THE Issue: AC XIV and Lay Ministry

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Ecclesia semper reformanda est – I don’t know who coined that phrase, but it’s ever so true. And always has been – see Galatians. In this sense, there has never been a golden age and we should not be disheartened by the mess our little patch of the una sancta finds herself in. The Missouri Synod is indeed by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed: the worship wars, Seminary Lite (SMP), a few charismatics here, a few would be women-ordainers there, usw.

So where to begin? What should Confessional Lutherans be focusing on in Missouri? I appreciate the work that folks like the ACELC are doing – but we need focus. You can’t move on all fronts at once. We need an issue that captures the attention of all Confessional Lutherans and one that is theological (not political), clearly based in the Scriptures and the Confessions, and as objective and black and white as possible.

It just so happens that we have this issue: Missouri’s 1989 revision of the Augsburg Confession sans Article XIV (it is the shortest article, so it’s a small revision, right?). “Lay ministry” – the intentional, “licensed,” and ongoing practice of having men who have not been called to and placed in the Office of the Ministry administer the Sacraments and preach the Word in our parishes. This is simply contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the Confessions, and contrary to all the practice of historic Christianity.

If Confessionals cannot unite to undo this wrong, then what is the point of being Confessional? Let us make 2013 the Year of AC XIV.

Gottesdienst is getting the ball rolling with a one day conference on AC XIV and Lay Ministry in Kearney, Nebraska, on July 25th. While the whole Synod is affected by this problem, the Great Plains and the Northwest are the epicenters. Pastors, lay people, district officials, and the lay ministers themselves are invited and encouraged to attend.

Especially if you are in Nebraska or Kansas, please make plans to attend. If you know folks in those areas, tell them to attend. If you are for or against the Missouri Synod’s present practice, come and join us to study this issue. Here is the full conference information:

AC XIV and Lay Ministry
Zion Lutheran Church, Kearney, NE
July 25, 2012

Schedule
9:00 – Registration (Coffee and rolls)
9:30 – Matins
10:00 – Presentation and breaks
12-1:30 – Lunch (at local establishments of your choice)
1:45 – 3:00 – Panel Discussion
3:00 – Gemuetlichkeit

Registration fee: None. The offering at Matins will defray Zion’s costs.

To register email Rev. Micah Gaunt mgaunt2000 at yahoo dot com.

+HRC

Comments

THE Issue: AC XIV and Lay Ministry — 130 Comments

  1. @Warren Malach #2
    I will not allow anyone, no matter how well-intentioned, to put me in a “Babylonian Captivity” to what is human tradition and *not* taught in the Word of God.

    You’ve moved to WELS, Mr. Malach, where they have, as I understand it, a more elastic view of the OHM. If you want to preach from your pew there, perhaps they will approve.

    If we are not to confess to a Pastor, to receive absolution from him, why would Luther write that in the Small Catechism? Christ gave the apostles authority to forgive and retain sins; they appointed Elders (Pastors) in various locations as they went about teaching and administering the Sacraments, as Christ had also commanded. That is enough Scripture for most of us.

    Someone who has deserted the pastoral office might have a lower view of it, but that is no reason for our Pastors to agree with you, or us pewsitters either.

  2. Hi Warren,

    There is much in your posting that has attraction and biblicity in it.

    If I may, I’d like to reply along two separate lines: one, to answer your question put to me in your posting; and two, to put a question to you.

    I agree with your conception of the quia subscription, that the Word alone is the source of doctrine, and we confess the confessions because they rightly express doctrine revealed in Scripture. The thing is, they DO rightly express it, so I can resort to that part of Lutheranism most known to all Lutherans, the Small Catechism, and unless quia is wrong, this resort will align with Scripture. I quote the catechism not because it is an authority, but because it aligns with the authority, the Word, says.

    But in further answer that leaves aside any resort to the confessions, two points about Scripture come into play to answer your question. First, the Word as Law and Gospel. Second, the realization of vital truth in Scripture that is nowhere put in one verse in the exact terminology that the Church today uses, but that Scripture nonetheless clearly and vitally reveals, e.g., the Trinity.

