Sunday, March 30, 2008

Roundtable 32: The Smalcald Articles: The First Part

"The Awe-Inspiring Articles on the Divine Majesty" is how the first part of the Smalcald Articles is described. Repeated here are the historic creedal formulas that confess the Holy Trinity, and the two natures in Christ. Luther saw no point in spending any time discussing these truths, since "both sides confess them" and concerning these articles "there is no argument or dispute." To this day, between classical Lutheranism and the Church of Rome, there is no dispute over the doctrine of the Trinity and the two natures in Christ. Unity in the Trinitarian Christian Faith is a blessing from God, for which we should always be deeply grateful. It is a fundamental starting point for our two confessions. Sadly, today we can no longer assume other Christian confessions do in fact insist on the historic confession of Trinitarian and Christological doctrine. For instance, the United Church of Christ, the most liberal of the various mainline protestant churches, includes in its clergy ranks individuals who are not Trinitarian in their confessions. What is the implication for us today that both then, and now, historic Lutheranism is one with Roman Catholicism in the confession of the Holy Trinity and the two natures in Christ? As we reflect on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, how, and why, does it inspire awe? What is the result of this awe? What implications does it have for the church's confession and practice? For your life?