Norwegian Synod Theses on Lay Preaching

ADOPTED IN 1862

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1943 TRANSLATION:


1. God has instituted the public ministerial office for the public edification of the Christians unto salvation by the Word of God.

2. God has not instituted any other office for the public edification of the Christians to be used along-side of the public ministerial office.

3. When a man assumes the direction of the public edification of the Christians by the Word, he thereby assumes and exercises the public ministerial office.

4. It is a sin when a person assumes this (office) without a call or without need.

5. It is both a right and a duty in case of actual need for anyone who is capable of doing so to exercise the public ministerial office in a Christian and orderly manner.

6. The only correct definition of “need” is that there exists a need when a pastor is not at hand and cannot be secured; or when, if there is a pastor, he either does not serve the people properly but teaches false doctrine, or cannot serve them adequately but only so rarely that the people cannot thereby be brought to faith or be kept in it and be defended against errors, so that the Christian must faint for lack of care.

7. When such need exists, efforts should be made to relieve it by definite and proper arrangements according as circumstances will permit.


(From Grace for Grace [Mankato, Minnesota: Lutheran Synod Book Company, 1943], pp. 138-39.)

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1990 TRANSLATION:


1. God has instituted the office of the public ministry for the public edification of Christians unto salvation through God’s Word.

2. For the public edification of Christians God has not instituted any other order to be placed alongside of this.

3. When one undertakes the leadership of the public edification of Christians through the Word, he undertakes and exercises the public ministry.

4. It is a sin when anyone without call or in the absence of an emergency undertakes this.

5. It is both a right and a duty in the case of an actual emergency for everyone who can to exercise in proper Christian order the office of the public ministry.

6. The only correct conception of an emergency involves the actual existence of a situation in which there is no pastor nor can there be one, or in which there is one who does not properly serve them or who propounds false doctrine or cannot serve them sufficiently but so inadequately that that they cannot thereby be led to faith or preserved therein and protected against error so that the Christians would perish spiritually from lack of supervision.

7. When an emergency is at hand, efforts should be made to relieve it by definite and fitting arrangements as the circumstances permit.


(From Herman Amberg Preus, Vivacious Daughter [Northfield, Minnesota: The Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1990], p. 131.)

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