I’m working my way through the Confessions again, reading the words more carefully than I have before, not because I am in doubt about anything in them, but because other people have cast aspersions on them over the last year or so. I think it is good to go over the words and paragraphs slowly and carefully whether you are reading the Confessions, the Bible, or anything that deals with theology. Wallace Schultz made a great analogy a few years back between Luther’s reading of the New Testament and a slave’s reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. In each case there is captivity and freedom at stake. A wrong interpretation/reading of the New Testament could lead one right back into captivity rather than grant freedom as it is meant to do. I’m using the reading schedule provided in McCain’s edition of the Book of Concord. The portions are small enough that if I miss a few days due to travel or other things, it is not so hard to go back and catch up. One of these days I hope to be able to read at least the Latin. But for now, English will suffice.
I was hoping someone might be able to answer a question I had on the article on Confession. At the very beginning of the article, the Augsburg Confession says that “The body of the Lord is not usually given to those who have not been examined and absolved.” I wondered if this examination and absolution was something that the Reformers thought was necessary every time a person wanted to go to the Sacrament, or once before first-communion. I have practiced the latter, but not the former. I know that Fritz’ Pastoral Theology speaks about the benefits of regular “interviews” with those who are communicants, although he says that for some it may not be required but once in a lifetime. Maybe it was Luther who said that. I can’t remember off the top of my head.
It seems to be fairly clear, however, that for the Christians of the Augsburg Confession, confirmation was not a requirement for admittance to the altar, rather, absolution and examination. Of course, examination presupposes some kind of instruction, ideally by the parents. I look forward to any answers anyone might have to my question.