Full Text for CTM Theological Observer 21-7 (Text)

Concou()ia T~.eolo9icol J\1ontbly J U·L Y • 195 0 .-ARCHIVES Concoll()ia Theological Monthly Published by The Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod EDITED BY THE FACULTY OF CONCORDIA SEMINARY ST. LOUIS, Mo. Address all communications to the Editorial Committee in care of the Managing Editor, F. E. Mayer, 801 De Mun Ave., St.Louis 5, Mo. EDITORIAL COMMITTEE PAUL M. BRETSCHER, RICHARD R. CAEMMERER, THEODORE HOYER, FREDERICK E. MAYER, LOUIS J. SIECK CONTENTS FOR JULY 1950 PROFESSOR W. G. POLACK, LIIT. D., 1890-1950. M. Eretscher T.!:iB. 3ACERD01l'..L Vt'i'lLl:! Ut' CtlK.!::iT AU.UlWING TU Ttl.." L""'u""1{ TO THE HEBREWS. George Stoeckhm'dt THE CHRISTIAN AND GOVERNMENT. A. M, Rehwinkel A SERIES OF SERMON STUDIES FOR THE CHURCH YEAR BRIEF STUDIES THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER BOOK REVIEWS PAGE 481 483 496 509 518 527 554 Scroggie, W. Graham: The Psalms, Vol. I. -Martin Luther-Bund: Jahrbuch des Martin Luther Bunde •. -Butterfield, Hubert: Christianity and History. -Hirsch, Emanuel: Die Geschichte der Neuern Evangelischen Theologie irn Zusamroenhang mit den Allgemeinen Bewegungen des Europaeischen Denkens. -Petroelje, Harold: Of Another World, the Origin and Character of Christ's Church_­Burrows, Millar: Palestine Is Our Business. -Blackwood, Andrew W.: Pastoral Leadership.-Lindemann, Paul: My God and I.-Peale, Norman Vincent, and Blanton, Smiley: The Art of Real Happiness.-Bergler, Edmund: Unhappy Marriage and Divorce. CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY is published monthly by Concordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis 18, Mo., to which all business correspondence is to be addressed. $3.00 per annum, anywhere in the world, payable in advance. Entered at the Post Office at St. Louis, Mo., as second-class matter. Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in Section 1103, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized on July 5, 1918. ,&IN""" iN 11. S. A. THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH The Intersynodical Committee of the two Lutheran Synods in Aus­tralia, the U. E. 1. C. A. and the E. 1. C. A., after thoroughly discussing the doctrine of the Church, have unanimously adopted a series of theses on this subject. These were published in the Australian Lutheran (February 22, 1950) for careful study by the members of the two Churches. We reprint the theses in toto. 1. The Church, essentially or properly so called, the One Holy Christian Church, the Una SancIa, the Church Universal, is the people of God (1 Peter 2: 9 ), the communion or congregation of saints, which Christ has called, enlightened, and gathered through the Holy Spirit by the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments, and which He has thus created to be His Spiritual Body. Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 1:2; 12:12£.; Eph. 1:22f.; 1 Tim. 3:15; Acts 2:41; 5:14; John 11:52; Eph.5:25-27. Cat. Minor, Ait. III; Cat. Maior, II, 47-51; Aug. Coni. VII-VIII; Apology VlI-VIlI. 11-15; Stnalc. Art. III, 12. 2. The Church is the communion of believers and therefore also a communion in love and hope, that is, a fellowship of those who at all times and in all places have been led to faith in Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior, and who have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1: 13; John 3:5; Matt. 28:19). The Church therefore comprises only be­lievers and all believers at all times and places. No unbelieving, un­regenerate person, no hypocrite, belong to the Church (ecclesia proprie dicta), Gal. 3:26; John 15:6; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 1 John 2:19. Apology VII-VIII, 6-8,11. 3. The Church is therefore a communion of those who have be­come "one" in their Redeemer (John 17: 21). and who, as mem­bers of His Spiritual Body, are in mystic union with Christ and have communion (koinonia) with Christ and one another (1 John 1:3; Rom. 12: 5 ). The Church is "a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Ghost in the hearts" (Apology VII-VIII, 3). 4. Just as the Church has been called into being and is preserved through the means of grace, Word and Sacrament, so it is also the divinely appointed organ, or instrument, by which Christ, through the Holy Spirit, by the same means, calls, enlightens, sanctifies, and thus adds men to the congregation of saints. Acts 2:41; 1 Peter 2:5; Eph. 4:11 ff. Apology VII-VIII, 10, 11; IX, 51, 52; Cat. Minor, II Pars, III, 37,40-42,45, 52, 53. 527 528 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 5. Since the kingdom of God cometh not with observation (Rom. 14: 17; Luc. 17 :20 f.), and since no man can unfailingly identify those who have become and still are true believers and therefore truly members of the Church, the communion of saints, and since the Church cannot be identified with any visible, external church body, the Church has rightly been called invisible by Luther and Lutheran theologians. To the Lord, however, the Church is always visible. 2 Tim.2:19. 6. Nevertheless the Church is not a Platonic or imaginary state, not a geographic division or political organization, not an external polity bound to any land, kingdom, or nation (Apology VII-VIII, 10) or to any particular form of church government, but it is the kingdom of Christ, the mystic Spiritual Body of Christ, an essentially spiritual communion or fellowship of saints, which yet has real, con­crete existence, and is both hidden and manifest, not of the world and yet in the world. Apology VII-VIII, 15, 18,20. 7. This congregation of saints or believers exists on earth within the wider circle of those who through Word and Sacrament have been called, but of whom not all have in faith accepted salvation. 8. "The pure doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ" (Apology VII-VIII, 5, 20; XIV, 27), through which the Church is created and preserved, are also the outward marks (notae) by which the Church at any time or place can be recognized. With Luther (E. A. 25, 358ff.) we may speak also of ordination, prayer, confession of, and suffering for, the name of Jesus Christ, charity and good works, as marks of the presence of the Church on earth. But the means of grace are the only and essential notae in­fallibly indicating the existence of the Church on earth, for these are the essential, the only, and the unfailing means by which Christ through the Holy Spirit creates and preserves faith in the hearts of men, and by which the true Church, though "hidden among the great mass of the godless," becomes manifest on earth. 1 Peter 1: 23,25; Eph. 5:26; Rom. 10:17; Mark 16:15f.; Luke 22:19f. Faith knows and trusts that wherever the essential marks of the Church are present, there the true Church is, inasmuch as God has promised that His Word shall not return unto Him void. 15a. 55 : 10, II. The Church on earth is one with the Church in heaven, even though this unity does not now appear to the eye of man. Only on the Day of Judgment will all who have been brought to faith by the Spirit (ecclesia militans) and all who have been translated into glory (ecclesia triumphans) become visible as one, and as the glori­fied Church. Heb. 12:22 f.; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5; Eph. 1:22 f. THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 529 The Congregation 10. Holy Scripture applies the term "church" (ecclesia) also to the true believers at any given locality who are gathered about the Word and the Sacraments. Acts 2:42-47; 4:4,32; 1 Cor. 1:1 f.; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2. The local assembly of believers is es­sentially "church" because Christ Himself (Matt. 16:18; 18:17) and His apostles used the word "church" both for the Church Universal and for the local congregation. 11. The congregation is therefore truly ecclesia and is endowed by the Lord of the Church with the Power of the Keys, that is the same power which is given to the whole Church and to the individual Christians, whom God has made priests and kings through Christ. Matt. 18: 17 f.; 1 Peter 2: 9. T ractatus 24, 66 f. According to the New Testament the smallest congregation is as truly the Spiritual Body of Christ as the Church Universal is. Matt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 12:27. 12. No exact definition of the "local church" can be found in the New Testament. The word ekklesia in the sense of a single church in contrast to the whole Church, as used in the New Testament can be: (a) a congregation assembling regularly in one building (Rom. 16:4; 1 Cor. 16:19); or (b) the Christians living in one city, even if assembling in several buildings (Acts 5:11; 8:11; Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19); or (c) the Christians living in one city and its smaller or larger en­vironment (Acts 9: 31; 2 Cor. 1 : 1) . The local character of such a "church" does not depend on the larger or smaller space it covers (house, city, or part of a city, province surrounding the city as, e. g., Achaia). Its character is given by the fact that it can and does assemble at one place in order to hear the Word of God, to celebrate the Lord's Supper, to elect its office­bearers, and to carryon the church's business. A congregation in which Christians thus assemble around the preaching of the Gospel and the use of the Sacraments is ecclesia like the local churches of the New Testament, although it may have in its outward communion hypocrites and unbelievers (Matt. 13: 47 if.; 25: 1 if.). The hypocrites and unbelievers externally united with the true believers (ecclesia stricte dicta) in a local congregation (ecclesia late dicta) do not form an integral part of the local church. 