It is just another normal day as yet another pastor is thrown out by the congregation God has called him to serve. Is he being ousted for Biblical reasons? Is he being thrown out because he is teaching heresy? Is he being thrown out because he is openly living contrary to the Word of God? No, no, and no. He is being thrown out because the congregation has simply decided that they don’t want to hear God’s Word from their called pastor any longer.
This is where a faithful ecclesiastical supervisor would step in and call the congregation to repentance, reminding them that the pastor speaks Christ’s Word to them on Christ’s behalf – “The one who hears you hears me.” (Luke 10:16) This is where a faithful ecclesiastical supervisor would step in and call the congregation to repentance, reminding them that rejecting Christ’s called pastor is rejecting Christ – “The one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects Him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)
However, when you don’t have faithful ecclesiastical supervisors, the congregation is not called to repentance. The congregation is affirmed and hardened in their sin. The congregation is led to believe that what they are doing is perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God and that throwing their pastor and his family out onto the street is even pleasing to God and good for the church.
Would it surprise anyone to know that the pastor’s predecessor was also thrown out? Of course not. They went through a short period of vacancy and then our ecclesiastical supervisors sent them a seminary candidate. That’s typical and common.
Some readers might get the idea that they know which congregation I’m writing about, but this is so characteristic that it could at the same time be about any number of congregations. Faithful pastors being thrown out of their congregations or their lives being made miserable and being pressured to resign are hallmarks of Lutheranism today.
On the other side of the same coin, it is the faithless pastors who are too often supported by our ecclesiastical supervisors. For instance, a neighboring pastor to the one being thrown out. Open communion? Check. Grape juice for communion? Check. Methodist hymns? Check. Teaching heresy? Double check. Telling people to remain in sin instead of repenting? Interfering with other pastors’ ministry by telling their members not to repent when their own pastor has called them to repentance? Communing the unbaptized? Telling people who don’t want to eat Christ’s body to touch it to their tongue and then throw it in the garbage? Check, check, check, check, check.
Faithless pastors are leading people astray, while faithless ecclesiastical supervisors watch on. Such ecclesiastical supervisors are the devil’s accomplices. Instead of overseeing sinners called to repentance, they are overseeing sinners being hardened in their sin. They are overseeing the devil leading people to hell, and by their lack of action and discipline and by their affirmation of people’s sin, they are the devil’s accomplices.
What to do? If you want to file charges against a faithless pastor, our system immediately turns to secrecy. The one laying charges is muzzled and is not permitted to talk about the situation or the heretic being charged, while the heretic keeps on teaching false doctrine and practicing every vile practice. You cannot warn the sheep you have been called to protect and care for. And to top it off, nothing is ever resolved anyway. Heretics are never thrown out of office. They retire or leave as they themselves see fit.
O Lord, look down from heav’n, behold
And let Thy pity waken;
How few are we within Thy fold,
Thy wretched saints forsaken.
Thy Word men shall not let remain,
And faith is well-nigh sought in vain
Among all Adam’s children.
They teach a false and idle word
Which their own wits have founded;
Their hearts are not with one accord
On God’s pure doctrine grounded.
Each seeks in his own way to guide,
And so Thy people they divide,
Though fair be their appearance.
God surely will uproot the ones
Who with their lies enclose us
And who with bold and haughty tongues
Say, “Who would dare oppose us?
We have the right and might alone,
What we determine shall be done,
Who then shall be our master?”
Therefore saith God, “I must arise,
The poor see devastation
And unto Me have come their sighs,
I’ve heard their lamentation.
My saving Word upon the plain
Shall fight My foes with might and main,
The poor with strength upholding.”
As silver sev’n times tried by fire
Is found right purely shining,
So doth God’s Word our trust require
Until its full refining.
When through the cross it shall be tried,
Then shall its strength and light abide
As in all lands it shineth.
Preserve Thy Word e’er pure and free
From this vile generation,
And keep us subject unto Thee,
Safe from their infiltration.
The godless ev’rywhere abound,
Where’er such wicked men are found
Exalted midst Thy people.
Martin Luther’s Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein from lutheranchoralebook.com