Adopted at the 2005 Convention of the ELS
The document speaks of the divine institution of offices in the
church that have a limited public use of the keys (lines 53-57).
The Bible does not teach a limited public use of the keys.
None of our catechisms have ever taught this.
None of the Bible passages cited in the document (see lines
122-123) to teach a limited public use of the keys says anything about it
(1 Corinthians 12:5,28, Romans 12:6-8, Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:8,
5:17). None of them speaks of
being “in” the public ministry of the word to this or that
“extent” (lines 118-120).
The document says that a divine call for a Christian schoolteacher
is “in accordance with Romans 10:14-17 and Augsburg Confession XIV
(lines 134-135).” The plain
sense of Romans 10 is that the preachers are preachers (who are men) not
schoolteachers (who are male and female).
AC XIV refers to called and ordained pastors, not parochial
While previous ELS documents, such as “The Evangelical Lutheran
Synod: Character, History, Doctrine, Mission” and the 1981 ELS Catechism
speak of the congregation using the keys publicly by calling scripturally
qualified “men,” the
document speaks of calling qualified “individuals”
to exercise the keys publicly. This
change is to accommodate the notion that women may be called to exercise
the keys publicly.
The document does not clearly distinguish between what is divinely
instituted according to the plain words of the Holy Scriptures and what
the church institutes. For
example, the office of synod president “who supervises doctrine in the
church” (line 108) is a human invention, not the divinely instituted
office of preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments.
President Moldstad purported to
suspend me from the ELS because I refused to retract my December 6 paper,
“Clarifying the Issues in the ELS Ministry Debate.”
The words from that paper to which he has repeatedly objected are:
“This is why I cannot accept the PCM document.
I will not permit it to be a standard for my teaching and I do not
acknowledge it as having any authority over me whatsoever.”
My rejection of the authority of the synodically adopted statement
on the ministry in no way expresses any disrespect for the ELS or for
those who support the adopted statement.
To the contrary, it expresses my conviction that I may not submit
to any other doctrinal authority than to the Scriptures alone. My confessional subscription was taken voluntarily and
unconditionally because the Lutheran Confessions are in complete agreement
with God’s Word. For this
reason their authority is divine. I
cannot acknowledge any other authority over my doctrine than divine
authority. For me to retract
my paper would be to acquiesce to other than divine authority over my
doctrine. This would involve
me in sin against my ordination vow when I bound myself to this pledge:
“We pledge ourselves to the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old
and New Testaments as the pure and clear fountain of Israel, which is the
only true norm according to which all teachers and teachings are to be
judged and evaluated.” (FC SD Rule and Norm, paragraph 3)
During the past month and a half I
have repeatedly asked President Moldstad to show me from the Scriptures
where I have taught anything contrary to God’s word.
He has repeatedly declined to do so.
It is out of love and respect for our beloved ELS that I will not
retract my paper until I am shown from God’s clear word that I have
Pastor Rolf Preus