Women Distributing the Lord’s Supper

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a young woman who wondered whether it was proper or godly for a Christian to receive communion from the hands of a woman. She wondered whether there are any specific passages in the Bible which say that women may not distribute the sacrament. She did not want to participate in the sins of another.

It occurred to me that this young woman is probably not the only one to have asked such questions or to be confronted with a circumstance in which a choice was necessary regarding whether or not to commune. The issue is also timely given comments recently made in the Reporter where a person at a recent conference expressed “disappoint(ment) that not all Synod congregations allow or encourage laywomen to serve as fully as laymen.” [footnote 1] The Reporter quoted these comments approvingly. Since most congregations use lay men to help distribute the sacrament but not lay women such comments by an official journal of the synod can be understood as an attempt to change our synod’s traditional and long held practice of reserving the job of distributing the sacrament to men.  

The position of the synod is ambiguous, vague and tenuous. But a task force appointed by president Kieschnick in the aftermath of the 2004 convention to interpret a resolution of that convention (3-08a) said that:

In LCMS congregations, elders historically “work closely with the pastor in his divinely assigned responsibility to feed the whole congregation with the Word of God and to watch over it for the sake of its spiritual welfare.”   In such situations, the report says, “women may not serve in this office.”

And,

“To avoid confusion regarding the office of the public ministry and to avoid giving offense to the church, only lay men assist in distributing the elements in the Lord’s Supper.” [footnote 2]

For the Reporter to quote someone favorably who advocates a position contrary to the public teachings of the church is troublesome for it gives the impression that these matters are open questions. Further, there are overtures to the upcoming synodical convention which ask the synod to speak to this issue (Overture 3-28). These overtures are based on the premise that due process was not followed as the synod adopted Resolution 3-08a in 2004.

While all this synodical/political stuff is of interest, it seems to me that some good theological horse sense might also be applied. So let me offer some counsel.  

Of course there are no passages which say, “Thou shalt not have women help distribute the sacrament.” But that is not really the issue. After all, the Bible also never says, “Thou shalt not take thy neighbor’s wife out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, give her roses and hold hands with her.” But I think we could all agree that other more pointed statements in the Bible would speak against this behavior. Your wife might not like it either.  

There are passages in the Bible which say that women should not speak in church (I Corinthians 14:33b-38) and that women should not teach or exercise authority over men (I Timothy 2:11-15). These passages have been applied for 1900 years by virtually all church bodies (except extremists groups such as early 20th Century Pentecostals or a third century sect called the Mantanists or by today’s mainline Liberal Protestant denominations) to preclude women from holding the pastoral office, from being ordained and from carrying out those responsibilities which belong to the office of pastor. These New Testament commands are based upon the Old Testament and refer both to the order of God’s creation and to the roles Adam and Eve played when mankind fell into sin as reasons why women may not serve as pastors, speak or teach in church.

Recently many church bodies have authorized the ordination of women into the pastoral office. Such an action clearly goes against both the Bible and against the tradition of the church for almost 2 millennia.        

But what if someone would say, “But for a woman distribute the Lord’s Supper is not wrong because it is not speaking, (‘Speak’ in this context means to address the assembly), and it is not exercising authority and it is not teaching. God gave women to men specifically to help them and helping distribute the sacrament is nothing more or less than helping with a job around the church just like setting up the altar or singing in the choir or teaching Sunday School.”

I even heard someone argue in this way: Suppose that you took the consecrated bread and wine and place them on a table and had people take the bread as they passed by. The table then would be “distributing” the body and blood. No one would consider that the table was usurping the authority of the pastor. So if a woman would stand holding the tray of little wine glasses as someone passes by and simply repeat again and again, “This is the blood of Christ,” (functioning much like a table) why would they be usurping the authority of the pastor? And if such a “distribution agent” moved from communicant to communicant during the process why would that change anything? That’s what people do who help distribute the sacrament.  

To such arguments and assertions the following responses could be made.

