Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Church is Serious Business

There are some things that you don't mess with. A couple of those are rights, rituals, and traditions of the State Evangelical (Lutheran/Reform) Church. The State Church has special status including that the government collects church tax from the members and gives it to the church. The State Church has also rights to TV and Radio that a "free" church does not have. We can not put ads on the TV or radio like any church can in the USA.

At the end of August (IDEA, 35.2021, p. 30) an article came out about a theological student who was asked by an old man to bury him when he died. In 2020 the old man died and the student wore "Pastor Robes" after talking with a former Bishop about it. The Bishop said he could and so he did not call himself a "Pastor" but wore "the Robe". Two real Pastors filed a complaint in a court of law against him. The charges that he called himself a "Pastor" were dropped but he was sentenced to 60 hours of community service. Originally he also was to pay a $1500 (1200€) for using the title Pastor.

There have been cases in which "Preachers" of "free" churches were also taken to court for using the title "Pastor" without having the proper credentials according to the laws of official occupational titles. There have been lawsuits in which the leaders of "free" churches were allowed to use the title. But it seems to be a touchy area. What I originally heard may not hold up in a court. The "Pastor" had to be ordained and have a Master (or equivalent) degree from a university. The conservative Lutheran preachers who have a three year certificate from a Bible college would never call themselves "Pastor".

Some things are still holy in the State Church - like robes and titles?