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The Duties of a Local Congregation

19th-century photograph of a young CFW Walther...

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If you have ever wondered what the function of the local church or congregation is, we have the answer.  CFW Walther, first president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, wrote a piece entitled “The Proper Form of an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation Independent of the State.”  In it he notes that each congregation has six duties as follows:

Of the Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Local Church Independent of the State

6. It is the duty of the congregation carefully to see to it that the Word of God may richly dwell and have full and free scope in its midst. Col. 3:16: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly,” etc.

7. It is the duty of the congregation to care for the purity of doctrine and life in its midst and to exercise church discipline in these matters. Matt. 18:15-18: ‘If thy brother shall trespass against thee, . . . let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Rom. 16:17: “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.” 1 Cor. 5:1-13: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? . . . Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” 1 Cor.6:1-8; 2 Cor.2:6-11. Gal. 6:1: “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.” 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6,14,15. 2 John 10,11: “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed,” etc.

8. It is the duty of the congregation to concern itself also with the temporal welfare of all its members that they may not suffer want of the necessaries of life nor be forsaken in any need. Gal.6:10: “Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Deut. 15:4. Rom. 12:13: “Distributing to the necessity of saints.” Gal. 2:9,10; Jas. 1 :27; 1 Thess. 4:11,12.

9. It is the duty of the congregation to see that in its midst “all things be done decently and in order,” 1 Cor. 14:33, 40, and to “provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men,” 2 Cor. 8:21. Col. 2:5.

10. It is the duty of the congregation to be diligent “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” also with all parts of the orthodox Church, Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 4:9,10; Rom. 15:26, 27; 2 Cor. 8:19.

11. It is also incumbent upon the congregation to do its part in building up and promoting the welfare of the Church at large. Amos 6:6; Acts 11:21-23 (“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas that he should go as far as Antioch,” etc.); 15:18.

The Proper Form of an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, by Dr. CFW Walther, translated by Dr. Th. Engelder, from “Walther and the Church” by Dau, Engelder and Dallman, (1938 Concordia Publishing House).   The full text of the theses can be found at the following website:  http://www.reclaimingwalther.org/articles/cfw00005.htm

Simple, Scriptural, to the Pointe.  Every local congregation has the responsibility to   Read the rest of this entry

The Lord’s Supper — How Should we Treat the Consecrated Elements?

An interesting Post from Pastor Peters at Grace Lutheran in Clarksville, TN. It dovetails quite nicely with our discussion on the Lord’s Supper and close communion. The main thrust of the post is thinking about how we ought to treat the consecrated elements of the Sacrament. What should you do if there is a spill? What happens to what is left over? What should I do if I drop the host? And what about all those individual cups — do we just throw them out? Just as we need to consider why we practice close communion, we need to consider how we approach and handle the consecrated elements in the Sacrament. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi — How we pray or how we worship, reflects how we believe.

Our Practice Consistent with our Faith