  1. No matter how many silly little situations you invent, people still know that distributing the elements in the service is the pastor’s job. If it is be delegated to someone else then it should not be delegated to those who are not and cannot be qualified to hold the office of pastor. This would also include tables.
  2. The issue is not really one of who should help whom and in what context. It is a question of whether the church should set her own agenda or accept the agenda of the world. Can anyone really believe that the recent move to have women distribute the sacrament (or read the lessons in the church for that matter) is completely unrelated to society’s desire that all distinctions between the sexes be downplayed or even dismissed? One reason why people want to have women read or distribute the sacrament is because this will make our church look less offensive to the world which wants women to have all the same privileges and opportunities as men. But, we must never give the impression that we are accepting the agenda of the world.
  3. Those church bodies like the LCMS which want to go by the Bible have a special responsibility towards those churches which go against the Bible by blurring the distinctions between the sexes. We must communicate, both by what we say and by our church practices, that the Bible still applies to our lives today. Especially the women of the church need to say, “Even if it were not a sin to distribute the sacrament (and we do not concede that it is not), we do not want to give anyone the impression that those churches are doing right which ordain women or otherwise disregard God’s intentions for men and women. We must not do anything which gives the impression that we agree with women’s ordination or women preaching.”
  4. If there is some doubt then we should be especially cautious. We apply this basic principle to other matters of Christian morals. If you are in doubt whether saying something is against the eighth commandment or not then stay quiet. If you wonder whether a specific action might be viewed as disrespecting your parents or a person in authority then don’t do it. If you think that your actions toward another woman (or man) might be interpreted as sexual in nature then don’t do them. So we don’t buy flowers and hold hands with other men’s wives. If you wonder whether a specific word is profane or inappropriate then don’t use it. If there is any doubt about women distributing the sacrament then don’t do it. Christians do not conduct their lives so as to get away with as much as possible. They conduct their lives carefully so as never to give the impression of indifference towards a command of God. This applies to God’s word about the role of women in the Divine Service.    
  5. For 2000 years our custom of pastors or specially appointed men distributing the sacrament has remained unchanged. While the Bible is the final norm of our theology we certainly cannot dismiss 2000 years of church tradition without some serious discussion on the matter. When the first Lutherans were discussing the various practices of their church they insisted that, “there is nothing [in our confession] that varies from the Scriptures, or from the church universal or from the Church of Rome, as known from its writers.” [AC XXI 5 footnote 3] Lutherans have always maintained the importance of changing nothing in our worship patterns unless the word of God requires it. Certainly no one would say that the Bible demands women to distribute the sacrament. Lacking such a command we are well advised to remain with our tradition.

Someone may say that the LCMS passed a resolution in 2004 which allowed women to distribute the sacrament. To this we give two responses.

  1. A resolution of the LCMS does not establish truth. It reflects truth perhaps and it may also go against the truth. But no resolution of the synod can be used as authoritative if it goes against the Bible.
  2. The 2004 resolution was vague since it did not specifically say that women could distribute the sacrament but only that women may carry do those tasks in the church which are not assigned to the pastor. It specifically did not state what tasks are to be assigned to the pastor. A commission subsequently formed by president Kieschnick said that to avoid confusion “only lay men assist in distributing the elements in the Lord’s Supper.” But, I must also hastily concede, presidentially appointed commissions have neither theological nor ecclesiastical authority in our synod.

So, it is contrary to the scriptures and to the historic practice of the church and of our church for women to distribute the sacrament because this is clearly the pastor’s responsibility. Further the practice of women distributing the sacrament gives a very unclear confession at precisely the time when a clear confession is called for. And it could easily give the impression that our church is indifferent to the word and will of God.

The question I was asked is whether you should commune as a visitor of a congregation at which a woman is distributing the Sacrament. Here my counsel would be consistent with the reasons why the practice is wrong. Simply do not participate in the practice of another church or congregation which goes contrary to historic Evangelical practice, is of doubtful moral value and goes against the Bible.


Footnotes

[1] LCMS.org website – Women discuss leadership issues at WLI conference

[2] LCMS.org website – Task force completes guidelines on women’s service

[3] AC Summary 1 (Concordia p. 70)


Comments

Women Distributing the Lord’s Supper — 122 Comments

  1. @Kelly #91

    Hey Kelly – I am only a layman too, but I think you have made some good distinctions!

    It is very cool that you are a delegate. God bless your work at this convention!

