study the word of God under the guidance of a righteous-faith teacher but also possess certain gifts of the Holy Spirit, which will put him in a position to use the true knowledge properly to the sanctity of those around him and the church and thus to avert any harm against them. If he is thus powerful in the Holy Spirit as warned in Titus 1, 9, in order to defend teaching amid all peril to the church so that people may seek the law out of his, a priest's mouth, then he is an angel of the Lord Almighty, Malachi 2,7; he is also a housefather, who should know where the treasures lie in his house and who shall bring forth the new and the old from his treasury, Matthew 15, 52, whenever it is needed.
3. To be considered for ordained appointment, he not only must have knowledge and gifts of the Holy Spirit but also his knowledge must be examined and tested in the so-called tentamen (test) by previously appointed true servants of the church; see Stenger's sermon previously cited; thus Paul says in 1 Timothy 3,10: They shall neither serve nor administer the sacraments before they have been tested (bi autem probentur primum); this means until they have characteristics 1 and 2, and until it is pronounced that their testimony concerning education and comportment has been thoroughly examined and they have been observed for a time in their profession whereby they can be entrusted to a particular function within the church, as for example, song leader, reader, et. al. Thereafter they may be allowed to serve, that is, administer the sacraments and assist in the spiritual caregiving once they are impeccable in teaching and comportment (sic ministrent, nullem crimen habentes). The above-mentioned testing comes after example 1, whereby they are examined to see if they possess the mystery of faith in pure knowledge (habentes mysterium fidei in conscientia pura); that is whether they stand in purity within both teaching and sanctity, whether they are capable of being true householders over the mysteries of God, not just servants to men and their own unpure hearts. They do not conduct themselves in office according to their own whims but by the rigors of true faith and proper sanctity with God.
4. After said executed tentamen they are still not church servants but rather men permitted to serve the church and thus administer the holy sacraments. Only when the community elects such a tested man to administer the holy sacraments or serve in some other capacity within the church may he be permitted to do so by the already appointed church servants, as according to 1 Timothy 5,22: "(You, Timothy) may lay hands on no one yet!" By giving frivolous permission the previously appointed church servants would participate in the sins of others. The laying on of hands by the previously appointed church servants happens only in the following way:
5. When the community, which has no pastor, has prayed to God as a community on Sundays until it comes upon one and names him, then according to Article 6 they must present him to the previously appointed church servants. These servants in turn must examine him in the presence of the community, not to establish the degree of his knowledge since that must happen in the tentamen, but rather so that the congregation hears what he holds for confession thus proving he is no novice. In 1 Timothy 6, 12 St. Paul states that he should provide many testimonies to his good conviction and that he has learned
the pattern of holy words of faith, 2 Timothy 1, 13. If the entire congregation has nothing against it there must also be a sufficient number of ordained within the congregation to establish that the confession has produced many testimonies and that everyone is convinced that hands are being laid upon no one too hastily. Secret ordinations are to be avoided according to God's Word.
6. When this has happened, that is, when said confession has been presented by him, then the previously appointed church servants may perform the laying on of hands, meaning they ordain him as is customary according to the agenda of the church and hand over to him the church office in the name of the triune God, as the Lord Christ himself was ordained in his youth (Matthew 28, Luke 24). 2 Timothy 1, 6; 1 Timothy 4, 14; Acts 6, 6; 2 Timothy 2, 2; Titus 1, 15. (Compare with Stenger's sermon concerning the Augsburg Confession Article 14, pages 602, 603.) See the form of ordination in the old church orders.
7. After the ordination has occurred according to divine order, it is practice that the ordained be publically presented to the congregation he will serve. Here he is invested or confirmed; that is, he will be installed to the congregation as a truly-called pastor of God and the congregation will deliver itself over to his care as a shepherd of Christ. He pledges himself to the congregation with his loyalty to teaching and service and the congregation binds itself to him with its loyalty and obedience in all things, which are not contrary to God's Word.
Comment - What is contrary or in conformity to God's Word is not determined by an individual member of the church but by the church itself in its symbols, church orders and synods.
This is the divine order of the rite of vocation (rite vocatus), to which, Dr. Luther says, that the apostles and their students thus held and to which they so must remain until the final day.
