Full Text for Falling From Faith In Christ, Of The Church, And Of The Lutheran Reformation: An Article on the Ordination of Women (Text)

Falling From Faith In Christ, Of The Church, And Of The Lutheran Reformation: AS AIZTICILI.: OX THE ORDINATION OF \VO>IEN \VOLFG~RG BUSCHEK, Helmstedt, Germany 'rmrzslrztcd by kvilhelnl Torgcrsorz $1 1 Sola Scriptlrrtrw-1s that Rcfonrzation Pri~zciple Still Heetlcd? "T HE: IIOLY SCRIPTURES ALONE" is the stai1clarcl of faith, (lortrine allel orcler in the Church of Jesus Christ. That is the basic principle in the Church of the Lutheran Reforn~ation. \\'hen in the 1950 the Roinai~ Catholic Chl~rch procIaimed the dogina of' thc "botlily assumption of Rlary into hea\~en", this was clone out of thc faith consciousness of the Roman Church (sen- sl~s ~cclcsiae). The majorit!, of Ronlan Catholic bishops and laity bt~lievctl this alrcacl! before the dogllla was proclaimed. The ele- vation of a faith mrol~ght conviction of the majority into dogma added another source of revelation to the two already accepted in the Rolna11 Church. The first two were the Holy Scriptures and the oraI Apostolic Tradition; the third sourcc of revelation was the "faith consciousness of the Church". This new Marian dognla was not fol~nclccl on thc revelation of the Holy Scriptures nor on an oral tradition that reachecl back to the time of the apostles. Rather this new dogma n as foundctl on the faith consciousness of thc church. It also made yossiblc the dogma of infallibility l>roclainled bv the First Vatican Council in 1870. A convincing scriptural was pocsible neithcr for the dogma of papal infallibility nor for the new Rlarian (logma. 'l'hel-c was not even a convincing proof from tradi- tion. All of Protestantism untlergirdcd its rcjcction of the new hlarian (logma chieflv b~ referring to the Holv Scriptures as sole standartl for doctrine ~nd'ortlcr in the Church. And that was proper. But is this stantlard valitl 0nl17 for Ronle and the papacy? Is it not valid also and pi~rticularl~. fo; our own Lutheran Church? If the soln Scriptllra is still today the valid basic principle of the Churches of thc Reformation (the scriptural l>rinciple), then no (loctrine or church order not unequivocall\~ founded in thc Holy Scril>turcs car1 set up as an obligatarv article of faith or as an obliga- Piistor linrdrer iizritcs irr protest of the rlzzirclz Intcls in the German Territorinl !Lzithernn) Churches nlloiuing thc ordiirntion of ivonzen into the pnstornl office. "Clz~r~~ch laws" rrrc irrtc,rchnrrgeablt~ ~c.ith ic~l~nt 11-e l:r~olv as "synodical resolrrtiotrs." Thc March 1970 issue of TI~E SPHINGFIEI.I)ER tool: 141) the isszre qztite extensivciv iclith hotlt Anrericarr nrrd Eui-ol,e;rir theo1o~inrl.s cotrtribntirrg. Sittce the nppenrnrlce of that issue, the Llrthernn Corrrzril i~: the U.S./i. ha.< issucd 11 booklet orz thc s~ibject in lc?ltich THE SPRTNGFIELDEH zcxs :~zr~ittioircti ns resorrrce tlrntcrinl in the l,ihliogmph?'. In 1970 both the Ltctheraa Clrxrch iii ;i~)zcr?'cl; rind trap .??izr~-ic.nn L?r!!r,ornrt Chvrih hnve taken lwsitive irction on tl!.c: Inatter /lad ?JIG jirst .;lloma,i hot beet! ordairled. Tlie issrte tali11 co~itit~t~e to be n lire o?ie in the il.liiro~r:-i SI ?roll. Fui:]~ Irz Christ 28 I .. - -~~. --- . -- - - ~. - .