Augsburg Confession – Article 6 – New Obedience

Articles 6, 7 & 8 of the Augsburg Confession in the Book of Concord of 1580

(To read Article 5, click here.)

We also teach that such faith ought to produce good fruits and good works, and that a person must do good works, of every kind that God has commanded, for the sake of God. People should not put their confidence in such works, however, as if they merited grace before God by doing them. For we receive forgiveness of sins and righteousness through faith in Christ, as Christ himself says, “When you have done all this, you should say, ‘We are incapable servants.’”1 The Fathers also teach this. For Ambrose says, “This is what God has resolved: Whoever believes in Christ is saved, and he has forgiveness of sins not by works but through faith alone, apart from merit.”2

(To continue to Article 7, click here.)

Notes

1 Luke 17:10

2 Ambrose (c. 340-397) is best known for some of his hymns and for being the spiritual father of Augustine of Hippo. However, Melanchthon’s citation is not actually from Ambrose, but from Ambrosiaster, a name that basically means “wannabe Ambrose.” This name was given many years after the fact to a contemporary of Ambrose who wrote a commentary on St. Paul’s epistles between 366 and 384. For many years this commentary was falsely attributed to Ambrose. So Melanchthon’s quote does prove his point that the Church Fathers also taught this doctrine (the original Latin quote Melanchthon is citing can be found in col. 185 [at 1 Corinthians 1:4] here), but the fact that he is wrong in attributing it to Ambrose also helps us to understand what confessional Lutherans mean and what they do not mean when they say that they subscribe unconditionally to the Augsburg Confession. We are subscribing to all of the points that it makes pertaining to the Bible’s doctrine. We are not saying that the document is verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, or that all its citations are accurate, or that it always cites the correct scriptural proof passages, or that all its illustrations contain factual information. (For example, in the Formula of Concord, another of the Lutheran Confessions, the writer says that smearing a magnet with garlic juice hinders its magnetic power, in order to illustrate a biblical point. We are subscribing to the biblical point he is making there, but we are not subscribing to his assertion about garlic juice and magnets.) In short, we subscribe to all of the points of doctrine (because all of them agree with the clear teaching of Scripture), but not to the accessory details used to support it.

Strieter Autobiography: Subscribing for the Book

If you are interested in owning a hard copy of Strieter’s autobiography, please read on. (If you do not yet know anything about the autobiography, please read Part 1 here.)

The most recent installment of Strieter’s autobiography, that is, the last part of the chapter “Hardships and Happenings,” will be the last installment from that work that appears on this blog. The remaining chapters are:

  • “Battle with the Fanatics” – his encounters with the Methodists and Albright Brethren during his Wisconsin years
  • “My Departure from the Injunland”
  • “Aurora” – his time in Aurora, Illinois
  • “Snippet on Squaw Grove and Pierceville”
  • “Peru” – his time in Peru, Indiana (today St. John’s, Peru)
  • “Proviso” – his time in Proviso, Illinois (today Immanuel, Hillside)
  • “The Saloon and Ball” – his battle against drinking and dancing in Proviso
  • “The Lodge” – his battle against lodge membership
  • “Pleasant Experiences” – the stand-out joys that God gave him throughout his ministry, including his marriage, and also his retirement from the ministry
  • “Addendum”

At this point, the plan is to publish the autobiography as a hardcover book when finished, even to self-publish if necessary. If self-publishing is necessary, complimentary volumes would be given to anyone who has been helpful in this process, most notably the Concordia Historical Institute, the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Library, and a select group of Pastor Strieter’s descendants. I would ask any other descendant of Pastor Strieter for a donation simply matching the per-volume cost of publication. And to anyone else interested, I would ask for a donation marginally exceeding the per-volume cost (the goal being to make up for the complimentary volumes and ultimately to break even). (If a professional publisher accepts the manuscript, then I would only see to it that the complimentary volumes were distributed.)

If self-published, the format and size of the book would tentatively be something akin to a David McCullough hardcover, minus the dust jacket – with a small, elegant, professional emblem on the cover (silhouette of a profile of a bearded man with horse and buggy), two or three groups of pages with pictures related to the content inserted at intervals (thus no picture will be by itself in the body of the text), and a section of endnotes at the end of each chapter (as opposed to footnotes on each page) so that they don’t distract the reader who simply wishes to enjoy the autobiography by itself. Regardless of how it is published, I will also see to the provision of an index of names, places, concepts, events, etc. including modern-day churches descended from or related to the congregations Strieter mentions.

I am hereby asking all interested parties – whether individuals, societies, or organizations – to provide me with their name(s), address(es), and the number of copies desired. You can email me at:

redbrickparsonage@gmail.com

I will compile these names in a subscription spreadsheet so that I have a good idea of how many copies to have printed.

The other benefit of an advance subscriber spreadsheet is that, if the number of subscribers adds up sufficiently, I may be able to use that spreadsheet to persuade a publisher to accept the manuscript and take over publishing responsibilities. While this might affect format, size, and layout, it would definitely make my life easier and most likely result in broader distribution.

Thank you for your interest in Strieter’s autobiography, and I look forward to hearing from you!