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Zitat: Church And Office

Unless I'm way off base with my basic translating skills (and have completely forgotten how to perform an accurate Google search!), I believe the English word "quote" (used as a noun) is translated as "zitat" in German.

That will help to explain the strange "Z" word listed in the title of this post. That being said, I'm always keeping my eyes and ears open for good Lutheran quotes that encourage deeper study of God's Word and His Church. Here's the latest.

It has to do with the issue of Church and Office, but specifically with what we read in the Augsburg Confession, Article XIV that reads: "Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called."

You'll recall that I recently took my concerns about serving my local church as a "Lay Deacon" to both the Interim Pastor and the Board of Deacons. Well, a close brother in Christ caught wind of it this past week and genuinely wanted me to explain to him where I was coming from and why I felt so strongly about it.

Our discussions this week have led me to dig even deeper into this subject, and I have found that the more I do, the more I find to support the practice that only the Pastor should publicly preach and administer the Sacraments.

For instance, here's a statement I found from a man named Salomon Deyling (1677-1755) who was a theologian of Leipzig, or I guy I had never heard of until just a day ago.

"Just as the right to preach and administer the Sacraments belongs basically to the whole church, the public exercise of the same belongs [only] to [the church's] legitimately called ministers. Thus every member of the church [Kirche], as well as the whole congregation [together], has with equal right the Keys and power to teach, but only for private application and not for public and solemn use, so that there may be no disorder that would tear the church miserably to pieces. When [the church] gathers publicly, the the Keys are to be administered only by those on whom the whole church has conferred their exercise and use throughout the public call"

*- Salomon Deyling (Institutiones prudentiae pastoralis 3.4.7)
The Church & The Office of The Ministry C.F.W. Walther
Matthew C. Harrison, Editor,
A Study Edition

Personally, I think the divinely inspired Apostle Paul was quite clear in Romans 12.

Romans 12:4-5 (ESV) 4 For as in one body we have many members,e and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

This understanding of the inter-working of the church as the Body of Christ is basic to all relationships in the church, including the role of the Pastor to the parish that has been entrusted to his care, or his relationship to the various manifestations of the Body of Christ.

Believers are not autonomous, individualistic entities either, but they certainly cannot usurp another person's role. Each believer is united to Christ, the Head of the Church, from whom every gift and authority in the Church comes.

Christ and His love controls all that is done in His Name. He is the unifying factor in all the activities of the church. This is true of the local congregation as it functions as the Body of Christ. Individual members work together in harmony "for the common good" (1 Corinthians 12:7) so that united under the one Head, Christ, God may be glorified.

The church, under Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, should conserve and promote the unity of the true faith (Ephesians 4:3–6; 1 Corinthians 1:10), work through its official structure toward fellowship with other orthodox church bodies, and provide a united defense against schism, sectarianism (Romans 16:17), and heresy. In addition, the church should also encourage congregations to strive for uniformity in church practice, which is in harmony with our common profession of faith.

By the way, there's one other quote from Deyling I came across online that I found to be quite appropriate to this day and age as well that's also worth sharing here today.

The opinion of Deyling (Pastoral Theology) is also quoted, "No pastor or minister of the church should administer the most blessed sacrament to anyone not belonging to his parish without the permission of the superintendent, except to sick persons who are traveling. No one is permitted to roam about as he chooses and to frivolously change his pastor, which commonly stems from hatred or animosity. . .nor can one who turns his back on his pastor and leaves him with malicious intent be regarded as a penitent and be admitted to the use of the Holy Supper" (p. 168, 169).

"A congregation shall ask of those who come to it from other orthodox churches a testimony written by their former congregation . . . and shall give to those who transfer a similar testimony (Acts 18:27; 3 John 8, 9, 10)" (p. 170).

"Exceptions are made in the case of those unjustly excommunicated, and all guests coming from other orthodox congregations (I Peter 1:9; I Cor. 16:10, 11)" (p. 170).

In other words, I like how Deyling's statements are good words for not just those who serve in the church in a formal and official capacity (i.e., called and ordained Pastors, Deacons, etc.), but for the laity whose place and role is clearly defined as well.

It's sort of like what Luther said: "The prophets speak, but the congregation listens ... But the Sacrament is a public confession and should have public ministers."

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, the call of God is what authorizes the Pastor in his own office and parish, and it's this call in combination with what His word says to us about that divine and holy public office that supports the position that only a Pastor is to preach publicly and administer the Sacraments publicly.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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