Great Stuff — A Clergy Dominated Church?

Another great post found over on Gottesdienst Online:

 

President KieschnickThe president-emeritus of the LCMS, the Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, has written a blogpost expressing his “perspective” positing that the LCMS has a culture that is unfriendly to the laity.  However, the title he chose, “A Clergy Dominated Church?” makes use of the question mark, which seems to invite answers to his “question.”

We respectfully disagree with his premise that the LCMS is a church body in which the laity are dominated, denied a voice in the governing of the church, and treated with disrespect by her pastors – especially in the “direction the LCMS seems to be heading these days.”

This is a not-so-subtle reference to the fact that the current synod president defeated the Rev. Kieschnick three years ago, and in some ways broke ranks with the style and substance of the past administration.  It is no surprise that this is a source of disagreement for the Rev. Kieschnick, and may well be especially frustrating given the landslide victory – what secular pundits might consider a “mandate” – in the Rev. Matthew Harrison’s recent reelection.  Of course, the Rev. Kieschnick’s minority view should be heard and considered, and he is entitled to his dissent.

He writes: “Clergy dominance was particularly evident at last week’s Synod convention, even more so than in the past. In worship services, on the podium and at microphones, black shirts and white collars were abundant.”

We think the Rev. Kieschnick’s reference to collars is misleading.  There may well have been more pastors wearing clerical attire, as this does seem to be a trend among younger pastors, but there were not more pastors than in the past.  Delegates to the convention are half clergy and half laity.  That formula has not changed.  And in fact, the representation of every congregation by a lay person belies the claim that pastors “dominate” the representative process.

Moreover, it should strike no-one as odd to see a lot of clergy at a church convention.  One would expect to see a good number of lawyers at a bar association meeting, a large proportion of medical doctors at a gathering of the AMA, or a lot of really big tall men at a meeting of the NBA player’s union.  This is not a conspiracy – it reflects the reality that in the LCMS, all pastors are members of synod.

He also mentions a dearth of laity in “positions of significant leadership in our church body. That includes, for example, university presidents, significant missionary supervisors, and other leadership positions at the national level.”  Of course, the Rev. Kieschnick spent several terms as synod president, as well as previous service as a district president.  Neither of those positions is open to laypeople.  Were the bylaws changed with the new administration to restrict the roles of the laity?  The Council of Presidents is certainly the single most powerful body in the LCMS – and laymen and laywomen are not permitted to serve on this council.  Was the Rev. Kieschnick lobbying for lay membership in the COP when he was a member?

He writes: “Furthermore, there’s a discernible aloofness and even pharisaical demeanor exhibited by some pastors, obvious during worship services and in pastoral ministry functions as well. Intentionally or unintentionally, this telegraphs a ‘holier than thou’ attitude in both work and worship.”

He provides no examples of this sinful and disgraceful attitude.  We do not believe such sweeping generalizations about pastors are particularly helpful.  The strong consensus of delegates and attendees who were at the convention is quite at odds with his description.  To the contrary, there seemed to be a great deal of concord and  harmony at this convention.  We disagree with his conclusion and would not describe our pastors to be “aloof.”  To be sure, as with any other group of people, there is a bell curve of any and all human traits, good and bad.  The vast majority of parish pastors are not snobs.  They do not enjoy six figure salaries, big expense accounts, finely tailored suits, expensive cars, and palatial mansions to live in.  Indeed, most parish pastors are endowed with every manner of human sin and frailty.  They often live and work in rather humble circumstances, and relate to the average layperson in a much closer and less aloof manner than those who occupy lofty bureaucratic positions.  And we do believe this observation – which is admittedly anecdotal – is a very good argument for ordained presbyters in the LCMS who hold bureaucratic offices to serve a parish in some capacity, perhaps as an associate pastor, such as the example set by the Rev. Harrison.  We do believe it is very easy for men to lose touch with how ordinary people live when they are treated like princes of the church.  Continued service as a parish pastor is a humbling and grounding opportunity for service.

As to the conclusion that the LCMS is a “clergy dominated” church body, we should consider the following:

  • Most parish pastors are overseen not only by an ordained (but for all practical purposes laicized) district president, who holds an enormous amount of power over him), but they are also overseen by a parochial board of elders, almost exclusively composed of laymen (and in some cases, laywomen).
  • The LCMS holds the laity in such high regard as to permit them to speak the words of institution over bread and wine and to preach from the pulpit – a practice unheard of in other historic Catholic communions (not to mention prohibited by our own confessional documents, to which all pastors and almost no laypeople are bound by oath) – but one that was approved by synod conventions comprised of 50% lay delegates.
  • The LCMS considers schoolteachers and other lay church workers to be “ministers of religion.”
  • The LCMS has “licensed lay deacons” – whereas among many of our partner churches around the world, deacons are ordained ministers.  Some LCMS congregations even vest laywomen in albs and stoles and position them at the altar during the Divine Service without censure.
  • The LCMS has the confusing notion of “lay ministry,” as well as outstanding lay training institutes, and many resources for lay people to study theology – both formally and informally.  Laypeople can, and are, fine instructors at our seminaries, professors at our universities, authors, and administrators.  Laypeople typically serve ably in nearly every capacity in our congregations, including those who teach Sunday school, and those who serve on, and chair, boards and committees.
  • It should also be noted that recent changes in the synod’s structure to consolidate a great deal of authority at the presidential level (thus making synod more hierarchical and less democratic) were conceived and implemented with the encouragement and leadership of then-synod-president the Rev. Kieschnick and his administration.

While we respect former president Kieschnick’s right to his own perspective on the governance of our church body, we believe he could not be more wrong.

One of the issues that has come to fore of late (including at the recent convention) is the scandal of the many pastors who were removed from their congregations for unscriptural reasons and who languish on CRM status.  These men, in most cases, were removed by laypeople who oversee them on boards of elders, church councils, or voters assemblies.  In those cases of unscriptural removal from office, the “clergy dominated church” could be interpreted to mean that the clergy is being dominated.

The word “dominate” finds its roots in the Latin word Dominus – which is a title that is applied to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Rather than pit “missionals” against “confessionals”; or “conservatives” against “liberals”; or pastors against laypeople, we should find ways to reconcile, to dialogue, to find mutual respect among all of the Church’s royal priesthood – which includes pastors and laypeople.  We should encourage the preachers of the Word, our shepherds, to be shepherds – not hirelings or fence-sitters.  And we should encourage our hearers of the word, our laity, to bring their gifts and talents to the table in areas where they provide valuable expertise lacking by our clergy.  We most definitely should not encourage laypeople to usurp offices to which they have not been called and ordained.

Instead of arguing over domination by clergy over the laity, or domination by the laity over the clergy, we should all humbly submit to our Dominus, the Lord of the Church, our Great High Priest, who has come to serve and to save.

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 — A Clergy Dominated Church? — 173 Comments

  1. Dear “LC-MS Quotes”,

    Thanks for finally responding!

    >>giving some access to the research and opinions of a Missouri Synod layman

    I have the highest respect for the laity and have had many extraordinarily accomplished laity in the congregations I have served, including some who are at the pinnacle of their respective professions, and some who are very astute “lay theologians” in the mode of Melanchthon.

    Unfortunately, however, as I noted above, the research and opinions of this layman on this particular topic which you have posted are rife with errors in history and argumentation.