~ .. ~- -- tor~, order for the Church as a ~vhole or for the Christian as an iticlivid~~al. Of course, not c:ver~,thing that the Scriptures do not c~presslv commantl is to bc rcjcitetl; but within the Ch~~rcli noth- ing is to be permitted that stands in opposition to the Holly Scrip- tures! 11 distinction is often made het~veen questions pertaining to teachings ancl faith, i.c., to "confession" and questions pertaining to orcler in the Church. 1 his distinctiotl does not i113131~ ~vhcii some itell1 of church order is foundetl 011 the institution illrough Jcsus Christ, the Lorcl of the Church FIimself. 01111 lzurrlnlr orclers in the Church mav be changcd, but ccrtainl! not the rhl~ine! Part "f the divinc orclcr ill the Church instituted b\ Christ Himself is the basic Great Commission to tlic eleven apostles, which is rccortlcd in the Gospel of Rlatthew: Go therefore and rnalte disciples of all nations, baptizing then] in thc name of thc Father 311d of tlie Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to ol~scrvc all that T have commantletl You ! That is the basis for the last ~vord of Jcsus in the Gospcl of A~latthe~v: "Ancl lo, I am with you al.tvays, to the closc of the age." The missionary commancl of Jesus summarizes the coiliinis- sion of tlic Church for all times. From this arise neccssarji urdcrs which the Church inav not change or oniit if she is to remain the Church of Jes~~s Christ. Among thesc orders are adminjstcril!a 1401~ Baptism to those \\711o clcsirc ~t for themselves ant1 for thosr> cn- trusted to their care. Connected with Baptism is instructing 311 those baptiscd in the things Jcsus commanded. 4 part of proclaim- ing the nlessa(cc of Jcsus is Holy Baptism, the abx)lution from PII~ retention of sill ((;onfcssion and the Office of the Ic Lord's Supper ( . . et pcrrigcndi sacra~izeiztn). Thc Lorrl's Szlpper is Ilistit~rted nrlrl its Ad~ni~zisf~.ntirn IT~ltr.irstt'd to the Apostles-Onl;. to ,\fen! The Sacramcnt of thc Altar or the T,oi-d's Supper was cntrrlstcd ,,. to the Twelve Aj~t~stlc;~ 111 tllc l~i,yI-ii ~II \vhic 11 1 lc \\-;IS Ixti-:i\ (d." 7 ? I hey \\-crc to cc.lt:hl-ittc: this sacl.an~oilt ill tllc: c,ci~~lli~~i~~it~ iii' tlit.: Xcw Covcnant i111(1 to pi-iss it OII to tl~c- ~1ic:l)ll~rdi %~.r(.-ci.cdil~< thc~l: ill tllis co~nmun&~-, so that this 1nc.d oi' the . p!.cjplt. l:,f ttic Xthn- C'i)\:~:.nall t might Ilc hclcl in ;iccorcl;~ncc \\-it11 )t:su:;' illsrl-tli. t.i<)11 11ntil the [.:is{ Dav. C50ntrar\. to the 01-der in 1srac.l it~ltl OF tllv /uilaiinl thc:n alrcl now, Jesus h;ad .invite(! to tllis iasi I'assoi.~~. h1i:al Ijcf'ot-c. His cicatll the restrict~ecl circlc of tl~c. 7~vcli~c, 110 otl~c:~. ilisciplc.~, 110 cJli[Cl~-c~l. IIO ~i.O!i/(,j!! ,\~i(l tllerc T~;CW IVOIIIC~~ 21-1101lg I~.'SLI~' gr~~ip CIS t'i)ll()\i.~xr~! 'The \\-oi11c:1i 1,clolloeil I(., those: i~l~ci ill thcir 10\:11t\ t~ .lc:s~is sur- a, 11;1ssc<: \l>ii.t;it(ir~ 01' tll~ ST:Jla$irgLlc' sc.t-\ii:,t. 1111 acti1.c ~,a~tiiil?atic)n iin filcir- 11a1-1 \\;:1s ])I.<)- h'ihitiltl. Ic~~~is11 r:lf>ljii tl~t>~-c:i'i)~.c> 1lr1-c~ hi~i ,\ntl tl~ai Ics~ts the I~:;i?-~hi ;~tr.cptc:cl \\OI~I~-II clisci l2les all<[ c\ c.11 >;~icl of i.llildrc.11. "11f sucll is t I>(. TOI(~ ihc fr-1c.t that it1 th;: ~:;osl~t;ls 1i11cl ;?i) (!~I,PL,L (,,?//i/~g (!I' o ~i (.>IJ/~~;I h\, ,/c~/!s. On]\- merl arc. ili~mcil ill the. pcil-ic.c)l,c~s (if tllc ci~lling of the: :~~i(i~tl{,~. Jcsii's' ;iciio~~ clocs ,jot conforlll tci [I:\\-is11 ciistoil~. 