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Is a Ministerium?
While ‘ministerium’ has been used in various ways in the history of Lutheranism, The Augustana Ministerium is founded upon the definition of a Lutheran ministerium as…a pastoral association formed to preserve and promote Lutheran pastors and a distinctively Lutheran Ministry of Word and Sacrament to Lutheran congregations. This is the purpose of The Augustana Ministerium. Return to List of Questions
For a thorough answer to this question, read The Augustana Ministerium’s Constitution and Bylaws, and its Statement on the Holy Ministry. In brief, The Augustana Ministerium requires of her members a quia (not quatenus) subscription to the entire Book of Concord. For this reason, The Augustana Ministerium also holds to the inspiration and inerrancy of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, which reqiures us also to hold to an exclusively male pastoral office in the Church. The Augustana Ministerium also promotes the use of the historical liturgical orders of the Church, which were received by the Lutheran confessors, as indicated in the Book of Concord. Return to List of Questions
While the work of a ministerium can develop as needs arise, our commitment, in line with our purpose, is:
The Augustana Ministerium is not a fellowship of congregations, but an association of pastors. Thus, it is not a synod or church body or a ‘church within a church’, and each member may leave or join synods as his conscience determines, being informed by the Word of God. A ministerium does strive to provide support where synods fail to uphold a sound confession of faith and good practice. A ministerium does strive to uphold and support faithful pastors. The work of a ministerium is to support and encourage the pure marks of the Church (the purely preached Gospel and the rightly administered sacraments, Augsburg Confession VII) regardless of synods and ‘denominations’. A ministerium strives to ensure that faithful pastors and their families will not be abandoned or neglected and that faithful orthodox pastors who are persecuted are defended fairly. The Augustana Ministerium, thus, does not seek to duplicate the functions of a synod or other body, but seeks to pick up where synods cannot or currently will not help. Return to List of Questions
It shouldn’t. Considering that pastors of, e.g., the LCMS have both created and participated in other societies and organizations for continuing education and enrichment (including those that require an outright commitment to teachings and practices contrary to the confession of their church body), there should be no reason that any objection would arise to a trans-synodical association of pastors that actually requires faithful teaching and practice in accord with what their church bodies officially claim. Some, no doubt, will try to claim that the self-regulating nature of The Augustana Ministerium’s membership (true pastoral oversight by means of mutual accountability) is functioning in a way that a synod has reserved for itself. The fact is, however, that all membership organizations must do this, and that it does not conflict with synodical membership because any ruling on membership status only affects membership within that organization, not the synod. Thus, the liberal Pastoral Leadership Institute does not invalidate its member’s synodical affiliation by its restrictive nomination and evaluation process that actually excludes many members of the LCMS from membership.
The fact, too, that the LCMS does nothing against those member congregations that join the Willow Creek Association, even though this openly associates them in common cause with congregations that are not only non-, but anti-Lutheran in their teaching, such as Willow Creek Community Church itself, which teaches that Baptism is but an act of obedience, a work of man. Considering that even the ‘conservative’ districts of the LCMS have member congregations* that belong to the Willow Creek Association, it is unfathomable that there would be any opposition to The Augustana Ministerium. (*For example, Bethel, Morton, IL [CID], Immanuel, Charleston, IL [CID], St. John, Ellisville, MO [MO], Timothy, Blue Springs, MO [MO], Immanuel, Waterloo, IA [IDE], Our Redeemer, Iowa City, IA [IDE], etc.) Return to List of Questions
The interest and activity of the Ministerium are directed toward the day-to-day work of the Law and Gospel, Word and Sacrament ministry among Christ’s people; the synod to which a given member belongs can be a good avenue for confessing the faith once delivered to the saints, or a hindrance to doing so. Thus, members of the Ministerium are free to determine their own synod of membership, involvement in synodical politics, etc., as long as their confession is clear in their words and practices.
Thus, the Augustana Ministerium is not ‘political’ in the usual sense of that word. The Ministerium’s energies and resources are directed toward the Church, which consists of the pastor and people gathered around the Word and Sacrament ministry of Jesus Christ. As its membership is not confined to the members of a certain church body, it activities are not directed toward any institution or synod of human making. Rather, it is focused on the marks of the Church and the confession of Jesus Christ, supporting faithful pastors and parishes. True pastoral oversight (which exists through mutual accountability), missions, outreach, preaching, classical education of children, catechesis, pastoral care, Baptism, and the Divine Service are central to our concerns and activities. Speaking of these things and speaking to the issues when these are compromised or threatened may be construed by some as political activity, but we see such confessing of the faith as the necessary work of pastors and theologians.
Politics is beside the point; theology and confession is the point. Return to List of Questions
Our activities, to be effective and comprehensive, will require committed resources from both pastors and laity. The Gospel is God’s free gift, but bringing it to the faithful in this world costs money, talent, and time. Naturally, if congregations, pastors, and individuals give generously to our work, we will be able to support the training and sending of more pastors, which means the planting of more churches and schools. The assurance we give to you is this: whatever we receive will go only to support orthodox Lutheran pastors in their ministry needs, relief to pastors in need, funding to orthodox schools, mission congregations, solid Lutheran publishing, and theological conferences. Our commitment is to confine our internal operational budget to the dues paid by member pastors, with all other contributions going directly to such aid.
In Dr. Martin Luther’s essay of 1520 to the “Christian Nobility of the German Estates,” Luther encourages the German leaders to direct their financial support and energies away from an institution that promotes false doctrine (back then, the Romanists), persecutes faithful pastors, and refuses to be reformed according to Scripture, and positively, to direct it toward churches, schools, and other institutions that are right and just.
This the Augustana Ministerium seeks to assist you in doing. Thus, even before our constituting convention we were assisting orthodox Lutheran pastors and congregations in several states through designated and undesignated gifts, as well as helping to fund mission work in eastern Europe. That aid has increased since our constituting meeting in September of 2005 and, by God’s grace, we look for it to continue to increase, as the need is so great.
To make a tax deductible donation, please make a check payable to The Augustana Ministerium and mail it to:
The Augustana Ministerium
or click on the button below to donate via a PayPal account or credit/debit card.
If you have further questions on helping the The Augustana Ministerium in regard to financial matters, please contact our Bursar, the Rev. Gregory Schultz, at (618) 713-7895, or by using the Contact Form below. Return to List of Questions
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