Pastoral Letter and Correspondence between J. A. A. Grabau and the Missouri Synod: Pages 68 - 72


in the New Testament does not make this distinction of a priestly portion of the pastoral office in the administration of the holy sacrament and in that 2) this distinction at least very closely touches upon a sacerdotium missaticum.

Indeed, you do not wish to hold tightly to a risky new terminus, but you consider inappropriate our 3 citations, which we cited out of Luther's work against it. In the first citation from Luther's interpretation of the 110th Psalm it is stated that it is proper to priestly office to preach the gospel, etc. To this you must at least concede that one could also call this priestly work. Thus the administration of the holy sacrament might not and could not solely be called the priestly portion of the spiritual office and our citation has appropriately proven what it should prove. You still maintain that it is inappropriate because Luther here merely discusses the preaching of the gospel and certainly wants the preaching of the law concerning penance not to be considered a priestly portion of the pastoral office. Here you have either Luther or God's word and our symbols before you. Luther did not wish to exclude the preaching of the law from the priestly work of preaching, as you could find introduced in the previous pages where he says that the office of a priest is also as Moses teaches with his priests through the summons and operation of the law or the 10 Commandments, how we should live and act towards God but now he should not teach this. And God's word acknowledges the entirety of the teachings of Christ, which a priest shall proclaim (certainly potiori denominando) together in the word "gospel," as this has been clearly proven for some time in the Formula of Concord in the article de lege et evangelio from Mark 1 and 16, Luke 24, Acts 20. Therefore your distinction is thoroughly unbiblical and unlutheran and mere innovation.

Furthermore because in Numbers 1 and 3 of your pastoral letter you have indicated that the requisites of rite vocatus seem to mean the administration of the sacraments as the main portion of the spiritual office, we pointed these out in order to prove that the preaching of the gospel is the correct main function of the priestly office 1) in the 3 passages of holy scripture in Acts 6, 2 Timothy 2 and Luke 1, to which you have responded with neither a yes or no; 2) we illustrated it with two citations from Luther, in which just the opposite is stated, that it isn't baptism or holding mass but preaching, which is the highest office. Now in fact we do not understand how these superlatives fail to provide sufficient proof, what it should prove and how these citations could be inappropriate to the furtherance to our assertion. You indicated that Luther merely meant the administration of the sacraments to be called an under-office because baptism and the eucharist rely upon the word of God. We respond: All well and good! He called the administation an under-office and we'll prove just that. But only on the basis that the word first makes the sacraments, the distribution of which are considered an under-office however it in no way follows that, as you would have it, the sacraments may be administered by others, who are not preachers; many more specialized things are parts of service to the tabernacle; these services still care for the godly regimen of the Levites and thus in the New Testament God has made the regimen and order that only the called servant of the word shall be the distributor of His sacraments.

Still further we go to § 7 of your anticritique, where we are indeed considerably moved by the ways and means you have circumvented us and our words. We had said in the third part of our critique: "the office is established when the congregation transfers its God-given right to call upon someone." Under No. IV you punish us for our apparent error in that the congregation does not transfer the office but rather


