Learning about the Augsburg Confession – 2020-style

In September 2020, a much-anticipated seminar on the Augsburg Confession took place. But it was a very different event than the one originally planned.

The Lutheran Study Centre in Sabah, Malaysia, last year asked LCA International Mission for assistance in staging a seminar on the Augsburg Confession. The resulting event was set for June 2020 in Malaysia with speakers from Australian Lutheran College (ALC) due to attend.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the seminar was delayed and held online. The scope of participants also changed dramatically. Instead of 20 church leaders attending from Malaysia, the webinar was opened up to all Lutheran congregations, pastors and church leaders.

More than 100 participants from around the world came together to study the Augsburg Confession and how it applies within Lutheran churches today.

The webinars were held over two evenings. The topics covered included a historical overview of the Augsburg Confession, its structure and articles, its role among Lutherans today, and what confessing the faith is and how the Confession helps us do it.

Rev Dr Wilfred J Samuel from Malaysia was delighted with the positive responses from participants. One said ‘ … it touched on practical issues related to faith, the word, worship and mission. The historical overview helped young believers to understand and appreciate the context and struggles connected with the Augsburg Confession. One of the key issues raised and clarified was the relevance of the Augsburg Confession as against the Bible as the word of God. It was well explained that the Augsburg Confession is guided by the Scriptures to strengthen the faith of the Christian community.’

Guest speakers from ALC also reflected on the blessings of this opportunity. Rev Dr Stephen Pietsch appreciated being part of ‘a real theological dialogue with people, eliciting important questions and areas of discussion’ and considers that the seminar highlighted the need for teaching confessional Lutheran theology and spirituality in Asia.

Rev Dr Andrew Pfeiffer appreciated working and learning with fellow Lutherans to explore the pastoral implications of the theology we confess. ‘It is a joy to help people make the connection between the confessions and the word of God and see them gain confidence in bringing the word and Lutheran theology to congregational life’, he said.

Rev Samuel says that many participants have since requested more webinars in future, something the Lutheran Study Centre in Malaysia and LCA International Mission are keen to facilitate.

This story was also published in the December 2020 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/