ARGENTINA – Throughout the 2015 World Conference of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), Lutheran leaders from around the world considered the continuing relevance of the Reformation for today. In doing so, they focused their attention especially on the Augsburg Confession.
The first day of the conference welcomed a keynote address on the subject by Rev. Alexey Streltsov, rector of Lutheran Theological Seminary in the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church. A series of three essays followed over the next days, building on the topics raised in the keynote address.
The first essay focused on Articles 4-6 of the Augsburg Confession and was presented by Rev. Sergio Adrián Fritzler (Director of Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires). His essay examined the relationship between justifying faith and the office of preaching—the means by which justifying faith is granted, through Gospel proclamation and Sacraments. This faith, he continued, brings about the new obedience in which Christians serve their neighbours in love.
The second essay was led by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (Executive Secretary of the ILC), and focused on the seventh article of the Augsburg Confession. Dr. Collver examined the Confession’s teaching on the doctrine of the church in relation to contemporary questions of ecumenical relations vis-à-vis the approaches taken by other groups.
The final essay, given by ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt, focused on Articles 9 and 10 of the Augsburg Confession and the Means of Grace. In addition to speaking about baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and confession and absolution, Chairman Voigt also discussed the nature of ordination. In all of these subjects, Chairman Voigt suggested that we must take pains to ensure our practice in all these matters corresponds to our beliefs.
All of these essays will be released for download online at a later date.
World Conference participants also benefited from a series of Bible studies intended to complement themes brought up in the major essays. Bible Study leaders included: Bishop Modise Maragelo of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (speaking on Romans 3:21-31); Rev. Dr. Jose Pfaffenzeller, Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires (speaking on Ephesians 4:1-16), and President Robert Bugbee of Lutheran Church–Canada (speaking on 1 Corinthians 11:17-29).
Throughout the conference, Matins and Vespers homilies were presented by ILC Chairman Voigt, Dr. Collver, President Lawrence Rast (Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana), President Matthew C. Harrison of The Lutheran Church—Missouri SYnod, Vice-President Philippe Volff of the Evangelical Lutheran Church—Synod of France, and President Marvin Donaire of the Lutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua.