Today we begin our discussion of the Augsburg Confession, beginning at the beginning, with the first sentence, of the first article, "God." We read: "Our churches teach with common consent." That's how the Latin version of the Augsburg Confession puts it. The German says: "We unanimously hold and teach..." The Latin continues: "that the decree of the Council of Nicea about the unity of the divine essence and the three persons is true. It is to be believed without any doubt." A tall order! "To be believed, without any doubt." Is there anyone who never has a doubt about the mystery of the Holy Trinity? Doubtful [pun intended]. Then what does it mean when the Confessions refer to belief without any doubt? Here we are introduced to a concept that runs throughout the Lutheran Confessions. We are not here dealing with individuals but with church, and churchly, confession. Note the "our churches," plural. Not, "our Church." Another important concept is here introduced which is worth paying close attention to while reading the confessions. Some would attempt to translate "churches" as "congregations" so as to give the indication that the Lutheran Confessions have, primarily, the local, individual, congregation in view when they speak of "churches." But instead here we have a reference to groupings of churches within the various territories and cities represented by those who signed the Augsburg Confession. I am hard pressed, frankly, to find in our Lutheran Confessions the notion of the autonomous, independent, "free agency" view of the Church that would regard each and every local congregation as free and independent of one another. That is a misunderstanding that I think we would do well to pay heed to as we read the Lutheran Confessions. So then, what does it mean to say that "our Churches teach" and that this teaching is to be "believed without any doubting." Doubting by whom? Individuals? Pastors? Laypeople? Or is there something more there going on?