Great Stuff — President Matthew Harrison’s Q & A at the Northwest District Convention

Thanks to Scott Diekmann, this was found on his blog Stand Firm

 

Here is the video of President Harrison’s appearance at the recent LCMS Northwest District Convention. It’s well worth watching. A few highlights:

At 31:38, President Harrison addresses his view of the implementation of the new synodical structure that was imposed at the last national convention.

At 34:50, his views on women’s ordination and the role of women in the church.

At 41:30, how he exercises ecclesiastical supervision.

At 48:30, what the plan is for the National Youth Gatherings.

At 50:40, his view on Licensed Deacons.

At 55:51 begins the long conversation regarding an LCMS pastor who communes with his wife at an ELCA church. First a pastor asks President Harrison about this case, followed by the unionistic pastor’s sister.

At 1:05:36 is the conversation with the pastor who doesn’t know if homosexual attraction is sinful. Listen closely. This pastor embraces Gospel reductionism.

At 1:17:17, President Harrison’s thoughts on the Specific Ministry Pastor Program.

 

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — President Matthew Harrison’s Q & A at the Northwest District Convention — 97 Comments

  1. @Mark Schulz #50
    I am looking forward to listening to this entire Q&A session by our excellent SP when I can scrape up a few hours, but as to the diaconate: we’ve got the example of Acts, reams of specific statements on the duties of deacons from the fathers, and a history of rigidly defined duties going back to Nicaea (at least) all saying the same thing. Deacons serve with pastors (not as lone rangers) and it’s the pastors who preside at the Lord’s Supper, and absolve penitents.
    I’m afraid “some cases” don’t feed the bulldog. “Exceptions make poor laws.”- Dr. M. Luther.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  2. Matt: First of all, random quotes from Luther which are not from the Confessions do not create or confirm doctrine in the Lutheran Church; only Scripture establishes doctrine, and Scripture does *not* forbid an “extraordinary” lay consecration of the Sacrament of the Altar in the absence of a pastor and with the permission of the congregation. Any attempt to prohibit such a lay consecration is thus by human law and thus legalism and Pharisaism if it is used to bind consciences.

    Secondly, we are *not* explicitly told in Scripture *all* that the deacons did or didn’t do. Two of them publicly preached the Word of God, Stephen in Acts 7 and Philip in Acts 8. When we move from Scripture into Church history, we *are* told that the deacons functioned independently of the “elders/bishops/pastors” in such matters as taking the Sacrament to the sick. Also the fact that deacons were allowed to bless marriages and conduct funerals demonstrates tht they functioned independently of pastors, or otherwise the pastor himself would have been officiating at such services.

    Once again, there is *no* Scriptural limitation on what deacons can do; Scripture clearly teaches in Acts 7 & 8 that they *did* do more than take care of the distribution of food as per Acts 6.

    Whether you approve of the practice or not, in 1980-81 I vicared from CTSFW in a rural Kansas congregation without a pastor, and, as agreed to by the congregation, the district, and the seminary, I did everything in the public worship of the congregation, including officiating at Communion, and except for the one wedding held in the congregation that year, for which the pastor of a neighboring congregation was brought in to do the vows and sign the wedding certificate, while I had the rest of the service. My “bishop” was the circuit counselor of a different circuit, such that I had to go to two different circuit meetings each month, one for my congregation and one to meet with my “bishop.” I was considered to be “under the supervision” of my “bishop.” Now I ask: What is so very different from that situation with that of a CLM who serves a congregation with the agreement of the congregation, the district, and the CLM program, and remains “under the supervision” of his “bishop”? And *why* wouldn’t ordination into a diaconal ministry *satisfy* AC XIV?

    Of course, I have to add to this whole subject the question of *why* is the CLM program being “picked on” as something which keeps the LCMS from being “orthodox,” rather than the 68-year heterodoxy of the LCMS position on fellowship and the 43-year heterodoxy of the LCMS position on the role of women in the Church (woman suffrage and office-holding)? Are these two *older* and *longer* examples of heterodoxy in the LCMS simply “too big” to take on, and going after the CLM program “easier”? Why not “man up” to dealing with these other errors, which are *much* more widespread in the LCMS than the CLM program ever was?

  3. @Warren Malach #2
    Mr. Malach (MDiv),
    Find me a layman, (or congregational voters’ assembly) refered to as a “steward of the mysteries of God” in Scripture. Let’s start there.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  4. Matt #4: Find me the evidence in the New Testament from comparing 1 Cor. 4:1 with any of the other uses of the term “mystery” in the NT that 1 Cor. 4:1 has anything *at all* to do with the administration of the Sacraments, other than sloppy exegesis! There is a “tradition” of “reading into” the text the later Eastern Orthodox term for the Divine Liturgy which has absolutely *nothing* to do with the text. I’ll gladly take on the use of the passage by the WELS, LCMS, or anyone else. It is false exegesis, without any support from the use of the word “mystery” in the rest of the NT.

    But if you want an answer to your question, *any* layman who has been asked by his congregation to administer the Sacrament in the absence of his pastor and has thus been given the *same* kind of “temporary call” as is given to a CRM or retired pastor who *also* lacks an AC XIV call, and who thus *is* the pastor of the congregation for that service administering the Sacrament of Altar, would be a valid administator of the Sacrament, simply because there is *no* passage in Scripture which forbids it. The prohibition of the practice is based exclusively upon human tradition, and when that human tradition is used to bind consciences, it is the sin of legalism and Pharisaism.