the Triune God and then still you had to prove this to us with 5 written-out biblical passages. Do you really consider us so ignorant that, when through the grace of God we call ourselves His servants, we would not have known this without you? And haven't we said in the previous statements that the congregation may transfer the office to someone as it is their God-given right? However if we have not expressly added this, you still have no reason to think so badly of us as if we want to deny the Triune God the causa efficiens ministerii. In the previous treatments we never discussed this. It would have been the work of providence if in your pastoral letter you had imparted instruction on the individual author and giver of the pastoral office. However since you wanted to demonstrate according to the 14th Article of the Augsburg Confession what belongs to the rite vocatus and thus what are the human aspects and how they relate to the church aspects, our critique could only move within these circles. Or what would you have said if we had approached your posited Requisiten with regard to proper vocation as error, stating that you have neglected God and only spoken about what people have to do with it? Then people would have to blame the 14th Article of the Augsburg Confession itself since it does not speak of those called by God but rather of the rite of vocation. What can you impart to us then in § 7 itself for information on the art of divine calling other than that He, as your own words indicate, does it in no other manner than through the church? Then don't you yourself have to say that the congregation transfers the office? — Here again you make a new distinction and exception saying in § 8 that the vocation of the local congregation is not the same as vocatio ecclesiae because it belongs to the later electio, vocatio et ordinatio, thus calling by the local congregation is only a part of the concept of vocatio ecclesiae, its three parts included in Hebrews 5, 4. You are responsible for providing proof of these subtleties in that 1) the Apology speaks, as does the small catechism, about the office of the keys categorically when it states that it received the power from God to call, to absolve, etc. However what the entire church becomes, it approaches eo ipso through each individual local congregation and each individual Christian. 2) When you here and in the following state that the electio still should be something different from the vocation, we draw your attention to Gerhard's locum de Ministerio ecclesiast. § 52 where it states: Caeterum inter electionem et vocationem ministrorum quidam esse putant distinctionem aliquam. — Sed discrimen illud magis in epinoia nostrae mentis, quam in re ipsa consistit. Quicunque enim ad ministerium legitime eligitur is etiam vocatur et quicunque vocatur, is etiam eligitur unde scriptura indifferentur hisce appellationibus in hoc utiture. * 3) Let the necessity for ordination not be misconstued in Hebrews 5, 4,

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* Therefore we can only call it an ill fated attempt when you wish to prove this here through means of exegesis; according to Acts 1, 2, 4, 5, Chapter 10, 41 and 42 and Chapter 13, 2 - 4 the choosing or the singling out for the apostle's office and the sending or the command to preach become a twofold thing whereby the apostles may have first received their ordination through this sending and command of Christ after His resurrection and also first received the individual apostle's office. However the holy twelve were already called to the apostle's office in Matthew 10, 2 and according to verses 5, 7, 16 and the entire chapter they had already been sent out by Christ in order to preach. If their ordination followed later, then they would have been sent out originally without ordination. But since it specifically states that the apostles had been sent out by Christ as preachers then the choosing and the sending must indicate the full installation of the apostle's office and what we call ordination must be comprehensive or it must contradict the cited passages in Matthew, Chapter 10. Return to text


rather perhaps these passages only discuss (as Gerhard also used them) the necessity of vocation although it will not deny that the scriptures often incorporate similarly meant terms, like choosing and calling as well as sending, installing ordering etc. and generally they are understood to mean the proper appointment of a spiritual shepherd.

Here we come to a major point in your anticritique, which you have broadly debated in § 9 - 11 and a special demonstration, which was sent to our beloved brother in office, Brohm; this is namely concerning your teaching on ordination, which is not merely, as we theorize, an inherited one from the time of the apostles along with the vocation as a confirming and wholesome custom of the church but rather you apparently hold an anti-thesis whereby the office is one expressly commanded by God, necessitating clerical appointment; indeed the office first requires a primordially-given treatment.

Above all else we cannot suppress our righteous astonishment on how you maintain that "the practicing church living throughout Germany, which openly acknowledges and holds to the antithesis posited by you, is beginning to insinuate our thesis into the church." Must we accuse you for your previous public dishonesty since you cited passages from Carpzov's Isagoge to us, wherein there exists the only assistant you will find to support your interpretations however you don't say a word about the six great theologians of our church, who stand on the other side of the issue. Without a doubt you have the negatur, which poses a question to Carpzov himself: "an ordinatio ministrorum juris divini sit et ex praecepto divino necessaria?"

However should you not have the cited texts of these theologians at hand and you wanted to convince yourself that Carpzov has understood things correctly, then we want to write out for you the best of the cited passages: Chemnitius says in De ecclesia, p. 137: Fatendum sane, nullum extare in Scripturis mandantum Dei, quod hic ritus ordinationis sit habendus, nec Deum promississe, se per hunc ritum daturum gratiam, sicut in baptismo et coena Domini. Sed libera et indifferenti usurpatione ab Apostolis in ecclesiam introductus est, non quod ullo modo Dei gratiam vellent alligare ad ritum, de quo nec mandatum habeant nec promissionem?
Gerhard, Loc. Tom VI, § 139. "Nos ordinationis ritum nequaquam omittendum, sed extra necessitatis casum in constitutione ministerii eccles, semper adhibendum esse dicimus, tum propter antiquam ecclesiae apostolicae et apostolorum temporibus proximae consuetudinem - - tum propter fines salutares paulo superius enumeratos - - negamus tamen ordinationem esse necessariam ratione peculiaris alieujus praecepti divini, quale non potest ostendi." —
Dietrich Institut. Catech. p. 543. "Dico ordinationem peragendam esse s. ritu; ergo est indifferens et libera. Ergo non cultus, ergo non absolute necessaria, neque ratione praecepti divini, neque natione essentiae ministerii, quia illam non ingreditur, sed ex hypothesi, partim ob primitivae ecclesiae praxin, partim ob fines salutares modo recensitos.
It is also stated in Balduin Lib. 4, cas. consc.:

Thus Luther states in the book of daily devotions for St. Andrew's Day that the Lord had already installed his disciples to the preaching office with the words in Matthew 4, 19 and 9, 9. Indeed they might have made especially great preachers, who not only preached with words but with miraculous signs. With their going out into the world their spheres of influence increase and the full measure of the Holy Spirit decended upon them with the gift of tongues so that they could proclaim the gospel, which they at first had only proclaimed in Judea. Now they could proclaim it among all people. — They had the individual pastorates beforehand; of Judas Iscariot it was also stated: "his bishopric was given to another." Acts 1, 20. —


Chapter 6. Brochmand. Tom. 2, syst. Theol. Hoepfner, Meisner et. al., that ordination 1) ob apostolicum ritum, 2) ob paulinum exemplum, 3) ob conseqaens emolumentum not be abandoned unless necessary but not to be considered necessary, quia est ritus ecclesiasticus divinitus non praeceptus etc.

Do you still wish to maintain, beloved brother in office, that our teaching concerning ordination wishes to insinuate itself just now into the church? If, because of our teaching, you would institute a new number in the catalog of our blatant errors, then you must accuse many more distinguished church leaders, whose schools we attended, rather than just singling us out by name. — Or would you not rather do justice to the men and pillars of the church in humble acknowledgement that they too most certainly will have read and studied the points concerning ordination "cum judicio" in the holy scriptures, the symbolic books and the texts of blessed Luther? — Shouldn't you at least be somewhat mistrustful of the results of your individual research into the issues due to the theological Vota and especially with your apodictic and unfavorable means of presentation? We might at least have sincerely prayed for you.

However with regard to the refutation of the many grounds for your proofs, we must admittedly limit ourselves to certain general aspects, since we do not want to go too far afield; without a doubt all the theologians have made their own informed opinions concerning ordination. These are namely:

1) It is an entirely false preposition, which you have expressed in the letter to Pastor Brohm, "what the apostles would have commanded in the church is necessary and would have binding power for all times to come." If this were the case, to this day we would not eat any blood dishes, no unveiled women would be permitted in church services and no sick people, to which we are called, would be left unanointed. Acts 15, 20. 1 Corinthians 11, 10. Jacob 5, 14 — Indeed in consequence. as Luther proved in one section, we would have to refer back to the Old Testament, consent to the confusion and charge ourselves and others to what God has commanded only to this or that prophet and patriarch or the people of Israel. However what is commanded to all for all time in God's word is related either to general holy moral law or to the gospel of Jesus Christ or to certain church institutions, such as the establishment of the holy sacraments and the keys of office, whereby universally binding precepts are stated for all. Among other things with regard to the preaching office there is a general mandate, which is to preach and to hear the word of God, thus answering the Lord of the harvest when He calls for workers, who are pure in teaching and life and able to take the office; to choose those received from God's hand and care for them, seeing that all things proceed honorably and orderly. Matthew 17, 5; Chapter 9, 38; Chapter 7, 15; 2 Timothy 2, 2; Hebrews 5, 4; Mark 6, 11; Hebrews 13, 17; Galatians 6, 6 et. al. —

