Steadfast Office – Is AC V Alive?
Associate Editor’s Note: Please remember Pastor Wurst, his congregation and the whole community of Duluth, MN in your prayers as they have been recently struck with horrible flooding.
Is AC V Still Alive?
In my post on the Steadfast Office – The Divine Call (here), I spoke about the meaning and necessity of the rite vocatus, that is, the right call or the right vocation. Some people disagreed with me. They rested their argument, that is, their defense, on ordination giving the man the right and duty to preach the Word of God and to administer the Sacraments rightly.
I agree with The Rev. Dr. C.F.W. Walther that it is the Call that makes the man a pastor. The ordination rite is a public ratification of Christ’s Call and sending to preach, teach, and to administer the Sacraments rightly. (Walther, Church & Ministry, 164-165)
This brings us back to A.D. 1989 when The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) officially abolished the Confessional teaching of the rite vocatus (the right call) and passed resolution forsaking/abolishing Augustana XIV.
If the LC—MS abolished Article XIV, making it possible for any man to preach the Word of God and administer the sacraments, then what’s stopping her from allowing women to preach? Why do men still have to go to the seminary to study the doctrine as St. Paul writes, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Tim. 4:16)
So, if Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession is gone, is Article V still alive?
Let’s take a look at Article V and see what the Reformers say to the world:
1] That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, 2] the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear 3] the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.
4] They condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Ghost comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works. [endnote 1]
Is the Predigtamt, Preaching Office, for anyone? Can anyone or everyone do what the Lord Jesus commands to be done in this holy office, that is, preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments?
Dr. Walther in his Kirche und Amt (Church and Ministry), states:
“Although Holy Scripture attests that all believing Christians are priests (1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6, 5:10), it at the same time teaches very expressly that in the church there is an office to teach, feed, and rule, which Christians by virtue of their general calling as Christians do not possess. (161)
Hear the Word of the Lord.
In his first Epistle to the Church in Corinth, St. Paul writes, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?” (1 Cor. 12:29)
Later, in his Epistle to the Church in Rome, he writes, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
Later, St. James writes in his Epistle to the Church, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)
The blessed Doctor Luther wrote these words in his Letter to Eberhard yon der Tanhen Concerning the Sneaks and Secret Preachers: [endnote 2]
“The secular government [Amt] must also see to it … and like the spiritual government must insist on the call, asking the sneak or his host: ‘Where do you come from? Who has sent you?’ and so forth, as stated above. In addition it must ask the host: ‘Who commanded you to shelter the sneak and to listen to his sneaky preaching? How do you know that the sneak has been commanded to teach you or that you are to learn of him? Why did you not inform the pastor or the government? Why do you forsake your church in which you were baptized, instructed, confirmed, and to which, according to God’s order, you belong, hiding yourself in a corner? Who has given you power to split the parish and to create factions among us? Who has taught you to despise your pastor, to judge him, and behind his back to condemn him before he had a hearing or was accused? Why have you become such a judge of your pastor, indeed, your own judge?’
“All such wrongs, and many more, everyone commits who cleaves to the sneaks, and therefore he should justly be charged with them. I have good hopes that if the [secular] government would be diligent in this matter, it would be of great help, and many pious persons would help to make known such vagabonds, if they would know what great danger is connected with the sneaks and that the call or command matters so much. If we would not insist firmly on the call or command, there would at last remain no more church. For as the sneaks now come to us, desiring to split up and destroy our churches, so later other sneaks would invade, split up, and destroy their churches, and there never will be an end to the sneaking and splitting up, one after the other, and soon nothing will be left of the church on earth. That is just what the devil wants and tries to do by these factious spirits and sneaks.
“Therefore, you either prove your call and command, or you keep silence and quit preaching. For it is called an office and indeed an office of preaching. But no one can have an office except and without a command or call. [endnote 3]
If the LC—MS has already abolished Article XIV, and the congregations can let anyone preach and administer the sacraments, is it still Church? Are we just playing around with the idea of Church? Is it business where the lobbyists get what they want through coercion, corruption, and sin?
How far do we go? Do we march through the Lutheran Confessions and say, if we’ve axed XIV, then V is dead? What happens to IV, the very foundation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church? Well, if the Church is gone, then justification was for nothing. Keep going. If IV isn’t valid, then what about III – the Son of God? Where does it end? Maybe after we get rid of Article II, then we’ll be alright. We’ll have joined the ranks and file of a monotheistic world. No sin. No Savior. No faith. Just good moral deeds and eternal condemnation.
 Concordia Triglotta, German-Latin-English, online edition found at bookofconcord.org
 Walther, C. (1999). Church and ministry : Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church on the question of the church and the ministry (electronic ed.) (167-168, 173). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
 Walther, C. (1999). Church and ministry : Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church on the question of the church and the ministry (electronic ed.) (167–168). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.