Jerome Kromayer on Church and Ministry

It is necessary for us to look for the true church. This is denied by the Remonstrants [a Dutch Arminian group], who follow in the footsteps of Socinus. He regarded the question of which is the [true] church and where it is to be found as unnecessary, indeed as useless. This he did to hide himself and his followers all the better and more securely and to spread his [heterodox] articles of faith. But we are commanded not only to seek the pure doctrine and to distinguish it from the false but also to join the true church and have fellowship with it. This we prove from (1) Matt. 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate,” etc.; (2) Rom. 16:17: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them”; (3) 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit,” etc.; (4) 2 Cor. 6:14-15: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” etc.; (5) Eph. 4:3ff.: “...endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” etc. ... We therefore must not only confess the [divine] truth, but we also must practice fellowship with those who confess it, according to Eph. 4:3 and 1 Cor. 12:12ff.: “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,” etc.; and Heb. 10:25: “...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” etc. (Theologia positivo-polemica [Leipzig, 1677], pp. 1028-29; quoted in C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1987], pp. 143-44)

It may happen that the ears of the hearers may take from what is presented to them something that is better and more consonant with the truth than was intended by the teachers. Thus, for example, in the papacy, despite the rubbish of human traditions, Christ nevertheless was apprehended and retained by [some] devout hearers, and again among the hearers that recently left the papacy [Calvinists], who did not recognize the depths of Satan despite the subtle discussions of the absolute [divine] decree, some had the doctrine of the justification of a sinner by faith in Christ’s merits deeply engraved on their hearts. Therefore, we by no means absolutely condemn those who toward the end of the preceding century were put to death by the command of Duke Alva in Belgium [in 1567]. Most of them did not recognize the depths of Satan, and far from trusting in their good works, they desired to be justified and saved solely by faith in Christ. The [practical] use of this doctrine in the area of teaching is that we must carefully distinguish between the teachers and the hearers and not ascribe the errors to the whole church [to all members]. In controversies this doctrine is to be used against those severe judges who often condemn whole churches, often such as are innocent, if there arises religious persecution. (Theologia positivo-polemica, Part II, pp. 512-13; quoted in C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry, pp. 108-09)

Ordination is used in a wider and in a narrower sense. In its wider sense it denotes the call itself; in its narrower sense it designates the solemn attestation before the congregation. The call is necessary, but ordination (in its narrow sense) is an adiaphoron. Nevertheless, though it is not commanded, it has examples (serving as patterns), and thus more than other matters it receives the nature of necessary things. (Theologia positivo-polemica, p. 1060; quoted in C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry, p. 266)

The minister may not be engaged by those who call him through a contract for certain years or with the reservation to dismiss the freely called person. God nowhere has granted or permitted those who call the right to make such a contract. Hence, neither the one calling nor the one who is called may regard such a call or dismissal as divine. (Theologia positivo-polemica, Part II, p. 530; quoted in C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry, p. 311)

Of Presbyters, or Elders, there were formerly two kinds, those who taught, and those who exercised the office of rulers in the Church. This is taught in 1 Timothy v. 17: Let the Elders that rule well be accounted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. The latter were the same as our Ministers; the former were like the members of our Consistories. (Ecclesia in politia, id est, Historiae ecclesiasticae centuriae 16 [Leipzig, 1666], p. 59; quoted in Samuel Miller, On the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Office of the Ruling Elder)

Students of theology in certain places, as in the congregations at Württemberg, sometimes also here in Swabia, administer the sacraments. (Theologia positivo-polemica, p. 1059; quoted in C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry, p. 366)

“JEROME KROMAYER (1610-70) studied at Leipzig, Wittenberg, and Jena. He taught philosophy and history at Leipzig and in 1643 was made professor of theology. The university at Leipzig was known for its staunch Lutheranism and its mild tone. Kromayer along with [John] Huelsemann represented a strong voice against the Calixtine theology and syncretism. Kromayer was an astute and learned theologian... Because of its handy size and its usefulness as a textbook his Theologia Positivo-Polemica remained popular for two generations.” (Robert D. Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, Vol. 1 [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1970], p. 59)

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