Teaching Authority Among the Lutherans:
An Historical Overview and Inquiry

The Rev. Charles Lloyd Cortright, Ph.D.

S.T.S. General Retreat
St. Mary's-on-the-Lake, Mundelein, Illinois
27 September 2011

    I have been asked to talk to the Society in General Retreat about the Lutheran understanding of the teaching office of the church. I am honored to do so, but should at the outset clarify my approach to the question of teaching authority or magisterium. I am coming to you as one trained in historical theology, not as a systematician, so my goal in addressing the Retreat is to lay out as best as I can what Luther, Lutherans, and Lutheranism have historically said and practiced in terms of teaching authority. It should also be noted that such a survey is necessarily cursory in nature. I will spend some time focusing on the history of teaching authority in the Lutheran Reformation and that of subsequent Lutheranism. I will also speak about the matter of teaching authority as it is exercised among us in our various synodical conventions and church assemblies.

    Also, a few preliminary remarks should be made about my source materials. I have not cast a wide net in my research for this presentation. Much good work was done on this very topic in connection with the Lutheran – Catholic dialogues, particularly Dialogue VI on Teaching Authority & Infallibility in the Church. For those wishing to pursue the matter in their own reading about Lutherans and teaching authority, I would single out the essays prepared for the dialogue by Eric W. Gritsch and Warren A. Quanbeck in 1974 and 1975 respectively. It should also be noted that our own Senior presented on this topic at the Aquinas – Luther Conference in 2005. His essay, "A Magisterium for Lutherans," is available in the Summer 2006 issue of Lutheran Quarterly and deserves your attention. I have relied heavily on these sources and other authors together with the Lutheran Confessions, so that what I present here should be taken more in the nature of a report rather than a thesis. I offer it for the sake of reviewing some of the salient history and presenting information for our discussion about the teaching office in preparation for the main speakers at the Retreat tomorrow evening.

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    To begin with, then, what is the meaning of "magisterium" in the church? Pace Norman Nagel who warns us not to trust those who "try to do theology by etymology," the English word that corresponds to the Latin magister is "master." In classical Latin, a magister was not simply a school master or teacher. Rather, magister was used to refer to a wide swath of "masters"—every one from shipmasters and masters of servants to masters of a particular art or trade, and so on. But, classically speaking, the word always denoted the idea of authority in the domain in which it was used. The word itself was derived from the comparative degree of the adjective multus ("much"): magis, or "more," just as minister was derived from the comparative degree of (parvus) "little," that is, "less," minus. Thus, in the Roman world, to be a magister was to be one whose role and authority had "more," that is, one who was a "master" in any of the various occupational contexts or applications of the term. Our English word "mastery" probably strikes closest to this classical sense.

    This original extensive use of the word notwithstanding, one of the most common contexts of the word magister in the late Roman Empire and early Middle Ages was in connection with teaching, so that the related term magisterium came to be used more and more frequently to denote the role and authority one had as a teacher. Nonetheless, in late classical and early medieval Latin, the word continued to be used in connection with other functions that involved authority. The English word "magistrate" is an example of this continuing wider usage.

    Drawing down our focus to the vocabulary of the high medieval scholastics, we see that magisterium came to be fixed in ecclesiastical terminology by them to speak of the authority of one who teaches. As we know, the symbol of teaching authority was the cathedra, and the schoolmen knew of two such authoritative "chairs": that of the bishop in his cathedral and that of the professor in the university. St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the magisterium cathedrae pastoralis—the bishop's teaching authority based on his office as a prelate in the church (ex officio praelationis)—and he speaks of the magisterium cathedrae magistralis—the theologian's teaching authority based on his knowledge of theology.[1]

    But as with other words that originally possessed a wider range of applications, in the last couple of centuries magisterium—ecclesiastically speaking—has come to be used principally with one particular meaning in mind, namely, to denote the teaching authority of bishops. As Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., notes in his book titled Magisterium: "No one denies, of course, that theologians continue to have a teaching role in the Church, but the fact is that it is now generally the teaching role of bishops that is meant when the term magisterium" is used.[2] Such is certainly the case in documents from Vatican I such as Dei Filius, and Pastor Aeternus, as well[3]

