Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Ecclesia semper reformanda est - I don't know who coined that phrase, but it's ever so true. And always has been - see Galatians. In this sense, there has never been a golden age and we should not be disheartened by the mess our little patch of the una sancta finds herself in. The Missouri Synod is indeed by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed: the worship wars, Seminary Lite (SMP), a few charismatics here, a few would be women-ordainers there, usw.

So where to begin? What should Confessional Lutherans be focusing on in Missouri? I appreciate the work that folks like the ACELC are doing - but we need focus. You can't move on all fronts at once. We need an issue that captures the attention of all Confessional Lutherans and one that is theological (not political), clearly based in the Scriptures and the Confessions, and as objective and black and white as possible.

It just so happens that we have this issue: Missouri's 1989 revision of the Augsburg Confession sans Article XIV (it is the shortest article, so it's a small revision, right?). "Lay ministry" - the intentional, "licensed," and ongoing practice of having men who have not been called to and placed in the Office of the Ministry administer the Sacraments and preach the Word in our parishes. This is simply contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the Confessions, and contrary to all the practice of historic Christianity.

If Confessionals cannot unite to undo this wrong, then what is the point of being Confessional? Let us make 2013 the Year of AC XIV.

Gottesdienst is getting the ball rolling with a one day conference on AC XIV and Lay Ministry in Kearney, Nebraska, on July 25th. While the whole Synod is affected by this problem, the Great Plains and the Northwest are the epicenters. Pastors, lay people, district officials, and the lay ministers themselves are invited and encouraged to attend.

Especially if you are in Nebraska or Kansas, please make plans to attend. If you know folks in those areas, tell them to attend. If you are for or against the Missouri Synod's present practice, come and join us to study this issue. Here is the full conference information:

AC XIV and Lay Ministry
Zion Lutheran Church, Kearney, NE

9:00 - Registration (Coffee and rolls)

9:30 - Matins
10:00 - Presentation and breaks
12-1:30 - Lunch (at local establishments of your choice)
1:45 - 3:00 - Panel Discussion
3:00 - Gemuetlichkeit

Registration fee: None. The offering at Matins will defray Zion's costs. 
To register email Fr. Micah Gaunt mgaunt2000 at yahoo dot com.



  1. Yeah! Thank you. I am sorry I will be unable to attend the conference, but I look forward to its fruit nonetheless. Thank you, Fr. Curtis, for this effort.

  2. Excellent initiative. Confessional types can rally around this topic.

  3. Is there still quite a bit of controversy over the rights and authorities of the royal priesthood? In conversations on another site, it would appear as though there is at least some contention that all lay persons have the right and authority to preach, teach, administer the sacraments, hear confession, and pronounce absolution at any time in any place. If this is the case, then perhaps the problem is not so much with lay "ministry" but with our collective understanding of the relationship of the pastoral office to the duties given to it.

    Having a better understanding of your intentions behind this, this is an excellent idea. I hope that there are resources that are published afterward on which we can build in future meetings around the country as opposed to having to reinvent the wheel each time.

  4. Fr. Osbun,

    Oh yes, "licensed lay ministry" is but the active fruit of the poisoned tree of "everyone a minister." Cutting down that tree would be great. But when it's your neighbor's tree hanging over your fence, a good fist step is to throw the fruit back over.

    I'll try to get the conference recorded and the audio posted.


  5. Pastor Osbun is not adequately reflecting the conversation that happened on BJS.

    Pastor Wurst finally repented of defending the following assertions, to my knowledge, Pastor Osbun has not:

    Here is what Osbun and Wurst kept insisting on:

    (1) A layperson can not speak the Gospel in such a way that it is absolution for sins, but merely/only "assurance."

    (2) A layperson is unable ever to pronounce formal absolution to anyone, at any time.

    (3) A layperson can only forgive sins committed against him/her personality.

    (4) A layperson can never be sure and certain of forgiveness of all their sins, unless, and until, they hear the absolution spoken by a pastor.

    Whereas, I think, Pastor Wurst repented of these views, Pastor Osbun continued to insist on them, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence from no less than the chief teacher of the churches of the Augsburg Confession, Dr. Martin Luther, demonstrating clearly how unbiblical and therefore false, all these assertions are.

    I do hope Pastor Osbun relies the errors he made in attempting to defend the office of the holy ministry.

    Anyone interested can go read the two threads over at Brothers of John the Steadfast.

  6. I like the idea of making 2013 "the year of AC XIV." I commend Gottesdients for initiating things with the conference in July. Wish I could attend, but with vacations, the distance, etc., I don't think I can be there. I will certainly be interested in the results of your meeting.

    You should know that in January 2012, the ACELC filed an official dissent to the CTCR on the lay ministry. Contact me if you would like more details (

    ACELC has also written an overture on lay ministry & DELTO that can anyone can adapt for the 2013 convention:

    God's Blessings,
    Ginny Valleau

  7. Mrs. Valleau,

    Excellent! I really think 2013 might indeed be the year Missouri comes to repentance on this. Let us pray!



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