It was pointed out to me by another friendly blogger that today, June 25, is the anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, the defining document of the Lutheran tradition of Christianity.
The Confession was not written to split the church, but was actually written to show Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire that the reformers were in line with the Roman Catholic Church of which they considered themselves a faithful part. Of the 28 articles of the Confession, the first 21 were meant to do exactly that. The last 7 only were written against official church practices that the reformers felt were in dire need of change.
Obviously, the Augsburg Confession failed in its purpose to convince the Imperial court and the Vatican court that the reformers were faithful in their beliefs. But I find it remarkable that the single most defining document of faith for the Lutheran tradition is not a document exposing our differences, but instead our oneness with the Roman Catholic tradition. It recognizes our roots.
Many different documents were collected into the Book of Concord which further separated these two Western Christian differences (neither takes the Eastern church into account). But it all began with this one, the one that shows we are not as different was we like to think.
So Happy Anniversary, Augustana.