    Now, if the Roman Catholic understanding of magisterium is any gauge after being calibrated by the gradual restriction of the term to episcopal teaching authority, then Lutherans have maintained a sense of magisterium, but one that is, per Warren Quanbeck's assessment, more "fluid, variable, and well-dispersed."[4] That is, Lutherans do confess a magisterium for the church, but that confession has never been located so particularly in an ecclesiastical office in the way Roman Catholics do. Indeed, Lutherans have historically considered teaching authority in the church first as a function of the principle of sola Scriptura whereby Scripture serves as the authoritative teaching rule and norm (norma normans) for the church, and the confessions of the church as authoritative expressions of Christian teaching drawn from the Scriptures (norma normata). As Eric Gritsch notes

Normative Lutheran assertions about the "teaching ministry" of the Church focus on the lordship of Christ and the means by which his lordship is known: the Holy Spirit, the gospel in Word and sacrament, Holy Scripture and its interpretation, the three ecumenical creeds (Apostolic, Nicene, Athanasian), and the Lutheran Confessions (in the Book of Concord of 1580).[5]
    Nonetheless, the Lutheran reformers of the sixteenth-century viewed themselves as standing in continuity with the church catholic in terms of both doctrine and practice. As the Augsburg Confession stipulated in its introduction to the Articles in Which an Account Is Given of the Abuses That Have Been Corrected (AC XXII-XXVIII), the Lutherans were "only set[ting] aside a few abuses that are new and were accepted over time because of corruption over time contrary to the intention of the canons…" (AC Introduction to the Controverted Articles; Kolb-Wengert, 61:1). Beyond the correction of abuses, they otherwise sought to maintain themselves withing the Great Tradition in terms of teaching and practice. However, while this conservative character of the Lutheran reforms included attempts to maintain such existing ecclesiastical orders—such as the liturgy in worship and the episcopal office in administration—the Reformers insisted that such things were part of human, not divine order. Thus, the Lutherans were committed to the function of teaching authority in the church via the Scriptures as a hermeneutical necessity for the proclamation of the gospel, the Hauptartikel, but they counted the traditional ecclesiastically ordered forms of these functions as matters of human or church ordinance only (ius ecclesiasticum), no matter how useful or traditional they might be. Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession—"Concerning church order [our churches] teach that no one should teach publicly in the church or administer the sacraments unless properly called"—confessed just this sense of due order for the sake of public preaching, teaching, and administration of the sacraments, but, as Melanchthon carefully delineated in the corresponding Apology article, "the various ranks [of clergy] in the church…were established by human authority" (Ap XIV, 1). Thus, teaching authority is exercised by those called as pastors, teachers, synod officials, etc., insofar as they proclaim the gospel and administer the sacraments in accord with the words and commands of the Lord, but such authority is located in the ministry as defined by Article V of the Augsburg Confession—"the ministry of teaching the gospel and administering the sacraments"—not in the ministers per se.

    Thus in the case of Luther's Germany, when the Lutherans' desire—even expectation—to maintain a traditional episcopal polity remained largely unfulfilled because (in the main) the German bishops refused to embrace the Reformation—something that meant they also refused to ordain evangelical priests—a situation was created that compelled the emerging Lutheran Church to find alternative arrangements for ecclesiastical order. This they did, but they did so in keeping with their confessional stance about administrative forms in the church (AC VII). Luther's call upon the German princes to serve in need as Notbischofen ("emergency," or bishops-pro-tem) is well-known in this regard, as is also the appeal to other civic leaders and former cathedral canons to fill the administrative and disciplinary void left by the loss of episcopal leadership. A hodge-podge of administration was the immediate result out of which percolated—after the Peace of Augsburg in 1555—those widely distributed structures (such as superintendent, general superintendent, dean (Probst), and bishop, as they were variously named) which became the locus for the territorial supervision of doctrine and practice in Reformation Germany and beyond. Moreover, they did so in partnership with the territorial prince who assumed authority as the summus episcopus (highest overseer) in his territory. Bishops, deans, and superintendents were also often "aided" in their administration by the formation of consistories which, according to Gritsch, "assumed more and more power with the increase of the authority of the princes."[6]

