This article is typical of so many articles on the doctrine of the ministry. It pits human writers against human writers without even one (that's right, not even one) clearly expounded scripture, leave alone a majority of scriptures which speak to the doctrine. I have struggled to fully grasp both sides of the old Synodical Conference's doctrine of the ministry for years and find flaws in both when they are carried to their logical extremes in practice (which both have been in the history of the WELS and LC-MS).
This lack of biblical evidence warps this article as it does so many others. It seems to come across that we understand the Bible in light of the confessions instead of saying we understand the confessions in light of the Bible. Which is the ultimate authority and sheds light on the other?
There is a reason why the doctrine of the ministy was not devisive in the Synodical Conference. With the wholesome tension, neither WELS nor LC-MS could carry its doctrine to its logical extreme. Now, almost fifty years after the break in fellowship, both WELS and LC-MS have factions which are taking their doctrine of the ministry to its logical extreme and the weaknesses in the logical extremes of both are showing.
At the Diet of Worms Luther asked to be shown from scripture or sound reason what was not true about his teachings. In this current case of the doctrine of the ministry, sound reason has not prevailed because there has been mostly an unending pitting of the church fathers against each other to no avail. What we need is clear and determinative exegesis of the sedes passages on the ministry, followed by clear and determinative exegesis of non-sedes doctrines on the ministry. Even there one problem will be to find unbiased exegetes on either side. It seems we are more interested in doing exegesis of Walther, Pieper, Schaller, and Meyer, rather than the scriptures. That has led to confusion and to the weakness of our arguments. If we can only "prove" a position by quoting the church fathers, but cannot "prove" the same position by quoting sola scriptura, we have gone the way of Rome.