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Writing to the Church in Corinth, St. Paul referred to himself and other called servants of Christ as “stewards of the mysteries of God.” The work of the office of the holy ministry is still defined in this way, as pastors are sent by Christ to bring God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament to His Church.
The essays in this volume were written by the Rt. Rev. James D. Heiser, who serves as bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (ELDoNA) and as pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Malone, Texas. In these essays, Bishop Heiser addresses many aspects of the work of the ministry, but throughout there is an emphasis on the pastor’s responsibility for preaching the Word, administering the Sacraments, and exercising the office of the keys.
The ongoing significance of the Lutheran Confessions of the Book of Concord (1580), as well as other writings of the theologians of the Lutheran Reformation and the Age of Orthodoxy (1580–1713), is evident throughout Heiser’s writings. In the midst of the current “ministry” debates, these essays direct pastors and laity alike to the clear teaching of God’s Word concerning the blessings which the Lord grants to His Church through His called and ordained servants.