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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles – part 126

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Ephesians 4:11–13

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article X. Concerning Ordination and the Call.

If the bishops would be true bishops, dedicating themselves to the Church and the Gospel, it might be granted for the sake of love and unity, yet not from necessity, for them to ordain and confirm us and our preachers, as long as all sham and performance of unchristian ceremony and showiness were excluded. The Church should not remain deprived of ministers just because they are not true bishops—nor do they wish to be—but are instead, worldly lords and princes who do not preach, teach, baptize, administer the Lord’s Supper, or perform any work or function of the Church. Indeed, they persecute and condemn those who have been called and who do fulfill the office.

Pulling It Together: Christ calls ministers of his Gospel. If an institution, tradition, or just plain poor management stands in the way of their placement, it is the Church’s responsibility to make a way for them. If this is not accomplished, the Church of Christ will not grow in faith, unity, knowledge, and maturity. The Good Shepherd’s flock must be tended. If bad leadership or bad doctrine are obstacles, get rid of the problems but not the call.

Prayer: Guide your Church, Lord, in the ordination and call of faithful ministers of your Gospel. Amen.

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