    By the Lutheran understanding of Law and Gospel has many an epiphany illuminated the Church. Consider the title of Joseph A. Seiss’ book, Gospel in Leviticus. This strikes those of some non-Lutheran theologies as quite strange and likely anti-christian. Leviticus? Isn’t that law, Moses to be exact? How can there be any Gospel there, let alone enough to comprise a whole book’s worth of discussion? But of course, Lutherans see Christ and the Gospel everywhere in Leviticus, not that we don’t see the Law also. Leviticus, via Luther, is a nova of brilliant light of Christ.

    Well, then, if in Leviticus (manual of the priests of the tribe of Levi, the prototype of all manuals of those in the public ministry, from which the principles of all such manuals derive or ought to), leprosy is used as a sign of sin, not merely as a corporeal ailment in need of cure, the declaration of cleansing pronounced by a Levitical priest is a sign of absolution. Even when Jesus himself cleansed a leper, He nevertheless sent the leper to those who sit in Moses’ seat to offer what Moses commanded and to receive, in its Gospel sense, absolution, though in its Law sense, we see only a coporeal ailment and cure.

    When we combine many such texts together, in a process similar to what we use when we realize things such as the Trinity, and when we combine them with Law-Gospel understanding, we see Jesus himself commmanding us to go to the pastor-elder-bishop, which He gave the Church where previously He’d given Israel the Levitical priests.

    So, before considering the confessions, I do get private confession and absolution from Scripture, and believe that the confessions rightly express what Scripture reveals.

    Now, for my question to you. Do your biblicity ideas mean that we cannot confess a quia subscription to AC XI and XII? Are those articles of the Augsburg Confession contrary to Scripture? A slight cheat, in that I actually have a second question also: Was Luther unbiblical in counseling all Christians in fear under their continuing sins to recall their Baptisms? Does biblicity show him wrong in that?

    T. R. in Montana

  3. Helen #3: I’m not going to respond to your posts anymore.

    Mr. Halvorson #4: The main problem which I have with your post is that it appears to me that you are mixing Law and Gospel. Jesus fulfilled the Levitical political, as well as the ceremonial Law, of sacrifices and examinations for leprosy which pointed ahead to His coming; only the Moral Law still remains. The Levitical priesthood’s responsibility to examine people for leprosy does *not* “point ahead” to Confession & Absolution to a pastor.

    As I have said before, I share the historic LCMS understanding that the Keys were given by Christ to the Church through the disciples, and not to the disciples and their “successors” the pastors: that interpretation is sheer Romanism, revived by people like Loehe and apparently taught in LCMS seminaries today contrary to the public doctrine of the synod and disseminated in LCMS congregations contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS and therefore in an underhanded, deceitful fashion.

    I do not deny that Part V of the Catechism teaches Confession & Absolution, and also that “public” Confession and Absolution in the Service and “private” Confession & Absolution as part of the public ministry of the Church are administered by the pastor, who holds the Office of the Public Ministry. But don’t forget that this same Part V of the Catechism also deals with public church discipline, in which “the Church” of Matt. 18:17 is involved, and for which both in this case and in the case mentioned in 1 & 2 Corinthians *no* specific pastoral involvement is mentioned in Scripture; the pastor, as servant of the congregation, simply *announces* the decision of “the Church” in cases of church discipline. This Part V of the Catechism also does not deal with the “private” use of the Keys by laypeople as part of the Church to which the Keys were given by Christ in the Bible, as confessed by the LCMS. One cannot make laws binding human consciences about something about which Scripture is silent, and one should not use human writings, however much they are a correct exposition of Scripture, to establish doctrine in the Church, much less make laws binding human consciences.

    You certainly are “free in Christ” to confess “privately” to the one who holds the Office of *Public* Ministry in your congregation, just as I am “free in Christ” to *not* do so, or to confess my sins “privately” to a layperson who possesses the “private” use of the Keys given to the church, or to confess my sins directly to God Himself. No one of these forms of Confession & Absolution is “better” than any other.

