The Teaching Office
By Dr. Adolf Hoenecke
The Teaching Office
(De statu ecclesiastico sive de ministerio ecclesiastico)
by Dr. theol. Adolf Hoenecke
Director and Professor of the Seminary of the
General Evangelical Lutheran Synod of
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and other States
in Wauwatosa, Wis.
Published in his
Volume 4: 175-205
Doctrinal Thesis 1
The teaching office, by which we here understand the estate (Stand) of the
ministers of the word, the pastors, is a divine institution.
Remark: The preaching office (Predigtamt) can be spoken of abstracte (in
abstract), that is, so as to mean the means of grace. The
scripture itself does so, for example, in 2 Cor. 3:4-8, where the apostle Paul
designates the law as the office of the letter but the gospel as the
office of the Spirit. So the Augustana too speaks of the preaching office
abstracte. Article V teaches: "To obtain such faith God has
instituted the preaching office, given gospel and sacrament, through which he,
as through means, gives the Holy Spirit" etc.
The preaching office, however, can be spoken of concretely, by which one
includes those who bear the office, that is, those who
administer the office in abstracto. So the scripture itself speaks this
way of the preaching office, for example, in 1 Cor. 1:17, Eph. 4:11.
While at times it speaks (for example Ps. 68:11) of the office in both ways.
We are dealing here with the preaching office considered concretely, that is,
the office of ministering with the word (Dienstamt
am Wort). The scripture teaches that the office considered thus concretely, just
as the office considered abstractly, is a divine
institution, or de iure divino (1 Cor. 12:28; 2 Cor. 5:18; Jer. 3:15; Joel
2:23). And indeed, the establishment of the office in the concrete
sense is attributed not only to God in general, as in the last verse, but also
of the individual persons (of the Godhead), of the Father (Heb.
1:1; Gal. 1:16), of the Son (Matt. 10:1; Luk 9:1; Matt. 28:19; Mk 16:15; Eph.
4:11; Jn. 20:21; 1 Cor. 1:17; 4:1-2; 2 Cor 5:20); of the
Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 12:4-6 - accordingly called "diakonia tou
Quenstedt says, "God is the author of the ministry,
1 - by promising teachers for the church (Jer. 3:15; 23:4; Joel 2:23);
2 - by giving what he promised (1 Cor. 12:28; 2 Cor. 5:18);
3 - by preserving the ministry until the end of the ages (Eph. 4:11);
4 - by executing the office of teaching Himself (Heb. 1:1);
5 - by providing the teachers of the church with the necessary gifts (2 Cor.
We find the divine institution of the preaching office also in the concrete
sense to be contrary to the view that the preaching office was
a free office arising from the Christian spirit and was only an function (Tätigkeit)
called an office. By this doctrine (of the divine
institution) it is taught that:
1. The apostles were called to a true office by the Son of God.
a. They were called (Matt. 10:1; Lk 6:13, where Christ gives the name "apostle"
to them; Lk 9:1-10; Mk 6:7; Matt.
28:18-20; Mk 16:15) and truly established (eingesetzt) as apostles by the Son of
b. It is explicitly called an office in Acts 1:17-25; Rom. 1:5: "grace and the
office of apostle", from which it is clear that
the office is not a mere product of the Christian spirit for then it would be
contained in the word "grace" and Paul would not have
added "and the office of apostle." From this addition the office appears
as something existing which can be given to someone.
Rom. 15:15-16 designates Paul as a servant of God, as given by God. He was
also set in an office of ministry (Dienstamt) by God,
which office already existed through divine institution. In 1 Cor. 9:17
(following his comments in verse 16) Paul says: "Still the
office is commended to me." Here it is clear that Paul does not merely
call his function an office for love of it and because he is
thinking of his constant involvement with it. Rather, he recognizes an
office established by God, which does not depend
on his Christianity and his spiritual impulse (Geistestrieb) etc., but instead,
in reality exists without all of that, through a divine
2. God has given copious direction and (many) commands in regard to the
relationship of Christians to the ministers of the word.
For when God gives such commands and explains the transgression of these as sin,
the concrete office, which these commands concern, can
not rest upon a human institution or mere spiritual impulse, but rather must be
de iure divino.
The antithesis to the scriptural doctrine of the divine institution of the
office in the concrete sense can be seen in part in the antithesis
to the scriptural doctrine of the call. Still, those theories which claim
that the concrete office of ministry in the word (Dienstamt am Wort)
rests upon a human institution can here be called antitheses. In support of
these ideas, a misunderstanding of Luther" remarks
concerning the universal priesthood and the priestly rights of all believers is
produced, according to which believers are suited for the
preaching office and are not in need first of the pope" consecration in order to
have a spiritual character.(2) Already Köstlin went this way.
And Höfling especially defended him.(3) So it became common to put forward
as genuine Lutheran doctrine that the preaching office exists
only for the sake of good order. So Hase: "According to strict Lutheran
doctrine the spiritual estate comes forth from the
congregation (Gemeinde), which is entrusted with all the spiritual power of the
church and this only for the sake of order." (4) Luthardt
says: "Protestantism proceeds from the means of grace, which are given to the
church (in the essential sense) and therefore require a
common office of administration This is the office in the essential sense
(which we call the office in abstracto) in distinction from its
empirical reality (here we refer to the office in concreto), which is determined
according to historical circumstances. In the first sense,
namely the abstract sense meaning word and sacrament, the office is de iure
divino, but in the second sense de iure humano." (5) Palmer says:
"That which is always necessary is an inner necessity (which Luther was obliged
to explain as churchly order) which is based on universal
human ethical grounds as much as it originates from the essential nature of the
Christian congregation (Gemeinde), the church. This
makes it necessary for the church, the congregation of saints in the Protestant
sense, to establish the spiritual office from within itself.^Ô
He judges as contrary to scripture the doctrine "that the spiritual office
should be an unmediated, direct institution of Christ, indeed, that it is
the decided will of the Lord that there be a true estate to which this office is
entrusted." Further, "wherever the New Testament speaks of
the office you can not read in the idea of church government
(kirchenregimentlichen Begriff) as 2 Cor. 3:7 shows." Palmer also
maintains that the word "office" in the New Testament does not mean that which
we call the preaching office, rather it refers to the word (of
God) itself. In the text referred to by Palmer and others (2 Cor. 3:7)
this is so but not in many others. For example, Rom. 11:13: "For in as
much as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I want to praise my office." It
would indeed be absurd if Paul would praise the word because he is
an apostle. So also, in 1 Tim. 1:12 we can not understand the word
"office" to mean the "word." Paul says here: "And set in the office."
It is clear that "office" is not the word itself. For where does the
scripture say, "set someone in the word"? This also clearly shows that
the office does not derive from the spiritual impulse of the apostle but rather
is already outside of him, otherwise he could not come into it.