    The close partnership of church and state that was formed in the Reformation for the administration of ecclesial affairs was also matched by a strong connection between the church and university for the sake of maintaining doctrinal integrity. During the late medieval era theological faculties had often served as consultants in theological disputes. When Luther was interviewed in Augsburg (October 1518) by Cardinal Cajetan, it should be remembered that he offered to have his writings assessed by the university faculties of Basel, Freiburg, Louvain, or even Paris in keeping with this practice.[7] The cardinal rejected the offer. Indeed, as a result of the politics (like Cajetan's) surrounding the indulgence controversy, this consulting function became stunted in Catholic lands in the post-Reformation era. But, in contrast to this outcome, the university theological faculties in the Lutheran lands grew in importance. Indeed, Gritsch notes that

the alliance between Church and state on the one hand and Church and university on the other created a Lutheran Orthodoxy which was to be a bulwark against the Roman Counter-Reformation and Calvinism. Luther's preaching office was transformed into a dogmatic teaching office.[8]

    Under these conditions, in the era of Lutheran Orthodoxy of the seventeenth-century, Lutheran universities such as Jena and Wittenberg in particular became centers of a Lutheran scholasticism in which purity of teaching was preserved via Aristotelian logic in the writings of the Lutheran dogmaticians of the age. For instance, Gritsch highlights the work of David Hollatz (1648-1713) to illustrate how his dogmatics served to embed authoritative teaching in the church "within an intricate system of ecclesiastical authority culminating in a doctrine of synods."[9] According to Hollatz, there is the ecclesia synthetica, the church comprised of those who preach the gospel and administer the sacraments and those who hear and receive them—in other words, the church which is the creation of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace. This is distinguished from the ecclesia repraesentiva, or "representative church" comprised of ministers and church officials who represent the faithful in the church's governing bodies. Such language was carefully hedged, however, to avoid any identification of the ecclesia repraesentiva with the concepts of the ecclesia docens/ecclesia discens, that is, the "teaching church" and the "learning church" of Roman Catholic understanding and parlance. The ecclesia repraesentiva, rather, was to serve a purely administrative function and could not make declarations iure divino, but was itself governed and obedient to the Word.

    In actual practice, the "representative church" which gathered in councils and synods were the judges of what was orthodox in faith and practice "in accord with the Bible." Such conclaves were co-chaired (we would say) by an ecclesiastical presider (praeses)—the bishop or superintendent—and a political presider, that is, the prince of the territory or his proxy. Particular councils or synods were sometimes assisted by theology professors who served as "expert consultants" during doctrinal controversies. But in tandem, the two praeses formed what was considered to be the magistratus orthodoxus, "the office for right doctrine" in direct charge of the maintenance of doctrine and practice of the faith in the region, something that was often enforced by the power of the secular arm. This arrangement was considered to be congruent with Luther's argument in his 1539 treatise On the Councils of the Church in which he noted the historical effectiveness of past councils in protecting the church from error, but to whom he denied any authority to create new articles of faith apart from the Word.[10]

    This structure, with minor variations from territory to territory, was the European Lutheran arrangement by which the state church system maintained and supervised teaching in the church. But in the eighteenth-century, Lutheran Pietism, which placed a "religion of the heart" ahead of synods, consistories, princes, and university theologians in terms of authority and authenticity, challenged the teaching and juridical authority of the territorial church. Gritsch assesses that the respective thrusts and parries of Pietism and Lutheran Orthodoxy in connection with teaching authority reflected

…in an extreme fashion the vicissitudes of a theology based on the distinction of law and gospel. Lutheran Orthodoxy could teach the verbal inspiration of Scripture as the highest doctrinal authority guarded by a legalistic conception of the teaching office; Lutheran Pietism could reject scholastic and juridical expressions of faith altogether in favor of a spiritualistic personal piety as the highest authority in the Church.[11]

    The nineteenth century confessional reawakening experienced in Lutheranism as a result of Klaus Harms' call to confessional arms in 1817 sparked renewed debate on both sides of the Atlantic about ecclesiastical offices and authority. Did Christ establish an office (Amt) in a juridical sense? The question was answered with a substantial Ja by Wilhelm Löhe and his followers who argued that there was a divinely-ordained sacramental office "climaxing in the episcopacy as the teaching office of the Church."[12] A rejoinder of Nein was issued by Johann Höfling and his followers who maintained that the foundation of all official structure in the church was the universal priesthood. And although we could rehearse a long history concerning the course of the debate over this issue in Europe and the United States well into the twentieth-century, the matter has never been truly settled one way or the other for all "Lutheranism." For after all, the very nub of the problem is, "who speaks for the Lutherans?"