    Brandt #3: It must have been an experience to hear from a church leader who is trying to uphold the freedom of the Church not to be bound by human tradition and the legalism which so often comes from it in the name of “confessionalism.”

  5. I would like to encourage anyone who has questions about the correct understanding of the “mysteries of God” referred to in 1 Cor. 4:1 to turn to their LUTHERAN STUDY BIBLE and read the glossary entry for “mystery” on page 1903, and the notes for 1 Cor. 14:2 on page 1968. It is encouraging to see how the LSB has dismissed the traditional false exegesis of this phrase to make it appear that it is a specific reference to the administration of the Sacraments.

    That pastors are the “ordinary” public administrators of the Means of Grace in the local congregation is not being disputed. What is being disputed is that there is any Scriptural prohibition on a layman admnistering the Sacrament of the Altar in the absence of the pastor and with the permission of the Church (congregation.) Since Scripture makes no such prohibition, those who try to make one that is binding on consciences are legalists.

  6. Getting a chance to really listen…

    I love how pastoral Pres. Harrison is. But also, he is adept politically, not wide-eyed naive to the challenges of his office. As per some of the comments from Harry Edmon and a quip from Rev. McCall, I would consider NWD to be a bit of “hostile territory” for Pres. Harrison. The 34:50 highlight about the role of women, he used softer gloves while being firm. Back in November when he spoke at a one-day seminary at Bronxville, he flat-out stated that there will be pretty much no discussion on women’s ordination. He stated Scripture is clear, we have talked plenty, and he has seen how divisive it was in Australia to keep it open-ended for so long. But in Northwest he used gentler language, which is also good and appropirate. He surely can shepherd a flock.

  7. @Warren Malach #6

    The Apology teaches (on the basis of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians) that “the one minister who consecrates gives the body and blood of the Lord to the rest of the people, just as a minister who preaches sets forth the gospel to the people, as Paul says [1 Cor. 4:1], ‘Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries [God’s sacraments],’ that is, of the gospel and the sacraments. And 2 Corinthians 5:20, ‘So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. …'”

    In the original Latin of the Apology as cited above, St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 4:1 appear as follows: Sic nos existimet homo tamquam ministros Christi dispensatores sacramentorum Dei. This was Philip Melanchthon’s own rendering from the Greek. He did not here employ the standard Vulgate translation of this verse. This suggests that he was not satisfied with the Vulgate translation: sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi et dispensatores mysteriorum Dei. The most noticeable difference between Melanchthon’s rendering and the Vulgate rendering is that the Vulgate had simply transliterated the Greek term mysterion or “mysteries,” while Melanchthon translated that term, as sacramentorum or “sacraments.” In view of this deliberate added precision in translation, the Apology would seem to be presenting this verse to us as an inspired statement specifically concerning the administration of the New Testament means of grace, with the understanding that this is the definitive task that God entrusts to his called “stewards.”

    According to the traditional, pre-Reformation interpretation, the word “mysteries,” as it is used in this passage, is indeed synonymous with the word “sacraments.” At the beginning of his treatise on “The Mysteries,” for example, St. Ambrose tells his catechumens that the time has come “to speak of the mysteries and to set forth the very purpose of the sacraments.” The Apology does not reject this understanding, although it does add the important clarifying point that the “mysteries of God” are more fully to be understood as “the gospel and the sacraments” – that is, as the means of grace in general. And perhaps this will also help us to remember – and more faithfully to put into practice! – Lutheranism’s uniquely “sacramental” theology of preaching:

    “To the Lutheran the sermon, as the preached Word, is a means of grace. Through it the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth. It is a constant offer of pardon; a giving of life, as well as a nourishing and strengthening of life. In the Reformed churches the sermon is apt to be more hortatory and ethical. It partakes more of the sacrificial than of the sacramental character. The individuality of the preacher, the subjective choice of a text, the using of it merely for a motto, the discussion of secular subjects, the unrestrained platform style, lack of reverence, lack of dignity, and many other faults are common, and are not regarded as unbecoming the messenger of God in His temple. Where there is a properly trained Lutheran consciousness such things repel, shock, and are not tolerated” (George Henry Gerberding).

  8. If we want to see what deacons did or did not do in the past, why are we not looking into the Roman and Eastern practice? Just for information, you know. Arguably they have a decent grip on the question at hand. Another point Pr. Harrison made regarding so-called female pastors: did he say something to the effect of “I wish we had them?” but our theology of course doesn’t allow even the consideration or debate? I’m confused.

  9. If a layman is called by a congregation to officiate at the administration of the Lord’s Supper, and to be in charge of admitting, or declining to admit, communicants thereto, he is thereby called to be a “steward of the mysteries of God” within that congregation. In other words, he is no longer a layman strictly speaking, but has become the (emergency) “pastor.”

    The next question, is if this is what such a congregation should have done. Was their circumstance enough of an emergency to justify a breach of the ordinary order of vocation, by which a man would be recognized as eligible for a pastoral call if he has received a specialized pastoral education, if he has been formally examined and determined to be competent as a pastor, and if he has been judged by the larger fraternal and ecclesial fellowship of the congregation as qualified for a ministry of pastoral oversight in its midst (that is, by being on the “clergy roster” or on the roster of “ordained ministers”).

  10. Dr. Webber: Yes, that’s the whole problem: “traditional” interpretations, which may or may not be exegetically sound. The Brief Statement #48 states that a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions does not bind one to “purely exegetical questions.”

    If the Sacrament of the Altar is a Means of Grace in the Church, to forbid its administration because of human laws is legalism. To justify such a prohibition upon the basis of perceived “necessity” is rationalism.