This antithesis to the divine institution of the preaching office as an estate
of the minister of the word calls forth strong opposition. But
this opposition itself, on the other hand, again becomes an antithesis to the
scriptural doctrine of the preaching office. This antithesis explains
the church not as a congregation (Gemeinde) but as an institution (Anstalt).
That which is built on the foundation is not souls but rather
things: doctrines, orders, in a word, the material of the community (Flörke
)(6). Among these things of the community is the spiritual
office. It is not only commanded by God and not only an office of ministry
for the administering of the grace of God through the means
of grace, but rather it is in and of itself a means of grace. "We have no
intention of assigning to the office of the New Testament a place
among the means of grace or among the sacraments in the wider sense. ... If it
is not agreed that the holy office is to be set among the
word of God, baptism, and the Lord's Supper as in one group, then it would be
unacceptable to use the name of the means of grace in the
wider sense ... to designate the holy office. However, that the holy
office like the gospel and sacrament indeed is a means to receive the
Holy Spirit is nothing else than a spiritual fact." (Karl Lechler, "Lehre vom
neutestamentlichen Amt", 1857). Besides Flörke and Lechler,
there are representatives of this romanizing school of thought who ultimately
base the effectiveness of the true scriptural means of grace
upon the office as a means of grace. Kliefoth, "Acht Buecher von der
Kirche", 1854; Loehe, "Kirche und Amt", 1851; Münchmeyer,
"Bericht ueber die Leipz. Konferenz", 1851, and "Das Dogma von der sichtbaren
und unsichtbaren Kirche" Wucherer, "Ausführlicher
Nachweis, dass das ev. -luth. Pfarramt. .... goettlicher Stiftung sei."
Doctrinal Thesis 2
No one can become a public minister of the word in any other way than through an
external, legitimate call (vocatio legitima).
Remark: God calls in part immediately (vocatio immediata, Mt. 10:1; Mk. 3:14; 1
Kings 17:2; Is. 6:8; Ez. 6:2; Mt. 4:21-22; 9:9; Acts
9:16 etc.), in part mediately (vocatio mediata), namely, through the church.
Just like the immediate call the mediate call is also divine.
Our dogmaticians prove that the mediate call is divine by showing that:
1. It is to be traced back to God (Ps. 68:12; Jer. 3:15; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph.
2. It is founded (sich stütze) on the apostles who were led by the Holy Spirit
(Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:2;
1 Tim. 5:21).
3. It has God^Òs promise (1 Tim. 4, 14-16; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 4:12).
4. It is based upon the right and the authority (Recht und Gewalt), which God
himself has given to the church, and which the
church made use of already at the time of the apostles.
The proof in connection with the divine institution of the unique apostolic
office and the ordered (ordentlichen) preaching office, which
is essential to it and instituted at the same time, goes like this:
1. The ordered preaching office is the continuation, desired by God himself, of
the unique office of the apostle, and it is a divine
institution in and with the office of apostle. The divine institution of
the concrete office of apostle is proven in the first thesis.
A. It is, however, certain from scripture, that the ordered preaching office is
essentially the same as the office of the apostle.
a. According to the institution.
The apostles are servants and householders (Haushalter, stewards) (1 Cor. 4:1).
Likewise the preachers, for 1 Cor. 4:6 concerns Paul and 5:1 concerns Apollo.
Explicitly the scripture places the preachers as servants of Christ, workers
etc. as equal to the apostles (1 Tim. 4:6; Col.
4:7; Phil. 2:25; 1 Pet. 5:1; 2 Thes. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1; James 1:1).
b. According to duty
The duty of the apostles is shepherding and the administration of the sacraments
(John 21:15-17; Matt. 28:18ff.);
The duty of the preachers is the same (Acts 20:28; 2 Tim. 1:13; Compare 2 Tim.
4:5 with 5:6).
c. According to power
The apostles are to rule in the church (2 Tim. 1:6), exercise oversight, uphold
Likewise, the preachers have oversight (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 1:3), authority to
teach (1 Tim. 4:11-12), commanded
spheres of work (1 Tim. 4:11), ordinations (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim.
3:1-7), teaching (1 Tim. 3:2), ruling (1
Tim. 3:5; cf. 5:17; Tit. 1:5; 1:7-9), to demand obedience (Heb. 13:17).
d. According to goal. The preaching office has the same goal as the office
of apostle, namely, salvation of souls (1 Cor. 3:5).
B. The ordered preaching office is the continuation of the extraordinary office
of apostle desired and ordered by God. Proof:
a. Christ desires to always have servants, that is, preachers, teachers,
bishops, and describes his church in no other way even until
the last day (Matt. 19:28) than that the preaching office is to be found in it
with preachers, whom he places (Matt. 22:3-4; 24, 45). In the last
text, where the Lord still speaks to the disciples as stewards and servants, the
topic is about servants whom he places. - Lk. 12:42-48,
cf. 41. It is important that that in Luke 12:43 it is the Lord's will that
they be servants (such the apostles are named: Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:10;
Phil 1:1 along with the ordered preachers Phil. 1:1; Rev. 1:1; James 1:1), until
he comes again.
b. That Christ desires the ordered preachers who have the preaching office
through a mediate call to be the continuation of the
extraordinary office of the apostles for all time after the apostles until the
last day is shown by the fact that he allows the rights and duties in
regard to these preachers be established by the apostles.
a. Duties - Paul enjoined the chief duties for the elders in Ephesus for the
time after his departure (Acts 20:25-31; 1 Tim. 3:2-7).
And indeed they are explicitly described as bound to give answer to the Lord and
thereby also as those whom he had established and
empowered (Heb. 13:17).
b. Rights - In Hebrews 13:17, the chief right of the preachers is enjoined,
namely, to demand obedience, and this with consideration to
the time after the apostles (v. 7). Accordingly it is clear, that Christ
himself desired the office and established it.
c. The scripture clearly teaches that the apostles, just as they were
established by the Lord, in the name of the Lord established
others, and commissioned them to again establish others as servants and
a1. Paul described himself as set in the office by the Lord as a preacher (2
b1. Paul himself commended the office to others (2 Tim. 2:2; cf. v. 4; 15; 24;
4:5 where he speaks of the work and office of the
preacher; see in addition 2 Tim. 1:11 where Paul calls himself a preacher.)
c1. Paul commissions those to whom he has commended the office to commend it
again to others (2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 5:22; Tit. 1:5
after which the description of the bishops follows as in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 according
to which they are entirely the preachers of today.)
d1. According to everything that has been said, the ordered preaching office of
today is the continuation desired by God of the
extraordinary office of the apostles and is essentially the same, just as the
scripture also in many ways explicitly confirms:
a. through the explanation that the churches are commended to the preachers (1
Pet. 5:2) and indeed not through ecclesiastical
authority but by Christ. This is stated in verse 4 as the preachers are
explained to be answerable to Christ as the chief shepherd and also to
be under shepherds.
b. through the explanation that the preachers are set in the church (Gemeinde)
by the Holy Spirit.
c. through the comparison of the preachers to the apostles (Col. 4:7; Phil.