On the Great Necessity for Proper Vocation
1. This is readily apparent, that St. Peter and all the apostles always drew upon this relationship to proper divine vocation at the beginning of their letters, as when St. Paul says: Paul, servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle by the will of God, etc. He would not have mentioned this if ordained vocation had not been necessary or pertinent to the discussion. For the apostles this vocation came unmediatedly from Christ; for Timothy, Titus, Ignatius it was mediated; however that changes nothing concerning its necessity.
2. The Lord Jesus gave himself over to ordained vocation from the Father and proved that the Father had sent Him and He was doing His Father's will; thus the Father also calls Him His Loving Son, in Whom He was well pleased and to Whom people should listen. Matthew 3, 17. And it also states in Hebrews 5, 5: "Even Jesus Christ did not bestow the honor upon himself of becoming high priest but rather this was placed upon Him; You are My Son, today I have called upon You." Thus only ordained vocation is suitable to God's Will for it is necessary, 1 Corinthians 14, 40, and just as necessary as ordination is, so is lack of ordination dangerous; where ordained
vocation is not established, says an old teaching of the church from 1649, there could easily be unlearned and foolish people (as unfortunately there are now in 1840) insinuating themselves into matters and thus creating general disorder. Stenger's sermon cited above.
3. God wishes to deal with us on earth through public church office, instruct us through the same, absolve, communicate, etc. Therefore the church must have a certain infallible proof that the person in office is a certified officer in the divine order and according to God's will so that God many deal with us through him. The apostles in Acts 15, 24 refute sectarians who would present themselves as teachers without ordination and say: they have ordered nothing unto them; that is, no ministerial office has been handed over, they have not been ordained. Back to the oldest times the church has believed that the Word alone is not enough for the proper administration of the holy sacraments and the communication of absolution but rather proper divine vocation and mandate must be in place; even if the person in office is evil, the words of investiture are powerful because of the office in which the Lord is still recognizable; for in the office lies the testimony of Christ, his once-made investiture, (absolution and sacraments) continue on this earth and will continue, real and sustainable, through the customary words. Christ does not require the office in order to lend power to his words of investiture but rather because Christ wishes to impart further assurances to us that the office he established will serve in grace in order to impart the power of his word on earth to men. Refer to the 518 questions in the catechism: Who delivers the Holy Eucharist? The ordained teacher and minister of the true church. Passage: 1 Corinthians 4, 1. Thus everyone should regard us as servants of Christ and householders of God's mysteries. The 519th and 520th questions: The function of the church servant is to consecrate, to distribute the Holy Eucharist. Passage: 1 Corinthians 10, 16. The sacred chalice, which we bless, etc. By this we are convinced that a man frivolously chosen by the congregation may neither give absolution nor distribute the body and blood of Christ, rather he gives mere bread and wine; Christ commends himself to his divinely irrefutible order, not our caprice and disorder. However in the case of dire need when no servant of the church is at hand, a Christian may stand in God's place to give instruction, comfort and spiritual guidance to others (privatim) without having been elected by the congregation and publically installed in office. — However he, who speaks of need when there is a true church and pastor at his door, is a liar and he, who has sufficient ways and means either alone or within the community to go to a distant church servant or to have the servant come to him yet does not do this, is a glutton before God. In particular with regard to the sacrament of the altar, need can never be so great that one may be publically appointed to administer it. In the case of the sick or death bed where no servant of the church is available, each housefather may bestow it without office or agenda. Furthermore we do not become holy through the sacrament itself but rather through the faith in Jesus Christ, which is fortified through this sacrament; the sacrament itself presupposes sanctifying faith when we approach it. The Lord is not bound to this
means of grace, rather we are bound to it; thus through the Word, even when it is lacking, it sustains us in our faith in eternal life through long years of need.
III. Proper Understanding of the Teaching concerning Hierarchy of Church Office in the Schmalkaldic Articles
Unfortunately it has also been reported that the passages in the Schmalkalic Articles concerning the bishop's authority have also been misinterpreted. It is known that Dr. Luther and other theologians and pastors in Wittenberg and others had ordained new church servants after they withdrew to the Lutheran or old catholic church; this was after they had chosen tested men from the congregation and then installed them. The papist sect rose up against this and said: Only a Roman Catholic bishop may ordain, therefore Lutheran ordination is worthless and those ordained in the Lutheran church have no right to divine office.
