Defining Religion

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the act of acknowledging one's sins. Formal confession in the Lutheran church embraces two parts: (1) acknowledging one's sins and (2) receiving absolution or forgiveness. A confession can also be a statement of what one believes, e.g. the Augsburg Confession


a gathering of individuals around the means of grace, usually in a specific geographic location.


to set apart for God?s service or special use in the church.


an ecclesiastical rite in which a person, place or thing is set apart or dedicated to the service of God; e.g., the time in the communion service when the bread and wine are dedicated for their use in the Lord?s Supper through the words of Christ used on the night he instituted the sacrament.


is the false view either that the body and blood, bread and wine come together to form one substance in the Lord?s Supper or that the body and blood are present in a natural manner like the bread and the wine. Lutherans believe that the bread and the wine are present in a natural manner in the Lord?s Supper and Christ?s true body and blood are present in an illocal, supernatural manner.


the bestowal of faith; the act of God by which he turns people from sin and unbelief to faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit works through the gospel in God's Word and the sacraments to convert sinners and preserve them in faith.


agreement, contract, testament. Scripture speaks of God's covenant with Noah (Genesis 6:18-21), Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21), Israel at Sinai (Exodus 24:7-8), and David (2 Samuel 7). Through the work of the Messiah, God established a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34, 1 Corinthians 11:25) in which he promises the forgiveness of sins.


a written statement or confession of what one believes. The three creeds commonly used in worship-the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds-are brief summaries of the basic teachings of Scripture.

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