2:25; 1 Cor. 1:1; 4:1; 1 Pet. 5:1).
d. And this continuation should endure according to God's ordinance until the
last day. The proof is Matt. 28:19ff.: "I am with
you always, until the end of the world." This is a promise of comfort,
which can only imply: I am with you so that you can do that which I
want done until my return. However, since the Lord promises help until the
end for executing (the office), he also extends the command
of executing the office until the end.
2. The mediate call, and indeed through the congregation (Gemeinde), is an
ordinance established by God himself and solemnly
confirmed as holy.
A. Consider the first important calling, that of Matthias, which occurred
through the congregation (Acts 1:15). Since the congregation
chose, they thereby called. Peter laid the matter of calling before the
members of the congregation (v. 15). They put forward candidates (v.
23) and through the lot which fell upon Matthias. And so he was added to
the eleven present apostles.
B. This election and calling appears in the scripture as something
established. Peter says in verse 16: "The scripture must be
fulfilled." and that which must be fulfilled was: "another should receive his
episcopate." For the execution of this "must", Peter
gathered the congregation. And so the business of the congregation is
included in that "must" and is shown to us as something that is
required by the scripture. Perhaps the assertion will be made: the entire
thing was a purely human matter; God had chosen Paul as the
twelfth. Against this we say:
C. God solemnly confirmed the call of Matthias through the election of the
congregation. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell on all
the apostles for Peter was gathered with the eleven (v 14). So Matthias
too is numbered with them. God himself also chose him as an apostle
through his word. The twelve were apostles for the twelve tribes (of
Israel) while Paul has apostle for the Gentile nations (Gal. 2:7-9).
Further callings through the congregation are: Acts 6:2 - Election of the
deacons, who are only an offshoot of the preaching office; Acts
13:1 - the setting apart of Paul and Barnabus; Acts 14:23 -
^Ócheirotonesantes^Ô, that is to allow to be chosen through the
congregation; Acts 15:12ff.
The conclusion is that God himself established and instituted in the church the
calling through the congregation as an ordinance
pleasing to him. Perhaps it will be asserted that Jesus however still
called Paul immediately and he alone again establishes pastors.
Contrary to this we say:
a. Through his ordinance God does not bind his own hands, only ours.
b. That another must be put into the place of Judas is clear from the scripture;
however, that there should be another apostle to the
Gentiles could not be known by the believers.
c. One must take note how the establishment of the minister of the word was done
by Paul. He established (ministers) where there
was yet no congregation but wherever congregations were he did it through them (cheirotonesantes',
3. To call is a holy right of the congregation, granted by God.
A. The preaching office as an office established by God is an office of
stewardship over particular things, word and sacrament, but
the original possessor of these things is the church. And it is the church
which can give these over to someone for administration. If
someone asks, who truly possesses the spiritual things which the preaching
office administers, there are only two possible answers: the
preacher as bearer of the office, the church or congregation. But
concerning the preachers the scripture says that they are ministers
(Diener) of God and also the congregation (Col. 1:25); but a servant is not a
lord (2 Cor. 1:24; 1 Pet. 5:3) and not a possessor. But concerning
the congregation the scripture says that it is the original possessor of all
these things (Col. 1:18). Christ is according to verse 18 the head of
the congregation; in whom is all fullness (v. 19) and therefore also in the
congregation (Eph. 1:23). Paul calls himself a minister of this
congregation and thus designates the congregation as lord and possessor.
According to Ephesians 1:3 and 22-23, the Christians are
blessed in Christ with heavenly goods (v. 3), with knowledge through preaching
(v. 9 & 10). Christ is the head of the congregation (v. 22);
the congregation is the fullness of him who fills all things and therefore the
rich bearer and possessor of all goods (Eph. 4:4-12). The
church is the body of Christ (v. 4). Christ has given her gifts (v. 8) and
these gifts are the apostles, obviously not according to their persons
but according to their preaching and their ministry overall. The church is
the one given the gifts and the possessor of them. Israel herself
certainly belongs to the church (Rom. 9:4) according to election, covenant and
worship, law and promise. In Romans 15:27 Paul
ascribes the spiritual things to the Christians as theirs. Paul says in 1
Cor. 3:21: "All is yours." Paul says here: why do you name yourselves
according to the persons and one boasts himself to be mine, another Apollo's, as
if the preaching were our good thing and possession which
you first received with our persons. Everything is indeed yours from
Christ. Conclusion: The preacher is only one who administers; the
congregation is the possessor.
B. What does the scripture say about the power to place preachers into office?
a. It names the entire power and church authority the authority of the keys of
heaven, and says that as much as the pastors (Matt.
16:19; John 20:22-23), the entire congregation (Matt. 18:18; 1 Cor. 5:12-13) has
b. The scripture shows however that the pastors have the authority of the keys
always first through a special call, but that the
congregation has them beforehand, as a congregation, on account of their
Christianity and also that it has the keys originally while the
pastors have them in a derived fashion (abgeleiteterweise). Matthew
28:17-20 is proof. The congregation has the keys and indeed,
according to verse 20, when gathered in Christ's name, that is, according to
their status of grace in the faith. Concerning the pastors,
the scripture says that they do not have the office of the keys already on
account of their status of grace but rather through a special call
(Heb. 5:4; Art. Smalcald 24). The church as the natural possessor of the
keys or all church authority, does not first need any kind of special
empowerment in regard to calling pastors. The church and indeed each
individual congregation has this complete power.
C. On whom finally does the duty rest to place preachers in the office?
a. The preachers have the command to preach, however, so does the church (1 Pet.
2:5-9; Rom. 15:16).
b. The church has this duty first and originally, immediately through their
being Christians and their priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5ff.; 1
Tim. 3:15: "The congregation of the living God, a pillar and foundation of
truth"; Gal. 4:26: "That is the free woman; she is the
mother of us all". Since the church is the mother, she has the duty first
and immediately to care for the children); compare Art. Smalcald.
1. It is God's will that the preaching office should continue until the last
2. The mediate call is set forth in scripture as an ordinance established and
validated by God.
3. The congregation as the church, as from God originally and in itself, has the
right and duty to call. Also, the mediate call through
the congregation is in the fullest sense a divine call. Finally, God has given
the church the authority of the keys and the commission to call.
In principle these belong obviously only with the church in the strictest sense,
for the believers are the royal priesthood and have all
good things, but the unbelievers have nothing, whether goods or rights.
However, just as a visible particular congregation
(Partikulargemeinde) which contains some godless people who have not become
known and have still not been excluded, is on account of
the believers truly the church and called such, so also the use of the
authority, which is given to the believers alone, comes to the particular
congregation. Matthew 18:17 teaches this. Here the authority of the
keys are given to the visible particular congregation. For when it says:
"So tell it to the congregation", I am not sent to the invisible church.