  11. @David Jay Webber #10
    If the layman in question was not called through the established proper rite by which men are set apart for the office of the ministry (ordination), this is clear violation of AC XIV’s “… nisi rite vocatus.” The fact that the sem didn’t teach our pastors Latin doesn’t mean they are free to use shoddy translations to approve whatever practices they like.

  12. @Warren Malach #11

    Every article of faith must have a Scriptural basis. My point is that the article of faith that deals with the divinely-revealed necessity for a proper and orderly public administration of the means of grace in the church, has 1 Corinthians 4:1 as one of its bases. In this particular case, the Apology does not just say that it is a doctrine that pastors do this and that. It says, in effect, that it is a doctrine that 1 Corinthians 4:1 is to be read as teaching that pastors do this and that. So, the “traditional” interpretation is actually the correct interpretation. Can you prove to me that the Apology is wrong on this? Why do you seem to have so much invested in refuting the Apology’s interpretation and application of this verse?

    This is how John Brug speaks to this question, on pp. 118-19 of his book The Ministry of the Word:

    “Speaking of his stewardship of the gospel, Paul says, ‘Men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things [the mysteries] of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful’ (1 Co 4:1,2). The mysteries of God are commonly understood to include the sacraments. The power of the sacraments is not dependent on ordination or on the person of the administrator, but the pastor is responsible for how the sacraments are administered. The administration of the Lord’s Supper involves spiritual judgment. Decisions commonly need to be made by the administrator about who is properly prepared to receive the Sacrament, both in public worship services and in the visitation of shut-ins. At times, there is a responsibility to exclude some from receiving the Sacrament. This requires a shepherd’s knowledge of the sheep, and it is definitely the work of spiritual oversight. This means that administration of the Lord’s Supper will normally remain with the pastor, even if others are trained to assist him with the distribution. The kind of disorder that arose in the Lord’s Supper at Corinth is most easily prevented if the administration is in the hands of properly prepared pastors. Lutheran teachers have debated whether or not a layperson should ever consecrate and administer the Lord’s Supper. Many orthodox dogmaticians said that even in the case of emergency, this should not be done. They felt that the need for the Lord’s Supper was never a true emergency like the need for Baptism. As an example, Baier is cited: ‘When there is a lack of ordinary ministers, and a faithful man anxiously desires this sacrament, it is better for him to be persuaded that spiritual eating is sufficient and to show the danger of other temptations which could arise if the sacrament were administered by another without a legitimate call and therefore with a dubious mind and result.’ This may be considered to be a reasonable opinion, but we cannot demonstrate that it is an absolute, scriptural rule. How about a third choice: an orderly call to a member of the group to serve as the temporary pastor of the group. Cases of war and extreme isolation might provide exceptional cases. But even in the cases of isolated members, we make a concerted effort to reach them with pastoral care for the sacraments. There is no doubt that laypeople can perform valid baptisms in cases of emergency. But since Baptism is the sacrament of initiation through which people enter the church, under normal circumstances it is administered by the called ministers of the church in the name of the church.”

    Notice what Brug is really talking about when he says that “administration of the Lord’s Supper will normally remain with the pastor.” He is not referring to times when the pastor is away on vacation for a couple weeks, or to a time of vacancy when a vacancy pastor can actually come from time to time to commune the members, as the kind of “abnormal” circumstances when an untrained and unordained man may be called to function as pastor. What he has in mind as valid exceptional situations are situations such as “Cases of war and extreme isolation.”

  13. Paul Becker :did he say something to the effect of “I wish we had them?” but our theology of course doesn’t allow even the consideration or debate? I’m confused.

    I took that as tongue in cheek. If we allowed them, we wouldn’t have the constant begging for them. But then e_ca has them and more than a few there are not happy about it, so we would have the fight anyway. It also shows how it is not one’s emotions or felt needs that determine doctrine, but sola Scriptura (and clear reason, of the Holy Spirit-led kind). Hence, at Bronxville last November, he pretty much said “Scripture has spoken. We don’t have them.”

  14. @Matthew Mills #12

    Rite vocatus means called in a regular manner by a proper public authority. This is not a matter of ‘ritual'” (footnote in Kolb/Wengert p. 47). This understanding of the meaning of the phrasing of AC XIV is confirmed by Johann Affelmann, an early 17th-century commentator, who states:

    “The words of Dr. Georg Major, repeated by Dr. Leonhard Hutter, are very true: that a doctorate is a special testimony of a call to the ministry; that doctoral promotions of theologians are nothing other than a public commendation of the evangelical ministry according to apostolic rite; that the promotion itself is a true, legitimate, and solemn ordination to the ministry. This is the opinion of Luther and of all genuine Lutherans” (quoted in Gerhard, On the Ecclesiastical Ministry, Part One, p. 207).

    It was the view of Luther and others, who lived in the timeframe of the drafting of AC XIV, that Lutheran doctors of theology, by virtue of their promotion ritual, had thereby been placed into the “evangelical ministry,” even though their promotion ritual did not include the laying on of hands.

    Remember, too, that the Apology observes that in the time of the ancient Fathers, when a church called a new pastor, “the bishop of either that church or a neighboring one came and confirmed the candidate by the laying on of hands. Ordination was nothing other than such confirmation.”

