4. The Churches of God in Christ Jesus, popularly known as the Age to come Adventists. See AnvENTIaTa, 6.
6. The Mennonite Church of God in Christ. See MENNONITES.
Meaning of the Expression (§ 1).
The Reformed Church Government (§ 2).
Fundamental Differences of Lutheran View (§ 3).
German Reformers not Opposed to State Government (§ 4).
State Government Accepted in Luther's Time (§ fi).
Actual Views of Luther and his Contemporaries 0 6).
Influence of the Idea of the Common Priesthood (¢ 7).
Modern Development of German Church Government (§ 8).
[The following article is a condensation of the article Kirchenregime'tt in the Hauck Herzog RE; for more general discussion of the subject see POLITY.
Church government in the speech of to day denotes that particular conduct of the ecclesiastical community which is not effected by means of the spiritual administration of word and sacraments, but by means which on occasion may be of civil constitution. Prior to the Reformation the pastor was called rector, and regere ecclesiam (" to govern the Church ") indicated his spiritual care over
Church of Clod
the congregation through the word and sacra
ments. Church government is thus, originally, the
pastoral, though logically also the epis
i. Meaning copal, and, in the last resort, the pa
of the Ex pal cure of souls; because the bishop
pression. is properly the pastor of his diocese,
and the pope at all events according
to the doctrine of the curia parochua mundi (see
CURE OF Sours). However, the divinely given
authority for the spiritual control (poteatas eccle
3i(IStiCCI ; see AUTHORITY, ECCLESIASTICAL) em
braces, according to the theory then in vogue, every
regulative function, whether in a proper sense
spiritual or not; that is, certain functions not
within the direct sphere of word and sacrament,
provided only the same appear expedient to the
bishop or pope, as the case maybe, with relation
to the cure of souls. Hence prior to the Refor
mation church government was regarded as part
and parcel of the episcopal, or ultimately papal,
cure of souls. It was only after the establishment
of the Reformers' principle, that this theory con
flicts with Scripture, and that the ecclesiastical
authority which is to be exercised by the spiritual
office in virtue of divine commission comprises
rather the sole administration of word and sacra,
meats, and not, in addition, external control, that
the institution of church government as a power
by itself could become developed and was actually
developed. The idea of church government is this
sense is Protestant; the Roman Catholic Church, in
so far as it has continued upon the pre Refor
mation basis, still construes the matter as falling
within the spiritual province of ecclesiastical
Of the two Protestant Church bodies in which, upon the basis of the aforesaid Reformation doctrine, a scheme of church government has taken shape distinct from the spiritual economy it is pertinent to consider first the Reformed Church; and in fact its Calvinistic branch is of exceptional interest in this connection. The task of organizing the Protestant Church in France was
z. The Its complicated at the outset by the hosformed tility of the government. 1n the Church face of this enmity, the Church had to
Govern organize as an independent association. meat. Starting with Calvin's tenets that the church organization described in the Acts of the Apostles and the pastoral epistles is ordained by God to be directed by a college of elders, sad that this Church is an example or article of faith for every particular congregation, it developed this assumption, following Calvin's interpretation of Eph. iv. 11 sqq., Rom. aii. 7, and I Cor. xii. 28, into the doctrine that in accordance with the aforesaid divine arrangement there are two kinds of elders; namely, not only bearers of the teaching office who, in agreement with the Lutheran Church, were held to be restricted to teaching and the administration of the sacraments but also " ruling " elders, who were regarded as filling the spiritual, but not the teaching office (Calvin's "Institutes" IV., chaps. i. v., Xi., xii.). Pastor and ruling elders together constituted the governing body of the congregation (Fr. cortsis
faire, cf. K. Ricker, Grundsatze reformirter Kirchertverfassung, Leipsic, 1899, pp. 102 eqq., 141 sqq.). Then there came together from the congregations, comprising a definite group, certain delegates of the consiatoires, both teaching and ruling officers, to form committees (" synods "), through whose agency the corresponding church circuit was governed, the same as the congregation by the agency of the consistoire. Further, the French Evangelical Church as a whole is governed by a general synod (cf. G. von Polenz, Geschichte des franzdsisehen Calvinismus, 4 vols., Goths, 18.57; G. V. Lechler, Gesch.ic)rte der Presbyterial and Syrtodolverfdssung, Leyden, 1854, pp. 64 sqq.). The essential basis of the [Reformed] church government is thus clearly apparent in the main, even though now and then its lines of distinction coalesce. It rests upon divine authority just as in the pre Reformation Church; save that this commissioned authority is not imparted to the teaching elders, but only to the ruling ones. Yet the former take part, and indeed as weighty personages, in the sessions of the governing bodies, though this is only because they administer the order of salvation, and because all church government, in the nature of the case, has no other object than to render possible and make sure the order of salvation; hence the teaching presbyters enjoy their influence upon church government not as retainers of a divine commission to rule, but as expert representatives of their divine commission to teach; so much so, for instance, that in questions of doctrine the non spiritual members of synods have no voice. These fundamental ideas of the French constitution of presbyterial synodal church government have undergone, in the course of time and in connection with their development in German territories, various alterations an account of which properly belongs to church history.