For no one infallibly knows who the believers are and therefore
nothing can be said to them. The visible particular congregation is
intended. And to this visible particular congregation is given the
power to reveal heathens and publicans, that is, the authority of the keys.
In verses 19 and 20 it is revealed further that already two or
three have such authority.
Assertion: Since a visible particular congregation has the authority of the keys
only on account of the believers hidden in her she
would have no such authority and also no right to call if the entire particular
congregation, as is possible, were unbelieving.
1. It is unnecessary to consider such a circumstance because even though it is
an imaginable circumstance, still we would not be
able to prove it and therefore (ecclesiastical) practice can not depend upon it.
2. According to the example of Elijah and the church of his time which had
entirely fallen from (true) doctrine, it is to be hoped that
believers still remain hidden rather than not.
3. This (assertion) is indeed out of the question, when young children are
4. Therefore it must suffice to consider the call of even a very corrupted
congregation as divine, if it still recognizes God's Word,
uses the sacrament rightly, confesses itself to be part of the Lutheran church,
and recognizes its duty to allow itself to be ruled according to
5. The fact that the particular congregation has the right of calling and
through the call gives the public administration of the
authority of the keys, indicates, in other words, that one may not publicly use
the authority of the keys in a congregation if the
congregation has not given such administration to him through a call.
God also forbids with explicit words that one should take an office to himself,
that is, administer it without an orderly call (Heb. 5:4-6). So
also says our confession.(7)
In antithesis to all of this stand the following:
1. The papists, in so far as they take away the right of calling from the church
and make the pastor into a pastor through ordination.
We will handle the papists' antithetical stand in the next thesis.
2. The Arminians. These, like the papists, take the right of calling from
the congregation, however, in distinction from the papists,
they give it the oversight. They also establish a Caesareopatum while the
papists have a Papocaesareatum. A further antithesis of the
Arminians relates to the necessity of the call, which is discussed further
later. Also the ruling of the church by the state has for the most
part cut off the right of calling of the congregation.
3. Anabaptists and other enthusiasts, who, in full contrast to the
unconditional necessity of the call established through the scripture
(Heb. 5:4-6; Rom. 10:15), explain that the use of the preaching office without a
special call is a matter of freedom for every Christian on
account of his spiritual priesthood. The Socinians also are in this camp.
According to their doctrine, since the completion of the church
through the apostle, the call to the preaching office has on the whole ceased.
Cat. Racov (8): What truly do you say concerning these apostolic
words, that ask how they should teach unless they are sent? (Rom. 10:15)?
In the answer it says: Since truly there is no preaching of this
type with the teachers of this age, as we taught in brief before, a sending of
this type unto it is hardly necessary. The Cat. Racov.
expresses here that the apostolic preaching was new and as of yet unfulfilled,
and therefore a sending was necessary. A preaching that is
not new and not unfulfilled no longer needs the sending. Socinus says: "To
every Christian man it is allowed to legitimately perform his own
office (eius rei munere) without any special thing demanded of him, to exercise
love towards a neighbor." (10) Indeed, however, to privately
point individual people to Christ is an entirely different thing than to gather
people and exercise the preaching office publicly. Smalcius:
"The thing in question is whether an ordinance of this type is completely
necessary for the establishment of the ministry of the word
of God, this however we deny." (10) Call and office should not have a right to
necessity but rather in the greatest way to propriety. Volkelius
says: "Let ministers really administer the Lord's supper and baptism in the
established churches, as both Paul and perhaps others did, for the
purpose of preserving order and decor, not however because some necessity also
requires that these things be done."(11)
Likewise the Arminians teach the same thing. The Apolog. Confess. says: A
sending, whether immediate, as in the case of the
apostles, or mediate, as it is called and as was the case with the ordination of
bishops through the apostles or their successors, is not to
be considered as completely necessary to the establishing of the evangelical
ministry, or for this, that someone rightly and legitimately
should preach before other men the gospel preached through the apostles.^Ô(12)
They also make a distinction between established and yet
to be established congregations. Only for the first do they recognize a
certain necessity for a call, but also there only a necessity of order and
decor, not of the command of God.
Still more radically, the Weigelianer and Quakers reject the mediate call.
They attempt to weaken the texts of scripture which are
witnesses against them. So with Romans 10:15 and Hebrews 5:4 the claim is
made that the first speaks only of the apostles and the last only
of Aaron. But to the contrary both texts are general statements.
Romans 10:15 speaks generally of sending just as it is generally stated
that no one can hear if no one preaches to him. And the apostle was
already sent long before so that this sentence would be superfluous if it
were only to refer to the apostle. As for the second text, Quenstedt
rightly says: "The text is general, no one is to take the honor to
himself. The example of Aaron is an unrestricted illustration of the
universal rule." (13) Our confession speaks the judgment of rejection
concerning all of these enthusiasts.(14)
The rejection of the enthusiasts also applies to those who see the inner call as
that which makes a preacher into a preacher. Against
them is 1 Cor. 9:17. Compare John 1:1-3.
Doctrinal Thesis 3
Ordination makes no one a pastor, rather it confirms a pastor as a legitimately
Comment: Whoever has a legitimate call of a congregation, he is a pastor
and needs nothing else in order to be a pastor. Ordination is
nothing else than this, that the church recognizes and confirms someone's call.
This consists of two things. Most importantly they
see the call as legitimate and therefore confirm it as divine. Secondly,
they confirm the one called as competent and that that the congregation
can call him with good consideration as before God. Therefore, we teach
concerning ordination that it gives no one the preaching office
because the scripture says and commands nothing (concerning this). Only
that which God commands in his word must occur and is
necessary. Our confession agrees with this: "And therefore ordination has
been nothing else than such a confirmation." (15) Luther
commenting on Genesis 41:16: "We, however, lay hands upon the ministers of the
word and make our prayer to God, but only that we
might thereby witness, that it (the office) is God's ordinance, both in this and
also all other offices of the church, whether of the government
of the state or house." (16) He says further: "The custom and practice of laying
on of hands is a very old custom, and came into the New
Testament from the fathers as is seen by the example of Paul in 1 Tim. 5." (17)
So he expresses himself in the writing titled, An Example, to
Consecrate a Right Christian Bishop of 1542. Chemnitz says: "Though,
therefore, ordination does not make the call, if nevertheless
someone is legitimately called, this rite is a declaration and public
confirmation that the call which occurred previously is legitimate." (18)
Baldwin states: "Ordination is nothing more than a public and solemn
confirmation of the call ... Ordination is not simply or absolutely
necessary ... nor is it a divine precept such that it could not be omitted."
