“RIF”ing on Pastors

2010-ConventionWkbk-CoverIn 2009, the School Ministry Department of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod developed a guidance document for implementing a “Reduction In Force” (RIF). Because “Some congregations [were] unaware of this resource,” and “Some congregations are not adequately prepared to express care to their impacted workers (spiritual, financial, and emotional),” the delegates to the 64th regular convention of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in 2010, by an overwhelming vote of 1,091 to 19, directed, “Synod and its districts share this resource with every congregation and ministry,” and encouraged congregations, “to use this resource when considering an RIF policy,” as they, “consider the spiritual, financial, and emotional well-being of all impacted workers when implementing RIF policies.” [excerpts from 2010 Resolution 2-02].

Since that time, though a small number of districts have edited the document to address particular concerns, most districts continue to commend the document in its entirety to the congregations of their district unedited, though most do expressly note that it is not, “an official policy of the Synod,” but that it is merely a guidance document.

Sadly, because it “comes from Synod,” many congregations simply take as true certain aspects of the document, especially the theological background pertaining to the distinct Office of the Holy Ministry and the erroneous conclusion that, “This office is held by one man in each congregation, known as the Pastor, or with a number of pastors on staff, the Senior Pastor.” When this statement is taken along with the other information provided, the conclusion is that a congregation may use Reduction in Force (or, by extension, other programmatic and business reasons) to expel a pastor from office through a “Reduction in Force” so long as he is not the Senior Pastor.



Having been encouraged by the Synod in convention to use this document, congregations have heeded the advice and guidance it contains and they have relegated called and ordained servants of Christ to the status of “Candidate,” effectively turning him out of the office into which we claim to believe and teach that Christ our Lord, Himself, through the instrumentality of the congregation, placed the man. Given our Lord’s clear words to the seventy[-two] whom he sent into the towns and villages ahead of Him, “he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me,” (Luke 10:16) such a practice would seem to put those congregations who undertake to do such a thing at great jeopardy, as, “it will be more bearable in Sodom than for that town [that does not receive you].” (Luke 10:12)

This situation affects us all.  Given that our beloved Synod has encouraged the use of this document, the Synod may well be culpable for the sin of those who have heeded it’s guidance when we consider that Jesus expressly said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

The PDF link attached to this post is a copy of a discussion document I drafted for the brothers who attended our most recent joint circuit meeting (Winkel) in my area. The full document will be helpful especially for any congregation who has read the RIF guidelines commended by the 2010 Synod with a view to their implementation. The document is most especially helpful as it contains a much fuller discussion of the Scriptures as well as the historic theological Position of The LCMS as it applies in the circumstance of a Reduction in Force in the context of the Pastoral Office than the original guidelines do.

PDF: ReductionInForce-DiscussionDocument-October-2015

About Pastor Matthew Dent

I'm a life-long Lutheran who, prior to formal preparation for the ministry, learned most of my theology from good preaching, solid hymnody, and the consistent pattern of sound words found in the church's liturgy in a small church in Western, NY. A "first generation" pastor in my family, I took the "long route" to seminary, working in startups and small companies in the technology and internet sector for 10 years before completing my Bachelor of Arts at Concordia University, Ann Arbor in December of 2004 and continuing my studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, graduating with my M.Div. in 2008. I completed additional residential studies toward an S.T.M. at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and was ordained and first installed in July, 2009. Since January 2014, I have been serving Jesus' Church as pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Standish, Michigan where I live with my wonderful wife, Kelli, and my two kids, Jonathan and Natalie.


“RIF”ing on Pastors — 84 Comments

  1. @helen #47


    http://lcms.org/ccm is a shortcut to find that kind of stuff. Likewise, http://lcms.org/ctcr (theology and church relations) http://lcms.org/bod (board of directors) , etc.

    LCMS Constitution (Not a By-Law):

    Article VI Conditions of Membership

    Conditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod are the following:

    1. Acceptance of the confessional basis of Article II. (ie. Holy Scripture and the Book of Concord)
    2. Renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description, such as:
    a. Serving congregations of mixed confession, as such, by ministers of the church;
    b. Taking part in the services and sacramental rites of heterodox congregations or of congregations of mixed confession;
    c. Participating in heterodox tract and missionary activities.
    3. Regular call of pastors, teachers, directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, directors of family life ministry, directors of parish music, deaconesses, certified lay ministers, and parish assistants and regular election of lay delegates by the congregations, as also the blamelessness of the life of such.
    4. Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbooks, and catechisms in church and school.
    5. A congregation shall be received into membership only after the Synod has convinced itself that the constitution of the congregation, which must be submitted for examination, contains nothing contrary to the Scriptures or the Confessions.
    6. Pastors, teachers, directors of Christian education, directors of Christian outreach, directors of family life ministry, directors of parish music, deaconesses, certified lay ministers, or candidates for these offices not coming from recognized orthodox church bodies must submit to a colloquium before being received.
    7. Congregations and individuals shall be received into membership at such time and manner, and according to such procedures, as shall be set forth in the bylaws to this Constitution.

  2. @Mary #48: “What of men who are ordained in another Trinitarian church body, and wish to be a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) pastor?”

    Did you want an answer in abstracto or in concreto?

    In the latter case (behind the facade) there is Mose Henney, who was ordained as a pastor in the XXXA, resigned as an admitted serial adulterer, operated as an unlicensed Las Vegas wedding chapel minister performing marriages the state did not recognize, with the help of PSW DP Larry Stoterau in May 2013 made it through Step 8 of 14 in the Pastoral Colloquy: Application Process before the Synod 1st VP sheepishly stated, when warned, that the application materials submitted to the colloquy committee had nothing about Henney’s disreputable history, and yet, despite all this and not being on the LCMS roster of ordained ministers, still serves for the last three and a half years as a pastor of the Lamb of God Lutheran Church (LCMS), Las Vegas.

  3. @Carl Vehse #52

    despite all this and not being on the LCMS roster of ordained ministers, still serves for the last three and a half years as a pastor of the Lamb of God Lutheran Church (LCMS), Las Vegas.

    This, Matthew Becker, “5/2”, the No.MN scandal, ULC, the attempted grab of the Oakland church [add yours]…. is it any wonder that laity look to Scripture and the Confessions and discount anything from the alphabet “committees” of appointed officials?

    [Not to mention some of the gullible geese that agree to being named convention delegates! One in our circuit, a few years ago, thought he was being invited (with his wife) to an expense paid junket. Unwarned and unprepared by the pastor and being in the minority camp, he did get a rude surprise!]

  4. @helen #53

    Let’s not forget Cows for Kenya, Together with All Creatures: Caring for God’s Living Earth, the Koinonia Project, the Newtown flip-flop, Immigrants Among Us: A Lutheran Framework for Addressing Immigration Issues, the sedated 2013 Synodical Convention, the Memorandum of Fabulous Understanding, spin-the-bottle games with NALC, ACNA, ECCMY, and ECAC, which have shown no serious intentions of giving up their pastrix-ordaining heterodoxy, the Joint Statement with the scandal-ridden St. Louis Archbishop Carlson, Re:Vitality coffee coasters, and honorary co-chairmanship with an XXXA apostate and Demonicrats for an October 2015 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIaRS) bourbon-swilling Gala.

  5. @Tim Schenks #46
    Here’s what I’d suggest:
    1) Re-read AC XIV, In Latin, AC XIV literally reads: “Concerning churchly order, they teach that no one should publicly teach or administer the sacraments in the church, unless they have been called with the correct religious ceremony.” I’d be interested in what drove the sainted Dr. Robert Preus to assume a figurative translation of “rite” (rightly) in this context, but historically his assumption is problematic because when we

    2) Read the Roman Confutation of 1530 XIV (http://www.bookofconcord.org/confutatio.php ) and ask: did the Papists assume the simple literal meaning of “rite” (with the correct religious ceremony) or a figurative translation of “rite” (rightly) it is absolutely obvious from the Papist answer that they assumed the simple literal meaning of “rite” (because their only concern seemed to be the details of ordination.)

    3) Now re-read the Apol XIV and ask: where in this article do the reformers correct the Papists and patiently explain that the Lutherans weren’t using “rite” literally in the first place, and so the whole discussion of episcopal ordination etc. was a total red herring? (hint: it’s not in there anywhere.)

    If (lay Dr.) Melanchthon had intended a figurative reading of “rite” in AC XIV (and he wasn’t being a weasel) then Ap XIV SHOULD have read like the Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert Preus quote in your post. It doesn’t.

