equal to their own clergy.
guides the ELCA on the path to becoming an episcopalian church. CCM does
not, however, say exactly when the ELCA will be episcopalian enough for
the Episcopal Church to declare the ELCA to be in "full communion"
order for the ELCA membership to accept the idea of becoming episcopalian,
CCM paragraph 11 effectively states that the Lutheran Reformers were episcopalian
and that the Lutheran Confessions clearly state the Reformers' deep desire
to have an Episcopalian- or Anglican-style church. CCM paragraph 11 reads:
succession" refers to a tradition which goes back to the ancient
church, in which bishops already in the succession install newly elected
bishops with prayer and the laying-on-of-hands. At present The Episcopal
Church has bishops in this historic succession, as do all the churches
of the Anglican Communion, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
at present does not, although some member churches of the Lutheran World
Federation do. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888, the ecumenical
policy of The Episcopal Church, refers to this tradition as "the
historic episcopate." In the Lutheran Confessions, Article 14 of
the Apology refers to this episcopal pattern by the phrase, "the
ecclesiastical and canonical polity" which it is "our deep
desire to maintain."
paragraph 11, like CCM itself, contains many inaccuracies. The following
points outline and summarize how the inaccuracies in CCM paragraph 11
form the basis for the grand the deception in CCM.
paragraph 11 claims that Article 14 of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession
refers to "historic succession" in the episcopal office when
the Apology speaks of "the ecclesiastical and canonical polity"
which it was the Reformers' "deep desire to maintain."
published in 1995 demonstrates that the notion of "episcopal succession"
did not exist until around 1538-1540. Thus, it is historically impossible
for the Reformers to have been referring to "episcopal succession"
or to "historic succession" when Augsburg Confession
(CA) and its Apology were written in 1530-1531.
Lutheran Confessions are, in fact, silent on the matter of "episcopal
succession" or of "historic episcopacy" or of any such
related concept. The Lutheran Reformers, however, were not silent on
the matter. When the notion of "episcopal succession" was
invented in 1538-1540, the Lutheran Reformers flatly rejected it.
1539, Philip Melanchthon, the author of the CA and its Apology,
testimony is cited by one, so that it will be thought firstly what
the church might be, and the spirit is separated from the carnal opinions,
which imagine the church to be a state of bishops and bind it to the
orderly succession of bishops, as the empires consist of the orderly
succession of princes. But the church maintains itself differently.
Actually, it is a union not bound to the orderly succession but to
the Word of God."
1541, Martin Luther declared,
the church, the succession of bishops does not make a bishop, but
the Lord alone is our bishop."
Michael Root, a member of the ELCA's CCM drafting team and now also
a faculty member at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, claims
in correspondence to the Episcopal Church from June 2000 to have known
of this research since its publication in 1995. This research obviously
undermines CCM. Nevertheless, CCM was drafted apparently without reference
to or regard for this research.
Furthermore, Professor Root himself stated in that same correspondence
that Article 14 of the Apology does not, in fact, refer to "episcopal
succession," and his qualifications to this admission involve scholarship
recognized internationally to be without credibility.
a result of CCM paragraph 11, the voting members of the ELCA's 1999
Churchwide Assembly were wrongly led to believe that the Lutheran Reformers
referred to and thus supported or sanctioned "episcopal succession."
In other words, the ELCA membership was led to believe that the Reformers
were episcopalian and that they wanted an episcopalian-style church.
From the above, such a claim is diametrically opposed to the Lutheran
Reformers' position on the matter.
to many, the unity prescribed by Called to Common Mission is
grounded not in the Lutheran Confessions but rather is derived from
the English Parliament's 1662 Act of Uniformity (cf. CCM paragraph 16).
By adopting CCM, the ELCA has pledged to conform its ordination structure
and practice to the dictates of seventeenth-century, English episcopalian
religious intolerance. The enforcement of this Act caused much persecution,
suffering, and death. It is to be recalled that the Pilgrim Fathers
(and mothers and children) came to the New World to escape this same
religious intolerance and its violent consequences.
no one today would expect the Episcopal Church to enforce its episcopalianism
against the ELCA with physically violent measures, episcopalian religious
intolerance nevertheless is the driving force behind CCM. In order
to achieve "full communion" with the Episcopal Church, the
ELCA must incorporate the principles of this religious intolerance
into its constitution and into the heart of its ordination structure
and practice. Such conditions for unity could not be more contrary
to the intentions of the Lutheran Reformers or to the aspirations
of many who settled America.
greatest sin, however, is theological. By quoting Bible passages out
of context, contrary to their meanings, and other related verbal chicanery,
CCM seeks to give the impression that the conditions for unity prescribed
by CCM are the will of God. Misrepresenting the Lutheran Reformers,
trickery with language, invented history, and conforming to the principles
of seventeenth century, episcopalian religious intolerance may be the
will of some god, but they are not the will of the one, true God revealed
in Jesus Christ.
making historic episcopacy a necessary requirement for unity, CCM
effectively states that Christ alone is not sufficient for unity between
the ELCA and the Episcopal Church. If Christ alone is not sufficient
for the life and unity of his church, then the divinity and lordship
of Christ are called into question. As such, CCM violates the First
Commandment (You shall have no other gods before me) and also the
Second Commandment (You shall not take the name of the Lord your God
in vain). The church in its common mission is called to address sin,
not to revel in it.
the strongest of terms, Martin Luther rejected all forms of deceit,
fraud, and lying in the church. In fact, Luther states that such acts
cannot arise in the church. Where and when the church engages in falsehood,
it ceases to be the church. As Luther comments,
must themselves admit, whether they like it or not, that the church
of Christ neither lies nor deceives... Therefore the holy church cannot
and may not lie or suffer false doctrine, but must teach nothing except
what is holy and true, that is, God's word alone; and where it teaches
a lie it is idolatrous and the whore-church of the devil" (LW
CCM, the ELCA easily exceeds Luther's single lie criterion for being
a church of ill repute. The ELCA may now be on its way toward visible
unity with the Episcopal Church, but in so doing, according to Luther,
the ELCA separates itself from Jesus Christ.
a detailed and researched presentation of the points above, please click