Today is the 483rd anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. I have written about this occasion before (so I won’t repeat it). There’s also great articles by Rev. Paul McCain and Pastor Walter Snyder. But briefly, the Augsburg Confession was the confession of faith of the Evangelical (Lutheran) Princes and Pastors that was read to the Emperor on June 25, 1530.
So the question is, should today be the birthday of the Lutheran Church? Some might say yes; others, of course would point to Luther nailing his 95 theses on the door (which acted like a bulletin board) of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Maybe others might point to January 3, 1521, the publication of Decet Romanum Pontificem (the Papal Bull officially excommunicating Luther) as the start of the Lutheran Church.
I would argue that none of them are the birthday of the “Lutheran Church”. The reason is simply this. As Lutherans, we confess that our theology is nothing new. What Luther and the subsequent “Lutheran” theologians of the 16th century did was to correct the innovations and abuses that had crept into the Church Catholic.
So when is the birthday of the Lutheran Church? I suppose you could either point to Pentecost 30 AD, or maybe even to when God created Adam and Eve, for the Church has existed as long as there has been faith in the promises of God.
Today we find ourselves in a world that has a plurality of philosophies and religions. For the Church, today should be a reminder to us that the Church is to always be confessing what she believes and teaches… and most of all, her trust in salvation in Christ alone.