    Words have meanings.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  6. @John Rixe #56

    No, John– it’s certainly not all bad in the LCMS. But then, it’s not all bad in the ELCA, the UMC, or in the Orthodox Church in America. Because the LCMS is built on the premise of maintaining purity of doctrine and practice, appeals to relative good have never been in their wheelhouse.

    Once the LCMS descends into the argumentation that they are relatively good/faithful/pure/etc., it begs the question of validity on the objective quantification of that relative comparison. For example, how might we establish that the relative good accomplished by the LCMS in the face of their many public and scandalous failures, is objectively better than the relative good accomplished in the Southern Baptist Convention, or the US Council of Catholic Bishops? Heritage doesn’t cut it in relativist argumentation… only what’s relatively better at any given time.

    Sadly, I don’t think the LCMS can withstand the relativistic argument. It only had a reasonable argument when it worked for purity of doctrine and practice. Once it lost that, it really lost the whole shooting match.

  7. It begins: President H. C. Schwan addressed the Synod in convention. He urged that the Synod be careful to maintain its unity by avoiding either “faddishness or sluggishness.

    The rest seems faddish and sluggish.

  8. @Brad #57

    Respectfully, Pr Brad

    What is the trend in the Mo. Synod?   Improving or deteriorating?  

    What was the trend 10 years ago?    

    What about the great work getting done in our local congregations and schools which swamps all the stuff listed in comments 53 and 54?

    Should we be encouraging one another as well as constructively and persuasively identifying problems and solutions?

  9. @Brad #57: “Once the LCMS descends into the argumentation that they are relatively good/faithful/pure/etc., it begs the question of validity on the objective quantification of that relative comparison.”

    That is correct, Brad. The State of the Synod:

    1st Para: Schwan quote.
    2nd Para: : Quote from Luther.
    3rd Para: : Conditions in which we live
    4th Para: : Trips to District conventions:

    – 1st Bullet: Noted detemination and resolve.
    – 2nd Bullet: Positive spirit – calm, while bold and vigorous… more internally peaceful.
    – 3rd Bullet: Have enduring challenges and differences among us.
    – 4th Bullet: Continuing dissension against AC.XXIX.6.

    5th Para: AC.XIV being violated by licensed laymen since 1989 (a quarter-century ago) Proposed solution next summer.
    6th Para: Formulated… committed… determined… engaged worldwide… challenged but strong.
    Closing paragraphs: Boilerplate.

  10. In our congregation, we have deacons selected by the pastor to aid in ministering to physical needs – food, utility bills, visit the sick and shut in – extension of the non-Word-and-Sacrament functions, so to speak. Nothing that elders in churches have not been doing except, perhaps, these deacons we have don’t really teach.

    That said, there are, even in worship, places where a lay leader or deacon, or assistant pastor can be involved and rightly calling men to pastoral ministry without the person having been educated or colloquyized by synod seems to be in keeping with SA, Part III, Article X:

    “Therefore, as the ancient examples of the Church and the Fathers teach us, we ourselves will and ought to ordain suitable persons to this office; and, even according to their own laws, they have not the right to forbid or prevent us. For their laws say that those ordained even by heretics should be declared [truly] ordained and stay ordained [and that such ordination must not be changed], as St. Jerome writes of the Church at Alexandria, that at first it was governed in common by priests and preachers, without bishops.”

    In this context, the timidity of the district president in calling it “licensing” might be the issue because we’ve hitched ordination to something beyond the call to pastoral ministry. If a person, in the estimation of the district president (bishop), seems to possess the personal gifts and qualities required, is willing and able to fulfill pastoral duties, it flies in the face of central authority (synod/ papacy) but is not, perhaps, at odds with scripture or the confessions.

    Not every ordained minister in the church is a very good pastor. We can all say that from experience. Ordination is not a guarantee of anything other than the approval of central authority, a distant office in MO.

    Now, if the disdain for “licensed” deacons is that the district presidents cannot ordain “suitable persons to this office” unless they are seminary graduates because a seminary graduate is a guarantee of pastoral competence that cannot exist, otherwise, then I can understand the argument. If, however, the argument is that ordained, seminary graduates, regardless of their actual competence, are being put out of work by the practice of licensed deacons, then there is nothing to commend hiring the ordained seminary graduate except the imprimatur of tradition and Rome (MO).