  15. @David Jay Webber #15
    Thank you pastor,
    I’m pretty sure my pastor has a Kolb/Wengert, and I’ll take a look, but my 9 pound Oxford Latin Dictionary disagrees. Linguistically, “ritus” means precisely “ritual” or “rite” (and the Latin “rite” is simply the adverbial form of the noun “ritus.”) Trying to read the Latin “rite vocatus” as “called in a regular manner by a proper public authority” is like reading the sentence: “The orthodox rabbi asked if the chicken salad was kosher” and insisting on the word “kosher” taking the figurative meaning of “genuine, legitimate, or proper.” If an orthodox rabbi uses the word “kosher” in a sentence about chicken, it would be linguistically challenging to conclude that he wasn’t referring to dietary restrictions, and if a 16th century theologian uses the Latin word “rite” in a sentence about ecclesiastical order, I have to conclude that he is referring to a churchly rite.
    Additionally, if the 16th C Reformers believed that there was a proper manner other than the rite of ordination to set a man apart for public word and sacrament ministry, I find their silence on this point in Apology XIV as problematic (if not disingenuous) given the wording of the Roman Confutation.
    Thanks again, and I’ll give p. 47 a look.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  16. Matt: Do you believe that ordination is absolutely necessary for a someone to function in the Office of the Public Ministry? The Brief Statement rejects that error, and as far as I am aware, so does the LCMS of today. Do you believe that the LCMS teaches and practices error with reference to the doctrine of the Ministry?

    Dr. Webber: There is no exegetical basis for the assertion that “mysteries of God” is referring to the administration of the Sacraments. This being a “purely exegetical question,” to disagree with such an exegesis in the Confessions in no way impacts a quia subscription to the Confessions.

    Michael: Frankly, I LIKE women in the Church! I wouldn’t be without them!

    With reference to the ROLE of women in the Church, with the LCMS, WELS, ELS, and other conservative synods, I believe that 1 Cor. 14 & 1 Tim. 2 prohibit women from voting, holding office, or being a pastor. The 1969 Denver LCMS Convention which authorized women to vote and hold office in the LCMS was one of the “last gasps” of liberal control of the synod, along with the approval of fellowship with TALC. The fact that “conservatives” in the LCMS have, since 1969, come to accept the heterodoxy of woman suffrage and office-holding in the synod is a tragic example of how to “boil the frog in the pot by slowing raising the heat.” When the Scriptural doctrine of fellowship is not practiced, and one continues to fellowship with error, one will be influenced by that error into the acceptance of it or doctrinal indifference: “a little leaven leaventh the whole lump…”

  17. Whoops, I blew THAT one! “With the LCMS, WELS, ELS, and other conservative syods…” should have omitted reference to the LCMS, since the LCMS DOES allow women to vote and hold office in the Church! If I was going to mention the LCMS, I should have said “the LCMS until 1969,” but then I’d have to say that I agree with the LCMS on fellowship “until 1944 or before, with reference to the military chaplaincy.” Anyway, I agree with “old Missouri” on fellowship and the role of women in the Church, when the Missouri Synod (not yet the “LCMS”) agreed with the rest of the Synodical Conference that full agreement in doctrine was necessary for any expression of fellowship, including “prayer fellowship,” and that women were prohibited by Scripture from voting, holding office, or being pastors in the Church.

  18. Warren Malach :
    Whoops, I blew THAT one! “With the LCMS, WELS, ELS, and other conservative syods…” should have omitted reference to the LCMS, since the LCMS DOES allow women to vote and hold office in the Church! If I was going to mention the LCMS, I should have said “the LCMS until 1969,” but then I’d have to say that I agree with the LCMS on fellowship “until 1944 or before, with reference to the military chaplaincy.” Anyway, I agree with “old Missouri” on fellowship and the role of women in the Church, when the Missouri Synod (not yet the “LCMS”) agreed with the rest of the Synodical Conference that full agreement in doctrine was necessary for any expression of fellowship, including “prayer fellowship,” and that women were prohibited by Scripture from voting, holding office, or being pastors in the Church.

    So what would say to a woman teaching Bible Study in the church with men under them? What should happen to pastors that allow this? What is your response to Pres Harrison appointing woman to boards? Do you believe Harrison is good for LCMS. Why did you take so long to leave since you believed LCMS was making bad decisions. What about WELS made you leave for them? Just curious.

  19. @Matthew Mills #17

    Another illustration of what AC XIV meant and didn’t mean to the generation that wrote and originally subscribed it, can be found in these historical observations by Timothy Wengert, in his book Priesthood, Pastors, Bishops, pp. 42-43:

    “…one very important word in Article 14 is public. … This emphasis contrasted directly to self-appointed, so-called radical preachers, who based their authority solely on themselves and their personal calls. Although the Roman authorities often accused Luther and the evangelicals of such usurpation of authority, in fact all the leaders of the evangelical movement were duly called pastors and preachers of the existing church. ‘The call,’ Luther once said at table, ‘hurts the devil very much.’ A…thing to note here is Melanchthon’s inclusion of the verb ‘to teach.’ Philip Melanchthon himself was neither a pastor nor a preacher (two distinct offices in the churches of the late Middle Ages and Reformation). He was not ordained. Yet the largely mythical view of him as a ‘lay theologian’ is completely anachronistic. He was called as a teacher at the University of Wittenberg… In this way, Melanchthon’s position also fell under this article. Article 14 applies as fully to teachers as to those who preach and preside in congregations. Thus, Article 14 describes the three central offices in the churches of the Reformation: teacher, preacher, and pastor. … The reformers consistently linked the public call with certain offices – offices established by Christ, mirrored in the Old Testament, and fostered in the ancient and early medieval church. Thus, ‘pastor’ and ‘bishop’ (the terms are interchangeable in the usage of the New Testament, the ancient church, and the Reformation) find their origins in the New Testament and ancient church. ‘Preacher’ hearkens back to Peter in Acts 2 and to the Hebrew prophets – anyone who publicly bears a direct word of God to the people. In the Reformation churches, it was an office distinct from that of pastor. Teachers find a place in the lists of Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28… The reformers are saying not that ‘anyone can be a pastor’ but that ‘whoever does such things fulfills the very public office authorized by Christ and demanded by the Word.’ In short, wherever the church ‘goes public’ with the gospel, one finds the public office of ministry.”

