It was, of course, not our intention to present the doctrines of the church and office [Kirch und Amt] in their completeness. Whoever desires this will find such a presentation in the larger dogmatic works of the teachers of our church, among others, especially in the master works of men like [Martin] Chemnitz and [Johann] Gerhard. It was our purpose to stress only those points concerning which there prevails a difference and to take up only so much uncontested material as is demanded by the context. We hope, therefore, that on account of this intentional incompleteness we shall not be charged with one-sidedness in our interpretation and presentation. In order to avoid misunderstanding, we declare expressly that in this monograph we are not so much dealing with how the church is to be constituted as rather about its essence [Wesen] and the principles according to which its manifestations [Erscheinungen] are to be judged and which its polity [Verfassung] is to rest.
C.F.W. Walther, Preface to Kirche und Amt
 Chief among these "masterworks" are Chemnitz' Loci Theologici, Examination of the Council of Trent, and Gerhard's Theological Commonplaces, all available in English from Concordia Publishing House. Walther's forthright endorsement of Chemnitz and Gerhard on the church and the office of the ministry is not something to be taken lightly. M.H.