    Again, the reason for this ambiguity seems to be vested precisely in the Lutheran confessional position that views all forms of church polity and government as ultimately adiaphora. For although the Lutheran Reformers treasured the unity of the church and desired earnestly to maintain it, nonetheless, as the familiar confessional language of Augustana VII puts it,

    It is enough for the true unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. It is not necessary that human traditions (and here Melanchthon included matters of church polity), rites, or ceremonies instituted by human beings be alike everywhere.

    Thus, although Melanchthon stipulated Lutheran willingness (or at least his willingness) to grant a unifying function to the pope under certain conditions, he insisted that this unifying role had to be recognized as a matter of church usage, not divine institution, along with an admission that the Reformers' understanding of the gospel was catholic.[13] Subsequent Lutheran history shows that there has never been such a unifying figure or structure for Lutheranism so that throughout the nearly 500 years of Lutheran history, Lutherans have continued to live in separate churches that share in—with varying levels of agreement as we here are all well aware—only a common subscription to the Three Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions.

    But what can be said, then, of the individual Lutheran churches and teaching authority? For the sake of time and focus, I am going to ignore what might be said specifically about Lutherans and magisterium in Europe and beyond. For although Scandinavian Lutheranism, for instance, has had an unbroken tradition of episcopal polity, has that or does that include an understanding of a magisterial episcopate iure divino? It would seem not. But let Gustaf Wingren can speak for the Scandinavian Lutherans:

[Ecclesiastical] authority lies primarily in the means of grace themselves. The means of grace do not receive any authority because they are administered by those who have the office, but they possess authority in themselves, because Christ has bound his own presence to them."[14]

    So, it's on to America, then, and more familiar territory. Lutheranism in the United States has not had such a long-standing tradition of episcopal oversight as in Sweden. Indeed, the general historical situation and American Protestant ethos of the late eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries, grounded in a firm distrust of overarching authority (whether political or religious), rubbed off on American Lutheran immigrants eager to shed overbearing European authoritarianism. And although Massachusetts under state law maintained the Congregational Church as its established church until the 1830s, the First Amendment's prohibition of federal establishment of a state church meant that the European Lutheran territorial church structure would not, indeed could not be replicated here. Rather, with a "sense of nonchalant pragmatism" (Gritsch), American Lutherans organized themselves in congregational and synodical structures that reflected American democratic self-rule. In this regard, if I may hazard an outsider's perspective, it would seem that the relatively recent establishment of the office of bishop in modern American Lutheranism has mostly meant a change in labels from president to bishop, not the admission or practice of a magisterium in the developed sense we saw earlier in our etymological survey.

    Indeed, American Lutheranism of every stripe, if looked at broadly, shares a polity that is fairly uniform, although for accuracy's sake, I will use my own synod's polity as a case study by which to describe it. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod [WELS] is a union that is now some 160 years old. While the initial Wisconsin Synod was technically a ministerium, it quickly adopted the kind of polity that was the "rule and norm" of the latter nineteenth-century and which has continued in its essentials down to the present. The local congregation is the basic unit of WELS polity. Presently, WELS congregations are organized into twelve geographic administrative districts that are distributed throughout the United States and Canada. The districts have an elected president who is constitutionally mandated to be from among the parish pastors of the district. The district president is assisted by two vice-presidents (pastors) and a district secretary (pastor or teacher). The district presidents are individually responsible for the supervision of doctrine and practice in their districts, and in assembly together as the Conference of Presidents [COP] are charged with "supervising, maintaining, and strengthening synodical unity of doctrine and practice."[15] However, it is the synod in convention that is the WELS's highest ecclesiastical authority. The WELS's constitution notes that "The synod in convention shall act as the legislative body of the WELS" and is constitutionally empowered to "establish, review, and amend the policies and the direction of the synod in pursuit of its mission and in recognition of Articles II [the WELS's confessional subscription statement] and IV [the synod's mission statement]." Conventions comprised of pastors, teaching ministers, and lay delegates meet biennially. The convention is mandated by the Bylaws to reflect an equal number of lay delegates to pastor/teacher delegates. Our current synodical president, the Rev. Mark Schroeder, serves in accord with the Bylaws "in every way as the synod's pastor and chief executive officer." The pastoral aspects of his office are stipulated in terms of doctrinal and practical oversight of the synod's "operations," that is, its various programs and ministries, from world and home missions to ministerial training, etc.

