Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Little Here, A Little There . . .

"As was laid out above, the office of pastor is Word-based, not ritual-based. To distinguish one pastor from another on the basis of education, so that the non-M.Div. pastor cannot “consecrate the elements” makes an unacceptable distinction between the means of grace, as if consecrating the elements is the chief task of the pastoral office. This has never been the Lutheran position. Furthermore, the Lutheran Confessions do not regard “ordination” as that which qualifies one for the office; rather, it is that the candidate be “rightly called,” of which ordination may be viewed as a recognition by the wider church of this man’s training and call. However, by no means is ordination a necessary element."  -- from the St. Louis Seminary statement about the SMP Program.

This is what results when a church body abandons its confession.  Someone got the strange idea that it was okay to let those who were not pastors preach from the pulpit.  At first it was just the odd "special" occasion.  The Augsburg Confession surely never meant to restrict anyone from speaking the Word of God, and, after all, a pulpit is just a place.  It has no specific New Testament sanction.  AC XIV did not intend to stifle such free speech, so they said.

Men of good intention then marked the distinction of the office with the administration of the Sacrament.  A retreat from Augsburg, for sure, but intended to maintain the distinction.

Now the seminary can see no distinction in ordination -- or no need for it,  So, the unordained can preach AND administer the Sacrament.  We don't really need trained pastors, after all, we no longer have any confession to maintain.  Welcome to the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Baptist Association.  If you feel the call, get up and start preaching.  If you can gather a crowd, you are a minister.  If your "congregation" gives money to the Synod, through the District, you will have their hearty support.

The only thing required in reality to be a Missouri Synod pastor is the permission of the District office.  And if you don't have their support, training and ordination is not of much use to you.  They will even help your critics remove you - and see to it that you do not get called again.

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