    A “quia” subscription to the Confessions as a correct exposition of Scripture does not, as I have said before, make the Confessions a “source” for doctrine alongside of Scripture. As long as one is teaching what the Bible teaches about Confession & Absolution, that’s fine; but one *cannot* create laws which are not taught in Scripture. The Scriptures talk about Confession & Absolution in James 5:16, with *no* mention of pastors, therefore pastors are *not absolutely necessary* for Confession & Absolution, and it would be “unbiblical” to teach that Confession & Absolution before a pastor are necessary or required. Luther “counseling” Christians to seek comfort from “private” Confession & Absolution before a pastor is fine, but notice that he *doesn’t command* it.

  4. When I state that the Confessions can not be used as a source for doctrine, I am specifically referring to the example of the “use” made of the Catechism’s teaching about Confession & Absolution to try to teach that *only* a pastor can forgive *all* sins and that a layperson can *only* forgive sins commited against themself. The Bible does *not* teach this, and therefore it *cannot* be “inferred” from the Catechism and taught as a law binding upon the consciences of Christians.

    Mr. Halvorson #4: Are you saying that you don’t believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught in Matt. 28:19 and 2 Cor. 13:14, but must be inferred from less-clear passages?

  5. @Warren Malach #5
    Helen #3: I’m not going to respond to your posts anymore

    Because I [referred to, not an exact quote] the command of Christ that backs Luther in the catechism? 😉

    (I will retract and apologize for my poor choice of words in the last paragraph of #3; I was almost as rude as you were toward our combined Presidents.)

    [Pr. Crandall, mea culpa, but I’ve demonstrated my fault.]

  6. The Lutheran Confessions are not the source for doctrine, but they are the norm that determines for us what is pure and what is not pure doctrine. Some Lutherans tend to forget that.

    Now, as for Mr. Malach’s combative approach everywhere on this blog site…he has been welcomed to comment, but he is quickly wearing out that welcome with his desire to pounce on anyone who does not share his enthusiasm for leaving The LCMS and joining the WELS.

    He should probably put his focus on attending to the problems in his new church body, the WELS.

  7. I have contacted Pastor Scheer regarding my concerns about being the subject of personal attacks in this forum by those who apparently have no interest in serious discussion of the subjects of these threads. In the meantime, from this morning I will be traveling out of state for a few days, and I will post as I am able.

  8. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #9

    Paul, thank you for taking the trouble to bring forth the extensive quotations from Dr. Luther on the topic. Although they are not excerpts from the confessional writings of the Lutheran church, they of course give me much to think about in once more reappraising my ideas on the topic, and without your having brought the material forward, it would have been a very long time before I found them myself, if ever.

  9. @Warren Malach #10

    Dear Warren,
    I’ve voted in favor of your being allowed back on LQ.
    Since a little of you goes a long way, it would be nice to dilute it here with some of your time spent there.
    Safe traveling! 🙂

  10. The thing to keep in mind when reading Luther is that his private writings were elevated to a special place of teaching authority in the Lutheran Church; to wit, he is specifically referred to as “the chief teacher of the churches of the Augsburg Confession.” And so, while his private writings are not regarded as being as normative as the Lutheran Confessions, no Lutheran worth his salt, particularly in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century would ever suggest reading or understanding the Lutheran Confessions in a way that would represent a direct and stark contradiction of what Dr. Luther taught consistently in his theological writings; and of course, this is precisely what some Lutherans have decided to do in the 20th and 21st century on a great host of issues.

    In some confessional Lutheran circles it has even become somewhat a mark of being avant guard to poo-poo Dr. Luther’s writings on these issues of church and ministry.

    It is not walking in the way of our fathers, to be sure, when that happens.

  11. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #13: “In some confessional Lutheran circles it has even become somewhat a mark of being avant guard to poo-poo Dr. Luther’s writings on these issues of church and ministry.”

    Nowadays in some Missouri Synod circles it has even become somewhat a mark of being avant guard to poo-poo Dr. Walther’s writings on issues of church and ministry.

  12. Richard Stricker, aka “Carl Vehse,” well, thanks to the poor translation by J.T. Mueller, which was completed in 1962, but only published much later, it’s no wonder some might have concerns with Church and Ministry. Thankfully, however, the Synod is about to receive a wonderful improvement on JTM’s work, by President Matthew Harrrison.

    I’ve been reviewing the final pages and marvel at what a wonderful job Pastor Harrison has done making clear what JTM made unclear through inconsistent and inaccurate translation of the important technical terms and vocabulary in the discussion.

    It will be out in late October, of this year.

  13. It looks to me like Rev. McCain has repeated in his own words what he understands Pastors Wurst and Osbun to be teaching. Did I miss the post where they confirmed or corrected his understanding?

    I’m quoting from 2 separate but related posts:

    Rev. McCain wrote:
    “With respect, and with a sincere desire for clarity and truth, I remain profoundly troubled that in the discussions about AC V and XIV there were assertions made by BJS staff bloggers that represent a significant departure from what we confess as Lutherans.

    “I understand Pastor Wurst expressed sorrow for misunderstanding Jesus, but when asked to indicate if he had retracted his earlier misstatements, he did not respond. Pastor Osbun flatly refused to respond at all to the voluminous quotations from Dr. Luther.

    “Here is what Osbun and Wurst kept insisting on:

    “(1) A layperson can not speak the Gospel in such a way that it is absolution for sins, but merely/only “assurance.”

    “(2) A layperson is unable ever to pronounce formal absolution to anyone, at any time.

    “(3) A layperson can only forgive sins committed against him/her personality.

    “(4) A layperson can never be sure and certain of forgiveness of all their sins, unless, and until, they hear the absolution spoken by a pastor.

    “I would still like to know if they are continuing to stand by these assertions.”

    More recently, Pastor Richard quoted great advice in “The Need For “Understanding” To Precede Criticism”: Adler and Van Doren offer up a bit of encouragement in handling criticism saying,
    “You yourself may remember when an occasion where someone said to a speaker, in one breath or the most two, ‘I don’t know what you mean, but I think you’re wrong.’ There is actually no point in answering critics of this sort. The only polite thing to do is to ask them to state your position for you, the position they claim to be challenging. If they cannot do it satisfactorily, if they cannot repeat what you have said in their own words, you know that they do not understand, and you are entirely justified in ignoring their criticisms. They are irrelevant, as all criticism must be that is not based on understanding. When you find the rare person who shows that he understands what you are saying as well as you do, then you can delight in his agreement or be seriously disturbed by his dissent.”

    Again, it looks to me like Rev. McCain has repeated in his own words what he understands Pastors Wurst and Osbun to be teaching. Did I miss the post where they confirmed or corrected his understanding?

  14. Pastor Crandall #18: Excuse me, but didn’t Pastor Osbun answer “Yes” to series of questions which I asked him in this forum, which covered points #1-2-3 above, as well as the questions “Can *only* a pastor forgive *all* sins?” and “Does a pastor “embody”
    or “become” Christ to his congregation?” and a final question asking if a layman is *absolutely* prohibited from consecrating the Sacrament of the Altar under *any* conditions? I don’t know about Pastor Wurst, but I believe that Pastor Osbun *did* answer these questions. I have directly as well as through Pastor Scheer tried to thank Pastor Osbun for his candour in answering these questions.

    There are *still* some unanswered questions relative to “Loehist” teachings in the LCMS, such as “Where do LCMS pastors learn these teachings?” “Do these LCMS pastors know that they are teaching contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS?” “Do the pastors who teach “Loehist” doctrines in the LCMS believe that what they are doing is moral and honest, when such teachings are contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS?” As in the 1970s over the doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture taught at CSL, the LCMS needs to investigate what is being taught in its seminaries today about the doctrines of Church & Ministry, so that the synod can judge the situation and deal with those who are responsible for teachings contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS being taught by seminary graduates in LCMS congregations. Does the LCMS have the moral courage to do this as it did in the 1970s, or will the synod allow its congregations and their members to be put into a “Babylonian Captivity” to the clergy of the synod which robs the laity of the private use of the Keys which is theirs through the Royal Priesthood of 1 Peter 2:9?

  15. It would be helpful if the “Loehists” would set forth the passages in Scripture and the Confessions which they believe would support such assertions as that only a pastor can forgive all sins, that only a pastor can say “-I- forgive you…” while a layperson can only forgive sins commited against themselves and otherwise can only announce that God forgives sins, that a pastor “embodies” or “becomes” Christ to his congregation, and that layman cannot under any circumstances consecrate the Sacrament of the Altar.

    With reference to two alleged passages, the Sixth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer does not teach that the laity can only forgive sins commited against themselves. Christ’s statment to His disciples “He who hears you hears Me” does not teach that a pastor “embodies” or “becomes” Christ. With reference to the doctrine of Confession & Absolution, Part V of the Small Catechism, besides not being part of the original Enchiridion of the Small Catechism, isn’t Scripture and therefore is not a source of doctrine unless one repudiates the Formal Principle of the Lutheran Church. In the section on the doctrine of the Ministry, the Brief Statement of the LCMS clearly states the historic teaching of the LCMS that Christ gave the Keys and the Great Commission to the whole Church and not only to pastors. Eph. 4:12 teaches that one of the duties of the Office of the Public Ministry is to equip the laity for “ministry,” while 1 Peter 2:9’s states what the ministry of the Priesthood of All Believers is. The Office of the Public Ministry was given by Christ to the Church so that 1 Cor. 14:40 might be fulfilled in the public administration of the Means of Grace in the Church.

  16. @Warren Malach #19
    “…Part V of the Small Catechism…isn’t Scripture and therefore is not a source of doctrine unless one repudiates the Formal Principle of the Lutheran Church…the Brief Statement of the LCMS clearly states the historic teaching of the LCMS…”

    Wouldn’t the same prinicple you used to reject Part V of the Small Catechism require you to reject also the Brief Statement?

    @Warren Malach #18
    “There are *still* some unanswered questions relative to “Loehist” teachings in the LCMS…”

    I’m also concerned with the teaching from the ditch on the other side that the congregation (meaning the laity as opposed to the pastor) is King or Queen or Top Dog or the Grand Poobah… What is it they like to say? Is it really “supreme”?

    Supreme:
    1.
    highest in rank or authority; paramount; sovereign; chief.
    2.
    of the highest quality, degree, character, importance, etc.: supreme courage.
    3.
    greatest, utmost, or extreme: supreme disgust.
    4.
    last or final; ultimate.

    I suppose it is only indicative of our fallen nature that no one is content being “just” one of the sheep, that we all instead want to be The Boss. In your quest to keep the miter off the pastor, I hope you don’t place it instead on the voters assembly…

  17. Pastor Crandall #22: The Brief Statement simply states the traditional, historic position of the LCMS regarding the doctrine of the Office of the Public Ministry and who are the original possessors of the Keys from Christ. It is not an additional source of doctrine to Scripture, it is an exposition of Scripture. It distinguishes the LCMS from the teachings of Loehe and other false teachers in the Lutheran Church. If you believe that the Brief Statement teaches falsely and does not represent the public doctrine of the LCMS, and/or is not in agreement with later doctrinal statements of the LCMS, please point this out for all of us in this forum to see. Please also point out how the “Loehist” teachings to which Pastor Osbun has said “Yes” agree with or disagree with the public doctrine of the LCMS and how the “Loehists” in the LCMS are in agreement or disagreement with the public doctrine of the LCMS. Then you can explain how, if the “Loehists” are teaching contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS, they are being morally honest to teach contrary to the public doctrine of the synod.