1-lc ai:ts incic\- ~~c!~~(Ic:l~tl!~ of' ~LIS~OII,. :is His ~i)i~tti~ct il[ the last l':,ss(.)\ C:I- 3fcaI sli!~\\~. 1-lib ;ifo~lc, ant1 ]lo tililc. (11- c~~ltt~!-c.-ho~~~~i! cristot~i(i:'. esta1,lishcs tl~ct sta17~1;i~il. JC'S~I'; i~clcl!ratcs tl~c' last l)asso\ cr 3lc;lI I,~.Foi-c. J4is iicai h on \\ it11 1.nc11. i.c., thc. I'n.c~l!.c, altllo\lgll faithful \\o~ncrl I,ciongr~(.l to I-lis qro11p of l'oll~)\~-~*i-s. \i)\i. this I>rcak ~1.it11 ~cfi~isl1 ciisto~i-I 1111- nicdi;~tc,l\ l,~:c.~ii~c.s ~~llclc.rst;lilclal)l~~, bec~;~usc~ \\-c l;~lit\i 111ilt JCSUS ;it this last. l';l~si)\,~r 3I(t:11 instit~~tcd this Alcal of tll~ Kc\\. C'o\.c'11i111t. I-lc ~\isllc,s ti) cntr:lst it onI\ io t11o:;c. mcn IIc, ]la$ appoii~rcil as Ilis I/. ~tjx)st~c.s. 'Tilo\ ;~rc to ;~illlii~lis~~!~. ;ind r;lispc;nsc it as 1-l~. III t11c ]light ill \\,l1icl1 f-l~% ;\-:IS Ix~tra\t~~l!' p;issctl it or1 to tlici~~. 'I hc C IILISCII of ICSLIS Christ call :~t no ti~-r~c it1 tllis clcon ccasc to p1*oc1;11111 tl~c. IIIC\S;I~C ;~hout JCSLIS Cllrist to ;111 ~latiolls, to ~llakc cliscil,lc.% of t1ic.111 11\ Incans of hal,tisrn ilntl uithin the. fcllo\\ shil-, of tllcsc disciple\ to c'clcl>ratc~ thc ttol\~ Siippcr ill nccord;~nce \\-it11 Jcsus' institution and clil-clction. \I'itlIin somc I'cri-itorial Churches of Gcrmiln\ the tlcnidl~d is nladc h\. some to ccase :~dn~inisterillg bil~~tis~~l. "Fi~itll" iz said to 11c suWcirnt. \That hind of faith in Jcsus can this hc. \\.hich - bc~c;~usc it tru\ts Jesus --lightl! passes o\ cr tij3 c-\tablisilcd orders ,inti directions'? l:vc11 tlic 120rd's Supper is totla) \ti(lcl\ un~lcr~toocl n;t>rcly as a iiiclnorial mcal or as n fel- lonbhil~ 111e:ll of thc Cliristi;ins, to \rliicll e\.en-as some jiisist- nun-Christii~ns iiiu\t be i~dniittccl. Christianitr supposcdlr e~ists for thC "\rorl(l"! Aothing remains of tli~ old kli~~rch's call before colnnlunion : "Holv things to hol) peoplc!" 1\11 this is done agaitzst thc witness of the Xcw Testament conc,crni~~g thc T ortl's Suppcr and agai~rst 4lnrti11 Luther's intcrpre- talion in the Sinall Catechism : "It is thc truc hot11 and blootl of our Lorcl Jcsus Chrjst unclcr the breL1d and wi~lc, foi- 11s Christians to eat ai1t1 chink, institutcd b! Christ I-Iiiiisc~lf." Tllc things institutcd b\ Christ :irt, \ alitl ilncl unchangcablc until thc 1- as^ Uav, c\ en though t1,e actions nIiic.11 Christ clclnmitls oj' llis r:onimunit\ lia\.c. no p;~r;il- lcls or conlpar;~blmc.~ions in our time and ei~;~i!-onhc~lt. Rnptisln, confessjon and Officc of the I and also I Tiin. 2 : 1 1 . Thcreforc women ne\Jer ha\ e the "rcgular call" to the pastoral oficc. They ilre not called to this officc bv thc T_orcl of the C1iu1-ch. el-en though bishops have "ordainecl" these [vonlen. For even bishops and s~~nods arc unable to alter Gocl's order of things. \\.here tlicy tlo so br\~ertholess, their actions are in\rrlicl. hn an (( ordained noman" is never in the I,astoral office. e\.cn though she 1 he caileci "Pastoress"! (Jus! as ~lot evei-~-one with the surname "A iillcr" is by occupation a nliller. 