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Zitat

Zitat: Is 'Everyone A Minister' Biblical?

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 prayerful consideration and deeper study of God's Word and His Church. Here's the latest.

Boy, the more I learn about Church History (and particularly the Lutheran Church's History) the more I come to understand the truth of Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 for surely "there is nothing new under the sun" and many of our contemporary LCMS churches prove this to be the case I'm afraid due to their selective amnesia.

Pietism. That's what today's quote is all about. It's not a good thing. It's not a new threat either. Unfortunately, there are many in the church today who are promoting it any and every chance they get. In fact, at my local church where I'm a member, our weekly Church Bulletin lists as "Ministers" -- and over and above even the listing of the Pastor's name! -- "Every Member of Trinity" and I'm ashamed to admit that I never caught this before.

What is this Evangelical nonsense and what business does it have in a Lutheran Church? Then again, as an ex-Evangelical, this seemed perfectly acceptable, normal, and Biblical to me based on what is constantly taught throughout American Evangelicalism.

Thankfully, I'm learning the real truth though. It's almost like I'm learning a whole new language and Christian worldview, which is exciting but overwhelming at the same time.

Anyway, all of this led me to a quote on this very subject from Scott Diekmann's now retired Stand Firm blog from way back in 2009.



The following quote feels a lot like where some in the LCMS leadership are attempting to position the Synod. Quoted from Brent Kuhlman's "Oscar Feucht's Everyone a Minister: Pietismus Revivivus," as quoted in Dr. John C. Wohlrabe, Jr.'s paper "Doctrinal Integrity and Outreach Within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod":



The parallels between Everyone a Minister and pietism are unmistakable. Both Spener and Feucht offer proposals for reforming the church. Both of their proposals reflect a shift in theology from God’s objective external gifts [Word and Sacrament] to the subjectivity and activism of the believer.

For both Spener and Feucht the real center of the church’s life is not the divine service where Jesus delivers the benefits of his dying and rising through the preached gospel and the sacraments…For Feucht, the goal is changing the believer’s life so that he exercises his priesthood by doing his ministry of evangelism. When the believer carries out this one vocation, Christ is present, and an irrelevant church becomes a most relevant church….

The Pietism of Pia Desideria and Everyone a Minister is quite dangerous. The extra nos character of the preached gospel and the sacramental gospel are exchanged for an intra nos subjectivity and activism of the believer. This is a confusion of law and gospel that does not serve the church faithfully or well.


As one reader commented, "Sadly, the Pietists are running the asylum in the LCMS. Lord, have mercy!" Indeed.

I can also personally support the following claims from an ex-Baptist who also commented...



We are now LCMS, official just this past Sunday. And this sounds familiar to my ex-Southern Baptist/PCA ears...ALL TOO familiar. At length what will happen, we experienced this MUCH in the SB religion: Church yard duties will become king and all the other vocations will take a back seat at best, at worst forsaken. Parents will fail to be parents, grandparents fail to be grand parents. Your every day vocation, what we call a "job", will simply be an occasion to "do evangelism". You will be drawn more and more into the church yard to do the "higher callings" and every unbeliever, including other believers who stay at their stations dutifully will slowly despise you for it. While you are slaving away on a weekend or whatever your job calls you too, the church yard busy bodies "get off" because they have some church yard duty to do. It will do nothing but get worse and worse and worse and worse...


Now, why is this whole "Everyone A Minister"/"Priesthood of All Believers" a threat to His church, you ask?


He hints at confusion between the office of the public ministry and the priesthood of all believers as he falls into the CGM trap of talking about all believers not as servants of the gifts the Lord has given but as "ministers," e.g. music ministry, etc. He further applies 2 Cor. 5:20 as each and every Christian being equally 'an ambassador" rather than as it correctly should be to the called and ordained servants of the Word. They are charged with speaking the Word for Christ, they are the sent ones. This is the "Everyone A Minister" dilemma that has been brought into the LCMS from without and continues to be falsely spread. This confusion of who and where speaking for God is to occur confuses everything. I myself am into imploring all Christians to seize opportunities to witness and share their faith when God presents the opportunities (Col. 4:1-6) but I do not encourage this by saying falsely that everyone is a minister and everyone is an ambassador. These are not our calls for the taking, but God's for the giving.

I am all for every Christian being a 24/7 believer, and sharing their faith when given opportunities and serving the Lord with all their time, talents and treasures, ... However, he mixes this with troublesome confusion about ministry. We continue to struggle in our confessional body with these doctrines and terms, ... All Christians need to be encouraged to live their faith out in their vocations and calls and share Jesus with friends, family and acquaintances.

*- Pastor Rod Zwonitzer


My dear friends, this is why my heart is heavy over these things.

And yet, no one will listen, because, after all, they're "only" doing good works in the name of Jesus, and what could be so "bad" about any of that?

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, this concept of "Everyone A Minister" stinks of a Theology of Glory, which is often seen in Evangelical circles, and not a Theology of the Cross.

In our desire to reach more people with the Gospel, which is certainly a worthy desire, we have compromised our Confession.

That is not a good thing any which way others will want to try and spin it.


[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!]

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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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