Posted on July 19th, 2013
Via my friend, Pastor David Juhl:
We live in a world infected by the corporate sin of individualism, a particularly lethal form of idolatry. This cancer has invaded the church in insidious ways. No one will submit to anyone else. Individual congregations assert their power over clergy and curse the wider church. Individual members of the clergy assert their power over congregational members and curse the wider church. Individuals shop for the church that meets their needs and curse the wider church. Professors of theology are no exceptions. To bring the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, God instituted the office of public ministry; to maintain good order in the church and to oversee that preaching, we have bishops, exercising their God-given authority to preach the gospel through such oversight. Now, to apply Luther’s description of himself and other pastors to bishops, he…will not look like much and will be little more than a Madensack - a bag of maggots, food for worms. Yet God has chosen to work through such broken persons – a sign of the cross to spite the devil. Rather than arguing about whether to have bishops or how much power to give them or how they relate to the apostles, perhaps we should instead thank God for having revived, renewed, and reformed this great office of gospel service in Luther’s day and in our own.
- Timothy Wengert, “Priesthood, Pastors, Bishops: Public Ministry for the Reformation Today”, page 102