  2. One wonders how many lurkers who come to different Lutheran sites are led astray by Carl Vehse?

  3. Dear Dutch,

    If you have such a high view of the pastoral office, why don’t you find it offensive when a layman enters discussions like this and accuses pastors of being “irresponsible” and even of spreading “heresy” (oh, wait, possible heresy – what is “possible heresy,” by the way?), based on that layman’s faulty, literalistic, un-Lutheran interpretation of a certain Scriptural passage? I find it troubling that you would be so quick to express your disappointment toward those of us who do hold the office and are charged with combating false teachers/teachings, while, at the same time, coming to the defense of those who are guilty of spreading the same.

    You also must have a different understanding of name-calling, since I don’t see any evidence of any pastor calling Dr. Strickert any names. Do you? If so, please identify such.

    Now, I will admit to using sarcasm in post #84, but I would hardly classify my usage there as insulting or unloving toward Dr. Strickert. The fact is, in case you missed it being stated a number of times, that this is not the first time he has brought up this subject. And each time I have witnessed him bringing it up, including the way in which he brought it up in this thread, it has been with the intent neither of dialogue nor of learning, but to accuse and tear down those who do not hold his erroneous interpretation (an erroneous interpretation, by the way, that is held by many a Protestant). My use of sarcasm, then, is meant to reveal the absurdity of Dr. Strickert’s erroneous interpretation and false accusations.

    Furthermore, no one here is violating Dr. Strickert’s anonymity. His use of “Carl Vehse” cannot be an attempt at anonymity, since he has identified himself here and elsewhere. If he had any desire to maintain anonymity, he could surely do so by choosing some other name under which to post.

    Lastly, it would be much appreciated if you would point to specific things written which cause you concern or offense. To chime in with sweeping comments about what you see as bad behavior by pastors, without providing specifics, is unhelpful. What exactly caused you concern or offense? If that be known, then perhaps it could be dealt with, for I am sure that your hope and prayer is that the pastors you hold in high esteem would desire to be shown their errors that they may repent and seek to avoid repeating them. At the same time, it is always fruitful for all of us to ask, especially when looking in on blog discussions, whether or not we have all the facts necessary to reach conclusions about what is being said, and whether or not it is possible that we are misinterpreting what is being said or why.

    In Christ,
    Pr. Messer

  4. @Dutch #99

    > Not to mention, the fact that JF, watches here.

    Dutch, let me just say this to JF:

    JF, please point me to the open discussion area of your website.

  5. Pastor Tim Rossow :
    Rev. Lorfeld,
    Can you give some detail on what you define as the “auxillary office mess” in our synod. I have mixed emotions/thjoughts about the notion and may be able to clarify them with your help.
    TR

    It’s rather multifaceted… and I’m not sure I can do it justice… but here goes:

    1. What exactly is an “auxiliary office” anyhow? Frankly, I’m not even sure how to define it. Not a pastor… I got that… not sure beyond that (in so far as an official definition).
    2. The “everybody a minister” confusion and blurring the lines of the vocations of pastor and layperson.
    3. Given that there is a definable thing called “auxiliary office” where exactly are the boundaries. I’ve seen it go so far as to say, so long as the pastor is “overseeing” someone can step in and preach (male/female… doesn’t matter) or administer the Lord’s Supper. Which makes me wonder What happened to AC XIV (which I wondered all through vicarage… even though I had to submit every sermon and did not administer (speak the verba) of the Lord’s Supper).

    I honestly don’t see why it is so difficult a concept of letting pastors just be pastors. Would it just kill us if communion took an extra 10 minutes and the pastor alone distributed the Lord’s Supper? Even a congregation of a few hundred could be communed in an orderly fashion in (what I think is…) a reasonable time (especially since a congregation that size typically will have an associate assisting).

  6. Pastor Messer,
    Amongst the many things I was taught, in the LCMS, were these

    Proverbs 10:19
    Matthew 10:16
    Matthew 5:5-9

    Carl was wrong, so very much so!! It was obvious to many, but him. Sarcasm is not encouragement, that is what we are called to do. I wonder…would this have been handled & Carl spoken to in like manner, had he walked into your office, off the street? I choose not believe so.
    I don’t argue with Pastors, unless it is over false doctrine or compromising the Confessions or the Solas. I fish quite a bit, I know what a baited hook is.

