The Lutherans consider the confessions not only a doctrinal standard; they are more than a body of truth; they become a public confession, a confessional act. They are in the first place, the believer’s joyful response to God’s gracious offer in the Gospel. The Lutheran confessions are kerygmatic and prayable, i.e. they belong in the pulpit and the pew. They are a doxology. In the second place the confessions establish the consensus with the fathers and with their own contemporaries. The act of confessing places the present church in the continuity of faith and is a public testimony that she shares the conflicts and the conquests of the faithful of all ages. And finally Lutherans believe that loyalty to the confessions is a precious heritage which each generation must recapture for itself and transmit to its descendants. Lutherans believe that divine truth is absolute, has not changed since Apostolic times, will not change during future generations in accord with Jesus’ saying that His words shall never pass away. The Lutheran confessional principle is expressed in the slogan:

God’s Word and Luther’s doctrine pure
Shall to eternity endure.

F. E. Mayer, The Religious Bodies of America (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1945), p. 138ff

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