    One particularly glaring example is that the clerical dress demanded by King Frederick William III as part of the Prussian Union should be taken as normative for the Missouri Synod, when the founders of the Missouri Synod in fact FLED Germany for America specifically because of the Prussian Union and its demands.

  2. @ #101 “…astute ‘lay theologians’ in the mode of Melanchthon.”

    Melanchthon was never ordained. Are you going to call him a layman? Well, we had a professor down at the St. Louis seminary who called him a layman. But I think his ecclesiology and doctrine of the ministry was somewhat Romish. Melanchthon wrote the confessions of the Lutheran church. He was public preacher of the Word. And he was a public teacher of the church. And I don’t care whether he was ordained or not, he was called and he was a minister. And if you say he isn’t a minister, you have a Romish idea of what constitutes the ministry.

    Robert D. Preus
    Panel Discussion — “The Divine Call”
    Panelists: W. Rosin, R. Preus, H. Buls, E. Bunkowski
    Moderator: C. MacKenzie
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    December 10, 1987
    7-9 PM

  3. @Rev. Robert Mayes #45

    Brother Mayes,

    First, let me say that I do not think any major doctrinal point is at stake in the interpretation of what “Predigtamt” means in the German version of AC V. But I do think that an accurate, contextual understanding of the article’s intended point is important.

    Melanchthon’s wording is admittedly a bit awkward, at least as we English-speakers of the 21st century try to decipher it. But there is no reason to think that in AC V he was doing anything other than condensing and recasting what Luther had said in the Schwabach Articles of the previous year, using the same terms Luther had used and with the same meaning. And this is what the Schwabach Articles had said:

    “[7.] To obtain such faith or to give it to us human beings, God has instituted the preaching office or spoken Word (that is, the Gospel) [das predigambt oder mündlich Wort, nämlich das Evangelion], through which he has this faith proclaimed, along with its power, benefits, and fruits. God also bestows faith through this Word, as through an instrument, with his Holy Spirit, when and where he wills. Apart from it, there is no other instrument or way, passage or path, to obtain faith. Speculations [about what happens] apart from or previous to the spoken Word, as holy and good as they appear, are nevertheless useless lies and errors. [8.] With and alongside of this spoken Word, God has also instituted external signs: Baptism and the Eucharist. Through these, alongside the Word, God offers and gives faith and his Spirit and strengthens all who desire him.”

    So, in regard to your analysis of the German grammar of AC V, I wonder if it is actually so that that the implied subject of the infinitive verb gegeben has become the Predigtamt, or if it is still God. Was Melanchthon not simply rewriting and condensing the Schwabach Articles? Was he instead redefining the meaning of terms from the Schwabach Articles? That would have created confusion not only among the papal theologians, but also among the Lutherans themselves. If Melanchthon was doing this at Augsburg in 1530, I would expect him to have done so in a more explicit and pointed way, precisely because of the internal confusion among the Lutherans at Augsburg that would result if he attempted to do this only in such a subtle and almost unnoticeable way.

    And again, the Roman Confutators did not understand AC V to be addressing the subject of the divine institution of the episcopate/presbyterate, or of any position of responsibility as such. They understood it to be addressing the divine institution of the Word and the Sacraments, and the efficacy of the Word and the Sacraments. If Melanchthon was intending to alter the meaning of Luther’s 1529 usage of “Predigtamt,” so as to be making a new and different point in the Augsburg Confession about such an official position of responsibility in the church, would he not have pointed out to the Confutators in the Apology that they had missed an important aspect of what AC V was declaring? We would especially expect him to have done this, if he in AC V was intending to counteract the slanders of Eck, who was claiming in the run-up to the Diet of Augsburg that the Lutherans had dismantled all clerical order in the church. But, if he was not intending to teach anything substantially different here from what Luther was teaching in the Schwabach Articles, then we would expect him to have allowed the Confutation’s reading of AC V to stand without correction or amendment. And that is exactly what he did.

    In light of all this, I would maintain that the intended point of AC V is the point that is restated and expanded in FC SD II:50 ff., where the content of what preachers preach is definitely under discussion, but where the divine ordering of the position of responsibility of preachers is not really what is being described:

    Therefore, in his immeasurable goodness and mercy God provides for the public proclamation of his divine, eternal law and of the wondrous counsel of our redemption, the holy gospel of his eternal Son, our only Savior Jesus Christ, which alone can save. By means of this proclamation he gathers an everlasting church from humankind, and he effects in human hearts true repentance and knowledge of sin and true faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. God wants to call human beings to eternal salvation, to draw them to himself, to convert them, to give them new birth, and to sanctify them through these means, and in no other way than through his holy Word (which people hear proclaimed or [which they] read) and through the sacraments (which they use according to his Word). 1 Corinthians 1[:21]: “Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.” Acts 11[:14]: “[Peter] will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.” Romans 10[:17]: “So faith arises from the proclamation, and proclamation comes through God’s word.” John 17[:17,20]: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. I ask on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word.” Therefore, the eternal Father calls from heaven regarding his dear Son and all who proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name, “Listen to him!” (Matt. 17[:5]). All who want to be saved should listen to this proclamation. For the proclamation and the hearing of God’s Word are the Holy Spirit’s tools, in, with, and through which he wills to works effectively and convert people to God and within whom he wants to effect both the desire for and the completion of their conversion. … Through these means (the preaching and hearing of his Word), God goes about his work and breaks our hearts and draws people, so that they recognize their sins and God’s wrath through the preaching of the law and feel real terror, regret, and sorrow in their hearts. Through the preaching of the holy gospel of the gracious forgiveness of sins in Christ and through meditating upon it, a spark of faith is ignited in them, and they accept the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake and receive the comfort of the promise of the gospel. In this way the Holy Spirit, who effects all of this, is sent into their hearts. … For the Spirit enlightens and converts hearts through the Word that is proclaimed and heard, so that people believe the Word and say yes to it. Therefore, neither the preacher nor the hearer should doubt this grace and activity of the Holy Spirit, but they should be certain that when the Word of God is preached purely and clearly according to God’s command and will and people listen to it seriously and diligently and meditate upon it, God will certainly be present with his grace… …because the Holy Spirit’s activity is often hidden under the cover of great weakness, we should be certain, on the basis of and according to the promise, that the Word of God, when preached and heard, is a function [office] and work of the Holy Spirit, through which he is certainly present in our hearts and exercises his power there (2 Corinthians 2 [1 Cor. 2:11ff. or 2 Cor. 3:5-6]). However, if people do not want to hear or read the proclamation of God’s Word, but disdain it and the congregation of God’s people and then die and perish in their sins, they can neither find comfort in God’s eternal election nor obtain mercy. For Christ, in whom we are chosen, offers his grace to all people in the Word and in the holy sacraments, and he earnestly desires that people should hear it. He has promised that where “two or three are gathered” in his name and are occupied with his holy Word, he will be “there among them” [Matt. 18:20].

  4. Dear “LC-MS Quotes”,

    I have no idea whatsoever if the quotes you are citing are accurate, what their full context was, etc. Since you feel it necessary to remain anonymous that makes your citations dubious in my estimation.

