28.10.09

Satis est

The great ‘It is enough’ (satis est) is clearly directed against Rome. For the unity of the church Rome required more than unity in the faith; it required the acceptance of human traditions and ceremonies. Satis est does not then postulate a minimum of agreement, a consensus, which we achieve in the course of our discussions, but a maximum: ‘. . . that [with one accord, einträchtiglich] the Gospel be preached in conformity with a pure understanding of it and that the sacraments be administered in accordance with the divine Word.’ Not the agreement in doctrine—the Roman church has a consensus in doctrine, the Baptists also have one; every church has some sort of consensus, even if it is a consensus in agreeing that doctrine is not important—but only the consensus in the pure doctrine and in the right administration of the sacraments is the consensus demanded in the Augsburg Confession. That is the ‘great unanimity’ (magnus consensus) with which the first article of the Augsburg Confession begins, a consensus not made by men but given by God, the consensus in the right faith, which only the Holy Spirit creates.


From Article VII of the Augsburg Confession in the Present Crisis of Lutheranism, Letters to Lutheran Pastors, No. 53, April 1961, in We Confess the Church, trans. Norman Nagel, Concordia, 1986.

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