Read “Discussion Points Regarding the LCMS on Deacons” by Rev. Parker

In this paper originally shared with TF 4-06A, Rev. Dustin Parker of Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, CA, provides a helpful metaphor for understanding the different variances of service in public ministry, along with direct quotes from Luther and Walther on the service of deacons.  

A concept running through his paper is that the service of LLDs is  

a) complementary to the pastoral office as one of many functions,

b) extends the pastoral office under supervision, and,

c) has credence in theology and practice among the “Lutheran fathers.”

Here’s an excerpt from Rev. Parker’s own thoughts in his paper:  

“[regarding deacons] I would use the illustration provided by the commissioned and non-commission officers of our armed forces. The first group of officers are those commissioned (ordained) in the regular manner by going to a service academy (either West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy or one of the schools like Norwich, VMI, Citadel. These officers serve regular unending commissions, usually with combat arms. This would be equivalent to those trained in our two seminary’s and the Concordia Irvine CMC program.”

“The second group are products of various ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs. Some of them serve full careers, but as reserve officers in specific roles in support of combat officers. For example, supply, communications, logistics. They aren’t usually used in combat units, unless as cannon fodder. They are however, full commissioned officers with the “command” responsibility. These would be the SMP trained and ordained pastors.”

“The third group are non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, sergeants, corporals.  These have authority and responsibility delegated to them by officers above. They have no authority or responsibility, save that which is delegated. They work with smaller specific groups to accomplish goals officers give them. They may, in certain battle situations, be tasked with more, or less. They serve as valued advisers to young officers, but again, do not have authority over them.”

And, an excerpt from a Luther quote in the paper:   

“To whom ever the office of preaching is committed, to him the highest office in Christendom is committed: he may then also baptize, celebrate Mass [the Lord’s Supper],and perform all the cure of souls [Seelsorge]; or, if he prefers not to, he may tend only to the preaching and leave the baptizing and other auxiliary functions to others, as Christ did, and Paul, and all Apostles, Acts 6” (St. L. X: 1548).29 i

And, an excerpt from a Walther quote in the paper:  

“…Therefore, the offices of Christian day school teachers, almoners, sextons, precentors at public worship, and others are all to be regarded as ecclesiastical and sacred, for they take over a part of the one ministry of the Word and support the pastoral office.”

Click Here to Read Rev. Dustin Parker’s Paper To Deacon Floor Committee