Lutherans, Bishops, and the Divided Church

in Ecclesiology
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Abstract

Lutheran teaching on ministry, as embodied in the Lutheran Confessions, includes a strong preference for the traditional episcopate and threefold ministry of the Western church, while granting that the church can, if necessary, live without them. This teaching permits Lutheran churches that do not have episcopal succession to adopt it from churches (whether or not Lutheran) that do. As the ongoing controversy over the Lutheran/Anglican agreement in the US exemplifies, however, Lutheran churches have been highly resistant to this step. The reasons for this are not peculiar to Lutheranism, but lie in the assumption of denominational self-sufficiency which affects virtually all modern ecumenism.

Lutherans, Bishops, and the Divided Church

in Ecclesiology

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