Friday, July 8, 2011

Additional Thoughts on Bucer

Martin Bucer was born November 11, 1491 in Schlettstadt, Germany. In 1517 as a member of the Roman Catholic Church he joined the order of the Dominicans. The Dominican's are a religious order founded in 1216 by Dominic. It is known as the order of preachers and was founded to propagate Catholic dogma concerning their view of the gospel.

Bucer studied the writings of men like Erasmus and Aquinas. He also studied the writings of Martin Luther. Bucer met Luther in 1518. He began to write to Luther in 1520 and carried on a correspondence with him. Bucer was accused at Rome of having a relationship with Luther and being sympathetic to Luther’s teachings. He left the monastery in 1520.

In 1523 Bucer went to Strasbourg where for over 25 years he was an undisputed leader in the attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and the subsequent break away. With men like Zell and Hedio, Bucer was the soul of the Strasbourg Reformation. By his preaching, writings, and personal relations with other reformers he was able to influence his city and other countries. He was pastor of St Aurelia (1524-1531) and St. Thomas (1431-1540.) In 1530 he became president of a newly founded church council which became the supreme church authority in Strasbourg. On February 20, 1529 he was able to abolish the mass thereby firmly fixing the reformation in Strasbourg.

I share these things with you because I am enjoying reading and learning much about this fascinating man who had such a major influence in the reformation including heavily influencing John Calvin. It seems that Bucer had a passion and a goal for developing a reformed church order. This led to the publishing of what he called his “little book” Concerning the true soul-care and the correct shepherd-service, how the same should be established and executed in the Church of Christ written in April of 1538.

The reason for his book was the developing storm of who controlled “church discipline.” The two contenders were either the city council who controlled church order and discipline or should the church do so. Bucer’s conviction was that discipline belonged with the Word and the sacraments as “constitutive marks of the church of Christ.”

Bucer maintained that there were two kinds or types of ministry – the ministry of the word and discipline and the ministry of temporal care for those in need. Someone summarized these two areas as “The ministry of teaching and spiritual discipline” and “the ministry of the care of souls.”

Bucer listed five (5) main tasks when it came to the care of souls (Bucer was given to long, lengthy sentences):

1.  To lead to Christ our Lord and into his communion those who are still estranged from him, whether through carnal excess or false worship

2.  To restore those who had once been brought to Christ and into his Church but have been drawn away again through the affairs of the flesh or false doctrine

3.  To assist in the true reformation of those who while reaming in the church of Christ have grievously fallen and sinned

4.  To re-establish in true Christian strength and health those who, while persevering in the fellowship of Christ and not doing anything particularly or grossly wrong, have become somewhat feeble and sick in the Christian life

5.  To protect from all offence and falling away and continually encourage in all good things those who stay with the flock and in Christ’s sheep-pen without grievously sinning or becoming weak in their Christian walk

I will close these thoughts with this paragraph from Bucer which I think needs to be taught, modeled, and practiced by the church today:

“…that all the members of Christ recognize and embrace each other most intimately and lovingly, and that they build one another up in the knowledge of and obedience to the Son of God most zealously and efficaciously, and that the ministers of the churches know, care for and tend the individual sheep of Christ, as the chief pastor Christ set the example…In countless places in Scripture, the Lord described and set forth for us this [discipline] which we also have proclaimed so clearly for so many years in life and writings and sermons."

What do you think of these five main tasks?

Why are these valid tasks?

What do you think Christ requires of His shepherds in the care of the souls of His sheep?


welcome to my world of poetry said...

This was someone eles I hadn't heard of before, such an in depth post. Thank you Gregg,

Have a lovely week-end.

Penned Pebbles said...

These are indeed needed and valid tasks since the flesh is weak and warring against the Spirit(Galatians 5:17, Romans 7:23). Church is not just a meeting place for good and pretty people but a fellowship of believers who need constant scriptural reminders, encouragement, restoration (Heb. 3:13, 10:24-25). Your last question, John 21:17?

Toyin O. said...

What an insightful post, thanks for sharing.

Michael Wright said...

I would say that they are needed tasks, things we should probably mull over awhile and pray about.

Persis said...

I agree with these tasks. But this requires more than Sunday-only involvement in each other's lives.