Formula of Concord

The Formula of Concord is a Lutheran confessional document written in 1577 to ease tensions between Lutherans. After Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon died, Lutherans were divided into several opposing parties. The most vocal were the Gnesio-Lutherans, more closely tied to Luther?s theology, and the Philippists, who preferred Melanchthon?s moderate approach. Thus, the document was written to provide an interpretation of the Augsburg Confession that would satisfy the parties involved in the dispute.

It addresses the following twelve issues: (1) original sin-in which total depravity is affirmed; (2) free will-persons are not free to act in on their behalf in conversion; (3) justification-Luther and Melanchthon?s concept of forensic justificationis affirmed; (4) good works-are not necessary for salvation, nor are they harmful; (5) the distinction between law and gospel; (6) the third use of the law is affirmed; (7) the Lord's Supper-sacramental union and the real presence; (8) the person of Christ- emphasizing the presence of the two natures); (9) Christ?s descent into hell ; (10) adiaphora; (11) predestination and election; (12) heresies such as Anabaptism and Schwenckfelders.

The Formula of Concord was included in the Book of Concord, published in 1579, along with the traditional creeds of the church (Apostles? Creed, Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed), the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, Luther?s two catechisms, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Schmalkald Articles.