  20. @Warren Malach #18

    Warren,

    Which passage(s) of Scripture do you think do teach the doctrine that is set forth in the Apology, when it states that “the one minister who consecrates gives the body and blood of the Lord to the rest of the people, just as a minister who preaches sets forth the gospel to the people, as Paul says [1 Cor. 4:1], ‘Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries [God’s sacraments],’ that is, of the gospel and the sacraments. And 2 Corinthians 5:20, ‘So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. …’” If these Lutheran dogmatic truths concerning the doctrine of the Ministry, and concerning the duties of ministers of Word and Sacrament, are not actually taught in the verses that the Apology cites as proof passages, where in your opinion are they taught?

    By the way, I do not have a doctorate, neither earned nor honorary.

  21. Pastor Webber: I am sorry, I thought that you had an earned doctorate. Well, you DESERVE one! I can’t imagine an “earned doctorate” ultimately being a vehicle for YOU to leave the ELS for the LCMS, as has happened in the past…

    IF one employs 1 Cor. 4:1 in a GENERAL sense to speak of the Office of the Public Ministry being entrusted with the public administration of the Keys/Means of Grace in the Church, I don’t have a problem with that. What concerns me is when the passage used to establish laws about the administration of the Sacrament of the Altar which are not taught in Scripture and which rely upon an interpretation of the word “mystery” which is not supported by the use of the word elsewhere in the New Testament, as is confirmed by the LSB notes I previously referenced.

    I completely fail to see how 2 Cor. 5:20, in speaking of Objective Justification, has anything to do with the subject of the administration of the Sacrament of the Altar. Once again, in a GENERAL sense, as with 1 Cor. 4:1, its reference to “ambassadors” can be used to refer to the Office of the Public Ministry, but I do NOT see how it could be used to establish laws about the administration of the Sacrament of the Altar.

    Once again I ask: WHERE in Scripture or the Confessions is it clearly, explcitly taught that a layman, in the absence of a pastor and with the permission of his congregation, cannot under any circustances administer the Sacrament of the Altar?

  22. @David Jay Webber #21
    Pastor,
    Timothy Wengert was not of the generation that wrote and originally subscribed to AC XIV, and I don’t like what he’s done w/ Eph 4:11 very much either. Isn’t the “and” [“kai”] between “pastors and teachers” a coordinating conjunction that combines the two into one (making the single office of “pastor-teachers”)? (That’s what we say in John 3:5 w/ “born of water and [kai] the Spirit,” and that’s also what every pastor I’ve ever trusted has done w/ Eph 4:11.)

    A fluent Latin writer and speaker like Melanchthon would clearly never have used “rite” to mean “in a regular manner by a proper public authority” in an article about ecclesiastical order. The Latin adverbs “juste” or “jure” are both cleaner and closer to “in a regular manner by a proper public authority.” “Rite” literally means “with (or by means of) the proper religious ceremony” and the OLD says it never takes the figurative meaning of “rightly or properly” when used in a religious context. Did Melanchthon write “rite vocatus” and then cross his fingers and hope no one would inadvertently translate the phrase literally? And then when the Roman Church did translate it literally in their Confutation, did Melanchthon just not mention that they totally missed his point in AC XIV? Forgive me, but you sound like a Baptist trying to get around “this is my body.” Again, I’ll take a look at the Kolb Wengert, but words have meanings.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  23. @Matthew Mills #23

    Wengert didn’t do anything to Ephesians 4:11 except mention that the word “teachers” can be found there. In Ephesians 4:11, I think “pastors and teachers” are the same thing. But Wengert’s point is that in the Reformation church, pastors and teachers are two different offices of ministry. Pastors were publicly ordained to their ministry with the laying on of hands. Teachers were not. Their public installation rituals were of a different character. But, teachers and doctors were allowed to preach. According to J. A. O. Preus, the practice of Lutheranism in the sixteenth century “was that ordination was reserved for those who served a congregation in some capacity. Those, like Melanchthon and Chytraeus, who spent their entire lives in teaching as the doctors of the church, even though they might preach, were not ordained. Likewise Chemnitz, although he was engaged to serve on the Wittenberg faculty, was not ordained until he received and accepted the call to Braunschweig, which did involve the pastorate of Martin Church” (The Second Martin, pp. 364-65).

    You keep referring us to your Latin dictionary. I am referring you to what the original subscribers of AC XIV actually did, clearly without being understood – by themselves or others – to be violating what they had publicly confessed. If AC XIV meant that no one may preach without having undergone the ritual of the laying on of hands, then they would have been violating their own confession. But no one back then thought they were. Only some people today (such as yourself, it would seem) think that they were.

  24. @David Jay Webber #24
    Here’s the Roman Confutation to AC XIV Pastor in its entirety:

    When, in the fourteenth article, they confess that no one ought to administer in the Church the Word of God and the sacraments unless he be rightly called, it ought to be understood that he is rightly called who is called in accordance with the form of law and the ecclesiastical ordinances and decrees hitherto observed everywhere in the Christian world, and not according to a Jeroboitic (cf. 1 Kings 12:20) call, or a tumult or any other irregular intrusion of the people. Aaron was not thus called. Therefore in this sense the Confession is received; nevertheless, they should be admonished to persevere therein, and to admit in their realms no one either as pastor or as preacher unless he be rightly called.

    Here’s Melanchthon’s answer in the Apology:

    … Concerning this subject we have frequently testified in this assembly that it is our greatest wish to maintain church-polity and the grades in the Church [old church-regulations and the government of bishops], even though they have been made by human authority [provided the bishops allow our doctrine and receive our priests]. For we know that church discipline was instituted by the Fathers, in the manner laid down in the ancient canons, with a good and useful intention. …

    How do you explain Melanchthon’s failure to correct the Roman Confutations conditional acceptance of AC XIV with the understanding that “he is rightly called who is called in accordance with the form of law and the ecclesiastical ordinances and decrees hitherto observed everywhere in the Christian world.”? Where do we see this purported insistence on a dual office of pastors and teachers in the Apology’s answer? Why would we keep it a secret?

    Our quia subscription isn’t to everything “the original subscribers of AC XIV actually did” but to the words and grammar of the BOC 1580. Everyone makes mistakes.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

    btw, Melanchthon wasn’t “teaching publically in the church” (“in ecclesia publice docere”) but publically teaching in a University setting.

  25. @Matthew Mills #25

    The customs and practices according to which doctors of theology were invested with their degree and teaching authority were “in accordance with the form of law and the ecclesiastical ordinances and decrees hitherto observed everywhere in the Christian world.” These practices were inherited by the Lutherans from the middle ages. Because the Lutherans began to emphasize that the chief duty of a minister was to preach and teach the Word of God, and not to offer up the body and blood of Christ in the sacrifice of the mass, they now considered doctors of theology to be incumbents of the ecclesiastical ministry in a way that had not previously been the case. But this was an evangelical modification of the meaning and significance of the elevation of a man to a doctorate, and was not a totally new kind of ritual altogether.

    The theological faculties in the Lutheran universities were understood by the Reformers to have a churchly character. In a specialized way, the work of the church – at least that part of it that involved the preaching and teaching of the Word of God – was carried out within the theological faculties. The authors of the Formula of Concord make this solemn declaration: “As far as our ministry is concerned, we will not look on passively or remain silent if anything contrary to this [Augsburg] confession is introduced into our churches and schools, in which the almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has placed us as teachers and shepherds.” One of the men who said this – David Chytraeus – was not, and never had been, the pastor of a congregation. The “ministry” into which God had “placed” him was a professorship of theology at the University of Rostock. But the Concordists collectively still considered Chytraeus to be an incumbent, by divine vocation, of the same basic office that was held by the other Concordists, who either had been, or still were, parish pastors.

    It should not surprise us that they would have felt this way about Chytraeus’s ministry and call, since this had also been Luther’s conviction regarding his own ministry as a doctor of the church. In his treatise on Infiltrating and Clandestine Preachers, Luther had identified his “doctor’s degree” as his divine “call and commission” to undertake the reformatory work in which he was engaged. He added that “God and the whole world bears me testimony that I entered into this work publicly and by virtue of my office as teacher and preacher, and have carried it on hitherto by the grace and help of God.” In the context he was speaking specifically of his doctoral degree and theological professorship in the University of Wittenberg, and not of his congregational ministry in the parish of Wittenberg.

    It is self evident, of course, that the primary application of the principles articulated in AC XIV would be in the public placing into office of pastors by means of the rite of ordination with the laying on of hands – together with everything that properly precedes and accompanies that rite. So, I am not claiming that AC XIV is not about that. It mostly is. But it is not just about that.

  26. So, Jay, are you ever going to speak out against the WELS’ de novo views of the ministry?

    Just wondering.

  27. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #27

    Which de novo views do you have in mind? I suppose I’ve spoken out against the views of some people in WELS here, here, and here. I have also expressed agreement with the views of those in WELS whom I believe to be correct in what they say.

    And I am an equal opportunity critic, in that I’ve also spoken out against some of the “bronze Missouri” views that I think contradict Walther – not to mention Luther and dare I say even the Confessions. Oh, and also the Bible.

    Paul, are you ever going to speak out against the LCMS’ de novo views of church fellowship, according to which altar and pulpit fellowship is now regularly declared with church bodies that are still full-fledged members of the LWF, and that in some cases still publicly practice fellowship with their LWF sister churches and their pastors? Just wondering.

  28. Pastor Webber #27: Can you explain how Pastor McCain can be considered to be a “pastor” in the LCMS while working at CPH, apart from the fact that the LCMS tacitly practices the “WELS” doctrine of the Ministry and has done so since 1962? What is the logic by which he opposes a doctrine of the Ministry, apart from his synod’s tacit acceptance of which he wouldn’t be a “pastor,” according to the “old Missouri” doctrine of the Ministry?

  29. I really don’t understand most of the pastoral and elected lay delegates recorded in that district convention video. To which church body do they think they belong? Those men make me think that selective fellowship might be a good thing after all.

    One delegate wanted to have open Communion with ELCA congregations yet we’ve had a CTCR report on Communion Fellowship and the “What About?” pamplets explaining close(d) Communion for twenty years.

    One delegate said he didn’t know that homosexual behavior was sinful if the sinner didn’t think it was sinful. I happened to be reading Thesis VIII in Walther’s Law & Gospel today which quoted I Tim. 1:8-10…but so much for Holy Scripture in the LCMS District Conventions!

    One delegate lamented our distancing ourselves from the ELCA, which our Synod declared in Convention cannot be considered an orthodox Lutheran church body, yet was upset about anything having to do with W/ELS, which follows Holy Scripture and the Confessions more than the ELCA.

    One delegate had been attending the National Youth Gatherings for many years and thought that the new Synod administration was distancing itself from that. Pres. Harrison had to state several times that the goal was not to turn the National Youth Gathering into Higher Things. I would pray to God that it WOULD be more like Higher Things.

    What is with these people?

  30. Warren Malach :Pastor Webber #27: Can you explain how Pastor McCain can be considered to be a “pastor” in the LCMS while working at CPH, apart from the fact that the LCMS tacitly practices the “WELS” doctrine of the Ministry and has done so since 1962? What is the logic by which he opposes a doctrine of the Ministry, apart from his synod’s tacit acceptance of which he wouldn’t be a “pastor,” according to the “old Missouri” doctrine of the Ministry?

    WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH “GREAT STUFF–PRESIDENT MATTHEW HARRISON’S Q&A AT THE NORTHWEST DISTRICT CONVENTION” ????

  31. Rev. Weinkauf :@revaggie #7 Some very key changes have taken place that I don’t think many realize since the last NYG. As Rev. Weedon now as Director of Worship would have some oversight, and Rev. Bart Day whose Mission Dept oversees Youth/NYG, I pray some changes take place regarding worship.

    Also that the chairman of the new campus ministry task force, meeting in January in St. Louis, is Pr. Zill from Higher Things.

  32. This district among a few others is hardly Lutheran. We have people that want to apologize for being Lutheran. Sounds to me like some believe in Historical Criticism.

  33. #34 – Please don’t paint us all with a broad brush. There are number of truly confessional pastors and congregations within the Northwest District. I have been a layperson in this district for 34 years, and believe it or not things are actually getting better. The younger pastors coming into the District by and large are more conservative. It is shocking the older liberal pastors that this is true of the St. Louis grads as well as the Fort Wayne grads.

    Many of the questioners in the video tended to be on the liberal fringe, and have the mistaken belief that President Harrison is on the conservative fringe. They probably do believe in Historical Criticism, although they are smart enough not to admit it. That is why I asked the question in the Q&A about the Koinonia project. We really need a process to finally decide about these issues and more on. I liked President Harrison’s comments about patterning the process after the Formula of Concord. That has also been my thoughts about how to move forward. However, that will be a slow process and we need to be patient.

  34. Harry Edmon :
    #34 – Please don’t paint us all with a broad brush. There are number of truly confessional pastors and congregations within the Northwest District. I have been a layperson in this district for 34 years, and believe it or not things are actually getting better. The younger pastors coming into the District by and large are more conservative. It is shocking the older liberal pastors that this is true of the St. Louis grads as well as the Fort Wayne grads.
    Many of the questioners in the video tended to be on the liberal fringe, and have the mistaken belief that President Harrison is on the conservative fringe. They probably do believe in Historical Criticism, although they are smart enough not to admit it. That is why I asked the question in the Q&A about the Koinonia project. We really need a process to finally decide about these issues and more on. I liked President Harrison’s comments about patterning the process after the Formula of Concord. That has also been my thoughts about how to move forward. However, that will be a slow process and we need to be patient.

    Sorry for that. I think we have the districts who seem to want to apologize for being Lutheran. Overall as a district that is.

  35. Mr. Schenks #33: I was commenting on the McCain-Webber exchange in this thread.
    As you should be aware, posters often go off-topic in the threads of this forum. With reference to the presence of President Harrison at the NWD Convention, having been in that district myself for a number of years, I respect his “plain-talking” to “hostile” elements, including those who would oppose a diaconate in the LCMS. I also deeply respect his being an associate pastor of a congregation and thus setting a model of pastoral ministry for the bureaucrats in the synod who are on the clergy roster but do little or no “pastoral ministry.” Is this situation not further evidence that the LCMS has tacitly accepted the “WELS” doctrine of the Ministry but lacks the honesty to admit to it?

  36. Where does it say in scripture that turtles cant administer the sacrament? I would rather have an ordained pastor then a turtle.

  37. Has it ever occurred to any of you that the current aversion to full-time, real clergy is expense, they are very expensive, even right out of the seminary.

    If we can get everything a pastor can do from a poorly paid and poorly educated Deacon for half the cost, won’t we do it? And, I’d hate to be on the wrong side of that economic reality, if you know what spitting into the wind means.

    We’ve priced our clergy out of what the market is willing to pay. People will keep finding emergencies and splitting Biblical and Confession hairs till they can justify the cheap (or simply affordable) answer.

    The unqualified man in Kansas who was misued and performed the duties of an office for which he was maybe only paid half of what a qualified man should be, should start a Union. He was grossly misused by his employers.

  38. Regarding the translation of „rite“: that it has been translated „properly“ has of course to do with the German of AC XIV which has “ordentlich“. And, according to “A Latin-English Dictionary of St. Thomas Aquinas Based on The Summa Theologica and selected passages of his other writings“, edited by Roy J. Deferrari, Boston: St. Paul Edition, c. 1986, 1960, “rite“ means „in a proper or just manner, fitly, duly, rightly“. Latin continued to develop after the classical period, one cannot simply use a dictionary of classical Latin to translate mediaeval or early modern Latin texts. I would therefore think that it is philologically possible and according to the context (i.e. the German translation) appropriate to translate „rite vocatus“ as „rightly called“ or „properly called“.

  39. @Germanicus #40
    Germanicus,

    Could we go the other way w/ the German version? Is it too much of a stretch to see in “ordentlich” another tie to liturgical usages (The word the reformers used for liturgy was after all “Kirchenordnung.”) If I’m not “speeding” by tying “ordentlich” and “Kirchenordnung” it would fit very neatly w/ a literal translation of “rite.”

    The Oxford Latin Dictionary certainly goes as far as Augustine, but I don’t see any newer authors in their list of quoted works. I’m intrigued by this Latin-English Dictionary of St. Thomas Aquinas. Do you own one? Does it list “in a proper or just manner, fitly, duly, rightly” as the primary meaning of “rite” or just another possible meaning? Does it list the OLD’s “with correct religious procedure, with the proper rites” as well? and if so does it give any guidance (like the OLD does) on when it is used literally and when figuratively. What does it give for “juste” and “jure”? (Which would both be closer to “in a proper or just manner, fitly, duly, rightly” in the OLD.)

    For me the inescapable tie breaker (were it linguistically required) is the juxtaposition of the Roman Confutation and the Apology’s answer. If Melanchthon had intended the metaphorical translation of “rightly” then his answer in the Apology to the Roman assumption that he intended the literal use of “rite” was either gutless or duplicitous. This also raises the question: if “rite” had ceased to mean “with correct religious procedure, with the proper rites” why did the Roman Confutation assume just that definition?

    Thanks for jumping in, hope to hear back from you.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  40. @Matthew Mills #41

    Actually, the word Kirchenordnung refers to a comprehensive constitution for religious life in a particular city or region, regulating matters of worship and ceremonies, but also matters of public doctrine; the education, examination, and ordination of clergy; public morals; excommunication and church discipline; the operation and supervision of parish schools, etc. The Reformers’ word for worship or the Divine Service was Gottesdienst. Sometimes the words Messe or Liturgie were also used.

  41. @David Jay Webber #42
    Kirchenordungen covered more than just liturgy, but I’m not sure that nullifies my question. Rather than reading a figurative definition into the Latin “rite” using the context of the German “ordentlich,” could we use the context of the Latin “rite” to read more than just “orderly” or “regular” into the German text’s “ordentlich?” Could “ordentlich be tied to the concept of “Kirchenordnung?” Or, as the published title of Luther’s 1526 “German Mass” was ‘Deutsche Messe und “ORDNUNG” des Gottesdiensts,’ is it too much of a stretch to see a liturgical component in the German text’s “ordentlich?” Whilst I’m piling on, the German title of AC XV is “Von Kirchenordnungen” and the Latis is “De ritibus Ecclesiasticis.” They look like bookends to me: AC XIV “rite” AC XV “ritibus,” AC XIV “ordentlich” AC XV “Ordnungen.” Again, it is obvious that this was the way the Roman Confutation read AC XIV, and equally obvious that the Apology allowed this interpretation to stand.

    Thanks for the info.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  42. @Matthew Mills #43

    …is it too much of a stretch to see a liturgical component in the German text’s “ordentlich?”

    Of course not. No one here has denied that there is a liturgical component to this, or to AC XIV in both of its versions. But this liturgical/ceremonial component does not exhaust the meaning and application of rite vocatus (and its German parallel) in the ordered life of the church. What I originally disagreed with was the idea that rite vocatus refers directly and exclusively to the rite of ordination with the laying on of hands. Rite vocatus does include that, in the case of regularly-called pastors. But as a summary of a larger principle of Lutheran ecclesiology and of the Lutheran doctrine of vocation, rite vocatus is not limited to that.

  43. @Joanne #39
    If we can get everything a pastor can do from a poorly paid and poorly educated Deacon for half the cost, won’t we do it?

    First, you can’t get every thing a well educated Pastor can do.
    Second, some congregational members think the Pastor should live on crumbs while they themselves “need” their own higher standard.

    Someone wrote that 10 giving units who tithed could support a Pastor as well as they lived themselves. Problem is finding 10 giving units who will tithe, or even 20 who will give 5%. That is our besetting sin.
    If the whole synod tithed, and supported seminaries properly, we could go back to having seminarians educated at the expense of all of us and they wouldn’t have a mountain of debt to pay off. Our fathers knew how to do it, and most of them had a lot less than we do.

    That “poorly educated Deacon” shouldn’t be a possibility in the Lutheran church.

  44. @David Jay Webber #44
    My intent is not “exclusive” to the rite of ordination pastor, but ordination can’t be omitted in an honest scholarly reading of AC XIV as it appears to be in the Tappert, Kolb/Wengert and the RE.

    My bottom-line assertion (and the reason behind my opposition to the “rightly called” and “regular call” translations of the Latin and German texts) is that the grammar of AC XIV clearly opposes anyone but called and ordained pastors from publically teaching, preaching or administering the sacraments on our [Lutheran] churches. The LC-MS of today has passed resolutions in convention that are in direct conflict w/ AC XIV, and has allowed that sort of garbage to expand.

    I don’t think that would have happened if our pastors had German and Latin.

    Thanks again,
    -Matt Mills

  45. Rev. Steven W Bohler :@Dave Schumacher #31
    The man said his name was William Warren. According to the LCMS website, he graduated from Concordia Portland in 1965 with an AA degree (major not listed), then from Concordia Seward in 1968 with a BS (major is listed as Speech). He was colloquized onto the clergy roster in 1983. Bottom line — we do not know what he learned at seminary, or even IF he attended seminary.

    Even worse, at least 75% of the then-Council of Presidents would have had to approve his colloque in 1983.

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