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Authority of the Church

According to Luther the church gains authority when it exercies spiritual authority by preaching the Gospel and by administering the sacraments. He declines a special doctrine and juridical authority of the Church, as supposed in the Middle Ages and in the papacy. Luther denied this because it is not founded on godly truth. He also denied the special authority and valence of the priest’s office, because priestly authority is given to all baptized persons, cf., 1 Peter 2:9.

Luther proposed that the Christian congregation is entitled to choose a minister and to monitor true and false doctrine by themselves. According to Luther, the Office of the Keys has to be exercised in view of the soul care according to Matthew 18:15-17. Excommunication has only to be exercised because of notorious sins. He declines excommunication. The church does not to have to exercise her authority as power, but as a help to the Gospel and the salvation of the people.