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The presentation of the Augsburg Confession was a decisive moment, one long in coming. It is important to understand the history leading up to the Imperial Meeting at Augsburg [on June 25, 1530]. Nine years earlier, on April 18, 1521, at the Imperial Meeting in Worms, Charles V had listened as Martin Luther refused to recant his teachings, saying, “I cannot and will not recant. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. God help me. Amen.” Now Charles was watching as the most important rules in his German territories confessed their faith openly and courageously in spite of the threats to their lives from both the government and the Church.

The Augsburg Confession was intentionally crafted to present a gentle and peaceful response to the emperor. It was intended only to speak for Saxony. However, as various German leaders read it they indicated that they, too, wanted to sign their names and make it their Confession.

So on June 25, 1530, courageous Lutheran laymen confessed their faith and told the emperor and the Roman Church what they believed, taught, and confessed. They relied on the promise of God’s Word, as contained in Psalm 119:46, “I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame.” The Augsburg Confession was presented as a statement of biblical truth and a proposal for true unity in the Christian faith. It has never been withdrawn.


Excerpted from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, pages 21, 25 © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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