01 July 2006

An Interesting Turn of Phrase...

In working my way through the Smacald Articles (which, I freely confess, is my least favorite Symbol), I was struck by the words of III:III:XI:1

"They have neither the authority nor the right to ban marriage and to burden *the divine order of priests* with perpetual celibacy."

Striking that Luther refers here to the Office of the Ministry as "a divine Order" and equally striking that he freely slips into the common usage of the day and speaks of "priests."

6 comments:

Jim Roemke said...

just to clarify: what is the difference between "pastor" and "priest?" I suppose there was a time when Lutheran clergy were called priests. If so, when did that change? Is it possible to abolishing the title of priest was simply a response to romophobia (as I like to call it). Or are there real and valid theological implications at stake here?

William Weedon said...

Jim,

It continued liturgically for quite some time, but seems to have fallen away in common parlance. But into the 17th century you have instructions: "The priest turns to the altar and sings..." etc.

Petersen said...

Not that I disagree with your implications, I don't. But the arugment, of course, will be that Luther is speaking about the burdens that Rome places on its own and so he uses their terminology. What would be more helpful is if you could find Luther using this terminology "divine order of priests" talking about Evangelical pastors. I wouldn't be surprised if he did, but this reference by itself is not enough given the context. Follow me?

Petersen

William Weedon said...

David,

I agree that would be stronger. But if you think about it, when Luther is arguing that Rome does not have the right to enforce celibacy on the divine order of priests, he is arguing "Therefore, we are unwilling to agree to their outrageous celibacy, not will we tolerate it." His point is not that they do not have the right to enforce it on themselves (as if, divine order of priests referred to them), but that they do not have the right to force it on us. Especially following as it does the article on the Ordination and the Call where he speaks of Lutherans ordaining "suitable persons to this office."

Petersen said...

I agree with you. Luther understands the Ministry is a Divine Order and he is certainly nto bothered by the title "priest." I was merely trying to help see the weakness of the argument or where it might be attacked. It wasn't meant to be hostile, it was meant to be helpful.

Yours in Christ,

Petersen

William Weedon said...

David,

It wasn't received as hostile! A good thought indeed. Pax!