As antithetical to this stand the following:
1. Papists: They explain the necessity of the call as applying to the exercise
of the office but give the right of calling to the priestly
station and especially to the pope. Conc. Trid.: The holy synod in
addition teaches that in the ordination of bishops, priests and other
orders, neither the consensus, call, or authority of the people, or of the
magistrates of some secular power is thus required such that without
them ordination is invalid. Belarmin states: "Catholic teachers teach with
highest consensus that the power of ordaining and calling a
bishop in no way is able to pertain to the people. The power of electing,
however, in some way once was in the power of the people,
but only by pontifical concession or convention, not by divine law." (20)
The papists too recognize that the right of calling derives from the
authority of the keys. Therefore also their strong fortress is the word of
Christ to Peter in Matthew 16:19: "And I will give you the keys of
heaven." They claim: The apostle Peter received the keys in the person of
the whole church, because he accepted them for the use and
usefulness of the whole church." (21) This (explanation of the) acceptance (of
the keys) fails when the Lord not only gives the keys to
all the disciples (John 20:23) but also to the entire church (Matt. 18:18).
Hardly worth mention and certainly not refutation is
Belarmin's assertion by which he seeks to limit Matthew 18:18, namely, "Tell it
to the church" means: Tell it to the prelates or the
council. Through this word: Tell it to the church, is understood the
prelates or the council of prelates. A favorite papist argument is: It is
not for the sheep to elect the pastors. The magistrate and the people are
sheep however. Quenstedt rightly gives the final decisive reply:
Arguments taken from dissimilar things prove nothing.
The papists stand further in antithesis in that they explain ordination to be a
sacrament. Conc. Trid.: If someone should say that
order or holy ordination is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by
Christ the Lord, or that it is some human thing thought up by men
ignorant of ecclesiastical things, or that it is merely some right of electing
ministers of the word of God and the sacraments, let him be
anathama. Just as it is certain from the scripture that ordination is not
necessary and essential for the preaching office because it is nowhere
expressly commanded in the scripture, so it is also certain from the scripture
that it can in no way be a sacrament for the scripture, because
(in those places) where it mentions ordination, it does not mention any special
external sign. Chemnitz: "For in baptism and in the Lord's
supper, the son of God himself instituted, prescribed, and commanded a certain
external element, a certain ceremony, or a rite. In truth, in
ordination, as it is now understood, Christ once added an external symbol when
on the day of resurrection he breathed on the disciples,
John 20. But he did not add a command that the church should imitate that
rite of breathing in ordination of the ministers ... We have said that
on account of restraint the apostles did not want to usurp the symbol of
breathing in ordination which Christ used, because it did not have the
command of Christ and since without a divine promise they did not want to take
up this sign themselves as if their breathing out were able
to confer the Holy Spirit. But the suffragan (the consecration bishop, now
title bishop, originally the episcopi in partibus inferioribus, who
stood by the side of the active bishops in order to help them) among the papists
arrogates this to himself without shame. Breathing out
among the ordinands he says: Receive the Holy Spirit. But where is this
command? Where the promise? And it is blasphemy to invent the
notion that the Holy Spirit is contained in the foul panting of the suffragan,
such that the suffragan is able to say: Receive the Holy
Spirit. ... But unction is that for which the papists fight the most when they
argue about the sacrament of order, a fact that the fifth canon does
not conceal. It is truly manifest that neither Christ, nor the apostles,
made use of unction in the ordination of ministers of the word and
sacraments." Even the later church did not do this as Chemnitz proves:
"And in all of ecclesiastical history, even in the Tripartia (The church
history by Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret), where many examples of ordination
are described, no mention of unction is made in regard to
those ordained, rather only the imposition of hands."
Many Lutherans follow in the footsteps of the papists, insofar as they take the
right of calling from the church and claim that
preachers are made not through the call but rather through ordination as a
sacrament. This is true, namely, in so far as:
1. they take the right of calling, which they consider a possession of the
entire church, more or less away from the particular
congregation and at least explain that in calling the particular church makes
use of the right of the entire church (Buffalo Synod, the
separated Lutheran in Prussia, the Breslauer Lutherans).
2. they more or less ascribe decisive importance and effectiveness to the
results of ordination such that these make a pastor
in so far as those who occupy the office, with whom the office truly rests,
confer it to him who is called. Hereby, not a few even until now
have had the intention to ascribe to ordination a sacramental dignity and action
so as to imagine it imprints an indelible character.
So says Lechler: "Ordination is the custom of giving the one called the special
blessing of office in the name of Christ."(22) The
expression of 2 Tim. 1:6: "That you awaken the gift of God which is in you
through the laying on of my hands", is supposed to provide proof
"that the gift inside the recipient given by means of the laying on of hands,
can be present without that presence being obvious." It is
supposed to be just as an apparently cold piece of coal that still glows red."
With Timothy it was still certainly not in slumber and so an
awakening can not be meant. With ordination he "who blesses spreads out
his hands to God in order to receive the requested gifts which the
blessing requires and distributes them to this person in that he turns the hands
upon him. This blessing is not a conferral of personal
characteristics upon another person but rather an effective, that is, an
imparting type of intercession. "The laying on of hands is .... the
naturally necessary gesture for this occasion. It is the request in bodily
form (this is a directing to the external element of a sacrament).
The lifting of ordination to a regular ecclesiastical celebration and as a
result of this to an important article of church law is so important to the
spirit of Christianity that this custom must develop itself out of its own self.
And when until today almost without exception the necessity of
ordination before the entrance to the office is held fast, so a church which
allows its candidates without any consecration to administer the
sacraments, can not remove itself from the accusation of a unworthy negligence.
It diminishes the office to a part of the general type of
callings in the world. So essential a blunder in regard to an ordinance of
the Holy Spirit can not remain without severe injury." On pages
330ff, the following things are given in dark words as harm caused by this
mistake: ordination is seen only as an exigency of holy propriety
(with this misconstrued expression the Lutheran doctrine that ordination is
simply a confirmation is made despicable and put forward
as disposable) and not as a matter "through which the true and essential thing
is worked." Here, in hidden fashion, it is said that the
office along with the works of the office, preaching and administration of the
sacraments, are truly first effective for the building of the
congregation through ordination. This becomes even clearer through the
listing of the effects (p. 331ff) of ordination. This is a blessing.
But a blessing is a divine promise. Such a promise is, however, taken from
the divine word. And the divine word, spoken by the church or a
believer in faith, can not fail to perform its work (Is. 55:11). Therefore
the blessing of ordination has the advantage of ^Óunconditional
effectiveness." "That which pertains to the word itself, must be ascribed
in intensified amount to the blessing in the specific
commission to office (an essential commission?) administered by the church."