1 111 the case of women, holy- e\ cr, not even the possibility exists that the\ ccln ha1 e a call to the p.istor;il officc! \\'ilmen are not in the l~astbral oflice of leadership in tIie consregation, because Cocl nants this office 211ti-ustcd orill LO 111~11. He not 01111' elms iiot ask or dcmand of won~ci; to 1)c pas- to, ,, Ilut Iic c-yprcsslj denies the office to the~n. Because i\smen arc c.lLtn~~lc,.l as pastors me ask whether the principle of "soln scl.iptz~~-rl" 1s rc,~ll\ still valid in our Lutheran Territorial Churches? (1/~11r~11 L~I~I-s IJellzl~llil the Tra~zsgj-cssioll of O~ir Lord's Co~~~rrlrll~ds 'rl~r- "\\'omen Pastors 1,an.s" passccl in ]nost Territorial Churches of Ccrinn~l!: institute directiolls for hrcaliing our Lord's commalid. Tilis ic I\ orsc th;ln if tlic -Ten-itorial Churches, \\-it11 a stric~lv u11- altr.r(,ci i~~~tl~ei-;~n coilf'essional basis, tolcratccl un-Eiblical !,rea;*hi~l~ o11 tile part of' incli\-idual ~~astoi-s, although that, too, woultl be, ac- coldin!: to t11c i\ugsl)urg Confession, a cjross 11cglcct of tllc episcopal cl~~t!. i~i' SII~>C'~-\.~S~O~~. Yet falsc preaching 011 the part of an iiidi- iriiiild pastor docs not Incan official recognition of his prcacliing b\. thc 1 ~,l-:.itorial Cl~~ircll! Of cour~, too (rreat a lenicncl. on the pit ?. of rlic :~~:clt.silistirnl agimcics of supcrlrlslon 11 as considem blv pro- ~ili!ti.(I if;? clcvclopmcnt of ins~ii~itionally rcccjonizecl falsc tloctrine. n. 71; :IS I 11 "\\'cimc~n l'astors La\\-s" arc a clcai- in juiiction to transgress tl~c. i:i:~~nma~~tl of the Lortl in I Cor. 14 : 34--4:!, n111ich thc Apostle Paul Iirtd c~spi.c:i:~!l\. inlpressetl up011 the ~011grc~gilti011. IS Dr. Lu- thcr's .:i;~tenlent in thc Small Catcellisin, j11 the Fr;pla~~atio~> to the Sccontl !\rticlc, II~ longer valid for the L.utheran Church: "I hc- lic\.c that Jesus CIII-ist . . . . is III\. I.orcl"? This would mean that tl::. s(:cond principle, too, \\,l:ich derives fro111 the first, is 170 longcr I-:! ijtl : ';]esus C:hrist ii1one" (s(~Iz~.s Clsl-istzrs). 13ut if jesus is the 1.01-cl (I;jl-ios) in whom I put 111~ trust, 11-110 has done c\~cr!.tliing f::r nlc ailel of n-llom Luther spealis in his l7,xplanation to thc Scc- oncl ;-4,l-tir,le, thrn surcl!. 1 ~vill ]so trr~st the L,ord also in His ~0111- ~-~i:~nrls anil instructions for lile and for His co~iim~~nitv. \\'h> shouId 1. u,ichlcnl\- 110 longcr trust Jcsi~s in I-lis co~niiiand regarding tlre cr,ntluct cjf the \\,onla11 in the \\-orship scm-ice of the coi~gr~gat~~n?! If the Lo!-ti has thus co~~~l:lanclcd (ancl thc Xl~ostle of Jcw~s Christ is clai111ing 110 less), n.2 shoi~ltl he a\\,arc that Jesus is concernecl for the. \~-clt;ii-e of hot11 His congregation al~tl \\:onlen, to whom Hc cloes 1101 ~visli the ininistcr's office c.ntr~rsted. If Jesus had wanted \\-omen f(ir this service and officc, then 1-Ie would not have ~ermittccl His apsttlc spcali sucli c,Iear words to the> contrary! Or are we to think that Pil~11, the commissioi~ecl a~ostlc of Jesus Christ, here galre a con~rna~~il contr;ir\. to thc ivill of his Lord and still he called it a c~mmand of t11c J-ord? No! 1'aul is cjuitc precise in distinguishing bet~~~ccn his opinion (which has its orientation in his coi~imission from the Lord). common custon~ (which also is not without some rcl:ltion to the unalterable order of God), ancl the "word fro111 the Lord", which for him is an inriolable standard (cf. I Cor. 7: 1 f; particularly v. 10- 12; I Cor. 1 1-1 6-such a "custon~." I Cor. 1 1 : 23 -I have received froin the Lord what I passed on to you; I Cor. 14:37). ho interpreter ~f the New Tcstainent denies that in making refercnce to a commancl of the Paul prohibits ~voinen from a certain type of speaking in the congregational servicc. Accorciing to I Cor. 1 1 : 1 5, ho.tr;e.c7er, not every kind of speaking by women is prohibited in thc service. i;f~omcn even participated in the instruc- tion of pi-cachers. For esainple, Priscilla, wit11 hcr husl.~and, in- structed Apollos in the more exact doct-rille of Jesus (Acts 18: 26). But the public sci-vice of proclan~ation \\;as car-ricd out 1~ ,,ll~ollos, not l'riscilla, even though she llad instructed him! I Cor. 14: 34 then is concerned with a very cleiinitc liintl 01 spealting, namcl\r the responsible public proclamatioil of doctrine. \Vho then bestows the right tlirough ecclesiastical laws simpl~ to do ana, ~yith this command of Tesus b\- (leclai-ills it tc. be ;1~3~licahlc onl!: to its onn times?! ~owhcre do ivc find cvide~lce that this com- n~ancl \vas to 11e valid onlv for thc first centuries of Christendom or limitecl to 3 ccrtnin cultural rcahm. Conlpare here the i\l~ostle's es- press statement: "As in 011 congregations of God's people . . . . " (1 Cor. 14 : 34; also v. 36). This statenlent goes against any par- ticularism and pro\~incialisin that is at lvork in thc arbitrary. actiol~s of thc congregation at Corinth as well as in thc Protestaht Tcrri- torinl Churches. V. 3 7 malies clear that any dc-viatiotl fl:o~n this command of the Lord can ncver be effectcci by the Elolv Spirit. Paul adds to this conl~nand of thc Lord the severc statemcnt: "If anvonc does not recognize this, he hiinself should not be rcc.ogni~c.cl" (17: 3 8). XIosl interpreters take this "recognition' to refer not onl\ to a recognition bv the Apostle Paul and the other congregations but also to tile recogilition b\. Gocl! The mattcr is that scrious! Thcn i\~lio call bcsto~i- the power and the right to l~reak Jesus' comm~~ntl? If 3nvo11c. should salr that this interpretation of thc lnssagc is wrclng iilcl that there ire at least seve;al other intcrprctations. then we nlust ask l~irn this question: lire you quite sure that those-. interpretations are correct, even th(!ugh the\. conform neither to the test nor to thc contest of the passages citid? Should Gad reall!. have sp~kcn so unclearlv in a matter of such importance? This section itself clearly indkatcs how important this matter is. lVl~\- should wc understancl here soi~~ething other than \\.hat the test sa\s? The scctioii of scripture is verv clear indeed! Yet there arc- some attmpts to interpret the test in such a \Ira? that it does not lxohihit \\Tomen from the public instructional proc- lamation (Lehrverkiindig~,i~zg) in the worship service. The claim is madc that "command of the 1-ord" (or, as some variants havc it, "comi1la1lds of the Lorcl") merely refers to the command that every- thing be done decentlv and in order in the congregational services. To this we sa, that the prohibition of instructional rocla lama ti on 11): women is part of that order. One can hardl\- denv that hcoause thc tat says it. Or the other interprctntion, that ihe prohihition of wonlcil~ speaking mcrelv deals with undisciplined i~lterruptian of others, does not nialrcjudicc;tl rcatler will take notc in all thcsc in- terpretations, as ivcll as in