Ordinarily the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments according to divine institution belong to the ministers of the church, who have been legitimately called to that office, as we have shown [§§ 51–63]. Against this divinely established order one cannot and should not set forth extraordinary examples of extreme necessity, which are indeed exempted from the common law but which do not at all overturn the general rule. Thus in the case of extreme necessity when either a man must die without Baptism or a private person must confer Baptism, it is better for a private person to administer Baptism than that the man die without being baptized. Nonetheless the administration of Baptism ordinarily belongs to the ministers of the church, as is gathered from Matt. 28:19 and Mark 16:15, where the duty both of preaching and of baptizing is committed to the apostles.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Baptism and Emergency Situations (Johann Gerhard)
Lutherans now and in the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy held that any Christian may perform a Baptism in a case of emergency, whether he is a pastor or not. But does this mean that there is no need for the office of the ministry? And how should the institution of Baptism in Matt. 28:16-20 be understood? Johann Gerhard comments on this issue in Theological Commonplaces: On the Ministry, Part One (St. Louis: Concordia, 2011), § 74, pp. 97-98.