  11. @John Rixe #59


    Again, it’s a matter of relative comparison. Trend data by district may differ, and depending on what is being tracked for correlation, the trends may be better or worse. Use of Enthusiast worship? Endorsement of syncretistic worship? Pentecostal false prophets and teachers piped into local congregations through various study programs to youth through adults? Abuse of the pastoral Office? Watering down the doctrine of the Sacraments to be more in line with Evangelicalism? Re-writing the Creeds so they sound more Enthusiast? Converting faithful parishes into business model Evangelical big-box congregations through district sponsored consultants?

    It may be different by district and by parish, but I’m sure I’m not alone in noting these disturbing practices in many different districts and many different congregations. The significance is not in the respective trends, but that these things exist, and are not effectively being pursued by those whose charge it is to do so. And trying to defend the Synod based on its relative orthodoxy/orthopraxy is a losing proposition– there are others who are arguably doing more good and less ill, based on the subjective ranking of the goods and ills.

    Other than the last 40-50 years or so, I’m not aware of the LCMS trying to win a relativistic argument in the American religious landscape. They were content to be small while relentlessly pursuing purity in doctrine and practice. However, the LCMS seems now content to surrender that pursuit, and substitute it for relative good– which means, for all intents an purposes, they have surrendered their own distinct reason to exist as anything other than a sect.

  12. @Brad #62

    What is your encouragement to the hundreds of thousands lay volunteers who will be repairing, cleaning, maintaining church and school facilities this week, attending committee meetings, donating millions of dollars, teaching Sunday School, etc?   

    ” …for all intents and purposes, they have surrendered their own distinct reason to exist as anything other than a sect.”   ???

  13. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ”

    – Hebrews 10

  14. @John Rixe #63


    I am not given a place to speak to the whole of the LCMS– that is not my current vocation. But to every member, whether their good works shine like the sun before men or are buried behind the obfuscation of their humble vocations, what they need to hear is a call to repentance and the forgiveness of sins. It is a message of Law and Gospel– a Law which never leaves anyone comfortable in any sin, and a Gospel which comforts every repentant and faithful heart. To the people of the LCMS, I would remind them that wherever the Word of the Lord is rightly proclaimed and the Sacraments administered according to Christ’s command, there is the fountain of their forgiveness, life, and salvation, whatever the name on the door might read– and conversely, whatever the name on the door might read, if the Word and the Sacraments are perverted and corrupt, the fountain from which they drink is poisoned. In light of Christ’s promise and presence in and through His Word, they should do their vocational work in humble faith and thanksgiving under the promise of that Word, in loving response to the One who did His great work of love and salvation for them. The Word is everything.

    Institutionally, I have no words of comfort for the LCMS. It is bloated, disingenuous, duplicitous, and self righteous in the face of all her own sins; unwilling to repent, ferocious in her own defense, and drunk on the blood of the faithful pastors who have called her to repentance. As an institution, I think it should read the Gospel lesson for this week– all of Mark’s 13th chapter– and consider that she deserves to have not one stone left upon another.

    But the LCMS is not the Church of Christ. The Church is the faithful, gathered around Christ by faith in His Word and Sacraments. But to all, the Word of the Lord comes, and we will either receive His Law and Gospel in faith and repentance, or we will be crushed and condemned by it. The Word will not return to Him void– it will do what He sends it out to do.

  15. @John Rixe #67


    Assuming your point was the title of the video, that the LCMS is not a lost cause, and not something else discussed in the hour and thirteen minute totality, I never said they were a lost cause.

    They are, however, really hosed up. And at the risk of personifying an institution, really hosed up people need the mirror of the Law to show them their sin, so that they might be brought to godly sorrow over their sins, repent, and believe the Gospel. My contention is that the institution has no discernable godly sorrow over their sin, and is all too ready to absolve themselves for the sake of their other ostensibly good works. When that mindset is encountered in an individual, they are in a state of condemnation leading to hell, and the pastoral task is to pull out all the stops to try to reach such a hardened heart with God’s Word, so that they might repent, believe, and live. John the Baptist didn’t take a relativist approach to preaching to Herod, nor did Christ take a relativist approach to preaching to the Pharisees, nor did Paul take a relativist approach to preaching in the congregations he wrote to. Why should we take a relativist approach to the LCMS, when we know like our forebears, the stakes of the war we’re in?