  7. Dutch,

    How was Dr. Strickert “handled” and “spoken to”? In my last post, I asked you to identify exactly what it was in this thread that concerned and offended you. You have accused pastors of behaving badly; of name-calling, insults, and the like. I believe those accusations are unfounded and false, since I cannot find an instance in the above comments where any pastor, including myself, has called Dr. Strickert names or personally insulted him. Unless you consider telling him that he is flat out wrong insulting. But, then, if that’s the case, you are guilty of the very same thing here, since you write: “Carl was wrong, so very much so!!”

    The only person doing any “fishing” in the above thread was Dr. Strickert himself. Go back up to #41 and re-read his response to Fr. Daniel. There, my dear Dutch, is the gauntlet thrown down by Dr. Strickert, who enters the thread at this point to rail against pastors in what has become an expected and all too common tactic employed by him. Not only does he insult Fr. Daniel, but he also rips into a group of “Missouri pastors,” who, according to his estimation, based on his faulty interpretation of Matthew 23:9, are guilty of “confusing the laity” by “titular flamboyancy.” These pastors are “irresponsible” and “heretical” (possibly), according to Dr. Strickert’s personal and flat-out false interpretation.

    I fish quite a bit myself and know what a baited hook is, too, which is why I refused to take the bait and desired only to warn the other fish swimming in the pond of this thread to steer clear of this baited hook as well. This is a baited hook Dr. Strickert has thrown into many a thread around the blogosphere. Many of us have taken the bait in the past, believing that Dr. Strickert actually wanted to discuss this topic and learn. That has never proven to be the case. Instead, he refused to listen and showed that his desire was simply to play the Master and Accuser of those from whom he should be learning. The fact that he brought this subject up again here is proof sufficient of this.

    Your belief that I’m trying to bait you into an argument is woefully inaccurate. I really have no desire to argue about this with you. I simply asked you to explain exactly what it was that concerned and offended you. You have made accusations against pastors (including myself), but have not substantiated those accusations. As I stated before, that is unhelpful. And wrong. But, I will give you the benefit of the doubt, since I believe that this is solely due to the fact that you do not have all the facts and are confused by exactly what transpired in this thread. For my part, having reviewed my contributions to this thread, I stand by them. I stated what I had to say about this matter in #58 and the sarcasm I used in #84 was not out of bounds, since referring to Pr. Rossow as “Father,” “Your Eminence,” etc. merely served the purpose of revealing the absurdity of Dr. Strickert’s false teaching.

    If you wish to correspond further about this, I’d be happy to do so. If not, that’s fine, too. Whatever the case, I pray God’s blessings continue to visit and rest upon you and yours.

    In Christ,
    Pr. Messer

  8. Pastor Messer,
    I am aware, that CV, has been on other sites, as the “good Dr”, shall we say.
    I do read a fair bit more than BJS. I said CV was wrong, I would not know if he is otherwise, on other sites. I parooze, when certain things or links are mentioned, at BJS. My opinion, is of little consequence, when attempting to use sarcasm as a correction tool for anyone, Office or laity. I just expect wiser & more level heads in such cases.
    However, that is the duty of the Office, not mine. I have listened at nauseum, to many, who have met w/sarcasm for questions & met those I esteem w/sarcasm, said same. See Tilly’s response to kindness, gentleness, & mercy. (The Tapestry post, most enlightening)