    Are you going to respond to my “still unanswered questions” or substitute your own questions? I see no reason to respond to your questions until you have responded to mine. However, I am curious if you consider “the ditch on the other side” to be the “Loehist” teaching about the Office of the Public Ministry, and that that teaching considers the pastor to be a “King” or “Queen” or “Top Dog” or “Grand Poobah” or “The Boss” of a Christian congregation rather than a “servant” of the congregation to which he has been called. I will agree that I have found that attitude among some of the “Loehist” clergy in this forum in their “quest” to “wear the mitre” of a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox prelate.

    Since congregational polity is only exemplified in the Book of Acts and not commanded, a voters’ assembly cannot be “the substitute” for the Office of the Public Ministry, which is divinely-mandated in Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11-12. However, a voters’ assembly can be the “ecclesia representiva” through which the congregation exercises the Keys in a case of church discipline, with the pastor–to whom the Keys were not directly given by Christ but rather the public administrator of the Keys in the congregation, the Keys having been given directly by Christ to the Church–as the servant of the congregation announcing the decision of the congregation regarding a matter of church discipline.

  18. Did I miss the post where they confirmed or corrected his understanding?

    Apparently what you missed was their steadfast refusal to answer my direct questions and to retract the comments they made, which I, in fact, did accurately represent.

    So, of course, they neither confirmed or corrected anything I posted.

    Their silence speaks volumes, Ted.

  19. The “Loehist” pastors don’t want publicity for what they are doing, because they know that they are teaching contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS, and thus they are not acting openly and honestly as LCMS pastors. They may also recognize that, if they were to identify where they were taught “Loehist” teachings–in seminary–that their seminary professors would not “stand behind them” if the pastors were held accountable for teaching contrary to the public doctrine of the LCMS. They are thus “on their own” in their deceitful attempts to change the public doctrine of the LCMS through the infiltration of LCMS congregations. The “anti-CLM” movement, under the guise of “confessionalism” and “restoring with compliance with AC XIV in the LCMS” is the most “public” thing which they have attempted to use to influence the LCMS’ public doctrine , and once they are identified with that movement, its success may suffer because of it being identified with them.

  20. Yes, Warren, we get it. No need to keep repeating yourself. You are an angry ex-LCMS person, who, curiously, has now embraced WELS confusion re. the ministry. No need to lecture people here, Warren. You’ve got more than enough to attend to you in new found Zion in Wisconsin.

  21. Pastor McCain #24: What is being done in the LCMS about the “Loehist” pastors, Pastor McCain? Is there any doctrinal discipline in the LCMS? Things apparently need to be “repeated” in this forum because of the failure of the LCMS to deal with the problem of “Loehist” teachings in the synod for many years now, as with all of the other problems in the LCMS.

  22. Warren, we get it. You are an angry, bitter, former LCMS, who flamed out in our Synod. Now you are a member of The LCMS. Your obsession with your former Synod is unhealthy.

    If you want to find something to do: how about addressing all the problem in The WELS?

    Or, are you in denial about that?

  23. At the risk of repeating some things already said in this forum, I would like to remind those who wish to be “confessional” Lutherans and who believe that the Scriptures teach in Matt. 16, 18, 28 or other statements of the Great Commission, and John 20 that Christ gave the Keys directly to the Apostles and through them to the pastors, and not directly to the Church through the Apostles, of the following passages from the Confessions: (I quote from the Concordia edition, with thanks to Pastor McCain for his work upon this volume)

    TPPP: Testimony of Scripture, 5 [11]: “In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul makes ministers equal. He also teaches that the Church is superior to {or: more than} the ministers. Superiority or lordship over the Church or the rest of the ministers is not attributed to Peter. For he says, ‘All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas’ [3:21-22]. That is, do not let the other ministers or Peter assume for themselves lordship or superiority over the Church. Do not let them burden the Church with traditions. Do not let the authority of anyone prevail more than {God’s} Word…”

