21 April 2009

Truth

Most pastors have themselves no conception of their office and hence lack all basis and confidence for their public activity. They exercise their office as though they had no right to do so, fainthearted, intimidated by every Tom, Dick, or Harry. What a wretched pity!

And Loehe wrote that WHEN??? Wow!

8 comments:

Dixie said...

Maybe the pastor's behavior plays a role but I think our culture has changed as well which only serves to exacerbate things. I remember growing up I was taught especially to respect the priests, the nuns, teachers, anyone in a position of authority...but all that was shattered in the US in the 70's with the "Question Authority" and "Trust no one over 30" challenges of the youth. And we have paid the price for our misspent youth...there has been a lingering effect. A spirit of individualism and "I know what is best for me" rules the age.

So I think a pastor can be thoroughly grounded in what he understands the office to be but still struggle because Tom, Dick and Harry think they know best and aren't particularly interested in extending authority to the pastor.

William Weedon said...

Don't disagree, except to note that the office doesn't derive authority from them - that's Loehe's point - and therefore they can ignore the authority which God has given the Office and so ignore God. But they do so to their own peril.

David said...

William, I agree with you. We pastors sometimes hear well-meaning sheep say stuff like, "Well, we hired him, so he has to do what we tell him." The pastor becomes a functionary of the congregation (specifically the Voters Assembly) who takes his orders from the people rather than exercising the authority given him by God. Hence a problem with some congregations where pastors have come in and said "What do you want me to do" rather than gently and slowly catechizing them on what he does. When the pastor starts doing what's given him to do, certain people get bent out of shape because "We didn't ask pastor to do this and he didn't ask us if he could do this".

I'm long winded, but I hope you see my point.

William Weedon said...

David,

Indeed I do. And hence the importance of the Pastor knowing what he is divinely charged to do and not being cowed by man from doing it!

Anonymous said...

Bill,

I agree with you completely...
Now tell that to my teachers at our "Lutheran" school when none of them are called and two of them aren't even Lutheran...
Tell that to my Elders, who think that a "Lutheran" school means that Pastor teaches confirmation class to the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and consider that "good enough"...
Tell that to my members, to whom I am the "outsider" who dares to insist and encourage our teachers to seek colloqy, be synodically trained (or even be Lutheran, for that matter) and am chided for not "respecting" our teachers and the work they do at our school...

I know that I am called. I know that God has put me in this place at this time, and that I am the shepherd of this flock. I just wish sometimes that God would spare me some of the grief and anguish of people who don't get the mission of a Lutheran school and a Lutheran congregation.

Former Vicar

William Weedon said...

Marcus, my dear friend, I hear you. The key, always I suspect, is to be humble enough to insist on what is "of the Lord" to let everything that is not of the Lord be what they decide. When they know that you will not bend on God's will because it IS the Lord's will, they may yet be drawn into the joy of obedience. Pax!

Fr. Timothy D. May, SSP said...

Some Scriptural concepts are lost even within the Church and are then replaced with cultural expectations.

The idea that the the pastoral office or ministry arises out of the congregation may be practical and popular but it does not understand or appreciate the divine origins of such ministry. Hence the ministry is turned into whatever the public view is at the time. The pastor then just carries out functions and the ministry disappears.

The Scriptures, on the other hand, remind the pastor of the One voice among the many, a voice that brings peace and blessing, such as Thomas and the other disciples heard and knew when the risen Lord breathed His Spirit on them and gave them the authority to forgive and retain sins.

The first approach mentioned above defines the ministry sociologically (based on the group) while the second approach, which is directly related to Loehe's point, finds the ministry in the authority given by Christ and focused on Him and His words. So the pastor is called daily to follow the One Shepherd and not the many sheep, hear and speak the voice of the Shepherd, preach the Word of God, administer the Sacraments, be instant in season and out of season and fulfill the ministry.

So it is a matter of distinguishing a ministry that comes from above from that which is manufactured from below.

Pastors, more than others, are called upon to "obey God rather than men." This is for God's greater purpose in making His grace, peace and mercy available to all, both pastors and people, alike.

William Weedon said...

Amen! Amen! Amen! And Loehe's work, which our beloved Dr. Stephenson translated for us, points the way. I'm enjoying working through it immensely. Wished I had finished it months ago, when it first arrived.