474 years ago today, 25 June 1530, Philip Melanchthon led a group of Evangelical theologians to the city of Augsburg, where they presented their catholic confession of faith before Emperor Charles V. In response to the imperial summons, the Evangelicals said the following [from the Preface to the German Text of the Augsburg Confession]:
“Most serene, most mighty, invincible Emperor, most gracious Lord. A short time ago, Your Imperial Majesty graciously summoned an imperial diet to convene here at Augsburg. The summons indicated an earnest desire, first, to deliberate concerning matters pertaining to ‘the Turks, that hereditary foe of ours and of the Christian name,’ and how this foe ‘might be effectively resisted with unwavering help’; and second, to deliberate ‘and diligently to consider how we may act concerning the dissension in the holy faith and Christian religion and to hear, understand, and consider with love and graciousness everyone’s judgment, opinion, and beliefs among us, to unite the same in agreement on one Christian truth, and to lay aside whatever may not have been rightly interpreted or treated by either side, so that all of us can accept and preserve a single, true religion. Inasmuch as we are all enlisted under one Christ, we are all to live together in one communion and in one church.’ Because we, the undersigned elector and princes, including our associates as well as other electors, princes, and estates, have been summoned for these purposes, we have complied and can say, without boasting, that we were among the first to arrive.
“Moreover, Your Imperial Majesty graciously, most diligently, and earnestly desired, in reference to the most humble compliance with the summons and in conformity to it, as well as in the matters pertaining to the faith, that eah of the electors, princes, and estates should commit in writing, in German and in Latin, his judgments, opinions, and beliefs concerning said errors, dissensions, and abuses, etc. Accordingly, after due consideration and counsel, it was proposed to Your Imperial Majesty last Wednesday [22 June] that, in keeping with Your Majesty’s wish, we should present our case in German and Latin today, Friday [24 June; but postponed to Saturday 25 June]. Wherefore, in most humble obedience to Your Imperial Majesty, we offer and present a confession of our pastors’ and preachers’ teachings as well as of our faith, setting forth on the basis of the divine Holy Scripture what and in what manner they preach, teach, believe, and give instruction in our lands, principalities, dominions, cities, and territories. …
“We now once again adhere to these actions [calling and participating in a council], and neither these nor any subsequent negotiations shall make us waver (unless the matters in dissension are in a charitable and friendly manner finally heard, considered, setteld, and result in Christian unity, according to Your Imperial Majesty’s summons), as we herewith make public witness and appeal. This is our confession and that of our people, article by article, as follows.”
[See Pr. Joel Brondos’ and Pr. Paul McCain’s posts, as well.]