There is much talk about "Church and Ministry" among Lutherans today – "Church and Ministry" this, "Church and Ministry" that. Every group, small and large, says we have the right doctrine of "Church and Ministry". But what is a simple Christian to think... what is so difficult that we lay people can't understand what all the fuss is about? (Now read Pieper and Walther below)
At this point, Prof. McLaughlin broke this article in Lehre und Wehre into a separate month issue of the Orthodox Lutheran Theologian. So below is what I either call "Part 8" of the OLT or Part 6b of the LuW series. I have given it the title "The Church II".
One quote from Prof. Walther:
If the Church were held to be what it is, the congregation of believers, then care would be directed principally to that thereby believers, children of God, are born and preserved, namely, the preaching of the pure doctrine, and that whereby faith is hindered and destroyed, namely, false doctrine, would be decisively opposed and removed... According to Walther the Church is the totality of believers, nothing more and nothing lessPretty simple, isn't it? Ah, but if the Doctrine of Justification is not held pure, then how can it be properly preached that "believers are born and preserved"? And how can false doctrine be "decisively opposed and removed"?
==>> I say to you Pastor Jeremiah Gumm of the WELS as you criticize Walther's preaching of the Law ("characteristics or attitudes which may not be so admirable... extremely harsh, blunt Law preaching...") in his sermons:
How is it that you can judge Walther, who has the right Doctrine of Justification, who can properly distinguish the Law and the Gospel, and now you can preach the Law better than Walther? Could it be that maybe you begin to confuse the Law and the Gospel? Could it be that maybe your Gospel isn't quite pure? Maybe your ability to preach the pure doctrine is hampered and so the "congregation of believers" (The Church) is not properly cared for? Could it be that whatever your Doctrine of the Church is, there is something not right? Could it be that your WELS has also (as other groups) been tainted by the errors of the new (English) LC-MS which is confused on the Doctrine of Justification?The next post is Part 7: The Ministry I – The Ministry II.