    Again, such a structure and polity is, I think, essentially the same in all the "larger" Lutheran bodies in the United States, if one makes due allowances for differences in nomenclature and matters of protocol. The fact is, the various churches' conventions or assemblies represent the highest ecclesiastical authority of the church body with various officials—presidents or bishops—charged with oversight. Do these various structures exercise an authoritative teaching office? Well, who speaks for the Lutherans? It would be presumptuous for me to speak for you with respect to the nuances of your church body's understanding and confession of the doctrine of the church or its practice. But, if I may continue my use of the WELS as a case study, I can answer "yes": there is a teaching office—albeit one that is "fluid, variable, and well-dispersed," to borrow from Quanbeck again—which is exercised from the congregational level up to and including the synodical level. That office is most simply stated as the faithful teaching and preaching of the "whole counsel of God," both law and gospel, but especially the gospel of Christ, also as that takes place in the administration of His sacraments—the Word made visible. Integral to this teaching office is the maintenance of the truth of the Word against error and the right division of law and gospel in the application of the Word for Christian life. Certainly this office is given into the hands of sinner-saint ministers by virtue of the divine call to the holy ministry; it is committed to them by call and attested to by ordination, so that their authority is derivative: it flows from the Word, not from themselves or their respective offices per se. Perhaps St. Paul's metaphor is most useful at this juncture in expressing and maintaining this relationship: "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us," the Apostle says in 2 Corinthians 4:7. The "treasure" is the truth of the Word, especially the gospel. The minister is merely "God's Tupperware™, if you will, to whom the treasure of the gospel is given for the ministry, but the minister is not the same as the treasure. Similarly, these additional words of the Apostle are also essential in this discussion: "Now, it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2).

    I am certain there would be no dispute here that ordained pastors and those called to the teaching ministry of a Lutheran church body—in my example, the WELS—exercise teaching authority within the scope of their call. I am fairly certain that the same would be said about pastors and theologically trained and ordained individuals who are called to serve in areas of the church's life that include doctrinal and practical oversight and/or teaching. The district praesidia, synodical president, seminary faculty, etc., all exercise by virtue of their call a valid teaching authority (and responsibility) within the WELS. I believe we would all stipulate that in whatever church body we are, those holding high ecclesiastical office—with respect especially in connection to teaching and upholding the Word—are called to teach faithfully and in accord with the Scriptures and the Confessions, and that in so doing they both exercise legitimate authority and are themselves accountable for the exercise of that authority, ultimately to the very Lord of the Church. I say we can affirm this—the actual execution of that teaching authority in any particular instance is a different discussion which I am not raising here either in the case of my own church body, or that of another.

    There is, instead, a different proverbial "elephant in the room" that better demands our attention and consideration. What is the relationship of teaching authority—at the highest ecclesiastical level in a polity like the WELS's—to the lay delegates of the synod in convention?

    Here we are faced, I think, with two important issues. The first is Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession: "No one should teach publicly in the church or administer the sacraments unless properly called." Melanchthon's defense of Article XIV in the Apology makes clear that good order is the desired goal of these words, not merely for its own sake, but for the sake of the Word. The rite vocatus ("properly called" – Kolb-Wengert) of the article has been the subject of much discussion, but certainly it is more than merely the dotting of procedural "I's" and the crossing of ritual "T's." It certainly includes the matter that those called to the ministry possess the requisite gifts and abilities for the work. In this regard, we recognize that while individual churches have established criteria of the kinds of qualifications needed for ministry in their contexts, and have set curricula which those called to the ministry must satisfactorily master, nonetheless, Scripture imposes the true sine qua non's for those who desire to serve "as overseers" in passages such as 1 Timothy 3:1-7 ("Now the overseer must be above reproach...," etc.). Not to ignore Paul's full set of qualifications stipulated there, for the purpose of the present discussion I will focus solely on Paul's criterion of διδακτικός, "able to teach." For the sake of time, if I may simply stipulate Paul's meaning here, he is not highlighting an ability on the part of those called to ministry that is tied to a specific form of pedagogy or other teaching methodology. He is not speaking about whether one is a "good" teacher in terms of being engaging, exciting, or even erudite. (No "Rate My Professors" website categories here!) He is noting that those called to the ministry need to teach the Word faithfully and truthfully. Thus he exhorts Timothy not many verses after this: "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

    To be rite vocatus, I believe, is to be called in view of one's approved status as "filling the bill" for ministry. Per our specific focus, this means being approved in terms of being διδακτικός, "able to teach." What that means in terms of a church's various forms of ministry may vary: what kind of doctrinal and theological training is necessary for a particular call's needs? In my church body, we require greater and more thorough theological training of parish pastors than those we call to serve as teachers in Lutheran elementary school settings. Regardless, every answer to these kinds of questions points to why, self-evidently, the Lutheran church has always maintained specific supervision and instruction of those who desire to serve in the ministry.