Here in hidden manner ordination is put forward as
commanded by God. And so it says further: "It is also to be maintained
that ordination is effective under all circumstances an
is accompanied by essential results for the congregation as well as for the one
ordained." (p. 332). Here the congregation is mentioned
especially. And that says much. By this the author says more clearly
than before that it is through ordination that the office first becomes
effective (wirksam) for the congregation. Now the concept of sacrament is
claimed for ordination. "Ordination therefore falls into
line with all the other sacramental actions of the church, with baptism and the
Lord's supper, with the marriage and confirmation blessings,
indeed with preaching." (p. 332). Take note that ordination, to which
sacramental effects were ascribed, was separated from baptism and the
Lord's supper, but alongside these true means of grace is supposed to be
effective in and of itself. In this way, an effectiveness ex opere
operato is taught under a misuse of the scriptural truth that word and sacrament
objectively administer salvation, such that this supposed
working of word and sacrament is conferred to ordination. This explanation
implies the conclusion that ordination keeps its
effectiveness forever so that it makes one into a pastor forever and not only
for that time during a call. For when a pastor himself mixes the
preaching office with some worldly office afterwards no new ordination is
necessary. "At least the comparison with other
ecclesiastical consecration demands such." Here baptism is being thought
of. But he considers it in a right Roman manner such that it
imprints an indelible character upon a man, something of which remains even in
someone who falls from faith. That is recognized as
the seed-doctrine (Keimlehre) of the new theology. Therefore, it is not
surprising that the entire argument ends with the (obviously entirely
untrue) explanation: "Accordingly, the evangelical Lutheran church also teaches
in a certain sense an inextinguishable character of
ordination." (p. 333). Indeed, on page 335 it says "that ordination
establishes a true distinction between the clergy and the laymen."
Afterwards, the attempt is made to put forward this entire doctrine as that of
the Confessions.^Ô Thus on page 336 it says: "The preaching
office itself is to the Lutheran church the means through which God gives the
Holy Spirit" (Augsburg Confession V). It is as clear as the
sun, that article V speaks of the preaching office in abstracto. And one sees
how questionable it is when even correct theologians take this
article as proof for the office in concreto. See Walther (23). An
especially hard nut to crack for this false doctrine is the passage of the
Smalcald Articles (24). Lechler says simply of this text that one must not
put to much emphasis on this word of Luther's. The entire portrayal of
Lechler is an example of romanizing fantasies concerning the office, which all
the others are like more or less.
According to pure, evangelical doctrine, the office , which is to be conferred
and which the office bearer should fill, rests with no one
else than the church. And by the church we mean the believers, even the
few who may be found in some place even if only two, and by the
smaller or larger number of people who are gathered anywhere about the word
among whom the fewest believers are found. In other words,
we mean the any particular congregation. Therefore, it can only be proven
that a particular congregation can not confer the office through
their call and does not confer it without the help of any act of ordination if
it is first proven that the hidden believers in a
congregation are not possessors of all the goods and treasures of Christ.
Doctrinal Thesis 4
The authority and right of the preaching office is: to preach the gospel, to
administer the sacraments, to forgive or retain sins,
and to exercise discipline.
Remark: Proof for the authority to preach the gospel is Matthew 28:19,
Mark 16:15; for the authority to administer the
sacraments is Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 4:1; Tit. 1:7; for the authority to forgive or
retain sins is John 20:23; Matt. 16:19; for the authority to
exercise discipline 1 Cor. 5:3-5. The authority of preaching and
administering the sacraments is included together under the expression
potestas ordinis (authority of order). The authority of the keys is
included in the expression potestas clavium (authority of the keys), and
also the potestas jurisdictionis (authority of jurisdiction). Concerning
the authority of the keys Gerhard says: "The authority of jurisdiction,
which they call "kritikehn", consists of the use of the keys. There are,
however, two powers of the keys, loosing and retaining, Matthew
16:19, John 20:23. Although there is one ministry of the word by which
sins are loosed and retained, just as also generally one key is
effective for opening and closing the kingdom of heaven, nevertheless, the one
key is said to be for a diversity of objects, goals, and effects.
These are: the loosing of sins by which the penitent are absolved of sins and
heaven is opened to them, the other is retaining by which sins
are retained for the impenitent and heaven is closed to them. The first is
called absolution the second excommunication. Both may be
exercised either publicly or privately. Public absolution is when
remission of sins on account of Christ is announced to all the truly
repentant. Private (absolution) is when sins are remitted to a particular
penitent face to face. Public excommunication is when the anger and
eternal damnation of God is announced from the law to all who are impenitent and
do not believe. Private (excommunication) when the
retention of sins is announced harshly face to face to a particular wicked
person. By reason of gradation two types of excommunication
are established, namely, minor and major. The first is the exclusion or
suspension from the use of the Lord's Supper. It is an ejection from
the fellowship of the church. The other is called "kathairesis"
(destroying), it is truly "aphorismos" (rejected)."(25)In addition to these
remarks the following is to be noted:
The distinction between minor and major excommunication has only historical
meaning for us. The last refers to what is called the ban
or banishment and was carried out by the church with the help of the government.
Luther says in his "Sermon on the Ban": A bishop and
pope may separate someone from this fellowship (of the sacraments) and forbid
him to partake of them because of his sins. And that is
called to put under the ban. This ban was previously almost solely in use
and is now called the minor ban. For over and beyond this one is
forbidden burial, to buy, to sell, to go here and there, and all fellowship of
mankind, and finally also (as they say) water and fire. That is the
major ban. Even with this some are not satisfied but rather over and above
this use all governmental power against the one banned. ... But
these are new additions to the essential meaning of the scripture. For to
handle matters with the worldly sword belongs to the emperor etc.
and the rulers of the world and indeed not to the spiritual estate whose sword
is not iron but rather should be spiritual, that is the word and
command of God (Eph. 6:17); compare the Smalcald Articles, IX.
2. The state church, also in Lutheran lands, knew something like the major ban
along side the minor ban.
3. Today we understand the exclusio ab usu coenae dominicae to not be the same
as the suspensio ab usu. The last we understand to be a
temporary denial of the Lord's supper which a pastor uses on his own authority
as a keeper of souls before public handling of an instance of
sin or discipline and also before the entrance into the second grade of
discipline, as he hopes for good fruit therefrom. It is not to stretch out
into a long period of time.
4. The pastor does not carry out a true exclusion from the Lord's supper as he
who decrees it for only the congregation, before which an
instance of discipline of the third grade comes, can do that. Rather he
does it as he who carries out the exclusion put forth by the
congregation (1 Cor. 5:2-5).
Absolution is no mere announcement. It works not declarative, but
effective; it truly frees. Quenstedt: "The ministers of the church
have the power of remitting sins and not only "historikohs", as a declaration
and announcement, but also effectively, although
"organikohs" (the pastor is indeed only the instrument of God), remit sin.
That is the doctrine of scripture, for:
1. the keys of binding and loosing are given to the ministers of the word.
The keys are however not only an announcement of an
opening. And "to bind" and "to loose" do not mean in any language to
explain or to announce a binding and loosing, but rather truly, actu,
to bind and loose, although these occur through the means of the word.
2. That which pertains to the apostle pertains to all ministers of the word.
Also moreover the keys are given to the whole church, not
to the apostles only.
In antithesis to this stand the Calvinists, the Arminians, the Sozinians, all
branch sects of the Cavinists, all enthusiasts, the
Schwenkfeldians, the Weigelians, the modern Methodists, and also the
United Protestants. All of these explain absolution to be a pure
announcement. The pastor is according to them only a herald, one who
proclaims. Thus says Olevianus: "Just as the legate himself does not
give punishment or faith (2 Tim. 2:19-20), thus he also does not justify or
absolve sinners himself. But rather he is a witness and constituted a
herald of such a great thing which properly belongs to the divine majesty."(26)
What foolishness is that, especially from the reformed
stand point! To what purpose is the herald when forgiveness must be much
more certain to the elect (who are the only ones to actually
receive it) through the Holy Spirit in him than through the proclamation of the
herald? It is foolishness even from a non reformed
stand point to make absolution as proclamation a mere witness of that which not
it but only God himself gives and this not through the word
as a means. Such a thing as a witness is entirely superfluous.
Generally, the Calvinists twist the Lutheran doctrine as if it were
taught that forgiveness comes from the pastor out of his own power. But
above Quenstedt showed the opposite with his "organikohs". He
who truly forgives is God. But the preacher loosing is the actual
operative means established by God himself. The viewpoint of the
Calvinists of a word of absolution that works nothing is entirely in agreement
with their fundamental opinion of the word itself according
to which it is nothing more than mere representation and teaching and is
ineffective in itself. Schwenkfeld, out of this same
misunderstanding of the Lutheran doctrine, how he understands the Calvanist
doctrine, in his Postille, p. 295 says: "The priest has no
power to forgive sins. God alone forgives sins and no man." The
Sozinianer Wolzogen says of Matthew 16:19: "The apostles do not
have any successors in their own power and authority of forgiving sins. So
also believe the Arminians.
Our theologians also place ceremonies and rites in the hands of the ministers or
pastors. Still it is obvious that they do not have power
to create something in regard to ceremonies and rites without the previous
decision of the congregation. Even so it is obvious that no
rite or ceremony may be created ratione cultus aut meriti erga Deum, that is, in
the name of service or merit towards God. See the Augsburg
Heb. 13:17, 1 Thess. 5:12-13, Phil. 2:29, 1 Thess. 4:8, and Lk 10:16 all say the
Christian ought be obedient to the pastors. But no
obedience is required that is over and against God's word.(28) God himself
forbids that we should follow false teachers (Matt. 7:15; Gal.
1:8). Sins of the preacher are false doctrine, false use of the keys, an
evil life. The preacher who endures in false doctrine after sufficient
admonition is to be removed. Whoever leads an evil life can in general no
longer administer the preaching office because he has
destroyed his good name (Acts 6:3; 1 Tim. 3:7-8). A preacher is without
his office as soon as the congregation takes or demands from
him the authority given through the congregation's call, that is, as soon as
they remove him from office. To call any one a preacher who has
no congregation is a misuse of the word. The pastorate is an office, not a
station in life (Stand).
Doctrinal Thesis 5
In essence all preachers are equal in rights and position.
Remark: Acts 20:28, where the bishops are given the office to shepherd the sheep
and to give attention to the same, gives proof that
there is no essential distinction of position among the pastors. Also in
Phil. 1:1 where Paul makes himself, Timothy, and the bishops and
ministers equal. Also in Titus 1:5ff. where Timothy is supposed to install
elders, who in verse 7 are called bishops and house stewards and
according to verse 9 are to administer the office just as the bishops in Acts
20:28. Also in 1 Tim. 4:14, where the elders are said to have laid
hands on Timothy himself in placing him in the office of bishop. And
finally in 1 Pet. 5:1 where Peter calls himself a fellow elder of the
The scripture also makes the bishops and elders equal. Quenstedt: "We
retain in our churches an order among the ministers so
that some are bishops, some are presbyters, others deacons, because also in the
apostolic and primitive church there were distinct grades of
ministers and indeed were divinely constituted, 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:1. However,
we say that to every minister of the church pertains the same
power of the ministry consisting in preaching the word and administering the
sacraments and the power of jurisdiction in the use
of the keys."(29) Likewise Chemnitz: "But the question is, of what grade in the
ecclesiastical minister is the bishop; what are the duties of the
bishop? And the solution to this question is quickly found in that it is
explicitly dealt with by Jerome. For he shows and proves that at the
time of the apostles the bishops and the presbyters were the same, or he who was
a bishop was himself a presbyter. One is the name of the
office and dignity, the other the name of the age (of the office holder)."(30)
In antithesis to this are:
1. The papists. Bellarmin: "The catholic church recognizes and teaches a
distinction that by divine right the episcopacy is greater than
the presbytery by the power of order and also of jurisdiction. For thus
says the Council of Trent, session 24, chpt. 4: For the holy synod
declares that bishops who are successors in the place of the apostles pertain to
the hierarchical order before other ecclesiastical grades and
are placed, just as the apostle says, by the Holy Spirit to rule the church of
God and are to be superior to the presbyters. And canon 6: If
someone should say that in the catholic church the hierarchy, which consists of
bishops, presbyters, and ministers, is not instituted by
divine ordination, let him be anathama.(31)And canon 7: If someone should say
bishops are not superior to presbyters etc. let him be
anathama." Bellarmin puts forth the effort to weaken the passages of
scripture which were quoted above and which are against him. Against
Phil. 1:1 he brings various church fathers forward and thinks that finally the
passage of Chrysostom clarifies it best: "The comments of
John Chrysostom and many others are best, who teach that at the time of the
apostles the names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' were common to all
priests, to the greater which we now call bishops, as well as to the lesser
which we name presbyters. The names were common even
though the thing itself and the powers were distinct."(32) It is noteworthy that
the scripture should give these names without
distinction to the priests of various order while the (very idea of the)
existence of the distinction of order, of the real distinction between
bishop and presbyter, is built upon the distinction of the names. Still,
when Bellarmin is unable to find a better overall evasion of the fact
that all priests, in spite of the fact that they are said to have different
spiritual power and dignity (an idea that indeed until now no papist has
been able to prove from scripture), still have the common names of presbyter and
bishop, he turns this also upon other texts and dismisses
them thus: "But with one word we can respond to all these things . The
names at that time were common and therefore in all these places
the true bishops are called presbyters."(33) He also works hard to give the
words of Jerome a meaning favorable to papism. That this is
impossible is shown in that the well known Michael Medina says "in the work de
sacroroum hominum origine et continentia, book 1,
chapter 5: And thus in other respects those men were most holy, most experienced
in the holy scriptures. Nevertheless, whose opinion the
church first condemned in Aerius, then in the Waldensians, and finally in John
Wycliff."(34) Bellarmin adds: "Moreover this idea of Medina's
is very thoughtless." He does not prove, however, that his own judgment is
correct and that on the contrary Medina has wrongly
2. In this antithesis also stand the so-called romanizing Lutherans, who hold
that church government (Kirchenregiment),
whereby persons are ordered above and below one another, is divinely ordained
and has a supposedly divinely ordained hierarchy. Thus are
the separated Lutherans under the Breslau Church college. In their "Public
Declaration" from the year 1878, it says:
a. that the office of church government in and of itself, that is, the
commission of particular persons with the public administration of
church government functions, is instituted by God and not by the congregation
and it exists and works according to divine and not
merely human rite. (p. 3.28).
