Pastoral Letter and Correspondence between J. A. A. Grabau and the Missouri Synod: Pages 43 - 47


which is even written to teach him so he can and he will become sanctified. Psalms 91, 14 - 16. It therefore follows that he does not need to install any incapable man to be his minister. —

God demands in His word thorough ability, thus He forbids the choosing of an incapble man; that is, one who is unprepared, untrained and untested. But if this should happen, according to St. Paul's prohibition in 1 Timothy 3, 6 and 5, 22, he should not be ordained and all at-hand true church servants should protest against it. If the consistory ordains an incapable man and sends him to a congregation, the congregation should not accept him, according to Matthew 7, 15 and Galatians 2, 5. Again, this non-acceptance and refusal must remain and be conveyed in the church orders. According to God's word the congregation may neither chose an incapable man nor accept one from another source. It is not permitted to choose or accept incapable men and thereby cause an error or commit a blunder. The right to choose church servants, to call and ordain them, is not given to the church by God so it may commits errors or blunders but rather so the church may provide capable people in office and according to 2 Timothy 2, 2 the ordaining church servant must be unconditionally and thoroughly convinced of the ability of the people he is putting into ministerial office.

§14. In the Augsburg Confession, Article XIV, ability is confirmed in the rite vocantus, however rite vocatus is not ritus vocandi. In the ritus the ability of a person cannot be confirmed, but in each case the vocatus is a person, who is not thought of in the rite vocatus without ascertained ability, and he shall publically administer church teaching and the sacraments, as the article says: the rite vocati must therefore be people who are "previously tested;" thus rite vocatus is understood at the same time to be idoneus [appropriate, fitting], as the Smalkaldic Articles, p. 334 states: "Qua propter idoneos ad hoc officium ipsi ordinare debemus et volumus."

§15. Whether the old Lutheran church writings have been right in their represention the word of God? — and whether we may say in truth that we must allow these here to fall? —
a) They have been right and they are similar in their consistories, synods, superintendents and church committees to the models in the New Testament writings. Acts 15; 1 Timothy 1, 3, 4, 5: 19 - 21; Titus 1, 5; 1 Timothy 3, 15 and 4, 14; 1 Peter 5, 1. — The later enjoined tyranny was only an unpure political accident, which does not belong to the essence of the old Lutheran church writings. The regrettable dependence of the old Lutheran church on its nutrices [wet nurses], the superiors, was later transformed into a coupling of the spiritual and worldly regiment. —
b) We cannot say with truth that we must let fall these old writings entirely, for we have sufficient freedom to maintain them and we also will have a heartfelt inclination towards their maintenance when we can first properly see the new independent freedom of the individual congregations in its bad and good aspects! May God open all our eyes! "Quapropter (say the Smalkaldic Articles, p. 314 § 9,) ecclesia nunquam melius gubernari et conservari potest, quam si omnies sub uno capite, quod est Christus vivamus, et episcopi omnes pares officio (licet dispares sint quoad dona) summa cum diligentia conjuncti


sint unanimitato dontrinae, fidei, sacramentorum, orationes et operum caritatis, etc., sicut S. Hieronymus scribit, sacerdotes Alexandriae communi opera gubernasse ecclesias. Et apostoli idem fecerunt, ac postea omnes episcopi in toto orbe christiano."

To the Second Part of the Pastoral Letter

The Necessity of Proper Ordination

§1. It still remains that God wishes to deal with us in an orderly way in His church only through the holy office of the ministry. Thus the Augsburg Confession, Article V teaches: Ut hanc fidem consequamur, institutum est a Deo ministerium docendi Evangelii et porrigendi Sacamenta. The holy office of the ministry is a divine means of service and causa ministerialis to faith. God's word and the holy sacraments are means to grace, media gratiae. The word and the sacraments are indeed powerful within themselves, even when they do not proceed from the exercise of the ministerial office, especially in cases of dire emergency and need; but God has established the ministerial office as an orderly means to serve so that His word may be fortified with and in us through the preaching. Thus God's name will be sanctified among us. — And so the holy ministerial office serves and actuates faith not just remotely (remote) like a mere administrative machination, but also by proximity (proxime) in that it has the power and force imparted by God, which is manifested to the hearts of men with the word and with the slaying of the spirit; thus it is a "causa ministerialis fidei, quae ipsam fidem operatur — et concurrit praedicatione verbi et administatione sacramentorum ad unum apotelesma [?] efficiendum —" (Carpzov in Isagoge ad Lib. symbb. A. C. Article V.) St. Paul thusly teaches: "How should you believe without preachers? Faith comes from the sermon?" Romans 10. Why not simply from the word of God? That may also be proper however then he would have merely given the divine means to grace in which the grace itself is bound to the vessel but not the ordained means to service established by God, through which ordained manner He had in mind the outpouring of the vessels. Thus the holy scripture calls the shepherds and teachers of the church. God's coworker, Ieou synexgous [?]. 1 Corinthians 3, 9 and even salvatores or savior, Obadja 1, 21 and sanctifier, 1 Corinthians 9, 22; 1 Timothy 4, 16; Romans 11, 14. Spiritual fathers, 1 Corinthians 4, 16; Galatians 4, 19; Ephesisans 3: 8, 9. And servants through whom we become believers. 1 Corinthians 3, 5. In this same way our Lord ascribes a communicating authority in the holy scriptures to forgive sins in His place as He would deal with us Himself. John 20; Matthew 18. Wherever this mediating servant of God is, attesting to the power of God's pure word and sacraments and producing fruit, there God certainly plants and maintains His church. Among other things it is called the office of the word, Acts 6, as compared with the service of the table, but not in the sense of being a mere duty and privilege to speak and deliver the word but rather to exude and deliver forth the power of the word through a living, mediating servant, ordered by God. In Greek this is called diakonia tou logou [service to the word], by which the word of God is served so that it may evince its power in us and with which our sanctity through the word is serviced. It also renders information, as St.