    However, it is a fact of history that Phillip Melanchthon was a lay theologian. That is not an insult either to him in particular or laymen in general. I would likewise describe my former colleague at CUW Dr. Gene Edward Veith as an excellent lay theologian in the mode of Phillip Melanchthon. If you think that accurately describing a layman as a layman is an insult or demeaning, then it seems to me that you are the one with a sacerdotalist attitude.

  5. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #4

    I don’t agree with much of what Timothy Wengert (of ELCA) says these days, but his historical observations regarding the scope of the meaning and application of AC XIV are, I believe, correct. In his book Priesthood, Pastors, Bishops, he writes that

    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.

    J.A.O. Preus, in his book The Second Martin, makes a concurring historical observation when he states that the apparent 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.”

    So, either the Lutheran Church allowed laymen to preach and teach publicly, or Melanchthon and Chytraeus were not considered to be laymen – even though they were never ordained with the laying on of hands, etc.

    The Lutherans of the sixteenth century actually considered a doctoral promotion and induction ceremony, for professors in Lutheran university theological faculties, to be an equivalent of ordination for said professors, even though the ritual of the laying on of hands was not used as a part of that ceremony. As cited by Johann Gerhard, the Lutheran theologian Johann Affelmann states that “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.”

    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 – 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 “Lectures on Galatians,” 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.

  6. Professor Franzmann at the St. Louis seminary, one of our most well known professors, never got ordained until he left the seminary. He must have been there over twenty years. He was never ordained until he went to our Lutheran church in England. And they said we’d like you to be ordained in this Anglican situation; it would look better. He said fine, be happy to do it. He was giving communion. He was preaching. He was serving vacant congregations. He was doing everything.

    Robert D. Preus
    Panel Discussion — “The Divine Call”
    Panelists: W. Rosin, R. Preus, H. Buls, E. Bunkowski
    Moderator: C. MacKenzie
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    December 10, 1987
    7-9 PM

  7. Professor Saleska was ordained into the ministry about fifteen years after he started teaching at St. John’s. He had never been ordained.

    Harold H. Buls
    Panel Discussion — “The Divine Call”
    Panelists: W. Rosin, R. Preus, H. Buls, E. Bunkowski
    Moderator: C. MacKenzie
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    December 10, 1987
    7-9 PM

    Harold H. Buls
    Professor (1956-69), St. John’s College, Winfield, Kansas

    John W. Saleska
    Resident Counselor (1955-61); Dean of Students (1961-64); Professor (1964-78), St. John’s College, Winfield, Kansas

  8. @“LC-MS Quotes” #6
    Professor Franzmann at the St. Louis seminary, one of our most well known professors, never got ordained until he left the seminary.

    But he was a seminary professor and teacher, with an education in theology as good as any pastor and probably better than most of them. And if he was serving in the ways mentioned, it was evidently considered appropriate by virtue of his primary calling as a teacher in the church.

    I’m afraid others will use your exceptional examples to say, “See, our ‘licensed lay ministers’ (with no theological education) are good Lutheran practice!” They are not.

    [I highly respect the intelligence of the numerous (removed) clan, but there is pietistic influence there which should not be discounted.]

  9. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    In response to comment #2, 3rd page: @“LC-MS Quotes” #2

    Robert Preus’ judgment on Melanchthon is correct, of course. 🙂

    Melanchthon received the “Bachelor of Theology” degree on September 9, 1519, after a course of study directed by Luther and concluding with a thesis on the authority of Scripture and the errors of the doctrine of transubstantiation.

    After receiving that degree, Melanchthon was “called” by the University to teach theology on a regular basis. He thereafter taught theology, Greek, and classics at Wittenberg for the rest of his career. He served as a “visitor”, with responsibilities similar to our district presidents, numerous times. He served as a spokesman for the Lutheran church, similar to the role of Dr. Al Collver III and our executives in the CTCR. And as everyone knows, he was the primary author of three confessions in the Book of Concord.

    How could Melanchthon do all these ecclesiastical functions without “ordination”?

    First, it was because of Luther’s doctrine of the ministry, which states: “If the office of teaching be entrusted to anyone, then everything accomplished by the Word in the church is entrusted, that is, the office of baptizing, consecrating, binding, loosing, praying, and judging doctrine. Inasmuch as the office of preaching the gospel is the greatest of all and certainly is apostolic, it becomes the foundation for all other functions” (my emphasis; Luther’s Works 40:36, “Concerning the Ministry” [1523 treatise to Bohemians]).

    Second, in the Lutheran church, the ministry is committed to a suitable person primarily and essentially by the choice and call of the church.

    So Johann Gerhard states “You should know that those who have been called and chosen by the voice of the church and are performing the ministry without the rite of the imposition of hands are truly ministers of the church and are able to teach and administer the Sacraments. . . . Ecclesiastical power, or the right to teach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, does not depend on this rite. . . The rite of the imposition of hands is added to a public declaration of the called person so that the announcement may become more clear and so that this rite may draw attention to certain duties.” Johann Gerhard, On the Ecclesiastical Ministry, Part One, in Theological Commonplaces, 26/1 (St Louis: CPH, 2011), p. 210 (section 139; quoted from David Chytraeus on Exodus 29).

    Melanchthon was chosen and called by the church of his day to teach theology at Wittenberg, thus Preus says “He was called and he was a minister” of the Gospel.

    Third, it has to be recognized that the Lutheran practice of calling and ordination was somewhat in flux, until Elector John Frederick codified Lutheran practice in the years 1535-39 (see Ralph F. Smith, Luther, Ministry, and Ordination Rites in the Early Reformation Church [New York: Peter Lang, 2000]).

    In the late middle ages, faculty members of universities were considered to be “clerks” (or “cleric”) by reason of their call, which term “clerk” covered a vast assortment of offices and functions under the control of the church. On this issue, one of the most distinguished French historians writes: “[The university] was essentially an ecclesiastical corporation. Even if all its members had not received orders [i.e., ordination], even if it counted among its ranks an increasing number of pure laymen, academics were essentially all clerks, answerable to ecclesiastical authorities, and primarily to Rome.” (Jacques Le Goff, Intellectuals in the Middle Ages [Oxford: Blackwell, 1993], p. 72).

    So Melanchthon was not ordained as a priest–by a bishop–for the purpose of offering up the Mass, as Luther was. But he was a “clerk” via his title of university “Master” and held the office of the ministry, through his call to teach theology, according to a Lutheran understanding of the Ministry.

    In response to other comments and discussions at this post:

    For those interested in the latest scholarly discussion on the topic of the LCMS/WELS/ELS doctrine of church and ministry, I highly recommend part 5 in: Mark E. Braun, “Walther’s Theology in the Missouri Synod,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 77 #1-2 (January/April 2013): 120-136.

    Braun demonstrates that the LCMS and WELS have been much closer in their doctrine of the church and ministry than many realize, and he quotes favorably from WELS Professor John F. Brug’s recent book The Ministry of the Word (Milwaukee: NPH, 2009).

    WELS professors Mark Braun and Joel Pless have done excellent work in this area. This article deserves to have wide reading by all who claim to understand Lutheran “church and ministry” doctrines. The article was delivered as an essay in 2011 at the Fort Wayne Symposia.

    I hope this is of some assistance in these discussions.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  10. Chemnitz makes the Lutheran view on this thing crystal clear. It is the call that makes a man a minister and nothing else. And they call the ordination, the laying on of hands, and the rite of ordination — whatever that rite happened to be — they call that an adiaphoron.

