A Pastor's Notes

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Metaphysical and Ontological Preconceptions: Augsburg Confession, Article I

Article I: Of God

Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil- also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that “Word” signifies a spoken word, and “Spirit” signifies motion created in things. (From Project Wittenberg)

While there is certainly discussion of meta/ontological concepts in this article (e.g., una essentia divina), their use is not to establish new teaching, or as the ground of argumentation, but to affirm what has already been taught by the Church. There is nothing new taught here, or new arguments made; this article serves to make clear the Reformers’ agreement with the statements of the Council of Nicea concerning God as Unity and Trinity, while condemning all teachings and teachers at odds with the the Creed’s teaching concerning the Trinity. Note also that the Apology emphasizes that the teaching of the Creed is founded on and in line with Scripture. As there is no disagreement with the Roman party, there is no extended argumentation in this article.


Written by pastor

15 January 2018 at 1:58 pm

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