To this Dr. Luther and the various theologians responded in the Schmalkaldic Articles: As church history teaches, originally there was no difference between a bishop and the ordinary pastors, for the words episkopos, meaning bishop, and presbyteros, meaning pastor, are used interchangably in the New Testament. In order to prevent schism and maintain the unity of the church the many pastors elected one among their number whom they held higher and they called him bishop not because he held a higher office but because his office included the further duty of overseeing the other pastorates. This became a fine human order, which was in no sense contrary to holy scripture. This bishop then had certain privileges within the human order but no exclusive divine rights of office to ordain new servants of the church within his diocese or area of authority. It also does not follow that an ordinary pastor could not ordain a new church servant as long as the latter was capable and chosen by the community. The ordinary pastor, or pastors if there were several, were duty bound by divine order to ordain a new church servant where the Roman bishop did not wish to ordain such a capable church servant out of proper confession. The Roman bishops refused to ordain those of righteous faith confession, and they desired papal confession, as for example, one was not considered based on faith alone but through the working of God. Consequently the entire Lutheran, or perhaps old catholic, church found it to be its duty to depart for all time from the Roman church and its transgressing servants so it could ordain capable church servants within its own church districts, which previously had existed under a Roman bishop (see Dresden edition 157). As to what this means for the individual church congregation, in no way would our theologians say in the Schmalkaldic Articles that by willful frivolity the congregation should or could single out or install an unlearned, untested and unprepared man into public church office by the mere power of majority vote. Such is not the least valid before God but a vainglorious misdeed;
they preferred that individual church communities go about on their own and and act to find eligible, capable people, that they ask God for capable workers in their reaping and make their decisions based on God's order and then provide for the ordination of the tested and chosen ones and allow themselves to be led by them. Dr. Luther called this the calling, choosing and ordination of church servants and he said that this order must remain so until the end of time; this is how the apostles Timothy, Titus, Ignatius, Polycarpus, etc. were installed in office and so must it remain for their successors, the bishops. The congregation should never be excluded from the choice, the decision and the prayer, however the pope took this right of choice and vote away from the congregations and willfully establlished the pastoral ranks, thus the pope became a spiritual and worldly tyrant.
When one is properly called, chosen and ordained, he can find comfort in the righteous, spiritual gifts of God inherent to his office, which the non-chosen and unordained cannot; how is it they should preach, instruct, absolve, baptize, give communion when they have not been sent? Romans 10, 15; John 20, 21. The unchosen and unordained one is even less able to hold the church together as a church if it is assailed and persecuted, for he deserts it and seeks his own preservation, succumbing to either sectarianism or the world. Legitimate vocation possesses Christ's irrefutable promise: I will be with you all days until the end of the world. Matthew 28, 20; with this the Lord does not want to say that the right servant of the church might also not fall but that in so far as he remains steadfast he will protect the integrity of the true church, direct and support it so that there will always be a true shepherd and a righteous, united church until Judgment Day. No unchosen and unordained one has this comfort. And when congregations install said unchosen and unordained ones they deprive themselves of consoling certainty that God will uphold the true church for them. It would be better for congregations to do without shepherds and ask God unanimously until He hears them and sends properly-created true spiritual caregivers. Dr. Luther says of unchosen and unordained church servants: "It is a truly dreadful and terrible thing when conscience says: O, Lord God! What have you created, having done this and that without vocation and mandate! It raises such horror and heartache in the conscience that such an unordained preacher may well wish that what he teaches may never be heard or read in his lifetime, for disobedience makes all work evil and they will see for themselves that however well intended, even the greatest and best works become the greatest and most grievous sins. Here one can compare the good intentions of King Saul and what the Lord said to him through Samuel. 1 Samuel 15, 13 - 25."
From this one will understand tbe proper intentions of the fathers in the Schmalkaldic Artiels and not believe that the fathers may have established the option for each congregation or indeed each house, which may have fallen away from the true church and honored itself in the name of the congregation, to install a favored one out of its own midst to spiritual office.
Thus, Beloved of the Lord, I warn you to consider well what you do concerning church affairs regarding filling vacated ministerial offices and ask you:
1. that every Sunday in church prayer you earnestly call upon God to send capable workers for his great harvests in North American even as the
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Photocopy of text provided by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA