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As in all spheres of human endeavor that impose or involve responsibilities, privileges, obligations, and duties, there is and must be authority, so there is authority also in the ch. This authority was bought and est. by the blood of Christ and is given to the ch. by Him, to be exercised by it as such or conferred by it on its individual members. Authority in the ch. is authority of the Word of Christ, which must always be the norma normans in confessing, teaching, and living. Authority must be in perfect accord with the Christian liberty which is ours through redemption in Christ Jesus. Since authority is given by the Bible to the spiritual priesthood of all believers (see Keys, Office of the), of which, in fact, delegated authority is an emanation, those who have been given authority cannot lord it over the Christian cong. They are stewards rather than masters, servants rather than lords, and accountable to God. Though a cong. consist of only 2 or 3 members, it has all rights and spiritual powers. Those who exercise these powers for the cong. must administer such authority in the fear of God, for the welfare of the ch., in the interest of their fellowmen, and to the glory of God. HS

T. Coates, Authority in the Church (St. Louis, 1964); H. Studtmann, “Authority in the Church,” Abiding Word, ed. T. Laetsch, I (St. Louis, 1946), 410–441; “Symposium on Church Authority,” American Lutheran, XLIV (December 1961), 318–322; XLV (January 1962), 12–14+; (February 1962), 43–49+; (March 1962), 70–77+.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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