Commentary on the Barmen Declaration: Sixth Article

Commentary on the Barmen Declaration: Sixth Article

The fourth article of the Barmen Declaration discusses the proper leadership of the church. This article more than the previous articles is most pertinent in its original context. The church in the West has never been the same since the corruption of the German national church.

See, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt. 28:20
God’s Word is not fettered. 2 Tim. 2:9

The Scriptures

Leading into the conclusion is a resounding affirmation to the authority of Jesus Christ and His word. The declaration has affirmed the Lordship of Christ and how he rules (See Part 1 & Part 2). Now we are assured of His residing presence with us. On this basis the certain church may respond.

The Church’s commission, which is the foundation of its freedom, consists in this: in Christ’s stead, and so in the service of his own Word and work, to deliver all people, through preaching and sacrament, the message of the free grace of God

The Affirmation

It may perhaps surprise the church that its freedom lies in its commission. A slave to none as the slave to all. So as the church brings the service of Christ's word through preaching and the sacraments than the church is expressing its freedom. One cannot minimize the proper administration of the sacraments as freedom. 

We reject the false doctrine that with human vainglory the Church could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of self-chosen desires, purposes and plans.

The Negation

The Church's commission can not be brought under "desires, purposes and plans." This would be to demolish the freedom of the church. This is precisely what was happening in the context of the declaration's writing.

(Check out the IntroductionPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 & Part 5

Joshua Torrey is the sole proprietor of Torrey Gazette (don't tell Alaina) and the fullness of its editorial process. That means everything wrong with TG can legitimately be blamed on him.