The Eastern Church in the Lutheran Confessions

An Anthology

(Confessional quotations are from The Book of Concord, translated and edited by Theodore G. Tappert [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959].)

...the pope will not permit Christians to be saved except by his own power, which amounts to nothing since it is neither established nor commanded by God. This is actually what St. Paul calls exalting oneself over and against God [cf. II Thess. 2:4]. Neither the Turks nor the Tartars, great as is their enmity against Christians, do this; those who desire to do so they allow to believe in Christ, and they receive bodily tribute and obedience from Christians. However, the pope will not permit such faith but asserts that one must be obedient to him in order to be saved. This we are unwilling to do even if we have to die for it in God’s name. (Smalcald Articles II, IV:10-12, p. 300) is not possible for one bishop to be the overseer of all the churches in the world or for churches situated in remote places to seek ordination from him alone. It is evident that the kingdom of Christ is scattered over all the earth and that there are many churches in the East today which do not seek ordination or confirmation from the bishop of Rome. Consequently, inasmuch as such superiority is impossible and the churches in the greater part of the world never recognized or acted in accordance with it, it is quite apparent that it was not instituted. (Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, 16, pp. 322-23) is manifest that the holy church was without a pope for more than five hundred years at the least and that the churches of the Greeks and of many other nationalities have never been under the pope and are not at the present time. (Smalcald Articles II, IV:4, p. 299)

...we confess our belief that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present and are truly offered with those things that are seen, the bread and the wine, to those who receive the sacrament. ... We know that not only the Roman Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but that the Greek Church has taken and still takes this position. Evidence for this is in their canon of the Mass, in which the priest clearly prays that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. ...we defend the doctrine received in the whole church -- that in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present and are truly offered with those things that are seen, bread and wine. (Apology of the Augsburg Confession X:1-2,4, pp. 179-80)

There can be no doubt that the use of both kinds in the Lord’s Supper is godly and in accord with the institution of Christ and the words of Paul. ... Paul says (I Cor. 11:23,24) that he had received from the Lord what he was delivering, but the text clearly shows that this was the use of both kinds. “Do this,” Christ says first about the body; later he says the same about the cup. Later on he says, “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” ... It is evident, therefore, that the entire sacrament was instituted for the whole church. In the Greek churches this practice still remains... (Apology XXII:1,3-4, p. 236)

There is nothing contrary to the church catholic in our having only the public or common Mass. Even today, Greek parishes have no private Masses but only one public Mass, and this only on Sundays and festivals. The monasteries have public, though daily, Mass. These are remnants of ancient practice... (Apology XXIV:6, p. 250)

...the Mass...can be called an offering, as it is called a eucharist, because prayers, thanksgivings, and the whole worship are offered there. ... The Greek canon also says much about an offering; but it clearly shows that it is not talking about the body and blood of the Lord in particular, but about the whole service, about the prayers and thanksgivings. This is what it says: “And make us worthy to come to offer Thee entreaties and supplications and bloodless sacrifices for all the people.” Properly understood, this is not offensive. It prays that we might be made worthy to offer prayers and supplications and bloodless sacrifices for the people. It calls even prayers “bloodless sacrifices.” So it says a little later: “We offer Thee this reasonable and bloodless service.” It is a misinterpretation to translate this as “reasonable victim” and apply it to the body of Christ itself. For the canon is talking about the whole service; and by “reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1) Paul meant the service of the mind, fear, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, and the like... (Apology XXIV:87-88, p. 265)

The Greek canon does not apply the offering as a satisfaction for the dead because it applies it equally to all the blessed patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. Therefore it seems that the Greeks offer it only as a thanksgiving and do not apply it as a satisfaction for penalties. But they speak not only of offering the body and blood of the Lord, but about the other parts of the Mass, namely, prayers and thanksgivings. For after the consecration they pray that it may benefit the communicants; they do not talk about others. Then they add, “Yet we offer Thee this reasonable service for those who have departed in faith, forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets,” etc. And “reasonable service” does not mean the host itself but the prayers and everything that goes on there. (Apology XXIV:93, p. 267)

Compiled and Edited by David Jay Webber

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