13. It is clearly the will of God that Christians unite and assemble in congregations (Acts 2:42-44; Phil. 1:27 to 2:4; 1:1; Heb. 10:25; Gal. 1:2)-(a) for the hearing and learning of God's Word (Acts 2:52; Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:27); (b) for the celebration of the Sacraments and the practice of Chris-34 530 THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER tian love and fellowship (1 Cor. 10:17; 11:20,33; 1:10; Acts 2:42; CoL 3'150; ( c) for the exercise of both private and public admonition and church discipline (Matt. 18:15 ff.; 1 Cor. 5:4ff., 13). Church Bodies 14. The term "Church" is by common usage applied also to visible ecclesiastical organizations or church bodies, usually consisting of a smaller or greater number of congregations having not only their distinctive creeds and confessions, but also modes of worship, rules of life and conduct, polities, ideals, legal incorporation and repre­sentation, etc. All such church bodies are only ecclesiae late dictae and ecclesiae mixtae, They are "true churches" only in the sense and to the extent that the Word of God is taught by them in its truth and purity and the Sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution. 15. According to the revealed will and command of God, all be­lievers are directed to that visible church which teaches the Word of God in its truth and purity and administers the Sacraments ac­cording to the institution of their Founder. ConV'erseiy, they are directed to avoid all erring and heterodox churches (d., Theses on Joint Prayer and Worship, No.4). Church and State 16. The Church must act according to the instruction of its Lord and Head: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt.22:21) and according to the example of the Apostles, who said: "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5: 29). By saying : "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), the Lord has removed the Church from the sphere of earthly dominion, political activity, and the like, and as­signed to it the spiritual sphere, with the "'Vord as its only weapon. The Church therefore ought not to interfere and meddle in the affairs of the State; but it must bear witness to the truth under all circum­stances and in all directions and may therefore, for the instruction of its members and as a public testimony, have to condemn or approve acts of the Srate. If the consequence of such instruction and testimony is oppression and persecution on the part of the State, the Church must keep on bearing witness and bear the cross. Signed by S. Rebart, Secretary, E. U. L. C. A. Intersynodical Committee; F. ]. H. Blaess, Sec­retary, E. L. C. A. Intersynodical Committee. We fully agree with these theses. In the light of recem Luther studies we would have phrased Sec 5 differently. For Luther the Church is invisible, because only faith understands the true nature of the Church, not because its membership cannot be established statistically. THEOLOGICAL OBSERVER 531 Hermann Sasse points out that the term "invisible Church" has been encumbered by Augustine and Reformed theology with additional im­plications which we cannot recognize and therefore suggests that we should abide by luther's simple teaching, abscondita est ecclesia (Quartalschrift, January 1940, p. 20 f.). In the light of modern antith­eses the terms visible and invisible are always in need of explanation, and have frequently led to the view that there are two Churches. In our circles these two terms look back upon a long history, and no doubt we understand them correctly. -The use of luke 17: 20 f. and 2 Tim. 2: 19 as proof texts for the "invisibility of the Church" is subject to serious questions. Cpo Dr. Bretscher, "Study on luke 17: 20 f.," C. T. M., J an­uary, 1944, p.730, and Dr. Arndt on "Egnoo," 2 Tim. 2: 19, C. T. M_ 1950, p.299. F. E. M. CHURCH AND MINISTRY In the Quaftatscht"ift (April, 1950), the theological quarterly edited by the Faculty of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Thiensville, \';