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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 55

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Ephesians 4:4–6

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

For wherever the Church is, there is the authority to administer the Gospel. Therefore it is necessary for the Church to retain the authority to call, elect, and ordain ministers. This authority is a gift given to the Church which no human power can force from the Church, as Paul also testifies to the Ephesians when he says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Eph 4:8). He specifies pastors and teachers as gifts expressly belonging to the Church, and adds that these are given for the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Therefore, wherever there is a true church, the right to elect and ordain ministers necessarily exists.

Pulling It Together

The Augsburg Confession declares that the church is the gathering of saints where the gospel is purely taught and the sacraments are properly administered (Article VII). How is this to happen unless God calls ministers, and the Spirit of the Lord imbues them with his gifts? How are they to minister in and to the church unless the church affirms their calling? So, let us apply ourselves to recognizing those in our assemblies who have the gifts and graces specific to the vocation of a minister of the gospel. That is the church’s responsibility. It is, additionally, her right and responsibility to call and ordain them. Let nothing and no one stand in the way of our privileged responsibility.

Prayer: Give your church focus, Lord. Amen.

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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

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