CCM Verax Response to Archbishop Dr. Georg Kretschmar
14 August 2002
Dear Archbishop Kretschmar,
Re: Your Correspondence from 25 March 2002
I wish to thank you for your letter from 25 March 2002 which I received on 08 July 2002. The courtesy of your reply on this matter extends beyond that of the vast majority of bishops in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I have long followed events in the ELKRAS through subscription to its church magazine Der Bote. Nevertheless, a letter from yourself is an honour.
I am pleased that your letter confirms the research in your published article [“Die Wiederentdeckung des Konzeptes der »Apostolischen Sukzession« im Umkreis der Reformation,” in Kirche in der Schule Luthers, (Erlangen: Martin-Luther-Verlag, 1995)], namely that the Lutheran Reformers did not know what the concept of “episcopal succession” was when Melanchthon drafted Article 14 of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession and that the Lutheran Reformers rejected this practice when the concept became a topic of conversation between 1538-40. Therefore, it seems rather impossible for the Reformers to have referred to “episcopal succession” in Apology 14 as claims Called to Common Mission (CCM) paragraph 11, the full communion agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church in the USA.
Although Melanchthon did express the Reformers’ desire to retain certain ranks of clergy in Apology 14, given the Reformers’ clear rejection of “episcopal succession” in 1539 (Melanchthons Werke in Auswahl, 1: 330, 16–23.) and in 1541 (Luther - WA 53: 74.), I would be most grateful if you could explain why you consider the Lutheran Reformers to have been desirous of this tradition. Please provide reference to sources.
Finally, if you are of the opinion that Anglican religious intolerance and associated persecution are confined to the 17th and 18th centuries, then you are either uninformed or misinformed about the effect of CCM on the ELCA. I would be grateful if you could indicate whence you receive information about the ELCA in relation to CCM. Again, I wish to thank you for your letter.
Mark Menacher, PhD