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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Augsburg Confession @ 487: Mendelssohn; Vom Schem Hamphoras PDF download

      Today marks a most glorious event in all of Church History – the 487th anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession.  Someone recently suggested a commemoration of this event is fitting for this year of the 500th Anniversary (Quincentenary) of the Reformation.  I have 2 ways of celebrating this event:

(1) Readers (like me) may celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation by listening to Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5, the The Reformation Symphony.  Felix Mendelssohn was a composer born a Jew but became a Christian.  The Wikipedia article on him reports he was baptized into the "Evangelical" (i.e. not Lutheran but Reformed) church.  Another article reports that his Symphony No. 5 was to honor the 300th Anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (bolding mine):
Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 … was composed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession and thus bears the title The Reformation Symphony.
But finally it is reported that some modern scholars attempt to demonstrate "that Mendelssohn was deeply sympathetic to his ancestors' Jewish beliefs".  They could argue that all day long, but it is hard to swallow when one listens to his Reformation Symphony which clearly based its melody on Luther's most famous hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" (TLH-262).  That is certainly an odd way to be "sympathetic to his ancestors' Jewish beliefs"!  Let these modern scholars argue all they want... let them repeat Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony (in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the Augsburg Confession)... over and over again, to "honor his ancestors' Jewish beliefs"!  Indeed, I fail to see that Mendelssohn even honored the Reformed Church's break from the Lutheran Church by his Reformation Symphony!  I say let these modern scholars "chatter and cackle" all they want!
      The world today attempts to draw the focus away from Mendelssohn's Jewish background, because he became a Christian.  But I will honor Felix Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony. Indeed, may this blog post honor this "Jewish" Christian and the honor he gave the first Lutheran Confession in his Reformation Symphony.  How I love to listen to this symphony… over and over again!  And in today's Internet Age, there is a free way to celebrate the Internet (thank you Google!) with a free rendering of… The Reformation Symphony:

(2) A second way to celebrate this day would be to read (or reread) Luther's polemical writing of Vom Schem Hamphoras.  A reader recently has found it helpful to assemble all 8 Parts from my blog into one PDF file for readability (and printability).  He has granted me the right to offer it to the public.  One may download it >> here <<.  If time is short, just read pages 61-68 on the name "Jehovah" – Franz Pieper recommended that this section be read over and over. — If there are future updates to this PDF, they will be noted here.

May both of these steps be a tribute to the 
Augsburg Confession
June 25, 1530

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