Chapter 45, “The Congregational Meetings” (pp. 256-260)
The pastor has a responsibility to help the congregation conduct meetings rightly, remembering “the congregation is the highest court within its circle” (p. 256). Walther holds that “all adult, male members of the congregation have the right to participate actively” (p. 256). Youth and women are excluded based on 1 Peter 5:5 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. He advocates clear and respectful proceedings, including orderly speech, treating others with honor, and when a vote is necessary determining the outcome clearly. Matters of doctrine (p. 259) should be unanimous and are only voted on to be sure “everyone has recognized what is right” (p. 259). The person who disagrees with established doctrine is subject to church discipline. Adiaphora are decided by a majority, but the pastor should remember that adiaphora by nature may have differences in practice. Meetings should be announced in advance and have a specified number to be a quorum. The meeting should be opened and closed in prayer and should seek unity in love and peace.