Promises to the Pastoral Office – Chemnitz in Walther’s Kirche und Amt.

July 13th, 2011 Post by

Found from the blog Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison. Starting with a short statement from Pastor Harrison:


I continue working on the re-edit/translation of Walther’s great “Church and Office.” Many gems worth sharing.

[Martin] Chemnitz: “The fact that the Son of God has instituted the office [Amt] of the Word and sacraments also in the New Testament cannot be doubted. The church has been commanded to call and install [bestellen] ministers [Diener], and to this has been added, in the first place, the promise that God approves the of those who have been called by voice of the church [Stimme der Kirche] and have been set apart for this office [Amt]. Thus Paul declares in Acts 20:28 that those were called mediately by the Holy Spirit to feed the congregation of God [Gemeinde Gottes]. In Eph. 4:11 we are told that the Son of God gives not only the apostles but also the pastors and teachers [Hirten und Lehrer] who are called mediately as his gifts.

“In the second place, there is added the promise that God will grant His grace and gifts in order that those who are called legitimately [rechtmaessig] may by these (gifts) rightly, faithfully, and successfully perform and execute everything pertaining to their office [Amt]. ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20:22). ‘He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures’ (Luke 24:45). ‘Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matt. 28:20). ‘Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands [Handauflegung] of the presbytery [Aeltesten]’ (1 Tim. 4:14). ‘Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands’ (2 Tim. 1:6). ‘I will give you a mouth and wisdom’ (Luke 21:15). ‘It will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you’ (Matt. 10:19–20).

“In the third place, there is added also the promise that God will be with the preaching office [Predigtamt] and that through His blessing the planting and watering shall have growth, as well as that through the office [Amt] He will be truly efficacious, calling, illuminating, converting, and working repentance, faith, the new birth, regeneration: in short, that He will through the office [Amt] carry out the whole matter of salvation. ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them’; etc. (John 20:22–23). ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven’ (Matt. 16:19). “It is the office [Amt] not of the letter, rather of the Spirit, which makes alive; It removes the veil from the heart, that you are converted and freed; that we with with an unveiled face see the glory of the Lord, and in his image are glorified.’ (2 Cor. 3:6). ‘Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 3:6). ‘God … has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors [Botschafter] in Christ’s place, as though God were pleading through us’ (2 Cor. 5:19–20). ‘Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you’ (2 Cor. 13:3). ‘He gave gifts to men. […] He Himself gave some to be apostles, shepherds [Hirten], teachers [Lehrer], that the saints be equiped for the word of the office [Amt], for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Chirst[…] that we not be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine’ (Eph. 4:8–14). ‘God … gives the increase’ (1 Cor. 3:7). ‘Your labor is not in vain in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 15:58). ‘Through whom we have received grace and apostleship [Apostelamt] for obedience to the faith …. That I may impart to you some spiritual gift …. The Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes’ (Rom. 1:5; 11:16). ‘Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. For in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you’ (1 Tim. 4:16). ‘In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel’ (1 Cor. 4:15).

“These most gracious and sweet promises concerning the preaching office [Predigtamt] we must, as it were, publicly exhibit in the church in order that the dignity of the office [Amt] might be glorified against the fanatics [Schwaermer], that those entrusted with the office [Amt] may with all the greater joy take on themselves its hardships and endure its difficulties, and that men might learn to regard the preaching office [Predigtamt] with reverence” (Examen Concilii Tridentini, “De sacr. ordin., ” fol. 579).
Kirche und Amt, p. 237f.

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  1. Carl Vehse
    July 13th, 2011 at 14:44 | #1

    The translated excerpt from Martin Chemnitz comes from Walther’s Thesis II on the Ministry under Part 3, “Zeugnisse der Kirche in der Privatschriften ihrer Lehrer” (Testimonies of the Church in the private writings of their teachers) (Die Stimme unserer Kirche in der Frage von Kirche und Amt, 1875, pp.198-201).

  2. Carl Vehse
    July 13th, 2011 at 19:01 | #2

    In the sixth line of the Chemnitz excerpt, the word, Amt (ministry or office), is missing: “God approves the _____ of those who have been called by voice of the church [Stimme der Kirche] and have been set apart for this office [Amt].”

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