    TPPP: Refutation of Roman Arguments, 24: “In addition, it must be recognized that the Keys belong not to the person of one particular man, but to the Church. Many most clear and firm arguments show this. For Christ, speaking about the Keys, adds, for example, ‘If two of you agree on earth’ (Matthew 18:19). Therefore, He grants the Keys first and directly to the Church. This is why it is first the Church that has the right of calling. {For just as the promise of the Gospel belongs certainly and immediately to the entire Church, so the Keys belong immediately to the entire Church, because the Keys are nothing else than the office whereby this promise is communicated to every one who desires it, just as it is actually manifest that the Church has the power to ordain ministers of the Church. And Christ speaks these words: ‘Whatsoever you shall bind,’ etc., and indicates to whom He has given the Keys, namely, to the Church: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name.’
    Likewise, Christ gives supreme and final jurisdiction to the Church when He says: ‘Tell it unto the Church’}…”

    [Notice, please, that Luther here in the Confessions “defines” the Church from Scripture in the exact same way in which the WELS does, by citing or quoting Matt. 18:19 & 20. The final sentence in the last quotation from the TPPP demonstrates from Luther’s quotation of Matt. 18:17 that he did *not* believe that Matt. 18:17 referred only to the local congregation but to the whole Church.]

    That the traditional doctrine of the Ministry of the LCMS agrees with the above-quoted passages from the Confessions is demonstrated by the following passage from the Brief Statement of 1932:

    Of the Church, Section #30 “The Original and True Possessors of All Christian Rights and Privileges. — Since the Christians are the Church, it is self-evident that they alone originally possess the spiritual gifts and rights which Christ has gained for, and given to, the Church.
    Thus St. Paul reminds all believers: ‘All things are yours,’ 1 Cor. 3:21, 22, and Christ Himself commits to all believers the keys of the kingdom of heaven, Matt. 16:13-19; 18:17-20; John 20:22, 23, and commissions all believers to preach the Gospel and to administer the Sacraments, Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25. Accordingly, we reject all doctrines by which this spiritual power or any part thereof is adjudged as originally vested in certain individuals or bodies, such as the Pope, or the bishops, or the order of the ministry, or the secular lords, or councils, or synods, etc. The officers of the Church publicly administer their offices only by virtue of delegated powers, conferred on them by the original possessors of such powers, and such administration remains under the supervision of the latter, Col. 4:17.
    Naturally all Christians have also the right and the duty to judge and decide matters of doctrine, not according to their own notions, of course, but according to the Word of God, 1 John 4:1; 1 Peter 4:11.”

    Those who teach that Christ gave the Keys directly to the Apostles and through them to pastors, rather than through the Apostles as representatives of the Church directly to the Church, citing such passages as Matt. 16, 18, 28 or other statements of the Great Commission, and John 20, are teaching contrary to the Lutheran Confessions and to the public doctrine of the LCMS which is based directly upon the Confessions. Such false teachers are causing “divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine” (Rom. 16:17) of the Lutheran Church as stated in its Confessions, and of the LCMS, as stated in the synod’s own doctrinal statements, and Scripture commands orthodox Christians to “avoid them.” What they are teaching is divisive of fellowship in the Church. Will the LCMS exercise doctrinal discipline in the synod by investigating these false teachings and holding those who teach them accountable?

  24. My apologies for having said “Luther” rather than “Melanchthon” with reference to the authorship of TPPP in my last post.

  25. Yes, Warren, you are just repeating yourself.

    We all understand.

    You are angry, upset, frustrated. You feel like you wasted 30 years in The LCMS (that’s what you told me).

    There is very little use for you to keep posting your tirades and lengthy posts on this forum.

  26. Shouldn’t the exchange of personal comments be limited to emails?  How do personal comments improve our understanding of the issues?   

    I think we need some moderator intervention again.

  27. I have moderated out the private comments.

    I encourage Warren and Paul to carry on their private conversation in words better than those that I have seen in those comments.

    If the discussion does not return to the point of this posting I will shut down commenting.