he describes a bit of the topics that the true Christian Church ought be concerned and draws a contrast with the then-current practices in the Roman parishes (which he proceeds not to reject, but to reject the focus upon them in place of the focus upon the matters he listed). It's fascinating to study both lists. What I found most interesting in his list of things that the true Christian Church ought be concerned about was this section:
What the keys are.
What a bishop is.
What a deacon is.
What the preaching office is.
I've italicized the item that surprised me. If Luther thought that the office of deacon was something that deserves the Church's attention, it has been sadly true that since the time of Luther, precious little attention has been given to the diaconal office among Lutherans. This is truly odd given the way that the constant pairing of bishops and deacons run through the Pastoral epistles. I believe that the time has come for Lutherans to seriously ponder this office of deacon, so rooted in the NT, and to seek the manner of its restoration among us. We've done some decent work with deaconesses, but we've failed as a Synod (though there are Districts that do better on their own) to provide for the "male deaconess" as one wag put it.
And here deacon ought NOT be primarily a stepping stone to the pastoral office, but precisely seen primarily as its own office. Imagine if we gave attention in each parish to the office of faith (the pastoral office with its preaching and teaching of the Word for the salvation of our bodies and souls) AND to the office of love (the diaconal office with its attention to the material needs of the community). We might even become again such a Church that the heathen around would cry out: "Behold, how they love one another!"