Book of Concord Released in Ethiopia

Categories: Africa, Amharic, Book of Concord, Ethiopia

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’  This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure.”  Acts 8: 26-27

January 2011 – The Ethiopian official was an expert in managing earthly treasure, but he needed Philip’s guidance to discover the eternal treasure of the Gospel.

Like the eunuch, the people of Ethiopia today struggle to understand the Word of God. Though they have the Bible in their own language, few other Christian books are available that explain what Scripture means.

Now, through the faithful giving of LHF supporters, God has delivered another “great treasure for Ethiopian Lutheran pastors, teachers, evangelists and lay leaders” — the Book of Concordin the Amharic language.

Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mekonnen, an Ethiopian Lutheran who is now president of Concordia University—Selma, says that this treasure is vital for the stability and future growth of the church body.

“For about 7,000 congregations, there are only 2,500 ordained pastors,” he explained. “Some of these pastors cover 3-4 congregations to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments.”

With so few theologically educated leaders, Mekonnen believes there is a real danger of false teachings creeping into Ethiopian churches.

“If we do not step up and support the mission call of the Mekane Yesus Church in Ethiopia, this missionary church will be vulnerable to every wind of doctrine,” he said.  “Having the Word of God adequately and properly explained in our Confessions will help believers to understand what they believe, confess and teach.”

Rev. Abraham Mengeshe, president of a Bible school in Ethiopia, agrees that it’s important for Lutheran pastors to understand why they are Lutheran.

“For me, this book has come at just the right time to help preserve our identity [as Lutherans],” he said. “Today it is so very, very vital for our ministry. We should know our background, should know the struggles. It isn’t even just for Lutherans, but for all Protestants interested in the Reformation.”

“We are so grateful for the support and prayers of LHF donors,” said Mekonnen. “This Book of Concord gives pride in our identity and removes all kinds of syncretism (the attempt to unite different, opposing religious principles or practices) and religious compromise by providing the very teaching of the Scriptures: Law and Gospel.”

WHAT IS THE BOOK OF CONCORD?

For more than 425 years Lutherans have been guided in their beliefs, their teaching, and their preaching by this collection of assorted writings known as the Book of Concord.
Why?  Because these writings have one thing in common: though they are a collection of documents from various 16th century authors, they maintain a united commitment to the teaching of the Gospel of our Lord as it is presented in Holy Scripture.
The Book of Concord contains documents in which Christians from the fourth to the 16th century A.D. explained what they believed and taught on the basis of the Holy Scriptures. It includes, first, the three creeds which originated in the ancient church: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
It contains, secondly, the Reformation writings known as the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord.
The catechisms and the Smalcald Articles came from the pen of Martin Luther; the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, and the Treatise were written by Luther’s co-worker, the scholarly Phillip Melanchthon; the Formula of Concord was given its final form chiefly by Jacob Andreae, Martin Chemnitz, and Nickolaus Selnecker.LHF places such strong emphasis upon broadly translating of the Book of Concord because wherever the Lutheran faith is confessed—in whatever nation, whatever the language—the Book of Concord answers the question, “Why am I a Lutheran?”
Christ and His work of redemption is the central article of faith in the Book of Concord; this article of faith and all the doctrines of the Book of Concord are firmly grounded in the Bible.  No other book or collection of human writings gives such comfort to Christ’s church and His disciples.

With this statement of faith, translated into an increasing number of languages, the church of the 21st century is assured that there will remain a true confession of faith.

Only with your help can this important work continue. Prayerfully consider how you can help support LHF projects.