    This is the first issue, then, regarding the exercise of teaching authority at the synodical level: the Confessions restrict teaching authority to those who have been "properly called," a criterion that includes doctrinal competence sufficient to the scope of the call.

    Thus, the second issue, or better, question is: How are lay delegates "properly called" if, indeed, their service at the "highest legislative authority" of the church includes the exercise of teaching authority? If they are legitimate participants in the teaching office of the church, that is, if they are part of the church's exercise of authority in teaching and defending the truth of the Word, how is, and to what extent is their doctrinal competence ascertained?

    You will recognize this question as merely restating in the form of questions some of the concerns the Society has expressed in one of its affirmations attached to the Rule. That full statement reads:

Concerning the Magisterium in the Church:When the teaching office in the Church is suppressed in the name of democratic participation or in the spirit of a North American anti-elitism, when the dynamic discernment of the gifts of the Spirit for the building up of Christ's body is supplanted by the rigorous application of proportional representation and a false understanding of the priesthood of all believers, then church assemblies become a battle ground in the "culture wars," and competition between ideologies of the left and the right replace the quest for truth based on Scripture, creeds and Confessions. We affirm Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession which states that no one should publicly teach the Word of God in the churches without a regular call. We believe this call is from God through the Church, properly exercised by bishops, pastors and theologians. We believe that pronouncements on the faith and practice of the Church adopted by assemblies that are dominated by those who have no public teaching office undermine the right use of teaching authority in the Church. And we commit ourselves to work for changes in constitutional documents of church-wide bodies, judicatories, and congregations that give proper place to the teaching office.

    In view of all this, how do we navigate these tricky waters? As merely a humble reporter, I will not hazard an answer. I have tried to describe where we have come from in the structures and maintenance of the teaching office. And the specific matter raised concerning lay delegates, I believe, is a critical issue in connection with the exercise of godly teaching authority in the church. While it may seem benign in those situations where lay delegates essentially defer in their decision-making role to "experts" who provide faithful leadership in such issues, this is patently problematic. And, if we raise the spectre of the intrusion of "culture wars" and ideologically-charged issues—sensitive subjects, indeed, in these days—the issue strikes at the heart of theological integrity and faithfulness. The trajectory set in our church bodies by the culture of American self-governance is a genie that is not likely to be put back in the bottle. But this is what we have been asked to discuss. So, as we do so, it is my prayer that we first take comfort in the assurance that the Lord is in His heavens and rules all things for the good of His Body, the church, and that we affirm in our individual calls to remain faithful teachers of the faith entrusted once for all to the saints (Jude 3).

The Rev. Charles L. Cortright, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology
Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, WI



[1] Yves Congar, "A Semantic History of the Term ‘Magisterium'" in Readings in Moral Theology, No. 3, The Magisterium and Morality, C.E. Curran and R.A. McCormick, eds. (New York: Paulist Press, 1982): 297-313.

[2] Francis J. Sullivan, S.J., Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church (New York: Paulist Press, 1983), 25.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Warren A. Quanbeck, "The Magisterium in the Lutheran Church," in Teaching Authority & Infallibility in the Church: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VI, P.C. Empie, T.A. Murphy, J.A. Burgess, eds. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1980), 153.

[5] Eric W. Gritsch, "Lutheran Teaching Authority: Past and Present" in Teaching Authority & Infallibility in the Church: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VI, P.C. Empie, T.A. Murphy, J.A. Burgess, eds. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1980), 138.

[6] Gritsch, 141.

[7] Martin Brecht, Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation, 1483-1521, James L. Schaaf, trsl. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985), 254.

[8] Gritsch, 142 (emphasis added).

[9] Ibid.

[10] See LW 41:53-142, which is Part II of Luther's treatise.

[11] Gritsch, 143.

[12] Gritsch, ibid.

[13] Quanbeck, 152.

[14] Gustav Wingren, "Authority," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, J. Bodensieck, ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1965), 1:161. Cited in Gritsch, fn 38.

[15] All quotations in this section are from the WELS Constitution and Bylaws available at www.wels.net.



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