Former German bishop warns Lutherans against ‘losing our identity’

Found as a news release:


Schöne reminds assembly that there is no Life Together apart from Christ

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. (November 1, 2012)—In a world filled with secularism, relativism, liberalism and atheism, Lutherans can be in danger of “losing our identity and making compromises in good intention but being misled by our feelings,” warned the Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne, bishop emeritus of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany.Schöne, the headlining speaker for the second day of the International Conference on Confessional Leadership, held in Peachtree City, Ga., spoke to a room of 120 confessional leaders representing more than 20 million Lutherans around the world.

Outlining a worldwide need for Life Together (Koinonía) among Lutherans, Schöne said instead, “It’s not a man-made Koinonía that we should try to find. Koinonía is and remains a divine gift.” It is “always Christ Himself by whom [we] are placed into this Koinonía,” he noted.
This cross-focused Life Together “overcomes borders of all kinds: ethnic, cultural, social, race, gender or other kind,” Schöne explained, “making Christians altogether ‘one in Christ’ (Gal. 3:28).”

LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison also presented to the conference, speaking on the topic of Lutheran Diakonía (Mercy). “The Church’s work of mercy extends beyond its own borders,” he said. “Jesus became incarnate in our flesh, and we take on the flesh of our neighbor when we serve our neighbor.”
“If we refuse to live that incarnate life,” he warned, “we render the Gospel a clanging cymbal.”

This week’s conference speakers also included the Rev. Dr. Alister McGrath, King’s College, London, as well as Lutheran pastors from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Friday’s presentations will focus on Witness (Martyría) and will feature the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba of the North American Lutheran Church.

Daily news briefs and updates will be available via the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog, LCMS Twitter, LCMS Facebook, the Synod’s video blog and KFUO Radio. The conference is made possible by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The 2.3 million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at

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,, 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


Former German bishop warns Lutherans against ‘losing our identity’ — 11 Comments

  1. … as noted in the text (“the Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne, bishop emeritus of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany.”). SELK has an episcopal structure, with an elected Bishop being the pastor of the church body. the Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne was the second (1985-1997) of four Bishops that have been elected in SELK.

    The title of the thread was written by a member of a Missouri Synod church, who may have recalled what C.F.W. Walther stated in his paper on Church and Ministry (Preaching Office) (1):

    “The question came up in connection with ordination: if the preacher could still exercise the functions of the Office, in the same way as if he were still in the Holy Office, when he is no longer in the Office. The answer to this was that a distinction needs to be made. If the preacher is driven out of his Office against his will, because of God and the truth, then in this case he is still the lawful bishop of the congregation that has driven him out. If he has laid down his Office voluntarily, then in that case he lost all the authority of the Office. If the Call of the congregation has ended, to which he was called, then his Office authority ends, because there is no universal Call for the whole Church; only the Apostles had this Call.”

    (1) Kirche and Amt at the 1851 Synodical Convention, Synodal-Bericht (1851), 169-171. Literal translation by Gerald Paul, found in Rev. Peperkorn’s STM Thesis, Appendix III.

  2. we need faithful confessional leaders -unafraid who lend air support to pastors and families in trenches as the seals deserved in Libya but were ignored by their dp’s

  3. Despite having some people whose loins ache for a Romish style church organization, the Missouri Synod needs an Romish episcopal structure like a fish needs a bicycle.

    And, of course, the Missouri Synod is not a church, but an organization of churches.

    LMMV (Loeheist mileage may vary)

  4. The LCMS has bishops. They are normally called “pastors.”

    Then it seems that a local church has a “bishop,” given to preaching and administering the saving mysteries of God to His children. So the LCMS is a kind of church (it has bishops, we are informed), but is distinguished through its having more bishops. “The church has a bishop; the LCMS has bishops,” to sum up.

    Apparently Mr. Vehse’s vehicle is unwittingly the energy efficient Chevy Volt, when it comes to the Loeheist mileage. Or, he simply finds the language of the ancient Church, and St. Paul, befuddling as well as fear-invoking.

    The Missouri Synod was an organization of churches and bishops, as the designated ranks of the eligible (voting) membership, historically, indicates. To consciously limit the Missouri Synod to congregations is more worthy of the fanaticism of the Saco ME congregationalists, and the Jacksonians who trooped mud into the White House, than Steadfast Lutherans.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

  5. In his presentation at the International Conference on Confessional Leadership, the Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne, bishop emeritus of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany, warned, “In a world filled with secularism, relativism, liberalism and atheism, Lutherans can be in danger of “losing our identity and making compromises in good intention but being misled by our feelings.”

    This June, 2008, ecumenical agreement, Vereinbarung zur Entwicklung der Kontakte zwischen der Evangelischen Kirche der Kirchenprovinz Sachsen (EKKPS) und der Selbständigen Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche (SELK) in Wittenberg, raises some concerns.

    The English version is the Bilateral Agreement between the Evangelical Church of the Ecclesiastical Province of Saxony (EKKPS) and the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK).

  6. “…If the Call of the congregation has ended, to which he was called, then his Office authority ends, because there is no universal Call for the whole Church; only the Apostles had this Call.” — Dr. Walther

    If so, then this claim is based more on a (wished-for) tradition of American Lutheranism, than the Holy Scriptures. No canonical testimony explicitly teaches that the individual, blessed Apostle had a “universal Call.” Instead, our Lutheran Confessions interpret Scriptures and teach that the “on this rock” (Mt 16:18) refers to the ministry of the preacher/sacramental officiant, taken as a whole, or all time and for all places. Apostles and ordained pastors, therefore, are treated as members of the one ministry of our Lord, without distinctions or the lording over of one another or differing calls. Witness what the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope declares (p.334.26, K-W, 2000):

    >>”On this rock,” that is, on this ministry. Furthermore, the ministry of the New Testament is not bound to places or persons like the Levitical ministry, but is scattered throughout the whole world and exists wherever God gives God’s gifts: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers [cf. Eph 4:11]. That ministry is not valid because of the authority of any person but because of the Word handed done by Christ.<<

    No intellectuial or spiritual distinction is made by the Lutheran fathers, here , between the blessed Apsotles and our contemporary Lutheran pastors. They are all part of God’s holy officed ministry, entrusted to evangelize the world and drench it with Gospel. Cast out the demons and raise from the dead specific individuals if need be, physically … as God wills, and in His time; but pour the medicine of immortality down the throats of all men, unexceptionally, til He comes.

    The Incarnate Word breathed on His disciples and instilled in them, through this mighty act of ordination, the Holy Ghost (John 20:22); thus they were empowered to perform the Godly Office of the Keys on earth. In Mt 28, the disciples are entrusted with the task of preaching, teaching, and administering the sacraments throughout the world. That task is no different than that of Christ’s faithful pastors today. Dent MN ofr Ottertail County … to take but one example … is not much different from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or the “uttermost parts of the earth.” Particularly the latter locales, if truth be told.

    According to the Lutheran fathers, the papists argued “the pope to be the universal, or as they say the ecumenical, bishop …” (Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (p. 330.5, K-W, 2000). The Lutherans note there was no Scriptural basis for such a notion. It is disconcerting to read of the Missourian father making a similar authoritative claim for the martyred band of Apostles, with a similar absence of hard Scriptural support. The divorce between Christ’s pastors of the past and present is simple too extreme, and because of its impact on the Office of Ministry, guarantees that the Lutheran Church flock will continue to be vexed by the impudicity of the congregationalist Vehsians and their gaseous mileage references, forever and ever, to Dent and wherever, Amen.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

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