ORDAINED MINISTRY IN THE AMERICAN LUTHERAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES: A STUDY IN THEOLOGICAL METHOD AND A PROPOSAL FOR MUTUAL RECOGNITION (ECUMENISM, ECCLESIOLOGY, LITURGICS, LITURGIOLOGY)

ARTHUR BRANDT HENDERSON, Fordham University

Abstract

The ecumenical dialogues between the American Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches have advanced the understanding of each communion's doctrinal traditions and taken bold steps toward mutual recognition by the respective churches. In the fourth dialogue, published as Eucharist and Ministry (1970), the participants grappled with the difficult questions of ecclesiology and apostolic succession in relation to the validity or authenticity of their celebrations of the eucharist. This study analyzes the theological methods utilized in the dialogue's position papers, demonstrates the inherent limitations of those methods, and proposes an alternative method.^ The basis for this alternative method is rooted in the patristic maxim, lex orandi, lex credendi, the conviction that what the church prays is not only reflective of the community's beliefs, but formative as well. Within the celebration of word and sacrament a theological understanding of the church's nature and mission unfolds. Beginning with the history and theology of medieval ordination liturgies for bishops and presbyters, and proceeding with the ordination rites for Lutheran pastors, this dissertation traces the developing concepts of ordination and ministry from the High Middle Ages through the contemporary liturgical reforms. The latter are carefully examined for their similarities and differences in terms of structure, content, and are compared with other theological sources.^ The results of a theological method grounded in the churches' worship reveal remarkable similarities in the liturgical expression of ordination, and to varying degrees, free the ecumenical discussion from some rather narrow constraints of methods which do not utilize liturgical sources. Through the examination of the ordination liturgies one can trace the quite divergent conceptions of ministry at the time of the Reformation to a converging understanding in the contemporary rites. This dissertation concludes with the recommendation to include the liturgical sources in future discussions and provides ample evidence for the value of this method. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

ARTHUR BRANDT HENDERSON, "ORDAINED MINISTRY IN THE AMERICAN LUTHERAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES: A STUDY IN THEOLOGICAL METHOD AND A PROPOSAL FOR MUTUAL RECOGNITION (ECUMENISM, ECCLESIOLOGY, LITURGICS, LITURGIOLOGY)" (January 1, 1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8612859.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8612859

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