To Ensure That Every Man who Pastors is a Pastor


WHEREAS, in certain situations today, the Synod approves of preaching and administration of the sacraments by men who have not been publicly called to and placed in the office of the ministry (this position is expressed, e.g., in 1989 Resolution 3-05B, “. . . when no pastor is available, and in the absence of any specific Scriptural directives to the contrary, congregations may arrange for the performance of these distinctive functions [preaching and administering the sacraments] by qualified individuals”); and

WHEREAS, the Augsburg Confession’s fourteenth article reads, “Concerning church government it is taught that no one should publicly teach, preach, or administer the sacraments without a proper [public] call” (KW p. 46); and

WHEREAS, the systematic theology faculties of both seminaries, acting jointly, have published a detailed statement on “The Office of the Holy Ministry” (Concordia Journal 33.3 [July 2007]: 242-255) which states in part,

“The Confessions never use the truth that the whole church possesses the power of the keys to make the office of the holy ministry unnecessary or merely useful. On the contrary, this truth serves as the basis for the church’s right to call, choose, and ordain ministers. . . . [T]he Treatise [on the Power and Primacy of the Pope] does not imagine churches without ordained ministers of some kind, even in emergency situations or when no one else will call and ordain men for the office. As confessors of the same doctrine, neither should we. . . .

“'[C]all and ordination’ are essential for conduct of the ministry. . . .What is the sign of authority for ministers today? It is their call and ordination, which assure that they act by divine right and on the authority of Christ. This truth makes such ideas as “lay ministers” invitations for difficulties and troubles to ministers whose authority is doubtful and to laypersons whose assurance of God’s grace may be questioned.” (pp. 253-254, 255); and,

WHEREAS, the Synod has now implemented a Specific Ministry Pastor Program to allow a more convenient path to ordination into the Office of the Ministry; and

WHEREAS, the ((DISTRICT)), a geographically and demographically diverse district stretching from the inner-city streets to the sparsely-populated hills and fields, continues to see to it that only men publicly called to and placed in the office of the ministry conduct Word and Sacrament ministry in each of its 100+ mission outposts; and

WHEREAS, the substance of this resolution was forwarded to the Synod Convention in 2010 by the Northern, Central, and Southern Illinois districts, who together represent more than 10% of the Synod’s membership, and yet was not taken up by the Synod’s floor committee,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the ((DISTRICT)) in convention express its regret at the current situation in the Synod at large concerning men who are conducting Word and Sacrament ministry without being publicly called to and placed in the office of the ministry; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the ((DISTRICT)) in convention memorialize the Synod in convention to direct the Board for Pastoral Education and the Council of Presidents to develop and implement a plan to ensure that A) all men who are currently engaged in Word and Sacrament ministry without being publicly called to and placed in the office of the ministry may either be enrolled in the SMP program or cease from all forms of Word and Sacrament ministry by the end of 2016, and B) all current Synod and District tracks, programs, licensing procedures etc., which train men for Word and Sacrament ministry without benefit of being publicly called to and placed in the office of the ministry can be phased out in favor of SMP by the end of 2016.

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