    Robert D. Preus
    Panel Discussion — “The Divine Call”
    Panelists: W. Rosin, R. Preus, H. Buls, E. Bunkowski
    Moderator: C. MacKenzie
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    December 10, 1987
    7-9 PM

  11. I’m probably being simplistic, but since the topic of this thread is the balance of laity and clergy at Synodical conventions, I look upon it this way: Could Melanchthon (or for that matter Franzmann or Saleska prior to ordination) have served as pastoral delegates (voting or advisory) to an LCMS convention?

    The answer is no, so from that perspective they would be laity (or I could see Melanchthon fitting into the category we call “commissioned ministers”) for purposes of the topic of this discussion, i.e. the balance of laity and clergy at Synodical conventions.

    It is hard for me to discern what point “LC-MS Quotes” is trying to make, since he just mindlessly posts quotations from others—while hiding behind anonymity—and appears reluctant to enter into an actual discussion, and make and defend his own points. However, as best I can discern, it seems to me his point is that the service to the church and theological contributions of these theologians only have value if they are considered to be clergy. Which is to me the essence of sacerdotalism.

  12. [I highly respect the intelligence of the numerous (name removed) clan, but there is pietistic influence there which should not be discounted.] — Librarian Jensen

    What in the world are you talking about here? I mean, honestly Helen, do you think before you write?

    You do not know and understand what the “clan” teaches; nor do you know and understand what pietism is.

  13. Cri de Couer

    I pretty much despair of Missouri ever getting Church and Ministry right – that’s the negative. But we are always willing to argue and fuss about it at the drop of a hat – that’s the positive. It proves we are still alive and breathing! LOL

    Labels. Everyone tosses them about. So-and-so is this, or that, or “whatever horror of horrors” the third – or thirty-third person imagines. If it’s labels one desires, let me give you my “label(s)”

    Mind you, I am going to use the terms often bandied about, just for the record . . .

    + + +

    I am a bona-fide confessional Lutheran Catholic. I use the “Cap-C” because “Catholic” does not belong to Rome, despite their claims.

    I am a Meister Eckhardt mystic – fave quote? “To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.” That was the whole issue of the text this past Sunday in Luke 12:13-21, wasn’t it? And most certainly the Luke 12:22-34 Gospel this coming Sunday.

    I am a “HJJHE” – a Herman, Jack and John hypo-Euro. Heh! Since we always have the Eucharist, even on Good Friday (is there a better day???), I am always in collar, alb and chasable in worship. I can chant very well, but I am slowly breaking them into that, which is why there is no censer yet, either. There – is a “horror of horrors” for those so inclined! LOL

    I do “liturgical east” worship. Minor point, I suppose. Not to me, though . . .

    I am “high Church” – another “horror of horrors!” I am also a “congregationalist.” That always freaks out both sides at winkels. Love it! I do not serve or preach or teach automatons and robots, but the real folks in real life – souls needing the Gospel, who also have things to say. I have two ears and one mouth, so I better be listening at twice the rate I talk. God willing, I am doing so.

    I am “conservative” in every way and by the real definition of the word – Jeremiah 6:16 – “Thus says the Lord”:

    “Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
    where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.”

    I do not walk on water. Way beyond my pay-grade!

    I prefer to look for opportunity, than “retrograde” into negativism. Like most of us Weird-Collar-Wearers, I have seen and heard and dealt with things that few ever could know or even, tolerate. Then again, I am never in those situations as “Jeffrey.” By my Ordination and my Call, I am the extremely personal representative of Jesus. I am “called” to be there! That is my vocation. I gotta “be there!”

    I hate squabbling. If challenged, you better believe I will respond, but there is a more perfect way – and that is the One who has saved us and will usher us into the Heavenlies. He hangs on that crucifix on our altar. “Today, you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Yeah . . . that’s where I am and try to be in all I do and say.

    As an aside (not really), the Apology, Article XIII (especially 10-13), long ago settled the whole “ordination” matter for me (Hey! “Quotes!” – read it). It should for everyone else. I gotta be about the Gospel of Jesus in all I do. God gave me a furrily goofy personality, which lets me catch the attention of others, but the Cross is the goal. It is the goal of all of us this side of the veil. Get there!

    When the Lord comes to “gather in the sheaves” – then we will realize the Resurrection in full and start to understand, in Heaven, why God created us to begin with.

    Till, then, let’s work within the framework we have been given:

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

    It works. Every. single. time.

    Pax – jb

  14. @Dave Schumacher #12
    What in the world are you talking about here? I mean, honestly Helen, do you think before you write?

    Sometimes… just like some other people on this board! 😉

    [The last sentence was an unnecessary diversion from the topic. If Norm thinks it’s bad enough, it will disappear shortly.

    But honestly, David, can you say that you “know and understand” what (or who) I know? I’ve never met you! That’s off topic, too. You can ask Norm to forward a private post to me, if you are really interested.]

    But I think you are sufficiently occupied with answering several other people. 🙂

  15. Dear Helen,

    In response to your comment “I highly respect the intelligence of the numerous xxxx clan, but there is pietistic influence there which should not be discounted,” found here: @helen #8 . . .

    I think you confuse Pietism with piety. Someone can be pious, e.g., “a pious spouse and good children” (Small Catechism, Fourth Petition, section 14; Tappert, 347), but not a Pietist.

    I can vouch for the pious character of every member of the family you mention. But they are not Pietists; at least, none of the ones I know. I remember Robert Preus specifically correcting me on my own confusion of Pietism and piety once.

    That is like calling a card-carrying Democrat a Republican: a) it is a false statement; b) it is offensive to the person so-named; and c) for some less pious folks, “them is fightin’ words.”

    “Pietism” and “Lutheranism” are incompatible theological systems. Pietists pretend to be Lutherans, in many cases the pretense is successful, but they disagree with many theological positions found in the Book of Concord.

    In the 18th century, Valentin E. Loescher documented the following areas where Pietists disagreed with the Lutherans. Pietists held to these views:

    a) indifference to doctrine;
    b) contempt for the means of grace;
    c) invalidation of the public ministry (famously refuted by Walther’s Church and Ministry);
    d) mixing of righteousness by faith with works (famously refuted by Walther’s Law and Gospel;
    e) millenialism (famously rejected in the LCMS by its first expulsion of a pastor, Rev. Schieferdecker of Altenberg, MO);
    f) terminism, i.e., that God gives up on sinners after they have heard/received his grace for a period of time;
    g) precisionism, i.e., legalistic approach to adiaphora, like dancing, going to theater, secular holidays, dress, food, etc.,
    h) mysticism, i.e., belief that God talks to believers today apart from the external word, through an inner voice or visions;
    i) abolition of the external supports of religion, e.g., opposition to church buildings, congregational assemblies for worship, church art, church bylaws, theological systems, and church discipline;
    j) excusing enthusiasts and fanatics, e.g., Pentecostals and charismatics in our day;
    k) perfectionism, i.e., belief that perfection of sanctification is possible (John Wesley’s doctrine);
    l) reformatism, i.e., that the church has to keep being reformed or “transformed” (hmmm. . .sounds a lot like TCN).
    m) schismatic results due to the disorderly seeking of piety; and
    n) the adherence and defense of Halle and its missionary program.

