Critical reviews (by Lutheran pastors and church musicians) of books and other resources for Christian worship, preaching, and church music from a perspective rooted in Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and good common sense. LHP Quarterly Book Review asks, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?"
Feed: Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison Posted on: Sunday, October 09, 2011 3:39 PM Author: Rev. Matt Harrison Subject: Luther on the power of bishops
The same [Martin Luther]: "A bishop as bishop has no power [Macht] to impose on his church [Kirche] any law or ceremony [SatzungoderCeremonie] unless the church [Kirche] consents either expressly or silently. Because the church [Kirche] is free and the queen [Herrscherin] (wife [Frau]), the bishops must not rule over the faith of the church [Kirchen] or burden and trouble it against its will. They are only servants and stewards [DienerundHaushalter], not lords of the church [Kirchen]. But if the church [Kirche], as one body with the bishop, agrees, they may impose on each other whatever they will if only godliness does not suffer from it; they also may abolish such things as they please. But this kind of power [Gewalt] the bishops do not seek; they want to rule [Herrschen] and have all things their own way [allesfreihaben]. This we will not grant them, nor in any way will we become partakers of their injustice and oppression of the church [Kirchen] and the truth …. But with the Maccabeans it is clear that they did not alone prescribe their consecrations [Kirchweihe], but did so rather with the consent of the whole people [ganzenVolks]. Such a general agreement could have been cancelled by them, even though that would have been part of the secular order, in fact it was secular in nature because the Maccabeans ruled but in the end they acted with [the consent of] the people.
"Therefore, we will not allow the bishops by either ecclesiastical or secular right to issue to the church [Kirchen] any mandate [befehlen], even if this would be ever so just and pious. For they must not do any evil in order that something good may result from it. But if they want to proceed with force [Gewalt] and coercion, we must not obey or yield to them but rather die to preserve the distinction between these two kingdoms [Regimente], that is, for the will and command [Gestetz] of God and against such wickedness and sacrilege [Kirchenräubereien]" (21. 7. 1530 to Melanchthon; "Luther's Reply to Questions Concerning Human Laws Submitted by Melanchthon," 1530; Antwort an Melanchthon in Augsburg auf die ihmzugeschicktenFragenvon den Menschensatzungen, vomJahre 1530; Walch1, 16:1207-09; St. Louis, 16:1014; WA Br. V., 491; Aland Br. 1656).