The Church and Her Fellowship

Volume IX
By: Kurt Marquart

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General Introduction
Part One: The Church

1. Sketching the Contours
2. The Church and Christ
3. Four Basic “Models” of Ecclesiology
4. The Church and Her Marks of Identification
a. The Church as Hidden Fellowship of Faith
b. The Church as Public Fellowship in the Means of Grace–The Marks of the Church
5. “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic”
Excursus: “Invisibility” in Pursuit of Precision

Part Two: Church Fellowship

6. The Nature of Church Fellowship
7. The Basis and Criteria of Church Fellowship
a. Gospel, Doctrine, Articles
b. “Gospel” in Wide and Narrow Senses
c. Is Doctrine the Activity of Teaching or the Content?
d. The “True Unity of the Church” is not a domain of pure inwardness
e. Orthodoxy: the Paramountcy of Truth
f. Orthodoxy as a Whole vs. the Dividedness of Heterodoxy
g. Orthodoxy does Not Mean Theological Perfection
h. Orthodox Confessions as Pure Gospel (Pure Marks) in Practice
8. The Ecumenical Movement: Charms and Challenges
a. From Lambeth (1888) to Lima (1982)
b. From Union Liturgy (1817) to Leuenberg (1973) and the Lutheran World Federation’s
Reconciled Diversity (1977)
c. The Point of it All: Faith or Sight?

Part Three: The Ministry

9. Priesthood and Ministry
Excursus: Luther and the “Uebertragung” [Conferral] of the Ministry
10. The One Gospel Ministry [Predigtamt] and Auxiliary Offices
11. Call and Ordination
Excursus: The Ordination of Women

Part Four: Church Governance

12. The Two Kingdoms or Two Realms
13. Local Church, Larger Church, and Polity
Excursus: “Missouri” and “Wisconsin” on Church and Ministry

From the Book

“Our world is not ‘post-Christian,’ merely post-Constantinian, which is a very different matter. Our age has seen inflicted on Christianity the most sophisticated and brutal assaults it has ever had to endure. Out of the depths of unspeakable dungeons came eloquent confessions, like that of the Lutheresque Romanian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who concluded that if Christianity was indeed dead everywhere else, as his tormentors insisted, then he would with Mary Magdalene weep at its tomb until it would rise again. Then there are the life and work of an Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the conversion of a Malcom Muggeridge, and the broadcast, unprecedented in seventy years of Babylonian Captivity, of the Easter Liturgy over Radio Moscow in the millenial year of Russian Christianity, 1988. What are these if not the stunning resurrections of Christianity in the very midst of its enemies (Ps. 110:2)? Let us be done then with self-indulgent prattle about our ‘post-Christian’ age!” (p.1).

“In ecclesiology everything hinges on a few crucial distinction, and the most crucial distinction of all is that between the church as the interior fellowship of faith and the church as the exterior fellowship in the means of grace. In Christology, if one lets either sight or reason override faith, one will end up denying either the divinity or the humanity of the God-Man. Faith, resting on God’s Word alone, is not offended by the lowliness of Christ’s servant form (Phil. 2:5ff.), but confidently embraces in it the eternal Son of God. Something analogous is true of the church, the mystical body of Christ” (p. 8).

“In the doctrine of the ministry the argument is not about whether something is conveyed (ubertragen), but about how and by whom this is done. Since, as nearly all agree, those who at some point become ministers were not such before, they must obviously have the ministry conveyed to them somehow and by someone. This is all that the word ‘ubertragen,’ in and of itself, means in this context. The whole argument is about how and through whom this happens” (p. 112).
What the reviewers have said about The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance:

“In the 19th century Vilmar wondered whether the pressures of political turmoil and confessional crisis would finally bring the Lutheran church practically to appreciate its ecclesiology. If we are to do so today, it will only result from serious theological reflection, not busying ourselves with organizational strategies. We must learn to glory in the Gospel in the doctrine of the Church. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod owes a debt of gratitude to Professor Marquart for this clarifying analysis of the matter which, at present, are of such critical importance and concern. We can only hope that his worthy locus will serve as a rallying-point for an ecclesiology of the cross in the 1990’s and into the twenty-first century.” –Ken Schurb in Lutheran Confessional Review 1/1 (1990):5

Dr. Kurt E. Marquart was Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dr. Marquart died in 2006.  He is the author of “‘Church Growth’ as Mission Paradigm: A Confessional Lutheran Assessment” in Church and Ministry Today: Three Confessional Lutheran Essays (St. Louis: The Luther Academy, 2001), the book Anatomy of an Explosion: A Theological Analysis of the Missouri Synod Conflict, and numerous articles, and is a frequent speaker at theological and pastoral conferences at the regional and national level. He is perhaps the most noteworthy apologist (i.e., defender) for confessional Lutheranism of the present generation.