    This can be found in Loescher’s book: “The Complete Timotheus Verinus” (Milwaukee: NPH, 1998), not be confused with the blogger by that name. Not all Pietists hold to the positions Loescher describes, but they all hold to at least some of them. There are also wide varieties of Pietism, which historians have studied and categorized.

    I hope this helps BJS bloggers so that they not get confused on this subject–which is off topic as far as I can tell.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  16. @Martin R. Noland #16
    In response to your comment “I highly respect the intelligence of the numerous xxxx clan, but there is pietistic influence there which should not be discounted,” found here: @helen #8 . . .
    I think you confuse Pietism with piety.

    Not exactly, Dr. Noland, but I didn’t mean all that you mentioned either. And what I did mean is irrelevant to the subject under discussion. So I’ll accept your elaboration and correction, and use more caution with “hot button” words! 🙂

    Peace?

  17. I have one question for our esteemed author of this excellent article (and for those who responded critically about our former SP): Did any of you think to link this article to our former president so that he may make a defense of himself? (now that’s something I’d really love to read!) When we were critical of DP Linneman (for using his position and district resources to influence votes), I linked him to the article and I had a personal exchange (multiple emails) with him. It did no good and he did not repent and did not join in the discussion–but at least he had the opportunity to.

  18. >>the following areas where Pietists disagreed with the Lutherans. Pietists held to these views . . .

    Which is why I find citing Spener [https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=32298&cpage=2#comment-837982] as normative for Lutheran orthodoxy and the Missouri Synod as implausible as citing King Frederick William III and a decree from the Prussian Union. Another example of the errors in history and argumentation in this material.

  19. @Martin R. Noland #16
    h) mysticism, i.e., belief that God talks to believers today apart from the external word, through an inner voice or visions;

    I recall that Dr. Luther stated in the Smalcald Articles that this was the Devil.

    Dr. Noland, does this apply to pastors who believed they received some sort of inner call from God before entering the seminary?

  20. >>They put him up there with Luther and Chemnitz and Walther

    Yeah, I know, that always makes me cringe. Historically Spener’s writings did have a great impact on the early Walther and other Missouri Synod fathers, so perhaps it is appropriate from that historical standpoint. Also you have to consider the faculty at the time the library was built.

  21. @TimS #21
    I believe all pastors experienced some (different for all of course) inner call to be a pastor, after all, why get into this glorious, yet many times thankless job.

    Kicker here is the inner call must be OK’d by the “outer call”, the Church itself saying you are a pastor, you are ordained.

    Perhaps laymens terms, but you understand, eh?

    The Holy Spirits calls internally, and He affirms externally through the Church. Sort of a double check.

  22. @Martin R. Noland #9
    I know I’m jumping into this late in the game Pastor, and this might have been covered earlier in this string, but how can we square an ordination-less “Lutheran understanding of the ministry” w/ Melanchthon’s response to the Roman Confutation to AC XIV? The Roman Confutation accepted AC XIV so long as by “rite vocatus” we meant ordination by bishops. If by “rite vocatus” we did intend to separate the call and ordination, then this would have been the time to get up on our hind legs and confess it. Melanchthon did not assert that the mediated call was everything, and ordination was not required to preach teach or administer the sacraments in the churches of the AC in his Ap XIV answer.

  23. Dear Helen,

    In response to your comment here: @helen #17 , I was not “on the attack,” because I thought maybe you misunderstood the term. It is more often misunderstood than understood.

    But “peace”? Yes, always! 🙂 Jesus has called us to peace, and to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).

    Dear TimS,

    In response to your comment here: @TimS #21 , the point you make is often a concern.

    When I was at the seminary (Fort Wayne, 1979-84), the professors were very careful to make sure that students understood the differences between: 1) hearing voices, 2) an inner call, and 3) the outward call of the church.

    The term “call” comes from the Latin vocatio, which has to do with a person’s “vocation.” “Inner call” has to do with their personal belief or attitude. “Outer call” has to do with the church’s belief or attitude re. that person. This distinction should not be confused with the orthodox Lutheran distinction betwee “mediate call” and “immediate call.” We are only talking about “mediate calls” here. We are not Pentecostals.

    Most students that make a decision to attend seminary have some sort of inner call, i.e., they have the desire to serve and they believe that they have the potential for acquiring the knowledge-skills-and-attitudes that are required to serve the church as a pastor. This doesn’t mean they think that God has “told them” to become a pastor–whatever that means. Sometimes fellow Christians encourage such candidates to become pastors, but not always.

    On the basis of this internal belief, or conviction, they head to seminary, or if at college-level, to a pre-seminary program. There they will test their internal conviction/belief against the external requirements in education and training (those are two different things, by the way).

    If they pass all of those requirements, then they have demonstrated to themselves and the church that their inner belief or conviction was well founded (if they don’t pass, then it demonstrates that their inner belief was not well founded). At that point, they are certified by the seminary faculty and become eligible for placement. At placement, they receive the outward call of the church to serve at a particular place in a particular way (i.e., sole pastor, senior pastor, associate pastor, missionary, chaplain, etc. with varied duties).

    If a man does not have the internal belief, or conviction, that he is suitable to serve as a pastor, then he will not enroll in a pre-seminary program or the seminary itself. Why would he?

    Sometimes some men have doubts about their suitability, which is fine. Doubts in these cases might be due to humility (“I am not good enough to serve”) or pride (“My talents are too good to be wasted on the church”). In either case, if the student passes all of those requirements and is certified, the doubts can be set aside, because the church has testified that the man is suitable. No reason for doubts after that.

    It is true that there are some men who enter the seminary who think, or say, that God has “called” them to serve–and they don’t care what anyone else thinks or says. Professors and seminary students will help them realize that, at least in the Lutheran church, God works through means and through the church. Thus the “inner call,” which some sincerely “feel,” always–in every case–needs to be tested and confirmed by the church.

    That is part of what it means to be in the “body of Christ.” No man is an island until himself. Seminary students who don’t care what the “body of Christ” thinks will not be certified, because they have demonstrated that they don’t have the proper attitude required to becoming a servant of the church.

    I hope this clarifies the matter of the term “call.” If people don’t like the term “inner call,” they still need to recognize the importance of the “inner belief or conviction” that leads men and their families into the ministry.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

    p.s. check Pastor Prentice’s comment #23. He is saying the same, in summary form, as I am saying.

  24. Dear Mr. Mills,

    In response to you comment here: @Matthew Mills #24

    I am glad that you ask these questions, because they point to an area that is often confused in Lutheran circles.

    Let me quote from Johann Gerhard on the subject:

    We say that the rite of ordination should by no means be omitted; rather, outside a case of necessity, it should always be used in establishing the ecclesiastical ministry. This we say because of the ancient custom of the apostolic church and of the church nearest to the time of the apostles . . . Nevertheless we deny that ordination is necessary by reason of a particular divine precept, which cannot be demonstrated; or by reason of the sort of effect that the Papists attribute to it, as if it impressed an indelible character . . .; or by reason of an absolute and simple necessity, as if a man legitimately called by a church could not perform the ministry before being ordained and consecrated, not even at a time when the rite of ordination cannot be had, such as in time of siege, plague, etc., for nothing can be set forth from the Scriptures about such an absolute necessity. (Johann Gerhard, On the Ecclesiastical Ministry, Part One in Theological Commonplaces, 26/1 [St. Louis: CPH, 2011], pp. 209-210 [sec. 139]).