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Translator's note: Is it possible that Greek characters were transposed or completely misunderstood by the printer of the text? Could apotelesma refer to apostolic and Ieou synexgous refer to ergo synchronous (synchronous work)?


Paul calls this service an office, which renders to the spirit diakonia tou prevuates and as he calls the holy or the faithful a work of the office, ieros [ergo?] diakonius [a work of service] in a letter to Christians, prepared through the ministerial office, written by the same with the spirit of the living God. 1 Corinthians 3, 8 verse 3; Ephesians 4, 12. From this it is proven that God will deal with us in an orderly way through the holy ministerial office in word and sacrament. The Lutheran church does not merely believe that the office is an ordering, which God establishes for the proclamation of His word, but that it is also a divinely empowered mediated service through which the holy sense and understanding of the word and His plenum of grace is established and planted in our hearts. St. Paul also says: He planted, Apollo watered, 1 Corinthians 3; and Jacob says: Take the word with meekness which is planted in you, namely through the holy ministerial office. Here is their meaning, that the office is only an ordering for the proclamation, merely a semi-belief, to which no enlightened Lutheran concedes, for he remains steadfast to the ordering of the proclamation, which seems to be from memory.

§2. It also remains that the words of the sacrament of the altar are powerful only in the serving order of the office, in which the Lord will have them used. As St. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 4, 1: "Therefore let each one of us consider ourselves Christian servants and householders of God's mysteries;" and the sacred chalice, which we bless, is this not the communion of the body of Christ? (See the Catechism Fr. [Franconian?] 518 to 520.) This "us" and "we" (hmeis in eulogoumen) are nothing other than the properly ordained servants of Jesus Christ, who in accordance with God's command administer the holy sacrament the true church from within, that is the forgiveness of sins. Whoever merely stands outside of this ordering of the serving office and the householding and will tolerate foreign or uncertain influence on any part of this administration, is nothing more than an actor on the stage who, when he takes and distributes the eucharist, plays his role. Even though he might speak the words of the consecration a hundred times over the bread and water, that bread and water will never become the body and blood of Christ, even less than the offering priests in the corner masses of popedom. Thus it follows that Christ's words in the sacrament of the eucharist are indeed splendid and powerful beyond all measure, however their use shall occur within the serving order of those whom He appoints as householders. Thus Christ's words in the sacrament have power within themselves, without human activity, yet this still does not prove that they are outside the serving order of the church householding.

Comment: This cannot be compared with baptism; this is a completely different sacrament because
1) the person, who receives it, was not a member of the church previous to it and did not yet stand within the order of divine householder; this is just the first step to it.
2) the person, who performs the baptism, is not referring to any words of consecration, rather this is unmediated and given by God Himself with the words: I baptism you in the Name of the Father and the Son, etc. Since the baptism is itself already happening in the Name of God, then it occurs, especially in case of need, less often through the ordained person serving in office than the eucharist. The person, who receives it, thus enters into all ordering of the divine, ecclesiatic householding, in which baptised Christians participate. Baptism is the


gateway to heaven, which may in time of need be performed in God's Name by whoever will do it. However Christ's eucharist is the eating and drinking of God's body and blood in heaven and requires an office and appointment to service in order to execute and distribute said heavenly eating and drinking.

