Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Walther, 1906. Chapter 5, “The Valid, Legitimate Call to the Pastoral Office”

Chapter 5, “The Valid, Legitimate Call to the Pastoral Office” pp. 21-30

Walther asks two questions about the call. First, is it valid? In other words, do those extending the call have a right before God to do so? Second, is it legitimate? In other words, was it “arrived at in a correct way” (p. 21)?

Walther affirms that a local congregation has the authority to extend a call. He gathers a variety of sources, all Lutheran, affirming the same.

For a call to be legitimate it should not be obtained by any sort of deception or trickery. The call should be issued by Christians who gather to call their bishop. Walther does distinguish (p. 24) between the call of God without means, an internal call, and the call of God issued through his people, a visible call. The visible call essential confirms the invisible.

Is it appropriate for a person to put himself forward to receive a call? On p. 25 Walther seems to think so, but it is not appropriate for the person to put himself forward forcefully. There should be no coercion.

If a man was called and finds he was unworthy Walther reminds him to repent and continue in the call. If a call was issued it should be a permanent call, not a temporary one. The pastor gives himself for the church congregation. The congregation gives itself for the pastor.

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