    The Papists bishops use especially two ceremonies in ordination: the imposition of hands and anointing. We retain the imposition of hands in our churches; we have repudiated anointing. We use the imposition of hands not as if it were a sacramental symbol that Christ Himself instituted and commanded us to use in this rite. Instead, we use this ceremony freely; because it has come down from the usage of the apostlic church. . . We freely use this ceremony also because it provides useful admonitions. For since ordination includes a public designation of the called man and the prayers that the entire church offers upon the called person, therefore as Dr. Chemnitz notes . . . it seemed best to the apostles to apply the rite of the imposition of hands, used by the Israelites, elsewhere, to both things. (ibid., p. 234 [sec. 159]).

    Thus, according to Chemnitz and Gerhard, who address this matter in detail sufficient to answer your questions, ordination with the laying on of hands should by no means be omitted, except for cases of necessity, like the plague, siege, etc., where society is in chaos. “District licensed lay deacons” are not that type of a “case of necessity,” which is why the synod has agreed to review that program, on a theological basis, and report back to convention in 2016.

    Why was Melanchthon not “ordained”? His call to serve the church preceded the reformation of the church in Wittenberg (ca. 1522), and as far as I know, he was never asked to serve as a parish pastor. A person can’t argue for or against ordination on the basis of Philip’s unique case. Master Philip is what logicians call sui generis.

    The fact that Elector John Frederick found it necessary to pass laws regarding ordination in Saxony ca. 1535-39 demonstrates that there was some confusion and conflict in this matter prior to that period of time. A person can’t argue for or against ordination on the basis of that unique period in Lutheran history.

    In Lutheran theology, we do not argue from individual cases to general principles. We argue from individual Biblical texts to general statements of doctrine, and then from that doctrine we apply to individual cases. That is how Lutheran theology works.

    There are always individual cases that don’t fit the theory, and they are in the realm of “casuistry,” which means the treatment of “individual cases.” The “Consilium” of Wittenberg contains the Gutachten of that theological faculty dealing with questions and individual cases that could not easily be harmonized with the general theory.

    I hope that this answers your questions, at least to some extent.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  25. Martin R. Noland :
    (if they don’t pass, then it demonstrates that their inner belief was not well founded).

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that their inner belief was not well founded. If that was the case, we need to dismiss Rev. Fisk from the ministry, as he flunked out of Concordia University Portland (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqaMWTZSq-8&list=PLnvmdr0iHiESGu6zrhG1hU0HmZaXs7lw_). However, there are people who, for various reasons, drop out of college and then return later to get their Bachelor’s degree. According to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, normal admission is granted to men who have a Bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.25 GPA, five letters of recommendation (of which one of them is their pastor), be a member of the LCMS (or a church that the LCMS holds altar and pulpit fellowship with) for at least two years, must have GRE scores, and record of a district interview. It does not state that it must be your first attempt at college, or the age when you get your Bachelor’s degree. Therefore, if they don’t succeed in obtaining a Bachelor’s degree for whatever reason, their inner belief may be well founded in the future, but they need to wait until they receive a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college (and don’t do the shortcut of the SMP program).

  26. @Martin R. Noland #26
    Thanks Pastor, it does help. As a resident of the NoW District, I have seen just about every cheap untenable argument for “lay-ministry” and against the ordained clergy that has ever been trooped out, so perhaps I’m a bit “twitchy” on these things.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  27. Dear Joshua,

    Thanks for your comments here: @Joshua #27

    There are many men who are not qualified to serve, but after some years, become qualified. This is called “maturity.” Being able to pass Greek exams, write papers, and get “A”s on tests do not, in themselves, make a man qualified to serve the church. There is also the entire dimension of what Gerhard calls “the honorable government of behavior and life” (see Johann Gerhard, On the Ecclesiastical Ministry, Part Two in Theological Commonplaces, 26/2 [St Louis: CPH, 2012], pp. 116-131 [sections 275-284]. This section in Gerhard is a brilliant analysis of the biblical requirements in the area of character for pastors. The seminaries today call their work in this area “formation.”

    When the church knows what it is doing, it always screens all candidates for the pastoral office for knowledge (which can be acquired through education), for skills (which can be trained), and character.

    One of my ongoing concerns about the “district-licensed-lay-deacons” and the S.M.P. program is that the “bar was lowered”in the area of screening candidates for character attributes. I have made this point numerous times, in various posts over the years, here at BJS. Thankfully, the LCMS in the 2013 convention addressed these concerns (Resolutions 4-06A, 5-03E, and 5-04). We should see some improvement soon, which is definitely progress!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  28. @Martin R. Noland #30

    Dr. Noland,

    Thanks for the reply. I can’t afford the book that you reference to in your comment (although I will see if for some strange reason if my public library has it, even though most of the religious books that they have in the library are written by neo-Arian liberals). I agree that we should be testing men who seek the Office of the Holy Ministry for knowledge, skills, and character. I think that the letters of recommendation and the district interview should cover the character of said men, provided that letters of recommendation are honest and the interviewers from the district get to the heart of one’s character. However, if they are able to get in and don’t have the character for the ministry, this will become obvious in the seminary (as most seminary students will live in the town that the seminary is at).

    For the academic side of things, the two seminaries in the U.S. and the two seminaries in Canada affiliated with either the LCMS or the LCC normally requires a Bachelor’s degree for admission and I don’t seek to lower that standard.

    In reference to the “licensed lay deacon” program that you mention, I want it to vanish in its current form. If we wish to have deacons participate in the Office of the Holy Ministry, then we should ordain our deacons as pastors and give them a call with a special emphasis to the nursing homes/etc. With that being said, they should have the same qualifications as any other pastor. If we don’t want to have deacons to participate in that Office, then remove them from preaching and normally administering the Sacraments.

    Joshua

  29. @helen #17

    Frankly I’ve less concern with hot-button words and more concern with false ad-hominem attacks against a pious Lutheran family who we can rightly credit for saving the Synod in the 70s.

  30. “LC-MS Quotes” :
    Chemnitz makes the Lutheran view on this thing crystal clear. It is the call that makes a man a minister and nothing else. And they call the ordination, the laying on of hands, and the rite of ordination — whatever that rite happened to be — they call that an adiaphoron.
    Robert D. Preus
    Panel Discussion — “The Divine Call”
    Panelists: W. Rosin, R. Preus, H. Buls, E. Bunkowski
    Moderator: C. MacKenzie
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    December 10, 1987
    7-9 PM

    I would very much like additional context on this quote, if you would oblige me. It is worth noting that to Chemnitz, the locus of the Office is indeed in the call, yet he notes that Ordination should be observed “for very weighty reasons”

    “The first reason is that, because of those who run and have not been sent a call ought to have the public testimony of the church. But that ceremony or rite of ordination is nothing else than the kind of public testimony by which the call of that person who is ordained is declared before God and in His name to be regular, pious, legitimate and divine.”

    – Enchiridion

    The rite of ordination isn’t necessary as such. But it’s pretty important. And without it we lose a great deal of certainty in our pastors, being able to be certain that our pastors have been authorized and sent by God is pretty crucial, so too is the rite of Ordination.