If, for example, the last will and testament of a man is valid and powerful in itself, this proves its power in the established inheritance, in that it proceeds in an orderly fashion through the hands or power of attorney of the authority established by God. All this was made clear to us already in 1835 and 1836 in the dispute with the united king's church; for there were no longer the offices of servants and householders of Jesus Christ, rather there stood the earthly authority and by decree of a visible lord the servants of the church were only royal servants of state. Whether they repeated the ritual words of the eucharist twice (before and during the administration) or more often, they did not perform the sacrament in faith and office under the right leader and in the divine serving order of householding, rather without Christian office in strange contingency and in a confessional disposition of doubt. — Therefore the church servants distributed nothing but bread and wine. Were they merely unworthy people this would have had no ill effect on the administration of the sacrament. "Minime enim adimit sacramentis efficaciam, quod per indignos tractantur, quia repraesentant Christi personam propter vocationem ecclesiae, non repaesentant proprias personas, ut testatur Christus, Luc 10, 16. Qui vos audit, me audit. Cum verbum Christi, cum sacramenta porrigunt, Christi vice et loco porrigunt." Now here they are not merely unworthy people, who still stand in proper office and in Christ's place but hominis imperantis servi, earthly regents and people in office, thus they either represent the person of Christ or minister to Christians present and at hand. And because of it their eucharist is nothing. Apology, p. 150 §28.

Comment - Concerning the manifesting of the presence of the body and blood of Christ through office, nothing is presented in the pastoral letter except that a person, not in ministerial office for all his assumed functions, may neither give absolution nor administer the body and blood of Christ; on the other hand properly ordained vocation is a Christian witnessing in that it may be administered by a properly ordained person and as such he may deal with us. Therefore:
a) the presence of the body and blood of Christ is manifested by Christ himself as the almighty head of the church.
b) the word of investiture is the manifesting means.
c) ordained office is the means by which it occurs, the causa ministrans. a Deo ordinata. Thus it rests in that which is stated in the pastoral letter: "We are convinced that an arbitrarily chosen man from the congregation may neither give absolution nor administer the body and blood of Christ." — In his writings on the chapter in Wittemberg Luther in no way says that nothing is derived from office and ordained vocation, rather only that the worthiness of the person in office cannot be ascertained, the person might be unknown, evil and hypocritical; however since he stands in proper office he may have slithered into office through cunning. If this becomes apparent he must be taken from office according to God's word. Augsburg Confession, Article 8. Similarly if the peron in office is evil and hypocritical, the office still remains a divine means of service in its right and power and the words of investiture are still powerful in this divine ordering because it is Christ's office and not a personal office and in Christ's name the serving words are spoken. Thus lies


the entire celebration of the sacrament still within the divine ordering. Apology p. 150 § 28.

Comment 2 - This is also the original reason why Luther did not advise every housefather to administer the eucharist to his household; the housefather does not hold office and by such a presumption it would stand outside of divine householding. However according to your opinion Luther could have advised every housefather to administer the eucharist; he could have extoled the praises of the splendid power of the words of investiture and said: you see, the word is so powerful, without office, that you may give the eucharist to your household!

To the Third Part of the Pastoral Letter

The Teaching of the 5th Article on Entering Church Office

§ 1. The right of true independence of Christian congregations in the election of a preacher is not an issue dealt with in the pastoral letter, this having more to do with protection from papal measures to willfully use the pastor's post and to force the people to take a preacher they do not want. The true independence is different from lack of restraint and choice, because proper Christian independence rests upon an unavoidable binding to the ordering of the New Testament which, praise God!, has been established and still stands within the Lutheran church. This ordering is
a) the free choice of the congregation to have a capable person, along with the expression of the choice in oral or written vocation
b) the proper ordination according to 2 Timothy 2: 2, 1; 1 Timothy 5: 21, 22 as well as the 14th Article of the Augsburg Confession (the same) being established and appointed as an article of faith and teaching.

§ 2. Your opinion, that the congregation conveys the office, is false as cited above, Part I, § 7 proves.

§ 3. It is false that, as you say, ecclesiastic misconduct will be rectified or made good by the choosers testing the spirit, calling upon God or assuming other noble tasks; the misconduct is also not made right by the choosers having the intention and the will to hear God's word, for all this can be done by the most wicked mutineering spirit and sectarian in his own way. Ecclesiastic misconduct would thus prevent all congregations, who will be Lutheran, from holding truly to the divine ordering of the New Testament, which is contained and acknowledged in the 14 articles of faith and teaching.

§ 4. Whereas the pastoral letter upholds the right of the congregation to choose its preacher within the New Testament ordering, it is useless to speak of the mere votum negativum by which the congregation must submit to the decision of the ministry and the old church orders. Among other things the congregation, as well as the entire church, has to submit to the ordering of the New Testament, which exists in the Lutheran church and its church orders. The old Lutheran church orders do not just contain rules for good human conduct but also specifically represent the divine order concerning the place of the church ministry in practice. A congregation, which will not submit to such divine orders,


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

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks