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               The Augsburg Confession
      Changes to Worship

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Before Luther
Luther's Change


To be saved you needed to resspanonse to God's grace by doing a sufficient amount “good works” (such as, fasting, confession, prayer, adoring relics, pilgrimages). The slogan was “do what's in you.”

Salvation is the free gift of God received by faith in Jesus Christ. The slogan was: “We are justified by grace through faith for Christ's sake.”


The Bible was in Latin. Only scholars could read it, and only a few did. The church hierarchy declared to people what the Bible said. The Bible is translated into the language of common people and made widely available.

The Bible is written in the country's native language so common people can read the Bible for themselves and make educated judgments about what the bible said in conversation with others both inside of and outside of the church.


Worship was in Latin. The people were spectators to a holy and mysterious drama. Priests would conduct masses whether people were present or not (often for the sake of the dead in exchange for a financial contribution).

Worship is conducted in the language of the people. The people are full participants. It is critical for them to be present and hear the Gospel word proclaimed. Memorial masses for the dead are discontinued.


You had to (1) confess each sin by name privately before a priest, (2) receive forgiveness, and (3) do some work of “satisfaction” (such as make a contribution or say a prayer a certain number of times) in order to show the sincerity of your repentance before you were truly reconciled to God.

A general confession is adequate. One does not have to list all sins.Private confession is available for comfort and support, but not required. Deeds of “satisfaction” are not required. Good works automatically flow out of a sincere confession like good fruit from a good tree.

Church &

The church was highly involved in political affairs. Popes, cardinals & bishops helped to appoint rulers and administer civil affairs.

The church's job is to preach of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and administer his two sacraments of bath and meal (Baptism - Communion). It is not the church's job to control the affairs of state.


Saints are considered to be mainly those few exceptional “exemplary” Christians. People were taught to pray to the saints and adore their relics. These were thought to be “good works” which merited grace before God.

All of the baptized (living & dead) are thought to be “saints,” (the holy ones of God). People are taught to pray to God directly. Exemplary Christians are remembered for their faith and the example of their life, but are not prayed to or adored.

Sex &

Sex was considered less holy & more debased and marriage to a woman a necessary evil. Some thought sex to be the original sin of Adam & Eve, with Eve seen as the “weaker sex” and “temptress.” It was better to be celibate than sexually active. Ordained priests were “married to the church.” They needed to be celibate.

Sex, marriage, women & children are all good and precious gifts from God. The are all part of God's original good creation. Celibacy is a precious spiritual gift given to only a few; however, it confers no higher rank or status. Ordained clergy and religious church workers can be married.

Priesthood of
All Believers:

Only males ordained by the church were priests. You had to go through a priest to connect to benefits of Christ which were administered through the church.

All Christians connect directly to God through Word & Sacraments. All are priests. All are ministers. The official clergy are called “pastors,” not priests. Their job is to equip all Christians for their ministry in daily life.

Monastic Life vs.Regular Jobs:

Monks and other “religious” people are considered to have a higher status before God than those holding ordinary jobs.

Every job and line of work is a holy calling from God. A good carpenter or teacher's aide is just as good as a good monk.


Most people were unschooled and illiterate. Mainly boys were educated and only the rich got very far. Schools were paid for privately.

It is important for all men and women to be educated (so that they can read the bible for themselves and hear the Gospel Word which invites faith in Christ). Education should be available to rich and poor alike and paid for by the community. Education starts going public.


Jesus as seen as a fair, but stern judge who would punish you eternally if your good deeds did not sufficiently outweigh your bad deeds.

Jesus is seen as the loving Savior who is out to save you by offering up his life on the cross.

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