The WELS functional view of the Ministry: Kinda Sus!

"You will recognize them by their fruits." (Mt 7:20, NKJV) 

The WELS holds to a "functional" view of the ministry. This means that the tasks of a pastor are discrete functions that can be performed by any member of the church - including women - but subject to the headship principle Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.

The fruits of the functional view of the office include 

  1. Lay consecration, in practice
  2. Female consecration, in practice
  3. Women's ordination, in theory
Note that these are all historical aberrations.

1. Lay consecration

This is a not-uncommon practice in the WELS. I have consecrated the Sacrament in lieu of my pastor. The "call", loosely interpreted, includes any Christian in good standing. There is a confusion between the call to be a Christian and the call to the Office of the Holy Ministry.

This was a practice that the WELS abstained from since 2007 but has happened on multiple occasions. The WELS does not repudiate the practice but abstains from it, to prevent offense to our brothers in the ELS.

3. Women's ordination.

While this has yet to happen, seminary professors have published the opinion that there is nothing stopping the WELS from ordaining women so long as they are subject to the headship principle.

Prof. John F Brug: "Scripture does not say that a woman should not be ordained or that she should not be pastor or elder"
Rev Daniel P. Leyrer: "Actually, there is nothing in the Bible that prohibits a woman from being ordained or holding the office of pastor"
The theology the WELS uses to substantiate these views along with the proper exegesis of Scripture to refute these views is important. But it will take time to unpack in subsequent posts. But simply looking at their fruits, seems "kinda sus!"