    I honestly don’t give a flying flip whether the LCMS as an institution remains or dissipates– it is little more than a blip on the timeline of world Christianity, and it only deserves to exist as long as it is faithful to the Word. I do care about people. In so far as the LCMS is a reflection of the people who prop her up, she needs to return to the Word of God, apart from which there is no hope or life. In so far as there are people within the LCMS being deceived and oppressed by those in power, I encourage them not to place their trust in such contrivances of man, but rather on the Word of Christ. Human contrivances come and go, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.

    But returning to the original intent of this post, the RIF process in use by congregations and districts of this Synod make it clear that the disdain for the pastoral Office is already epidemic around her various regions. Of course, that same Office was established by Christ to preach faith and repentance by Christ’s Word of Law and Gospel, so the attack or disparagement of the Office is only a thinly veiled attack upon the Word, and by extension, upon Christ Himself. And that, of course, is why the LCMS is so hosed up.

    The cure, and the malady, are simple. But the simple things can be the most difficult.

  16. Thanks, Pr Brad, for the discussion. Your encouragement to lay people in Comment 66 was well stated.

    Please take the time to view the entire video. Pr Wilken believes that the Mo. Synod is now in a better place than it has been in the past 100 years. He feels much of our current unrest is simply based on comparing reality with an impossible ideal.

    The video gives an interesting and encouraging perspective. It’s worth the time if you haven’t already seen it.

  17. @John Rixe #69


    I hold Pr. Wilken in reasonably high regard, and he has some well deserved celebrity. Perhaps his positive perspective is born of his proximity to Synod leaders he thinks will turn things around. My perspective is born of the people I have seen victimized by this Synod, both lay and clergy. I don’t begrudge him his positivity, but I will speak of what I know, what I have seen, and what I have endured. As is probably obvious, I care little for bureaucrats and bureaucracies. I do, however, care for souls– most especially those who have been battered and broken by those in positions of power. I will speak for them.

    Peace to you–

  18. @Tim Schenks #71

    Oddly enough, my BOC doesn’t include:

    Faculty Panel Discussion: “The Divine Call”
    Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Panelists: Eugene Bunkowske, Harold Buls, Robert Preus, Wilbert Rosin
    Moderator: Cameron MacKenzie
    December 10, 1987

    Should I send it back?

  19. @Tim Schenks #73
    “I’m going to have to take the word of the theologian who was the Synod’s expert on the Confessions versus your arrogance.”

    Sigh, is that because we believe teach and confess “infallibility of the magisterium of synod experts”?

    I am giving you the natural literal meaning of the Latin Text of AC XIV, and I’m proving historically from the Roman Confutation of 1530 that the RC theologians also assumed the natural literal meaning of the Latin Text of AC XIV in their answer, and from Ap XIV that the Reformers did not contradict that assumption.

    What I need is a legitimate reason, from the grammar of the text, or historical context, why the natural literal meaning of the Latin Text of AC XIV should not be used, not a list of (dead) people who have translated it differently. Any chance you could dig up why he translated AC XIV that way? That would help.

    Again, the reason I want that is: we do not believe teach and confess the “infallibility of the magisterium of synod experts.”

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  20. Melanchthon wrote the confessions of the Lutheran church. He was a public preacher of the Word. He preached, he preached, he preached. I remember once he preached such a poor sermon that Luther dragged him out of the pulpit and finished the sermon for him.

    Melanchthon wrote out the confessions (Augsburg and Defense of Augsburg) but if he had not written what Luther was preaching, I doubt anyone would have signed it. [We are not the “Melanchthonian Church” … for which we can be thankful!]
    By your own description, he did worse on his own!

    The Preus name is old and honored in academic Lutheranism, in two Synods, one of which is apostate. The Norwegians were commonly Pietists, less convinced of the value of the OHM than they were of the preeminence of the congregation.
    The center of Norwegian pietism, Hauge Synod, is about 10 miles from Decorah, Iowa, which was home to the larger Norwegian synod’s first prep school and seminary.

    Walther, in his efforts to hold the Saxons together and build a church as well as a community, had to deal with a bunch of disgruntled laymen who (not to put too fine a point on it) had been robbed by their bishop.
    In that situation, the OHM took a beating, too.

    Rick says “Loehist” as if it were a dirty word, but in the Midwest we remember that half the early German pastors there got their initial training from Loehe, and Walther was glad to have them!

