Augsburg Confession

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creed [Lat. credo=I believe], summary of basic doctrines of faith. The following are historically important Christian creeds.

1 The Nicene Creed, beginning, “I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ … .” It is usually described as a revision by the First Council of Constantinople (381) of the creed adopted at Nicaea in 325. In the Western Church since the 9th cent. it has differed from the original by the addition of the Filioque clause: “And in the Holy Ghost … Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son … .” (“qui ex Patre Filioque procedit … .”). Over this addition there has been a long controversy between the Orthodox Eastern and Roman Catholic churches. The Nicene Creed is a traditionally authoritative creed of Orthodox Eastern, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant churches.

2 The Athanasian Creed was probably composed, not by Athanasius himself, but by an unknown author(s) in the fifth cent. It is a partial statement of doctrine dealing especially with the Trinity and the Incarnation.

3 The Apostles' Creed, beginning, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ … .” It does not appear in its present form before 650, but its predecessors probably arose in Rome in the 2d or 3d cent. It has two material differences from the Nicene Creed: the phrase, “He descended into hell,” is omitted in the Nicene, and the words “resurrection of the body” are changed to “resurrection of the dead” in the Nicene. It is used by Roman Catholics at various daily services and at baptism; it is also much used by Protestants.

4 The Augsburg Confession (1530), the official statement of the Lutheran churches. It was mainly the work of Philip Melanchthon and was endorsed by Martin Luther for the Diet of Augsburg.

5 The Thirty-nine Articles, which are official in the Church of England. They date in their present form from Elizabeth I's reign, when they were written by a group of bishops. They are Calvinistic in theological emphasis and enounce clearly the royal supremacy in the Church of England. They are included, with occasional modifications, in the prayer books of other churches of the Anglican Communion, including that of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

6 The Westminster Confession (1645–47), the most celebrated pronouncement of English-speaking Calvinism. It is official in the Church of Scotland, with occasional changes in most of its daughter churches (usually Presbyterian) and among Congregationalists.


See J. H. Leith, Creeds of the Churches (1963, repr. 1973); J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (1981); W. H. C. Frend, ed., Creeds, Councils and Controversies (1989).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Augsburg Confession


exposition of the fundamentals of Lutheranism (in 28 articles, written in German and Latin). The Augsburg Confession was composed with the approval of M. Luther by his closest colleague, P. Melanchthon, and was presented to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. This work established the ceremonial side of the Lutheran cult and the principle of the subordination of the church to the secular ruler. In some of its formulations the Augsburg Confession also retreated from the initial views of Luther. In foreseeing the introduction of a church organization and other matters, the Augsburg Confession reflected the striving of the leaders of the Lutheran movement toward compromise with Catholicism for the joint struggle against the Anabaptists and the adherents of H. Zwingli. The rejection of the Augsburg Confession by both Charles V and the diet was the cause of a prolonged struggle between the Protestant and the Catholic princes of Germany, which came to an end with the religious Peace of Augsburg (1555).


Die Augsburgische Konfession. Edited by T. Kolde. Gotha, 1896.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One could mention the contacts between Lutherans and Russian Orthodoxy as early as 1552 and in subsequent years through the Russian translation of basic Lutheran sources, such as the Confessio Augustana or Luther's Catechism, as well as mutual acquaintanceship, (14) rooted in the toleration shown by Russians to Protestants since the era of Tsar Ivan the Terrible (1547-1584).
En primer lugar explicaba Wenz la diferencia y simultanea proximidad de sacerdocio comun y ministerial, segun la doctrina del rite vocatus expuesta en la Confessio augustana. Se reiteraba de esta forma la vinculacion que existe entre orden, evangelio y sacramentos, a la vez que subrayaba que el ministerio ordenado esta al servicio dei sacerdocio comun de todos los bautizados (23).
Recordaba de igual manera la equiparacion episcopi seu presbiteri de la Confessio augustana: si bien al principio se hablaba sin mas de una funcion de gobierno en una determinada comunidad local, mas adelante --retomando la practica de la primitiva Iglesia-- el ministro se encargaba tambien de la predicacion de la palabra y la administracion de los sacramentos, en los terminos propuestos por la Reforma de Wittenberg (30).
<<La especificidad de esta tarea esta fundamentada en la expresion publice docere de la Confessio augustana XIV.
Intentaba asi evitar interpretaciones demasiado unilaterales que--en su opinion--no figuran en la Confessio augustana (5; 7; 14; 28,21s.), al mismo tiempo que hacia mencion a que la Iglesia catolica propone al ministerio ordenado--sobre todo, referido a los obispos--como principium et fundamentum de la unidad de la Iglesia (136).
La mayoria de los autores aqui analizados advierte que la apostolicidad y el ministerium unitatis pertenecen a la misma esencia de la Iglesia, aunque los autores luteranos aqui estudiados (Wenz, Meyer, Pannenberg) no la conciben en la misma linea de necesidad que el evangelio y los sacramentos recordados en la Confessio augustana. Rompen asi la continuidad entre ministerio y apostolicidad en el plano ontologicosacramental.
Asi insiste Wenz en la igualdad <<sustancial>> dei episcopado y el presbiterado, segun el capitulo XXVIII de la Confessio augustana.
Recognition of the Confessio Augustana by the Roman Catholic Church.
(19) The Assembly--conscious of the importance of this initiative-welcomes endeavours which aim at a Catholic recognition of the Confessio Augustana, expresses the willingness of the Lutheran World Federation to engage in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church on this subject, and requests that the Executive Committee promote and carefully follow the progress of all studies of this matter, its possibilities, its problems, and its wider ecumenical implications.
In addition to providing a very brief summary of the points made in the essays, the 1980 Roman Catholic/Lutheran Joint Commission statement points out: Honesty in our dialogue on the Augsburg Confession also compels us to admit that there are still open questions and unresolved problems, among them the following: --The Confessio Augustana does not adopt a position on the number of the sacraments, the papacy, or on certain aspects of the episcopal order and the church's teaching office.
(40) Walter Kasper, "What Would Catholic Recognition of the Confessio Augustana Mean?" in Burgess, Role, p.