Lutheran bishops

Martin Luther if I understand my history correctly was a catholic priest and that means couldn’t ordain other priests, deacons or certainly bishops. So these Luthern bishops are they true bishops? Do they have the apostolic blessing?

I don’t believe any Lutheran church has apostolic succession.

No.

The approach of Luther and his followers, most protestants in general, is to insist that all believers are priests by virtue of their baptism, hence ordination is not a sacrament. Yet at the same time needing to set aside a subset of the baptised as spiritual leaders they call the subset of priests who lead pastors. The pastors are called by the local town/church. So they have no concept of apostolic succession.

This led Henry VIII to ask if such an approach would not one day lead to women priests. :shrug: Who knew.

No, they are not true bishops, nor true priests, nor true deacons. The Lutheran church, like all the Protestant churches, are solely composed of laity.

The Lutheran confessions go into detail about divine law, and the validity of presbyter ordination in the early Church, and even in the century prior to the Reformation (the Cistercian abbots, for example, used presbyter ordination).

In a couple Scandinavian countries, bishops remained with the national churches, even when they became Lutheran, so they would have succession. To my knowledge the Vatican has never stated one way or another whether or not this succession is valid, licit, or neither. One would assume, however, that the answer would be neither.

Over the last century, many Lutheran synods have, through Anglican lines (“Dutch touch”, etc) re-established succession. Here in the US, the ELCA did with its Call to Common Mission agreement with TEC, and in parts of Europe, Lutherans and Anglicans through the Porvoo agreement. Part of the problem with some of these is the ordination of women, which calls validity into question, even amongst confessional Lutherans (such as the LCMS) and Traditional Anglicans.

While we recognize the Priesthood of all Believers, we are different from protestants in that we recognize the need for a ministerial priesthood, properly called and ordained, and it is only pastors who should preach, and administer the sacraments.

Jon

I spoke with a Canon Lawyer on thi subject a month or so back and Rome does not see any Lutheran priesthood as valid. Only the Catholic Church, Orthodoxy, SSPX, and PNCC have valid Holy Orders.

I would not be surprised. My comment regarding the Scandinavian Lutheran churches has to do with a comparison to that of Anglican orders, where the CC issued the Bull “Apostolicae Curae”. Such similar document has ever been offered by Rome about Lutheran orders.
I might add that, while Lutherans would welcome Catholic recognition of our priesthood, lacking that recognition doesn’t place any doubt in our minds regarding its validity, and the validity of our sacraments.

Jon

I asked about why Rome has never come out and said a firm no like they did with Anglicans. He stated that “Rome does not have to say no in order for it to be a no. Some things are a given. Lutherans lost their valid succession and orders when they broke from the Church.”

I guess a line has to be drawn in the sand at some point. Gnostics claim AS and a valid priesthood and Rome has never come out and said “Oh no they didn’t” lol

As with the Dutch Touch issue, re: Anglicans (which I have noted, from time to time), the implications of Ott, p. 458, suggest that, logically, schismatic, but valid bishops (inter alia), convey valid/illicit orders, other sacramental factors being valid. But no word on the subject, from Rome, that I know of, in either case.

GKC

Again, I point to Ott.

GKC

The world’s longest game of tag continues!

Even longer is explaining the Anglican Communion/Church of England/British Monarch story.

But this is a long one, too.

GKC

Nor is there really any doubt in the minds of Catholics that Lutherans are protestants, regardless of what some Lutherans say about it.

I asked in another thread, but never received an answer, why apostolic succession matters to Lutherans. If the Catholic Church was rejected as Christ’s Church by Lutherans, why in the world would claiming to derive the validity of its orders from the Catholic Church be anything they would want? Why not just acknowledge the clean break that it really was? Most protestant churches do, or perhaps claim their group was there all along from the very beginning of Christianity.

I have heard some Methodists claim to be part of the Catholic Church (broadly speaking) too. I didn’t understand why they would want to do that any better than i understand Lutherans wanting to do it.

=Ridgerunner;11073279]Nor is there really any doubt in the minds of Catholics that Lutherans are protestants, regardless of what some Lutherans say about it.

In the historic sense - the protest at the 2nd Diet of Speyer, we are. The problem with the usage today is it artificially groups communions today as to imply a unity of doctrine and/or origin. Neither of which has ever been the case.

I asked in another thread, but never received an answer, why apostolic succession matters to Lutherans. If the Catholic Church was rejected as Christ’s Church by Lutherans, why in the world would claiming to derive the validity of its orders from the Catholic Church be anything they would want? Why not just acknowledge the clean break that it really was? Most protestant churches do, or perhaps claim their group was there all along from the very beginning of Christianity.

You come from a false impression. We believe the Catholic Church is part of Christ’s Church, and its members are Christian. What we reject is some of the errors the CC teaches.
As for AS, Melanchthon, in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, explains why it matters, why it is important to us.

Article XIV: Of Ecclesiastical Order.

24] The Fourteenth Article, in which we say that in the Church the administration of the Sacraments and Word ought to be allowed no one unless he be rightly called, they receive, but with the proviso that we employ canonical ordination. Concerning this subject we have frequently testified in this assembly that it is our greatest wish to maintain church-polity and the grades in the Church [old church-regulations and the government of bishops], even though they have been made by human authority [provided the bishops allow our doctrine and receive our priests]. For we know that church discipline was instituted by the Fathers, in the manner laid down in the ancient canons, with a good and useful intention. 25] But the bishops either compel our priests to reject and condemn this kind of doctrine which we have confessed, or, by a new and unheard-of cruelty, they put to death the poor innocent men. These causes hinder our priests from acknowledging such bishops. Thus the cruelty of the bishops is the reason why the canonical government, which we greatly desired to maintain, is in some places dissolved. Let them see to it how they will give an account to God for dispersing 26] the Church. In this matter our consciences are not in danger, because since we know that our Confession is true, godly, and catholic, we ought not to approve the cruelty of those who persecute this doctrine. 27] And we know that the Church is among those who teach the Word of God aright, and administer the Sacraments aright, and not with those who not only by their edicts endeavor to efface God’s Word, but also put to death those who teach what is right and true; 28] towards whom, even though they do something contrary to the canons, yet the very canons are milder. Furthermore, we wish here again to testify that we will gladly maintain ecclesiastical and canonical government, provided the bishops only cease to rage against our Churches. This our desire will clear us both before God and among all nations to all posterity from the imputation against us that the authority of the bishops is being undermined, when men read and hear that, although protesting against the unrighteous cruelty of the bishops, we could not obtain justice.

Jon

I don’t think Catholics (or Proestants for that matter) would accuse Protestants of having unity of doctrine, though most Catholics would think of Protestant churches as having at least a basic unity of origin.

And if you hold that the Catholic Church is guilty of plural errors, then why not in more if the fundamental argument really is whether the Catholic Church has teaching authority or not; a proposition which all Protestant groups deny? Your quote from Melanchthon seems to contradict your position. He clearly says that apostolic succession is of minor consequence, even unnecessary.

Since the 1960s, the word “Protestant” is used far less; generally only by Catholics. When I was growing up, individuals, churches, and institutions proudly proclaimed themselves as “Protestants”, all the time. I understand people are concerned about using one label for divergent groups. But those Christians outside Catholic and Orthodox were also quite divergent prior to 1965 - why were “Protestants” so avid to use the term in the 1950s, but not now?
Personally I would not call anyone “Protestant” now, since every group I know of seems to avoid the term. Call our fellow Christians whatever they want to be called now.

Interesting point. I recall as a young kid in the 1960’s coming to understand the word Protestant and asking my Dad if we were Protestants and given an ambiguous reply that Lutherans were “sort of” Protestants. Today, Lutherans generally don’t use the name Protestant since it signifies a form of Christianity rather unlike Lutheranism.

Somewhat intriguing is that doctrinally Lutherans view episcopacy as unnecessary but a worthy form of church governance. Yet nearly all Lutherans follow episcopal administration.

Apostolic succession within Lutheranism has never been challenged by Roman Catholics as it applies to the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. Now the majority of Lutherans in the U.S. and Canada also adhere to apostolic succession as passed down by the laying on of hands of European Lutheran or Anglican bishops [also the Episcopal church].

Does anyone on either side really care what each side really thinks of each other orders. They are valid in that Church. We can beat this subject to death.

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