...ecclesiastical and civil power are not to be confused. The power of the church has its own commission to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments. Let it not invade the other's function, nor transfer the kingdoms of the world, nor abrogate the laws of civil rulers, nor abolish lawful obedience, nor interfere with judgments concerning any civil ordinances or contracts, nor prescribe to civil rulers laws about the forms of government that should be established. Christ says, "My kingdom is not of this world," and again, "Who made me judge or divider over you?" Paul also wrote...,"Our commonwealth is in heaven," and..."The weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy arguments,"...At the very least, this article suggests that Lutheran Christians ought to be extremely circumspect about the Church, bishops, or pastors issuing political judgments in their capacity as spokespeople for the Gospel. There are no doubt times when the Church, bishops, and pastors may feel compelled to speak prophetically on social and political issues. But they should do so only when the ministry of Word and Sacrament, the true power of the Church as given by God, commands it. Absent that clarity, we depart from the will of God and diminish the authority of our proclamation of the Gospel when we present our own political views, however well founded we may deem them to be, as though commended by God.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Church and Politics?
From Article XXVIII of The Augsburg Confession, one of the basic confessional documents of Lutheranism: