Kolb, Robert. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.
Augsburg Confession XXIV, “Concerning the Mass” pp. 68-72.
Apology to the Augsburg Confession XXIV, “The Mass” pp. 258-277.
The Evangelicals had been accused of abolishing the Mass. However, they preserved it and taught about it more than the Romans (Kolb 2000, 68). There were a few public alterations, such as the use of some of the vernacular language. The sale of Masses was ended, as that was considered an inappropriate usage (Ibid., 69). Saying more masses in hopes of gaining more forgiveness was also ended, as Christ, not the mass, atones for sin (Ibid., 70). The mass was celebrated as a time for forgiveness and to receive communion (Ibid., 71).
In the Apology, an article considerably longer, Melanchthon first affirms that the Evangelicals defend the Mass, celebrating it regularly, weekly and on festivals (Ibid., 258). German was added to aid in instruction in the faith (Ibid., 258). Only private masses had been ended, in consonance with tradition (Ibid., 258). The Evangelicals do not accept the mass delivering grace ex opere operato but as received by faith (Ibid., 260). The mass is not seen as a sacrifice, but as a sacrament (Ibid., 260ff). Melanchthon identifies the difference in detail, tying the Roman practice to Levitical worship and the Evangelical practice to Christian worship. The conclusion is that the Evangelicals celebrate the mass as a matter of Gospel and the Romans as Law (Ibid., 266). Viewing it as Rome does is a misuse of God’s gift. For this reason, the Evangelicals are instructed and examined to teach how great God’s forgiveness is (Ibid., 267). Melanchthon appends a discussion of the patristic view of sacrifice in the Mass (Ibid., 270). He then discusses the nature of a sacrament as a sign of grace (Ibid., 271). The term “mass” and the nature of liturgy arise next (Ibid., 273). Having omitted the word “communion” in favor of “mass” the Roman church was able to downplay the vivid nature of the sacrament. The mass for the dead is also rejected (Ibid., 275).