Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Walther, 1906. Chapter 6, “The Conditions of a Call”

Chapter 6, “The Conditions of a Call” pp. 31-39

On p. 31 Walther lists seven conditions that he thinks must be stated by a congregation if he wishes to call a Lutheran pastor. “1. That it wants to be served as an orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran congregation; 2. that it therefore confesses the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be God’s Word; and 3. that it publicly confesses the symbolical writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church . . . that it wants: 4. to conform to the confessional ceremonies of the orthodox Lutheran Church; 5. to introduce pure church and school books; 6. to announce in advance for the holy Supper; and finally, 7. in general to give free course to the Word of God . . . “

Walther then reminds that the pastor should promptly acknowledge receipt of a call document even if not immediately accepting or rejecting it. If the congregation is not orthodox it is appropriate to reject the call. On p. 33 he observes, “The essence of an orthodox congregation is not in its name but in its confession of pure doctrine.” Likewise Walther admits that there may well be genuinely Lutheran congregations and pastors who are not calld “Lutheran” but are in doctrinal conformity.

On p. 35 Walther details a rather long list of ideas and practices upon which Lutherans differ. He encourages pastors that these should not be used as a test of what makes for a true Lutheran congregation.

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