    So many I have spoken with, have done a “so called study” endevored, for the lacking in a congregation. Reading Concordia, loosely translated German papers by the founders of the LCMS, and the like. By the time, they got down, to little old pew sitting me, there was quite a bit of venom. Why? They were met w/sarcasm & belittled, for the asking, or stating. I would have no knowledge, outside this site, if CV, does so or not. Much here, is as at times, assumed. When instructing, on a global blog, being gentle but wise, (open ended questions) is the better avenue. Not for the individual, but for those who may read this later.
    The reference to the Papacy termage, was funny. It gave me a grand giggle, I watch the Tudors!!!! (English History maj). I had no beef w/ that. But, CV, is obviously not “in Office” that much I have gathered of the last 1 1/2 years. He may be like me, where I have no alternative, but to go through, & read the Concordia alone. It is, what many who have blogs here, do reccomend, do they not? Well, should those of us, who must do so, have misunderstandings, or misdiscernments, is this they way to address it?
    I can understand speaking this way, to those who have been thru Sem, Ordained, Or hold Office. THEY BLOODY WELL SHOULD. But, if we continue to reccomend, w/o guidance, to relearn or review, can we afford to treat these, with, as you say, sarcasm, or one who know next to nothing, who stumbles ont this site? You & I may not remember them, but they do, and so does HE.
    Pastor Messer, I esteem a great many to BJS. From WELS, LCMS, and ELCA. I am, quite exhaused, of having to respond to the question, “your a ‘confessional lutheran’. You don’t act like one, and ya don’t talk like one. I read your stuff, but your not like what I hear “they are’. Your kind, firm but kind’. You listen, but ya dont’ cave in. Why aren’t the rest like that?
    This thread, would be why I have no answer, it was to be on what topic?
    I would like to have a better response, than the ones we have had the last 9 years. It is why PK is still in office. Don’t shoot the ones, on your side, or anyone who may be. They may very well end up, in Houston…at the mike, that may or may not defend us…at that mike. It is unnerving to me, that Pastors speak this way, and it is unnerving to me, when they speak to me, for the simple reason, of keeping emotion out of defending. It is, what BJS does quite often. Why shoot someone, on your own side? Houston, is going to be, a pivotal moment in the LCMS, is this what is to be remembered or used as example? I hope not, and I have not heard or read Pastor Harrison speaking in such sarcasm. Why should we? He is an esteemable Pastor, so we do not mirror his candor why?

  9. Dutch,

    I’m glad you caught the “Tudor-like” language I used and found it funny. Good. Actually, that language was fresh on my mind, having just finished watching the third season of “The Tudors” (thank God for Netflix!). I thought Pr. Rossow (and others) might get a laugh at that. But, more importantly, I hoped that it would serve to illustrate how ridiculously silly Dr. Strickert’s accusations are. And that hope was not completely unfounded, since I have heard from a few readers of this blog in private thanking me not only for the laugh, but also for standing firm against the false teaching of the “good Dr.,” since, well, they, like me, have heard him tout this nonsense ad nauseum in other places as well.

    I’m still woefully confused as to the exact nature of your beef here. Dr. Strickert did not enter the thread to dialogue with the pastors here or to listen and learn from them. He entered to take pot shots at them, call them names, and falsely accuse them. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to his contributions around the blogosphere.

    Do you think that I would have responded to a layperson who was honestly confused about the meaning of Matthew 23:9 and sought understanding in the same way that I responded to Dr. Strickert? I would hope not. Those who know me would definitely know better, and even those who only know me via online contact would know better. I am all for exercising the sort of pastoral care you espouse with love and patience, kindness and gentleness, etc. I would never dream of treating a layperson, who was honestly seeking counsel and instruction from me or any other pastor, with anything but what they, as dear children of God, redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, most certainly deserve from me. I think you are trying to apply what has transpired with Dr. Strickert here to a situation that simply doesn’t exist. Had he said, “I have concerns about the use of the title ‘Father’ by Lutheran pastors and laypeople, because I understand our Lord’s command in Matthew 23:9 to forbid such use, and would like to hear what others think about that,” things would be different. As it is, essentially what he has said here (and, again, many times elsewhere) is: “Matthew 23:9 forbids us from using the title ‘Father’ for Lutheran pastors and those pastors who use this title of themselves or allow laypersons to use it of them are guilty of ‘titular flamboyancy,’ ‘irresponsibility,’ and ‘heresy.’ Also, any attempt to defend the use of ‘Father’ as a pastoral title comes from the refusal to understand the clear meaning of our Lord’s words. Any interpretation other than mine is wrong!” That’s quite a different thing, is it not?

    Furthermore, I’m with you on the whole “shooting each other on the same side” thing. However, what you fail to realize is that someone who is accusing pastors of “heresy” (or, “possible heresy”) based on his own misinterpretation of Holy Scripture is not on “my side” (or, “our side”). What you also fail to realize, it seems, is that such a person is the one who is actually doing the “shooting.” To hi-jack a thread in order to take shots at faithful pastors and laypeople (AGAIN!), based on a misinterpretation of Holy Scripture, is the very definition of “shooting those who should be on the same side.” In other words, if your beef is about shooting each other on the same side, it ain’t with me, but with persons like Dr. Strickert.

