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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope part 8

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1 Corinthians 3:4–9

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

V. Paul makes ministers equal (1 Cor 3:6), and teaches that the Church is above her ministers. Therefore, he does not ascribe to Peter superiority or lordship over the Church or the rest of the ministers. For he says, “all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas” (1 Cor 3:21–22). So, neither Peter nor other ministers should assume for themselves lordship or superiority over the Church. Let them not burden the Church with traditions. Do not allow the authority of any be greater than the Word, nor the authority of Cephas stronger than that of the other apostles. However, they reasoned at that time: “Cephas, who is an apostle of higher rank, observes this. Therefore, both Paul and the rest ought to observe this.” Paul removes this pretext from Peter, and denies that his authority is to be preferred to the rest or to the Church.

Pulling It Together

Peter himself, with a pastoral application, removed any justification for primacy of one pastor or bishop over another, when he teaches ministers of the church to be a godly example instead of a domineering master (1 Pet 5:3). Paul, with a theological method, does the same. He teaches that he and Apollos, and by extension other ministers of the Gospel, were a single unit. They were used by God: he who is the real authority.

Prayer: Make me a servant, Lord. Amen.

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The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study is presented in a discussion formation with assigned readings from the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Included in the study is a shorter work by Philip Melanchton called "The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope." 

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1 Comments

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Judy Mattson

Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:23am

oh yes, Pastors are only the messengers bringing the word of God to God's people. There is no one on earth who has the power of God or is the only person allowed to make the decisions for God's people. Pastors are merely those that God uses to help spread his word.

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