some other attempts. that violei~cc is clone to the scril7tural passlige ill accordance wit11 tlic 11iotto: If 11[jt CSC- gcsis thcn cisegesis. In the t!;pe of spcnI,i~ig PI-ohibitcd to nrc;rnen, ‘ire in fact tleali~l~ with tlie rcsponsil~lc instructional proclrtmation in tlic! con- grcgation. Tliis t)ecumcs clear also from that otllcr passage in tlic New 'I'estamc~it, I Tim. 2 : 1 1 f.: "I (lo not pcrlnit a \volilall ti, he ri teacher!" -This is thc clear a~lcl uncclui\~occ~l i11t~1rprc~tatio11 of tlie passagc fro111 thc Lettcr to ihc C:orinthians. '\lrhcther thc' T ettcl- to 3- 7 1 inioth! \\.as u.rittc11 bv I'aul or 11ot---ant1 this nutlior rloc?s not doubt it^-can licri: cvcn bc left open for tliscussion. Bui this scril~turc passage staiicls un~1uc:stio~iahle :lntl s111-c: F,arlicst C1iristcnclom unclcrstood thc. C:orinthian passagc in tl~is \\.a!:! Tlic Apostolic Fathcrs ant1 thc churcl~ fathers of the first centuries tlid too. Onl\ ill the Alontanist scct of the scco~ltl century, ~vhich at timcs \\-;is quite stro~l(r, (10 \\.e fiiicl the most ct?,\,io~rs difk'crencc in comparison to thc a. \vorsli~p scrvices of tlie <~:liurch. A~nong this cllthusiastic (sc.Iz~~~iz~-~~r- LJ~I'sc'I~) g1.011p, the clerica1 offi~i: \\-as commonI\- held b\- uromcn! (This group at that time rcprcscntecl \\.hat was "moclerr~"! r['licrc- forc the ordination of women to the pilstoral officc. is nicrel\- an ase- oltl i~bc~rri~tion that is oncc! again cn tcring in to the C:hurcli. 'I'otlav, too, lilie among the hlontiiliists, liiiin\- confuse those manifestatio~ls born out of the "spirit of the tiint.s"~for the operation of the IIol! Spirit! ,) I,lrthc:i- tlitl not liesitate in the i~itei-pretatio~i of tht:sc passages. In I'OII .Uchleiclrer~r rr~rrl G\/i~rc'kel?~rerlig~~r~r 1532, he talasti)l:z torla!. also \$-nnCs \\rijnlc~> ti3n tller,loginns) 1111t i-~ot bc- lie\-c thc girls of I-ci~~rciet, and l"atilnn? 'I-lii~i thcsc. n-olllr.11 tl~cci- logians pn~~ tht,ir churcli tax intii a LLI~IIC'I-:~~ (I'IILI~c~I cx~,he(j~c~r is ~(',l-tiiit7I> ?lot s~lfl'icii?ilt: I.C~SO~I! l.ioi11~3 dicl 110t vst~1)lisl~ ail!- doglna on thc basis of pri\.atc. r~\.i:I;itifi~~. I\'c shoulil not c[ci so (;ither. I:\.cn it1 1950 I'ion~e sriilght :i scriptural basis fur its c-logm:is, al.ld in the intcbrpl;~\: of scrj~~r~~rnl basis and faith con- scio~1snc;ss thc R!.;nlans s;{-ti- tile po.:sitjiliti. b~: Incans of a fonnal lxoccss of d~~~iidtization t~o raiw 3 ibc010gicaI statement fro111 tlle real111 !if ij~~(.~t ional~ilit\ io c*crtain ty ! Is Protc-sta~ltisn~, . n-Ilich 11cg;iri n:ith thc solrl sc.ril:t~rr(?,, reaJl\ to encl up n-ith A doiti-ini_> 01' the "prcrscii~ fai t11 coi~sc.io~sss oi' I'rotestants" that \\.auld surpnss e\.cn Iiornc; Tt TI-ould surely be an jronic. turn of -i!.oi-lrl i~istiir\- if' tl~o~~, 1~1-lo ere co~~\.incvd of the cl~ui-cl~'s cal,ahilit\. (if: r:l-]-or, \vL,I-~ l(i ~~pfinl(l, ~hc infallibilit>. ijf their --pa~-c!on tl~c tcrm---little tcn-i torial clii~i-ches ( T.arlr1e.s- l(j)~(~/lll?i?