  21. @helen #75: “In that situation, the OHM took a beating, too”

    First, it was lingering Stephanism among the Missouri Saxon pastors that took a beating, especially in Dr. Carl Eduard Vehse’s “Protestation” (see Stephanite Emigration to America, p. 45ff). Sadly, Stephanism still lingers in the Missouri Synod. It often can be found in Missouri Synod publications in which Dr. Vehse is described as a “disgruntled layman.”

    Second, in #64, “pro-Loeheist” was used to describe the Lufauxran-doctrine-of-the-church thinking, which opposes the understanding of the doctrine of church and ministry by Walther and the Missouri Synod under Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. Such Loeheist thinking was substantiated in this March 5, 2013 BJS post and some later posts on that thread about Übertragungslehre (transference doctrine).

    In the November 13, 1869, edition of Der Lutheraner C.F.W. Walther wrote (p.49) the following in regard to Loehe’s heterodoxy regarding the office of public ministry:

    “From this one can see how grievously and dangerously the Buffalo Synod, Pastor Loehe, the Synod of Iowa, and all those err from the truth who together with them assert that the church or the Christians do not have the keys originally and immediately but through the pastors!… For when Pastor Loehe had in his heart fallen away from the symbols of our church, then he also confessed honestly and publicly with mouth and pen that he could no longer subscribe to the symbolical books of our church unconditionally because he had found errors in them.”

    And while Loehe did send 82 preachers to America, most of whom helped found or later joined the Missouri Synod, these men came to agree with Walther, not Loehe, on the Lutheran Confessions, including the doctrine of church and ministry.

    Also in his Preface to a translation of Kirche und Amt, The Church and The Office of the Ministry (CPH, 2012), President Harrision states (p. xiv): “Finally, [Wilhelm] Löhe’s 1853 letter to G.M. Grossmann has been appended (see below, pp. 439-46) because in it Löhe briefly explains his perception of the strengths and shortcomings of Walther’s The Church and The Office of the Ministry. This letter also demonstrates Walther’s contention that Löhe held a less than quia view of the Lutheran Confessions and that our great and beloved co-founder [sic] of the Missouri Synod–despite his glorious strengths–specifically and knowingly rejected Luther’s view of the Office of the Ministry at key points.”

  22. @Carl Vehse #76

    Thank you for this reference from Pr. Rossow:
    “…The best language to use is to say that God calls the pastor through the local congregation…. It is God who does the calling. He doesn’t first give away his authority to someone else then let them do the work. He does the work through them.

    Likewise we must ask, does the congregation own the keys? No. Does the pastor own the keys? No. God owns the keys and speaks forgiveness through the lips of the pastor.

    One last thought, let us not forget that the pastor is a part of the church. It is useless to pit pastor against church or vice versa because the pastor is a part of the church. so, whatever transference means, it does not mean one party granting a separate party something.” [end quote]

    A Pastor friend mentioned to me some lay astonishment that, in a Voters’ meeting, chaired by the layman President, he stepped down among the congregation and voted with the rest.
    [The subject, I make haste to add, was not his salary or anything to do with his Office.]
    “The congregation is Pastor and people together.” When the people forget that God is over all, they think they can behave badly to the Pastor because they have the power!

  23. @Carl Vehse #78

    As also made clear by C.F.W. Walther who refers to the Church not as the owner of all church power, or the Keys, but rather the Inhaberin (possessor, holder, custodian, proprietor).

    Even those translations are likely to give a Voters’ the big head and a “license to abuse the Pastor”!

    Walther’s named a lot. I wonder if anyone beside you, Rick, reads Walther!

  24. @helen #79: “Walther’s named a lot. I wonder if anyone beside you, Rick, reads Walther!”

    I’ve often wondered the same thing, especially after some Lufauxran delegate at the 2001 synodical convention offered a substitute resolution that stated in part,

    “WHEREAS, Many delegates, members of the congregations, and members of Synod have not read C. F. W. Walther’s Die Stimme unserer Kirche in der Frage von Kirche und Amt, called in English Church and Ministry…”

  25. @helen #79
    Dear Helen,
    One of the most marked up books (with many) is Walther’s “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel” in my library, I think most all pastors read this one from the beginning of studies.

  26. @Pastor Prentice #83

    One of the most marked up books (with many) is Walther’s “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel” in my library, I think most all pastors read this one from the beginning of studies.

    That’s comforting! Now, if we could get “most all pastors” to review it periodically in a Bible class…. also Kirche und Amt and the BOC (oftener than when a new edition comes out)… 😉

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