    I don’t know how much more we could say about this. As I said above, I’m still confused as to exactly what your beef is here. As I’ve said twice now, it would be helpful if you would point to the exact comments made by me or others which caused your concern. In any event, we’ll have to agree to disagree as to the degree any of this has had on the effectiveness of the confessional Lutheran public witness or on the pivotal moment in the LCMS, since I honestly do not see it having any impact whatsoever. I guess I just don’t see the issue here, Dutch. That could very well be my fault, chief of sinners that I am.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Pr. Messer

  10. I don’t know why all y’all have such a short fuse about Carl Vehse’s remark.
    He’s just repeating what he grew up learning in his grandfather’s church!
    And so did you learn it!
    Thirty/forty years ago no Lutheran Pastor answered to “Father”.
    (Well, one I know did, but that was humoring an Irish cop who looked after his car while the “Father” made hospital calls.)
    These days, I have heard one Pastor say that he would prefer it to “Pastor [insert first name]” and I tend to agree. (They called my son, “Pastor Bill”. I called him one thing or the other but not both at the same time.)

    I am amused by “Fr.” John Berg, whose congregation did it because his ecclesiastical superiors made an issue of a rumor about such nomenclature! As the BOC says, “It’s adiaphora, until someone tells you it can’t be done/you have to do it!”
    Tnen, it isn’t.

    Do you suppose you can “chill out” now?

  11. Helen,

    Yeah, I’m done. Should have never begun. Should have known better. Lesson learned. It’s okay to rail against pastors and even accuse them of “heresy” without proper warrant; it’s not okay to speak out against those who do, ’cause, well, they’re just repeating what they were taught in their grandfather’s church. Got it. “Chilling out” now.

    (Man, suddenly I feel a special kinship to Pr. Stefanski)

  12. Rev. Thomas C. Messer :
    Yeah, I’m done. Should have never begun. Should have known better. Lesson learned. It’s okay to rail against pastors and even accuse them of “heresy” without proper warrant; it’s not okay to speak out against those who do, ’cause, well, they’re just repeating what they were taught in their grandfather’s church. Got it. “Chilling out” now.
    (Man, suddenly I feel a special kinship to Pr. Stefanski)

    WTTDS, Fr. Messer!

    EJG

  13. … no one should should teach publicly in the church or administer the sacraments unless properly called.

    1. Is not the public reading of God’s holy word the true and living voice of God amongst His people and thus the highest form of teaching in our Divine Service? If the reading of God’s own word is the epitome of public teaching, should it not be reserved for those whom God Himself has called to speak in His stead and by His command?

    2. Is not the distribution of Christ’s true body and blood the very essence of Gottesdienst among us? If the distribution of the Sacrament is in fact God serving us, shouldn’t this distribution be reserved for those whom God Himself has called to administer His sacraments in His stead and by His command?

    3. Is it fair to say that a lay reader is to the Word what a lay distributor is to the Sacrament?

    4. Is it fair to say that lay readers and lay distributors are, at best, products of pragmatism? Is it fair to say that these are, at worst, evidences that a given church has lost its understanding of Gottesdienst and thereby also lost its understanding of the God-Ordained Office through which Gottesdienst is to be bestowed?

  14. I have just read through most of the comments on this post. I would just like to add one thing. While we may agree or disagree on who should do what in the worship service, there is one thing to keep in mind.
    When you stand before Jesus, He will not revoke your salvation because you accepted Holy Communion elements from a lay person or a woman.
    Let’s keep the real Door to salvation in mind, so that we don’t waste time arguing with one another while Satan enjoys the show and welcomes more lost souls into his hell.
    Keep the personal attacks at bay–there are more important things to do, like sharing the Gospel of Salvation with the world.

  15. Sue Wilson, #16:

    Will He revoke your salvation because you didn’t believe what was on the altar was His Body and Blood? Will He because you don’t teach the Baptism of infants? I.e., are Baptists also going to Heaven? Then, using your reasoning, we shouldn’t waste time arguing with one another about such things, either.

    Rather, every lessening of Christ’s Office and how he has established its being carried out is a lessening of His gifts among us, and every lessening of His gifts is a lessening of the “sharing [of] the Gospel of Salvation”…which leaves us having to try to ‘share’ that message from a Law motivation and perspective.

    No, thank you.

    EJG

  16. Sue Wilson :
    I have just read through most of the comments on this post. I would just like to add one thing. While we may agree or disagree on who should do what in the worship service, there is one thing to keep in mind.
    When you stand before Jesus, He will not revoke your salvation because you accepted Holy Communion elements from a lay person or a woman.
    Let’s keep the real Door to salvation in mind, so that we don’t waste time arguing with one another while Satan enjoys the show and welcomes more lost souls into his hell.
    Keep the personal attacks at bay–there are more important things to do, like sharing the Gospel of Salvation with the world.

    You are trying to rationalize realities that are far above us. This absolutely does not work. We cannot make bargains with God. The question “how far can I go my own way and not lose my salvation” is not being asked by the new person (the believer). This is not a question coming from faith. It is coming from unbelief. Following this road is weakening your faith, if indeed you have saving faith. Even if by His grace and patience you do not ultimately lose your faith by dabbling in doctrinal invention, how can this possibly be His will for you?

    Any implication that there are people in hell because of any believer’s (for example a pastor, professor or lay person) desire to know and practice God’s truth is damnable heresy. You cannot pit one part of God’s truth (that His doctrine is pure and should be held so by believers) against another (that He has died for all and desire none to be lost, and that even a tiny bit of faith saves) without falling into heresy.

  17. EJG,
    Of course Baptists are going to Heaven. Those who believe that the sacrament of Holy Communion is a remembrance and not a sacrament are not barred from God’s presence. God’s grace is a product of His love and Christ’s gift, not the proper administration of what we as Lutherans believe are sacraments. We do not have a lock on the perfect understanding of Scripture. One does not have to follow the BOC or belong to a LCMS church to receive the free gift of salvation through faith. It is faith that is decribed as the gift from God “lest any man should boast,” not the traditional LCMS page 15 worship service. Jesus did not invent denominations–His Church is one body of believers that covers the world.

    As far as women serving as teachers of adult males and as worship assitants please to not disregard the women of the Bible like Deborah whom God appointed as a judge of His people; Huldah “the prophetess” whom the priests of the temple went to for advice (and God honored that action); Lydia who held church gatherings in her home, as did John Mark’s mother; the women who were the first to proclaim the risen Christ; Pricilla who was at least an equal partner with her husband in ministry; Phoebe, who carried Paul’s most important theological treatise to Rome.

    Doctrine is found in God’s Word; in the plain words of Scripture, not in the Pharisee practice of deciding who is worshipping in the exactly legal way and who is not.

    As for the disqualification of even lay-men in serving the sacrament, Jesus sent out seventy of His disciples, not just the twelve apostles to minister in the surrounding communities. Do you think that all of them were ordained? Jesus’ approval of them was enough–none had been to seminary; none raised his status to “Father.”

    The LCMS is presently so wrapped up in the politics of who will do what in what kind os worship service that it is losing its sense of priority. Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, teaching them about Him–not teaching them the “proper”, traditions of the LCMS and the elevated position of those ordained.

    sw

  18. I would prefer a layman (man or woman) not assist in distributing Holy Communion., although I understand that in large churches it is inevitable. There is one person that God has appointed as undershepherd over me and he is the one who has spoken God’s words to me, who has heard my confession, given me God’s absolution and now gives me Christ’s body and blood telling me that Jesus has given and shed it for me. I am very happy with it this way.

  19. Women distributing the lord’s supper,was said no, but, in matthew ch 26:10-13 tell how it was an excellent thing, this woman prepare jesus for burial, how,why,how? Is this good news?

  20. @Sue Wilson #119

    Sue you stated “It is faith that is decribed as the gift from God “lest any man should boast,” not the traditional LCMS page 15 worship service.”

    As Lutherans we believe that the Means of Grace such as the Sacrament at the Altar strengthen our faith. We also believe that we are saved by Grace through Faith.
    If the ad”ministration” of the sacraments by women compromise the Grace we receive, it would be counter the purpose of the Lutheran ministry (as stated in Article V of the Augsburg Confessions) which is to OBTAIN FAITH.

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