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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 43

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John 20:19–23

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

The pope exercises a twofold tyranny: he defends his errors by force and with murders, and he forbids judicial examination. The latter does even more injury than any executions, because when the true judgment of the Church is removed, godless dogmas and profane forms of worship cannot be removed, and therefore, countless souls are destroyed for many ages.

Pulling It Together

The Office of the Keys does not refer to imposing punishments but to absolution and withholding of the forgiveness of sins. When this office is disabled by requiring certain services, the works of human beings, instead of being freely offered through faith responding to God’s grace, then souls are denied his grace. The Keys are God’s voice to the human ear and heart—through the church, not the rule of a particular person. The Keys belong to the whole church, not an individual, which is clear in the plural usage of “you” in the original language (second person plural in the Greek, John 20:23).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Christ, for your gift of forgiveness. Amen.

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We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

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