Two fundamental points differentiate the Lutheran theory of church government both from the pre Reformation and Roman Catholic theory and from the Calvinistic Reformed the
3. Funds cry. In the first place, the Lutheran
mental Church does not assume that there
Differences is any form of church government
of ordained by divine commission, coin
Lutheran cidently with the institution of the
View. Church, but rather esteems every
form of government admissible by
whose operation sufficient provision is made for
the rightful administration of word and sacra=
meats. Hence there is no Lutheran dogmatic basis
of church government; and Lutherans accord to
the claim of the Reformed that there is no such
higher dignity than that of a theological opinion.
The second point is the fact that the Lutheran
Church, when, in accordance with the imperial
decree of 1526 at Speyer, it developed the State
Church polity, virtually from the very start placed
church government in the State sovereign's hand.
In consequence of these two differences the ques
tion of Lutheran church government is much more
complicated than that of the pre Information
Church, or of the Roman Catholic or of the Reformed
It has been asserted that the Reformers' ideals
Church Govorn out
THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG 94
were inconsistent with state government of the Church; and some (notably so F. J. Stahl, in
Kirchenverfaseung nach Lekre and ;. German Recht der Proteatanten, Erlangen, 1840,
Reform 2d ed., 1862; Lathes the Kirche and era not Union, Berlin, 1859) have inter
flpposed to preted these ideals as tending in the
State Gov direction of the pre Reformation con
erament. ception; others (as A. L. Richter, in
the Zeitschrift fur deutsches Recht and die Rechtawasaenschaft, iv., 1840, pp. 1 aqq.; lehr_ bucla den Kirchenrechta, Leipsie, 1$41 aqq.; Geachichxe der evangeliachzn Kirchenverfassung in Deutschland, 1851) think that they sympathize with the presbyterial synodal organization. This difference of opinion shows how alight is the foundation for either aide. Both views have arisen from the rational desire to obtain historic support and Reformation authority for party strivings the product and expression of modern times and the contentions of both Stahl and Richter are inadmissible. The chief argument against Stahl's theory is the attitude of the Reformers with reference to the actual institution and organization of church government by the territorial sovereigns: it is incompatible with a conception of polity fundamentally contrary. Richter, on his aide, to demonstrate his proposition of presbyterial synodal ideals of organization on the part of the Reformers, assumes that their views underwent a change somewhere about 1525; before that time their ideals were presbyterial synodal, but, owing to their experiences with Anabaptism and the Peasants' War, the said ideals were crowded out, and the Reformers were obliged to admit the actual necessity of church government under territorial sovereignty. Richter submits thin contention without more particular evidence, which would be hard to find. He forgets, for one thing, that the principles from which the territorial sovereignty form of church polity is deduced theologically were extant even prior to 1525, and were declared by the Reformers; on another aide, that not until after that year did the Reformation begin its ecclesiastical organization, so that only the ideas realized by the Reformers after that year are in question; it was not in the spirit of that age to project and formulate ideal systems of organisation without practical conditions to uphold them.
R. $ohm in his Kirehenreeht (Leipsie, 1892) has defended the thesis that the territorial sovereignty form of church government came about in oppo
sition to Luther's doctrine and after g. State his death, and that it was s product Government of the pusillanimous faith of Luther's
Accepted contemporaries and successors, being is Luther's closely related to the reaction, eapeTime. dally on Melanchthon's part, to Ro
man theories and to the conaietorial fabric which grew out of their influence, and the reenforoement of these conaiatories with temporal means of coercion. This thesis is untenable. If historical evolution be taken just as it stands, and the literature of the sixteenth century be considered as a whole, there can be no doubt that the government of the Church by the sovereigns of the State
was in harmony with the Reformers' theory; provided in this connection is understood by church government not the Reformers' " ecclesiastical authority " (see AUTHORITY, ECCLE8IABTICAL), but all that is involved in a legal direction of the church organism. The theory in question is not in any way taught by Melanchthon exclusively, as had been occasionally affirmed before Bohm; but in its main outlines it is apparent as early as Luther's tract An den Adel deutacher Nation (cf. O. Mejer, Die Grundlagen den lutherischcn Kirchenregiments, Rostock, 1864, pp. 26 aqq.), and it is elsewhere taught by Luther and others. It is clearly implied in the Lutheran confessional writings (Auga. Con., art. xxviii.; Art. Schmal., de potentate papa, pp. 354 355; Larger and Smaller Catechisms, pp. 361, 363, 448, and elsewhere; moat plainly in Auga. Con. rariata, article on marriage of priests, in Hale, Libra symbolici, p. L.). Its theological basic thoughts come to light in a long array of liturgies and other kinds of promulgations on the part of the Reformatory territorial sovereigns.
The Church as a corporate unity separated from
the State is a thoroughly modern idea, to Luther
thoroughly unknown (cf. 8ohenkel,
6. Actual TSK, 1850, p. 1; Hundenhagen, ZKR,
Views i., pp. 451 aqq.; W. Kahl, Yerachieden
of Luther heft der katholischen and evongeliachen
and his Anschauung caber daa Yerhaltnis Von
Contem Staot and Kirche, Leipaic, . 1886; O.
poraries. Mejer, Rechtsleben der deutschen evan
gel2:achenLandeakirchen, Hanover, 1899,
pp. 28 aqq.; K. Rieker, cat sup., pp. 55 aqq.). In
this unity two powers work aide by side, the two
swords of the Middle Ages; but this indicates
merely a " division of the administrative organiza
tion of the single body "; the well known and so
often misunderstood utterances of Luther an to the,
relation of the temporal to the spiritual power are
not intended to mean that the temporal power has
nothing at all to do in the Church, but rather that
within the one body two members, each in its
office, have to cooperate for the weal of the whole
organism, only neither is to encroach upon the
other within its rightful sphere. The spiritual
commission of the teaching order than appears to
be confined to the word sad administration of the
sacraments (that in, ecclesiastical power in Luther's
sense of the term); the authority of the governing
order appears to be directed toward rightfully up
holding the laws of God as expressed in the Ten
Commandments, especially according to the first
table of the same, to the end that no unlawful
form of divine service be endured in the land.
From these premises everything essential to the state
control of church government proceeds with logical
finality. Nor is this conclusion impaired by the
fact that the Reformers themselves accounted the
government's position not so much a source of
rights as a sum of obligations the government
was to fulfil, a responsible office which called
into play all those prerogatives which moderns
are wont to denigrate as corollaries to a " govern
To be sure, alongside there lines of thought are
ga RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Ohnroh Qoverament
also to be found certain documentary indications
of the germs of a second and divergent theory; not
one, however, that reaches backward toward the
pastoral form of church government, but one out of
which, in favoring circumstances, a presbyterial
synodal polity might have grown. There is here
is mind, above all, that fundamental principle of
Protestantism, the common priesthood. For even
though it be true that this principle was conceived
by the Reformers only as a religious
7. Infiu principle (so that things were carried
ence of the too far when in earlier times it was
Idea of the attempted to derive from this basis
Common independent administration and oon
Priesthood. gregational tenets, and set these up as
express doctrines of the Reformation),
it is none the less an overshooting of the mark on
another side when modern writers like Bohm (ut
sup., p. 510) and Rieker (ut sup., p. 79) profess to
credit this thought with no influence at all upon
the constitution of the Evangelical Church (of.
E. Sehling, in ZKR, 1894, p. 229, and Kirehenge
adzgebureg enter Moriz von Sachsera, Leipsic, 1898,
pp. 3 sqq.). If, conformably to the well known
doctrine of the Lutheran confessional writings (cf.
