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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope part 7

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Galatians 1:15–24

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

IV. Paul distinctly emphasizes that he was neither ordained nor confirmed by Peter, nor does he acknowledge Peter as one from whom confirmation should be sought (Gal 2:7f). He specifically maintains that his call does not depend upon the authority of Peter, though he ought to have acknowledged Peter as a superior if Peter was superior by divine right. Accordingly, Paul says that he had immediately preached the Gospel without consulting Peter. He also declares: “And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) —those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me” (Gal 2:6). Paul clearly testifies that he did not seek Peter’s permission to preach—even when he had come to meet him. Therefore, he teaches that the authority of the ministry depends upon the Word of God, that Peter was not superior to the other apostles, and that ordination or confirmation was not to be sought from this one person, Peter, alone.

Pulling It Together

The office of the ministry depends upon the Word of God, not those who would rule over those called to preach. Those who seek to watch over the church (1 Tim 3:1) should first be concerned with looking after themselves (1 Tim 3:2–7). In this way, they should have learned through humility to not lord their office over others—those whom God himself has called to ministry. A bishop did not call that pastor; the Spirit of God called her. A committee did not call that preacher to the ministry; Christ called him. This call therefore, must come through the Word, though afterwards, it may be endorsed by association, denomination, congregation, or council. No matter, if it does not. The Word of God will go forth without endorsement through those whom he calls. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for those you have called, who have spoken the Word to my life. Amen.

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