~ '> . -r]~r, g!le,(rll t.hc tloctl-inc of' the F-lolv Scriptul-es nncl thcir bind- ing forcc for t.lie fait11 of Cliristians? as ~\:c;Il as upon thc question of thc pr-opc.r fo1.11~~ ot' the office of prcjclailninfi the \\'orti and ad- ministering tlli; sac-rrl~nc-rlts and tlic.rcfore tile office of leadership in the congregaticiii. r\bove all 11-c are colifrontcc! \\-it11 a lien- form of tl~is cluesticin: Is sola scsriptrrra still \.slid as the rcgulnting liorm for tcscliing anti confession nild 01-dcr within the C:hurchl Ts the 13eformi1tion's solri s(*ripi 111-a principle still 1.alic1 11.11cn in tbc Holy Scriptures ins~ructions arc gi\:en that are esprcsslv rclcrrcil to as "the Lord's word" or "tlie L-orcl's coiiii~iand"? Or are othcr standards and oonns vnlicl for ilrciding about God's \I7ol-d and conlmalsd? A churcl~ djvorced fro111 the saln script~rl-rr is 110 longer a church of the Lutheran Reformation or of the Augsburg Confession. And what is much worse, such a chul-cli is jn the fin;lI anal~sis no longer the Church of Icsus Christ. The Rcfor~nation sol~ts Chrrs- tzls is sct asidc -1117 a more or Icss absolute human reason. 111 such a contest Jutlw spoke of reason as the prostitute. For reascln, ]lot Ijcing illlnninated by the Holy Ghost through the means of the IVord of God, is 11~1mnn cal~al~ilitv gone astl-31- fic~nl its :~ctunl 13urposc For this ~eason 1.11 ther saJ.5 : T beline that 1 cannot IIV nlv onn rcasun 01- strength bclic~c in Jesus Clirist rilv Lord or come to Him, but the Hull\ Ghost has called ine bY'the Gospel, enlightenctl me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith . . . . Reason, \vitliout the illu~i~iilation t21rough the Spirit, is o11li. Iluman. But for Jesus and for the Church, the divine is decisive and has valit[it\--~iot the human (cf. Slatt. 16: 23 !). 111 this we should ~iot forget the ~vell-known adage: Huinanit~~ without divinitv turns into hestialits. Thus a churcli which in such a wa\- has divorcctl herself from her lieacll Jesus Christ, has become a &-itching corpse. There are still a movements, but b:!sicallv it is alreadv cleacl. Our answer to the qucstioii- about the 1egitimization for ;he orelination of ~~-0ine11 to the office of pastor in the Churcll has far- reaching consequences. The damage arising out of a decision madc c.ontrar\- to the Biblical witness ma): not be imniediately visible, hut it will '11e clear someday. Then it could be too late. The Biblical hcri tage of the Reforination and, connecteel with that, thc ecumeni- cal rliission of the Lutheran Church, \~ould be squandered to the cietrime~lt of all Christenclom. 'The real point at issue here is not simply that indi~idual pas- tors are proclaiming "another gospel" (which is bad enough!): hut r:lther that entire territorial c1lurches elevate false doctrine ant1 order to thc status of church law. Bv doing this thev are declaring what the J-orcl forbids to be "right tloctrinc and order."' \l;c !\lust Obey Cod i\Iurc tJzn~1 Jle11 \\ hat else will still have to take place in the alteration of- Biblical tcauhins and the commands of the Lord for Flis Church. before tllc slccp~ng Church aivakes ancl she arises with a protest agai~~st the falsification of Biblical doctrine and order that cannot be ignored? \\'hen nil1 she ~vitness to the divine truth? DCWS I'rotcstant Christcncloni actually fcar opposition from thc "public" anti "pu hlic npinjon ?" Does she fear being decried as "old-fasllioned" or "backnilrd 2nd 1-eactionar:'"? Does she fear the complaint that she is hindering ~~rogress? 0i;lr. if Protestant Christendom were onlv less afFccted IIJ, riigressiorl fron; God and His \Vord! Luther was not 31 all "progrcssi~-e", rather he was regressive. He went back to God's \\'ord as it speaks to us in the FIoIj- Scriptures. Through this the Church \\as n-altened to new life. 111 this Luther fcared neither thc power of the pope nor of councils. neither of the emperor nor of princcs. For one mrln with God on his side is aIwavs a majorit! ! Does Protestant Christendom todav fear territorial bishops and synocls more than God, the Father of Jesus Christ? That mouItl be the crid of the faith of the Reformation in our congregations which arc still calling thernselvcs evangelical and Lutheran! Evervtliing is at Stake! Of faith ancl its content Luther wrote: Faith ought to and must be whole and coniplete. Even though it might be weak and subject to temptation, it nrver- theless ou211t to and must be whole and not false. To be weak does-not do ultimate damage. but to he false, that is eternal death. (Die rirei S~JJ~ bole . . . 1 5 3 8 ) At stake is cternal life or eternal death, salvation or destruction, eternal blessedness or damnation, when we ask the question: Lf7ill we trust the words of the Lord or will wc subject ourselves to chang- ing human opinions in ~vhich unilluil~ined reason rises to subvert the words of the Lord? The only one authority ill the Church of Jesus Christ is the Triune God anci His infallible Word. The\ cannot be separated. Authorities who do not commit tliei~lselves to this \Vord of God lose the authority which the \Vord of God besto~ved on thcm and illust not he allowed to hold swav in the Cl~urch of Jesus Christ. even though territorial bishops, synocls or the "faith consciousness of thc majority of Christendom" are involved! Even the "spirit of the times" is no authority. The spirit ~f the tiines (Zeitgeist) and the Holv Spirit (Heitiger Geist) are not the same! God's rule-and therefor; His Church, too-is not a democracv hut rather a theocra- cy: Kot from the people nor from the majority of the church mem- bers does power clerive, but all derives from God alone. Therefore: One should not obey c\ren regularlv elected bishops if they err or if they teach or command something contrary to the divine Holy Scriptures. (CX SX\TIII) IVo~~zen arc ~zot in the E'astor's OJficc Our conclusion is: \\70i~~ei~ can never be in the "ecclesiastical ofice of the l~uhlic proclamation of the \I7ord :and the responsible administration of the sacraments," not even when regularly elected bishops have "ordained" thern. For whatever is done contrary to the Lord's commanct is sin, is a falling away fro111 God, froill faith in Jesus Christ, and fro111 the faith of the Church and of the Lutheran Ileformation! Thus in the Church of Jesus Christ it will not onl!~ be invalid and fruitless, but it is ciestructive of the Church in her very nature as Church of Jesus Christ! Therefore the "\Vomen Pastors Laws" must be repealed and be replaced by la\vs allowing women to be theologians. These laws \\rill not be contrarv to the commands of the Lord. Territorial Churches which up &ti1 non- did not have "\\'omen Pastors Lan-S" nlav in no case create such laws. \\'ill the time come when congregations mature through God's \Vord and demand the repeal of la~vs allowing omen in the pastor's office in such a \vav that these demands cannot be ignored? Aftcr all: "\\7e must obev God more than inen." (Acts 5: 29)