b. that church orders made by men that are beyond scripture yet not contrary to
it, pertain not merely according to human rite but also
according to divine rite and consciences are bound to obedience to it for God's
sake. (p. 3.44)
The Breslauers continuously call upon Eph. 4:11 (compare 1 Cor. 12:28ff) like
the papists for here a divine institution of distinct
offices with their churchly duties is supposedly taught. But against this:
1. This verse does not talk about a divine institution of distinctions of rank
between offices laid out by grade in steps. (The
Roman church numbers their seven thus: Priests, that is, bishops and presbyters
together, deacons, sub deacons, who together make up the
three higher grades, acolytes, who attend the bishops and is now the highest of
the lower grades, the readers, the exorcists, and the
doorkeepers. The last four grades are designated the "minor orders" and
merely receive the lesser consecration which does not impint the
character indelebis, and therefore it is permitted to leave these grades.)
Namely, 1 Corinthians 12:28ff. shows that what is being talked about
is rather functions and aptitudes being used for the best of the church.
In one and the same context the gift of healing, or doing wonders, and
of tongues are mentioned. If these are not offices distinguished according
to grade and rank with different power and dignity of office,
or if they are not made such through being mentioned, then those in the
Ephesians passage aren't either. In other words, when different offices
are mentioned they are still not enumerated in such a way as to set forth
offices truly and essentially distinguished, that is, distinct offices
distinguished by rank.
2. Here the true functions contained originally in the office of the episcopacy,
or office of presbyter, or ministry of serving the church
in word and sacrament are brought forth. These were first joined in the
apostate and so also they can remain joined in the ordered office of
bishop, presbyter, or pastor. However, on account of need, as in the
office of deacon, or on account of a great advantage to be gained, when
there were people in the congregations who had received a greater aptitude for
one or the other functions than the already present
presbyters, the functions where conferred to various people.
In similar fashion, Chemnitz says correctly concerning Ephesians 4:11:
Here there are five grades of the ministry enumerated:
a. Apostles, who, being called immediately, had a universal call and all gifts
of doing miracles and whose
preaching and teaching was inspired and in the true sense was God's word and
source of doctrine for
b. Prophets, who interpret tongues and the scriptures (1 Cor. 14:16);
c. Evangelists, who were not apostles, but were sent out with the general
mission to preach the gospel,
"ergon poiehson euangelistou"; So Philip (Acts 21:8), Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5),
Tychikus (Acts 20:4; Eph. 6:21;
d. Pastors, who work with a particular flock of the church (1 Pet. 5:2);
e. Teachers, "didaskalon nepiohn" (Rom. 2:20; Heb. 5:12), apparently the later
However, Chemnitz says, the apostles have included these different grades
together under both the names "bishops and
presbyters". An especially important proof is Col. 4:7; Eph. 6:21; where
Paul designates Tychikus who clearly was an evangelist, as a
minister and fellow servant, and 1 Pet. 5;12 where Peter calls himself a fellow
elder and like unto the presbyters (v. 2) as pastors and
shepherds. Also, verses like 1 Tim. 3:1ff. indicate a new unity of the
office functions, which were originally separated and performed by
different people, into being performed by one person. This is indicated
when it is said that a person must be fit to teach (v. 2) if he is to lead (v
4 and 5), and shepherd as well as rule. And from verses like Eph. 4:11, 1
Cor. 12:28, a divine institution of an ecclesiastical hierarchy of the
roman or romanizing type can not be proven.
Chemnitz finishes his explanation with the clarification that the enumerations
of Eph. 4:11 and 1 Cor. 12:28 only show which grades
the obligations and duties of the one and the same office of the church or
preaching office was distributed. Finally he sets forth the following
a. That the Word of God does not establish any particular number of grades.
b. From the scripture it is clear that at the time of the apostles the same
grades were not present in all congregations.
c. Even so it is clear from the scripture that the separation into grades was
not a necessity such that not often all the functions were
unified in one person. And furthermore, the entire order was a matter of
freedom and was implemented according to need and for the good
of the church.
d. All grades were not offices in addition to the preaching office but were
themselves true offices of the ministry of the word and
1. Theol. did. pol. pars IV, cap. XII, sect. I, thes. III, nota, p. 394.
2. For example see his writing on the Private Mass, Lpz. Ausg., XXI, 50.
3. Grundsätze der ev.-luth. Kirchenverfassung, 1853.
4. Hutterus redivivus, 125, p. 332.
5. Kompendium, 74.2, p. 371.
6. From Rudelbachs Zeitsch. für lutherische Theologie und Kirche.
7. Aug. Conf. XIV.
8. Qu. 506, p. 1036.
9. Tractat. de ecclesia, lib. 10, tom. I, 325.
10. Disput. IV de ordine eccles. contra Franz., 377.
11. Respons. ad vanam refutat. dissoluti nodi Gordici, XVII, 171.
12. XXI, 225.
13. Theol. did. pol., IV.12.2, ques. 1, ekdik., 400.
14. Apolog. 13.
15. Art. Smal., 70.
16. Leipz. Ausg, B. III, 146.
17. L. C. B. III, 375.
18. Loci, de ecclesia.
19. De causibus conscientiae, 1032.
20. Disp., tom. II, de clericis, lib. I, cap. II, 6, 139.
21. L. c, VII, 17.
22. Lehre vome neutestamentlichen Amt, part III, I, 2. ^ÓDie
23. Church and Ministry, Thesis II on the ministry.
24. Article X.
25. Loci tom. XIII, loc. XXIV, cap. V , sect. I, CXCIV.
26. De substantia foederis gratuiti, p. 282.
27. Art. 15. Art. 28.
28. Augs. Conf. 28.
29. Theol. did. pol., part IV, cap. XII, sect. I, thes. XIV, nota VI, p.
30. Ex. pars II, de sacramento ordinis p. 223.
31. Disputat., tom. II, de clericis, lib. I, cap. XIV, 2; p. 156.
32. L. c., cap. XI, 5.
33. L. c., 10.
34. In Bellarmin, l.c., 15.
35. Examen., II, p. 217f.
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