word of Christ declares: This is my body; this is my blood; and not only bread and wine, as the opposing party pretends. These words require and also produce faith, and also exercise it in all those who desire this Sacrament and do not resist it, just as Baptism also produces and gives faith, if one desires it.
That private confession should not be forced on anyone with laws, as little as Baptism, the Sacrament and the Gospel should be forced on anyone. Rather, it should be free, especially when one realizes how very comforting and salutary, beneficial and good it is for the troubled or erring consciences, since in it, the Absolution, which is God’s Word and judgment, is spoken, through which the conscience becomes free and at peace from its worries. Also, that it is not necessary to enumerate every sin; but one may mention those that disturb and gnaw at the heart.
That beyond all doubt there is and will remain on earth one holy Christian Church until the end of the world, as Christ says in the last chapter of Matthew: Behold, I am with you until the end of the world. This Church is nothing other than the believers in Christ, who believe and teach the aforementioned Articles and are persecuted and martyred for it in the world. For where the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are rightly used, there is the holy Christian Church; and it is not bound with laws or outward splendor to place or time, to person or ceremony.
That our Lord Jesus Christ will come on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead: to redeem His believers from all evil and bring them to eternal life; and to punish the unbelieving and ungodly, and, together with the devil, condemn them to hell eternally.
That, until the Lord comes for judgment and puts an end to all power and authority, the earthly rule and authority must be held in honor and obeyed as an estate ordained by God to protect the godly and to curb the wicked. And that a Christian, if he is rightly called to it, may well preside over or serve in such an estate without shame or danger to his faith and salvation.
From all this it follows that the doctrine that forbids marriage and, in general, meat and food to the priests and the spiritual, together with every kind of monastic living and vow—since grace and salvation are sought and thought to come through these things and they are not left free—is condemned as vanity and as a doctrine of demons, as St. Paul calls it in Timothy chapter 4, given that Christ alone is the only way to grace and salvation.
That above all horrors, the Mass, which up until now has been held as a sacrifice or a work with which one person wants to gain grace for another, must be set aside, and instead of this kind of Mass, a godly order must be held in order that the holy Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ in both kinds might be administered to each one for the benefit of his faith and according to his own need.
That the ceremonies of the Church that conflict with God’s Word should also be set aside. The others, however, should be left free, to be used or not, as love dictates, so that no one may lightly give offense without reason, or disturb the common peace without need.