Faith clings to Jesus’ cross alone and rests in Him unceasing;
And by its fruits true faith is known, with love and hope increasing.
For faith alone can justify; works serve our neighbor and supply
The proof that faith is living.
- The Office of the Holy Ministry (IV) The Call: Little has been said about the Pastor’s ordination vows, and his call documents, including the Supplement to the Diploma of Vocation. The pastor and congregation should review these documents, preferably before commencing with any other prescriptions; they promise to be quite revealing. If the congregation’s self-study preceding the pastor’s call is available, that, too ought to be reviewed. Do not these documents supersede even Transforming Churches’ prescriptions? Can the congregation’s constitution and bylaws be changed if such changes would qualify or modify the pastor’s call and his ordination vows? This is an area where great caution should be exercised. Given the manifold pastoral duties in service of the Gospel enumerated in (2) above, how can any pastor assume CEO duties as well?
- The Church: “It [the church] is the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments administered according to the gospel.” (AC VII, Book of Concord, Kolb-Wengert). TC seems to define the church an assembly of behavers, while believers is treated as a “given” and hardly mentioned in the consultation reports. (For a more detailed treatment, see Ken Schurb, Missional? The Church in Luther’s Large Catechism, LOGIA, Epiphany 2009). There is a constant need for the believers and unbelievers alike to be showered with the Gospel.
“Further we believe that in this Christian community [the Church] we have the forgiveness of sins, which takes place through the holy sacraments and absolution as well as through all the comforting words of the entire gospel. This encompasses everything that is to be preached about the sacraments and, in short, the entire gospel and all the official responsibilities of the Christian community. Forgiveness is constantly needed, for although God’s grace has been acquired by Christ, and holiness has been wrought by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word in the unity of the Christian church, yet we are never without sin because we carry our flesh around our neck.
“Therefore everything in this Christian community is so ordered that everyone may daily obtain full forgiveness of sins through the Word and signs appointed to comfort and encourage our consciences as long as we live on earth. Although we have sin, the Holy Spirit sees to it that it does not harm us because we are a part of this Christian community. Here there is full forgiveness of sins, both in that God forgives us and that we forgive, bear with, and aid one another.” (Large Catechism, II, 54, 55, Kolb-Wengert, emphasis added)