  31. Dear Libby,

    Thanks for your comments here: @Libby North #32 . I agree with you.

    But we do have to qualify the statement a bit. Many people should get credit for turning the tide against the influx of Liberal Protestant thinking in the LCMS:

    1) Rev. Paul Burgdorf, editor of the Confessional Lutheran.
    2) Rev. J.T. Mueller, one of the last of the “old guard” at the Saint Louis seminary.
    3) Rev. Herman Otten, Rev. Kurt Marquart, and Dr. David Scaer, who opposed the liberalism at the seminary in their student days there.
    4) Dr. Robert Preus who was a known-conservative at the Saint Louis seminary in the late 1950s that conservative students could talk to without fear of reprisal
    5) President John Behnken, who criticized the Saint Louis seminary for its errors in the early 1960s, after he was retired.
    6) Rev. Herman Otten and his “Christian News”
    7) Rev. Waldo Werning and his “Faith Forward, First Concerns” group
    8) President J.A.O. Preus and his “Fact-Finding Committee”: Dr. Karl Barth, Dr. Elmer Foelber, Dr. Armin Moellering, Dr. Paul Streufert, and Dr. Paul Zimmerman
    9) Rev. E.J. Otto, editor of Affirm and leader of Balance, Inc.
    10) The Springfield faculty who carefully opposed the theology at Saint Louis and Valparaiso
    11) The Board of Control conservatives at Saint Louis before 1973: Rev. Ed Weber, Mr. Charles Burmeister, and Mr. Walter Dissen (who was recently re-elected to his former post!).
    12) The Faithful Five who did not participate in the walkout: Robert Preus, Ralph Bohlmann, Richard Klann, Martin Scharlemann, and Lorenz Wunderlich

    . . . and many others.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  32. @Joshua #31
    I will see if for some strange reason if my public library has it, …

    If not, ask if your library belongs to a group which it can borrow from.
    Texas has “TexShare” which enables members of the local public library to borrow from the universities’ holdings.

  33. @helen #36

    They don’t have it, but I can request up to four items per month. It appears as if the only other option would be to drive 101 miles, and get a library card through the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (and the Lutheran Universities/Seminaries that have it in their libraries are further away).

  34. @helen #8
    Pietism? My goodness! I know a number of them personally and pietist is not the first term that comes to mind. The first term that comes to mind is Justification. The second term that comes to mind is pietism, as in, they can’t stand pietism. And I’ve seen online some of them be patient with *your* pietism while they attempted to teach you something.

  35. Martin R. Noland :
    I hope this clarifies the matter of the term “call.” If people don’t like the term “inner call,” they still need to recognize the importance of the “inner belief or conviction” that leads men and their families into the ministry.
    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland
    p.s. check Pastor Prentice’s comment #23. He is saying the same, in summary form, as I am saying.

    Yes, it has. Thank you.

  36. @R.D. #38
    And I’ve seen online some of them be patient with *your* pietism while they attempted to teach you something.

    [I’ve already “withdrawn” the offensive? comment.] You come late to the party!

  37. @David Jay Webber #3

    Brother Webber:

    Grace and peace to you. I have not been ignoring your excellent post, but I have had several time commitments to attend to.

    Thank you for bringing up the Schwabach articles. This is truly an important context for understanding the context and implications of AC V, and one I needed to consider.

    You wrote, “So, in regard to your analysis of the German grammar of AC V, I wonder if it is actually so that that the implied subject of the infinitive verb gegeben has become the Predigtamt, or if it is still God.”

    Exegetically speaking, it would be difficult for God to be the implied subject of gegeben in AC V [i.e., God instituted the Predigtamt (for Him) to give the Gospel and administer the Sacraments]. Making God as the implied subject here is not the natural sense of the phrase. An extra clause would have to be inserted to read the subject as something other than the Predigtamt itself giving the Gospel and administering the Sacraments.

    Likewise, the use of the infinitive gegeben does not indicate an infinitive clause (since no zu is added before gegeben, which would be, “God instituted the Predigtamt, giving the Gospel and administering the Sacraments.” This interpretation would require the tenses of the later verbs to be participles).

    Nor is the subjunctive used (i.e., God instituted the Predigtamt so that He might give the Gospel and administer the Sacraments).

    It stands that the intended sense is that the Predigtamt itself is what gives the Gospel and administers the Sacraments.

    You raise some good questions about AC V in comparison to the Schwabach articles, saying, “Was Melanchthon not simply rewriting and condensing the Schwabach Articles? Was he instead redefining the meaning of terms from the Schwabach Articles? That would have created confusion not only among the papal theologians, but also among the Lutherans themselves. If Melanchthon was doing this at Augsburg in 1530, I would expect him to have done so in a more explicit and pointed way, precisely because of the internal confusion among the Lutherans at Augsburg that would result if he attempted to do this only in such a subtle and almost unnoticeable way.”

    Answer: Since there was no confusion among the Lutherans at Augsburg, and since Luther approved of the Confession before it went forward, we would have to understand that as you rightly say, there was no disagreement in content from the Schwabach Article to AC V. However, I wonder if perhaps we as 21st century Lutherans put a wedge in this thought that the 16th century Confessors did not intend. My contention is that AC V indicates a certain position to give the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, and that Schwabach understands the “mouthly Word” (mundige Werde) to be that Word not spoken by the lay person in society, but by the preacher in the pulpit. Therefore, when Melanchthon wrote AC V and indicated that the Predigtamt or Ministerio Ecclesiastico is a position that gives the Gospel and administers the Sacraments, nobody quarreled. They understood that when the preacher preaches and administers Sacraments, God works by that Word and Sacraments that he gives.

    One more exegetical consideration. The title for the Latin is De Ministerio Ecclesiastico. It doesn’t translate as “Concerning the Ministry of the Church” for then, Ecclesia would have to be in the Genitive, which would likely be De Ministerio Ecclesiastici. The better translation is the “Concerning the Church-Ministry” which located the context for this Word being given, that is, in the Church, understood as the congregation of the saints in AC VII. That Church-Ministry, then, would be nothing other than vocation and calling of the pastor who God set up to give the people His Gospel and Sacraments.

    Please consider this, and I am interested in your response.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  38. @Rev. Robert Mayes #41

    Brother Mayes,

    All the rest of the Lutherans agreed with Luther in 1529, when he said that God had instituted the “mouthly Word” of the gospel, for the distribution of salvation and the creation of faith. This would have been in contrast not only to the fanciful notions of the enthusiasts, but also was in contrast to the idea of an institution of an abstract or inert Word that is not, as it were, “in motion” toward sinners, as the preached Word is.

    When Melanchthon said what he said in AC V the following year, I think the Lutherans understood him to be repeating essentially the same point. The Predigtamt of AC V is still the “mouthly Word” that God instituted. The focus is still on what preachers do, or more precisely on what God does through them by means of the mouthly Word that comes forth from them. The focus had not shifted away from this, to a discussion of the position of responsibility from within which preachers do what they do.

    Certainly the primary application of AC V is to the public ministry of public ministers. But all the Lutherans of the 16th century would also have agreed with this axiomatic statement of Chemnitz:

    “For although the keys were given to the church itself, as the ancients correctly teach, we nevertheless by no means hold that any and every Christian without distinction should or can take to himself or exercise the ministry of the Word and sacraments without a legitimate call. As however the ancients say that in case of necessity any Christian lay person can administer the sacrament of Baptism, so Luther says the same thing about absolution in case of necessity, where no priest is present. … Earlier we have also noted…that whatever is either loosed or bound in fraternal reproof and reconciliation is loosed and bound in heaven itself. Moreover, there is no doubt that when the Word of the Gospel is proclaimed, God works efficaciously, no matter by whom it is proclaimed.” (Examination II, p. 621)

    This last statement applies to regular pastors in the performance of their public duties. It applies to laymen functioning as “emergency pastors” during a temporary time of need. And it applies to Christians in general, in their fraternal, unofficial sharing of God’s Word with each other. In all of these cases, “when the Word of the Gospel is proclaimed, God works efficaciously, no matter by whom it is proclaimed.”

    I think that what Chemnitz is talking about here (with all of his necessary qualifications), and what AC V is talking about, is basically the same thing.

  39. Here’s how I see church and pastors.

    We got our constitution: the Holy Bible.

    We got our amendments: The Book of Concord.

    Those books belong to all of us. Not just to them clergy.

    Then we transfer our power to a pastor by a vote. He does the work any of us could rightly do. But since we got other jobs, mostly better paying and stuff, we choose a guy and delegate our authority to him. Kind of like how we elect the president of the US. And if we don’t think he is doing a good job or representing us well, we can unelect him.

  40. @goober #43
    Then we transfer our power to a pastor by a vote. He does the work any of us could rightly do. But since we got other jobs, mostly better paying and stuff, we choose a guy and delegate our authority to him.

    Where to start!?
    First, a congregation issuing a call is asking God to send a particular man to work in that place.
    It is God’s work that they are doing in the Call, and if the members think they are just hiring someone, (like hiring a janitor for peanuts!) they shouldn’t be issuing a call!

    Our fathers took pride in supporting the Pastor so that he could live like the best of them… not the “average”, not the lowest paid, the best. This generation should be ashamed.
    We give leftovers to our churches, cheat our pastors of the wage due their education and experience… and then look down on them because they can’t live as well as we do!!!!

    I repeat: not “our authority”… God’s …

    And if we don’t think he is doing a good job or representing us well, we can unelect him.

    That’s an idea we got from the non denoms or the Methodists, who move their preachers every 2 or 3 years. (Or from states with “at will” laws for employment.) It’s wrong!

    A Lutheran call is indefinite. Three reasons can properly end it (1) if the pastor preaches false doctrine (it should be publicly verified before he is dismissed and then he should be off the roster) (2) if he has an immoral lifestyle (3) if he refuses to do the work of the pastorate which is, to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments in his congregation
    [That’s it, BTW, not the train of business activities which congregations load on pastors.]

    Not so long ago, Pastors spent most of their lives with one congregation. It was legitimate Lutheran practice for them to receive calls but many stayed to build what they had started.

    Congregations which dismiss a pastor for frivolous reasons commit sin and will be held accountable. Much sin does not seem to be punished these days. But God sees it.

    (If proper synodical discipline were being exercised, the congregation would remain vacant until they reconciled with their pastor, or indefinitely. Luther said that the man who takes such a congregation robs his predecessor, because he steals his living.)

    [Oh, yes! The Book of Concord does not “amend” the Bible.
    It explains it! To “goobers”… but I think they’d better start with the 10 Commandments, judging by this. If you can get past the first three, pay special attention to the explanation of “Honor thy father and mother….” ]

  41. @helen #44

    Helen, I seriously doubt that many pastors are removed for “frivolous” reasons, at least not in the LCMS. Looking from the outside in, you may think that “frivolity” is involved, but you do not know the entire story.

    Having said that, Goober is very wrong thinking that the pastor may be “unelected” simply because the congregation doesn’t “think” he is doing the job.

  42. David Hartung :@helen #44
    Helen, I seriously doubt that many pastors are removed for “frivolous” reasons, at least not in the LCMS. Looking from the outside in, you may think that “frivolity” is involved, but you do not know the entire story.
    Having said that, Goober is very wrong thinking that the pastor may be “unelected” simply because the congregation doesn’t “think” he is doing the job.

    Then who unelectes him? You must be a pastor.

    I don’t blame you for looking out for yourself as a pastor. But we have to look out for ourselves to. Checks and balances. Think what it would be like if we gave Obama the right to represent us but then we couldn’t unelect him. Our American forfathers fought hard to free us from that kind of domination. Martin Luther did the same for the church. We need to stay Lutheran and not become catholic.

    I don’t think things that the congregation disagrees with can be called frivolous. We give him the power to represent us. If what he does upsets us enough, then we unelect him. Or we send him a message by cutting his pay.

    Checks and balances. It works. Give a man power to represent you without checks and balances, and it goes to his head. But if he works hard and faithfully and realizes who he represents, then things go great for all of us and were all happy.

    I’m not trying to be mean about pastors. I like them and am thankful for them as long as they do what they are supposed to do. But we need to remember the power belongs to us the church. I own a Bible just like the pastors do.

  43. One more thing, I am sorry for talking so much.

    I like President Jerry and agree with him about the clergy wanting to dominate the laity and that this is the laitys church and we should not let it be stolen away from us.

    At the same time, President Jerry was unelected fair and square. Look, democricy isn’t always perfect. In this case it didn’t work very well. But we have to accept it because as soon as we don’t accept the will of the people we are back to tyranny. If he was so right, than people would have seen that and he would still be president. Even if he seems a bit mad at being unelected, who can blame him? Its only human. Saame thing with pastors in congregations. Carl and Marion are good americans and good lutherans. Listen to them.

  44. @David Hartung #45
    Helen, I seriously doubt that many pastors are removed for “frivolous” reasons, at least not in the LCMS. Looking from the outside in, you may think that “frivolity” is involved, but you do not know the entire story.

    David, have you been on the inside looking out?

    In the cases I know, the “Lutheran reasons” (which I listed) were not involved. All else is as arbitrary [and wrong] as goober’s “IF we don’t like them, we unelect them!”

  45. @goober #46
    I don’t think things that the congregation disagrees with can be called frivolous. We give him the power to represent us. If what he does upsets us enough, then we unelect him. Or we send him a message by cutting his pay.

    I repeat, once: If the called Pastor is providing you with Word and Sacraments, he is doing his job.
    I listed the reasons he might be removed. “Because you don’t happen to like him” is not one of them. [You might dislike him because he named your pet sin, which is his job!]

    “Starving him out” is despicable!

    Are you a Lutheran or just a visiting Troll?

  46. >>If what he does upsets us enough, then we unelect him. Or we send him a message by cutting his pay. . . I own a Bible just like the pastors do

    Perhaps you may wish to review these passages of God’s Word:

    Hebrews 13:7 — “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

    1 Timothy 5:17 — “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”

    Philippians 2:29 — “Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him.”

    Romans 10:14–15 — “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”

    1 Thessalonians 5:12–13 — “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”

    Hebrews 13:17 — “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden.”

    1 Corinthians 9:14 — “The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

    Galatians 6:6 — “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.”

    1 Timothy 3:1 — “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.”

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