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Introduction

Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

The split between the Lutherans and the Catholics was made public and clear with the 1521 Edict of Worms: the edicts of the Diet condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas, subjecting advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all property, half of the seized property to be forfeit to the imperial government and the remaining half forfeit to the party who brought the accusation.

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Title page of the Book of Concord.
The Book of Concord or Concordia (1580) is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century. They are also known as the symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Book of Concord has been categorized as a "body of doctrine" or corpus doctrinæ since it was intended to supplant the other German territorial copora doctrinæ like the Corpus doctrinæ Philippicum or Misnicum. It was compiled by Jakob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz at the behest of their rulers, who desired an end to the religious controversies in their territories that arose among Lutherans after the death of Martin Luther in 1546. The list of writings predating the Formula of Concord that would be included in the Book of Concord are listed and described in the "Rule and Norm" section of the Formula. The Book of Concord was published in German on June 25, 1580 in Dresden, the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg. The authoritative Latin edition was published in 1584 in Leipzig.

Selected biography

Etching of Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer, M.D., OM, was an Alsatian theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Kaisersberg in Alsace-Lorraine, a bilingual Romano-Germanic region which Germany returned to France after World War I. Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of historical Jesus current at his time and the traditional Christian view, depicting a Jesus who expected the imminent end of the world. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his philosophy of "reverence for life", expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, west central Africa (then French Equatorial Africa) .

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