the same collected with the pertinent citations in
O. Mejer, Lehrbuch des Kirchenrechta, GSttingen,
1869), the congregation of believers is bound by
the obligations of faith to see to it that sufficient
provision is made at all times for the rightful ad
ministration of word and sacraments, and if,
furthermore, this congregation is charged with
responsibility before God in this matter (APoI.,
p. 292, and elsewhere), it follows that the congrega
tion as a congregation must see to it that this divine
commission is properly exercised by those whom
it appoints to this end. Upon such bases a pres
byterial synodal church government might very
well be constructed. But these ideas were not
developed, because, as above set forth, they were
thrust aside and suppressed by the system of terri
torial sovereignty that governed the Church. Or,
slightly changed, they were introduced into the
territorial system by the teaching that since each
member of the congregation is bound to contribute
according to the measure of his ability toward the
maintenance of a rightful and adequate adminis
tration of the word and sacraments, and since the
territorial sovereign possesses an especially high
measure of such ability (in virtue whereof he is
designated as membrum ecchai&, pracipmum), he
must accordingly apply all his power entrusted to
him by God toward the satisfaction of that obli
gation. By this process the government of the
Church might practically fall into the hands of the
territorial sovereign alone; because the means at
his disposal pre so vastly superior to those of all
other church members that these, in comparison,
find nothing further to do (Luther's Bedsaken von
1630. Erlangen ed., liv., p. 179; Art. Schmal., p. 350;
Mejer, ut sup., pp. 109 eqq., cf. 27, 36, 48). The
idea of me»sbrum ecclesia Trrceciptcum, to be sure, is
spin and again by subsequent absurd
usage; but it always carries the assumption that
the territorial sovereign has the power to apply
his governing rights to the furtherance of ecde
siastical ends. This was the case in the Reforma
tion period and in general so long as his rights were
regarded and exercised as operative private rights.
According to the civil law of to day, however, the
governing rights of the territorial sovereign are in
the nature of public powers, which reach no further
than their corresponding official obligations. The
doctrine of membrum ecclesace yorocigruum is there
fore antiquated, and has no significance in present
praxis. On the other hand, conjointly with the
custodica prioris tabuhe, it constituted, down to the
middle, or thereabout, of the nineteenth century,
the principal foundation upon which the territorial
sovereignty rule of the Church was declared to be
a part of the territorial governing office, and as
such was regarded as an adjunct of state supremacy.
Meanwhile, after some beginnings of changing
views that were even earlier apparent, since the
middle of the eighteenth century the point of view
according to which church government is admin
istered by the State has changed more and more.
In place of the purpose to uphold the
8. Modern first table of the Ten Commandments,
Develop there intervened, as Territorialiemn
meat of (q.v.) came into power, the humani
Germaa tarian political aim to make the State
Church religiously a unity, to the end that
Government. quiet and peace, the supreme ends of
the State, be achieved; and when a
subsequent further evolution of think brought
the tolerance principle into play, for this aim was
substituted one deriving from freedom of conscience,
which determines state activity on this side to day.
The theory of the Church was neat changed by the
natural right school; the Church is not an institu
tion founded by God, but a society, an association
within the State. But several equally legitimate
churches standing aide by aide in the State can
be treated by the state government only as church
associations which govern themselves; and if
among them there is a Lutheran Church, its status
dote not differ from that of any other, and the right
of the State in its government becomes a mere
Kirchenlwheit (jus circa sacra), which is essentially
the police control of associations. This appears the
more equitable since the new constitutional pmg
res has brought matters to such a pass that the
popular representatives have acquired directly or
indirectly a determining influence in legislation
and certain other specific rights of government,
indeed the satire sphere of operation; since, further,
all representatives in the Diet have equal voice
the Reformed, the Roman Catholic, and the non
Christian members the same as the Lutherans
and this equality of influence on the part of non.
adherents of the Lutheran Church is inconsistent
with its constitutional parity. Accordingly there
are projects on every side in the direction of a
logical transformation of the territorial sovereignty
form of church polity into corporate a& govern.
ment. It has been previously remarked that the
Reformers' theology opened the way to progress
in this direction; and that the example of the
Calvinistic Reformed Church was not far removed,
even though the Tatter's dogmatic tenets were not
here to the purpose. And in fact it is true that
THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG 98
as soon as the collegialistic and constitutional State theories gained force and were here earlier, there later, here more, there less, carried into execution, likewise in the Lutheran Church the congregations have employed presbyterial church committees; synods have been constituted of representatives of these committees for districts; and finally a general synod for the land, or, where several Lutheran denominations exist, a synod of the denominations has been brought together as the general representative body of the church. So the Lutheran Church is acquiring the organization of a corporate Church, in virtue whereof it governs itself.
7. Nature and Aim.
II. Church History and Secular History. III. Sources.
Written Sources (5 1).
Unwritten Sources (¢ z>.
TV. Duty of the Historian.
Investigation Q 1).
Presentation of Results
V. Periods and Epochs.
1. Sacred or Biblical History.
9. Christian History or Ecclesiastical History Proper.