So it was also with the citation from Luther's text Example: To Consecrate a Christian Bishop in the above illustration in a desire to emphasise the essential components, which pertain to the preaching office according to divine order, namely that, as Luther states it "depends on whether the church and the bishop are one and the church hears the bishop and the bishop will teach the church." Here we had discussed nothing concerning ordination, as you can see by consulting our text. At the very least it might provide evidence of what you have taken from each citation and have told us is inappropriate, that it doesn't matter whether the person ordained is an angel or a devil. This certainly pertained to neither the nexus rerum


nor the prevailing dispute between us — and you have erred not insignificantly yourself in the rejection of each citation. Perhaps at the same time this citation could pave the way to what we have already said about the individual nature of ordination, namely that it "blesses, confirms and certifies the chosen pastors as a notary and witness attests to worldly matters and then the pastors in turn, for example, bless a bride and groom, confirm their marriage or certify that they brought themselves before them." Is what Luther says here any different from what we asserted from Lutheran doctrine - that ordination is nothing other than publica testificatio vocationis, bound together with the solicited and received blessing of the Lord? Do the Smalkaldic Articles in de potest. et jurisdict. episcop., Walch p. 345 say anything other than that in the old church ordination it is nothing other than a confirmation?

You still cite certain other declarations of Luther and the symbolic books, from which it should follow that there's something more in ordination than the conferment of the office by the church servants at hand and that this has been expressly commanded by God in the gospels and pastoral letters. Here we arrive at the second aspect, to which we must hold onto firmly in the sense of the above named Lutheran theologians with regard to these matters.

2. It cannot be denied that the men of the Reformation often talked about one divine command, according to which the office must have been ordered and ordination imparted to it, etc. Therefore when one compares one such declaration with others of similar nature and with the complete analogue of their profession of faith, then one really sees that they mean nothing other than the binding force of all Christians to the proper appointment of preachers. Indeed, show us, beloved brother in office, any declaration from the time of the Reformation wherein every point of doctrine, which you dispute, is assailed and repudiated with its antithesis, similar to the way that ordination is merely a wholesome apostolic custom and rite and a public confirmation of correct vocation! — The universal binding force is always being discussed, according to which the church cares for the maintenance of the preaching office specifically when the Roman bishops did not want to establish and confirm properly prepared teachers so the church had to choose and ordain them.

Therefore when the discussion is about the "debemus ordinare ministros," about the "divina traditio" behind it, and about the "necesse est, ecclesiam retinero jus vocandi et ordinande," anyone can see that ordinare is used in a broader sense, often interchanged with vocare and ordination may well be understood to be under it but in no way an exclusive divine command through which the main point, namely the vocation of preachers, should be placed in the background.

We have not committed error here and you may wish to compare the already cited testimonies with the following:

Before anything else we would like to recommend to you the excellent and important text of Luther to the Bohemians, "how one should choose and install servants of the church;" if nothing else it should be completely and conscientiously read. The honorable Paulus Speratus states in the excellent preface to this text that whoever would hear Christ Himself and His apostles within him must not miss this little book, which Luther himself would have read and understood not just by the Bohemians in Latin but by all other races of the German nation in the German language and not merely for the sake of the suffering popedom. — We would use up too much room if we were to write out everything that belongs here in order to prove how dear Luther


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Photocopy of text provided by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks