Great Stuff — On the Public Ministry

Found over on MercyJourney, extracted from the Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Statement of the Missouri Synod



  1. By the public ministry we mean the office by which the Word of God is preached and the Sacraments are administered by order and in the name of a Christian congregation. Concerning this office we teach that it is a divine ordinance; that is, the Christians of a certain locality must apply the means of grace not only privately and within the circle of their families nor merely in their common intercourse with fellow-Christians, John 5:39; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:16, but they are also required, by the divine order, to make provision that the Word of God be publicly preached in their midst, and the Sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, by persons qualified for such work, whose qualifications and official functions are exactly defined in Scripture, Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23; 20:28; 2 Tim. 2:2.
  2. Although the office of the ministry is a divine ordinance, it possesses no other power than the power of the Word of God, 1 Pet. 4:11; that is to say, it is the duty of Christians to yield unconditional obedience to the office of the ministry whenever, and as long as, the minister proclaims to them the Word of God, Heb. 13:17, Luke 10:16. If, however, 6:30-8:30 the minister, in his teachings and injunctions, were to go beyond the Word of God, it would be the duty of Christians not to obey, but to disobey him, so as to remain faithful to Christ, Matt. 23:8. Accordingly, we reject the false doctrine ascribing to the office of the ministry the right to demand obedience and submission in matters which Christ has not commanded.
  3. Regarding ordination we teach that it is not a divine, but a commendable ecclesiastical ordinance. (Smalcald Articles. Triglot, p. 525, paragraph 70; M., p. 342.)


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


Great Stuff — On the Public Ministry — 4 Comments

  1. I think a certain percentage of LCMS pastors were absent on the day that these things were covered.

  2. @Randy #1
    I think a certain percentage of LCMS pastors were absent on the day that these things were covered.

    Randy, It’s just a theory, but I believe some people want to be “boss” and to be thought “special” more than they really want to be “pastor” (i.e., shepherd, servant). So they angle for office in the church (because that’s easier to get) and the men doing the real work of the church let them, thinking it would do no harm.
    Which it didn’t, until the “bosses” got enamored of the non Lutheran megachurches, and salivated to be bigger bosses. And so, here we are and how we are going to get back to Lutheran doctrine and practice again, I do not know. Anyone who wants to is marginalized, if not run out altogether. 🙁

  3. @helen #2

    They don’t need an office. I have dealt and deal with a handful (more than a handful?) of pastors who like being being CEO of Congregation, Inc. I know we have a congregational polity, but these men prefer congregationalism, so they can do what ever they want, screw what synod/district says. And they will manipulate church council and other leadership positions to get their yes men in place to lead. I have lived through it.

  4. @Jason #3
    And they will manipulate church council and other leadership positions to get their yes men in place to lead.

    Most of us have seen it. The “all male” voters with all but a handful of men discouraged from attending. The “Yessir, how high, sir?” The congregations who “don’t give to District” (or missions or anything else) but the pastor lives well above district scale.

    That man spoils a congregation.
    Those with more ambition have about de-Lutheranized Synod.

    It’s past “TIME” to turn around… to repent of it all, in fact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.