Church teaching post

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The ecclesiastical teaching office (magisterium ecclesiae) describes the teaching authority in the churches that is exercised by certain ministers and church authorities.


The ecclesiastical teaching office developed in church history in connection with the episcopate , especially the emergence of the monarchical episcopate . The result of this development was the primacy of the Pope in Western Christianity, which first became more acute in the sense of a ius appellationis and later through the infallibility dogma of the First Vatican Council . Scripture and tradition are the basis of church teaching .

In contrast to this, Martin Luther formulated in 1523, “that a Christian assembly or congregation has the right and power to judge all doctrine and to appoint, install and remove teachers”. The bible alone is the guideline . In the course of the consolidation of the Reformation , doctrinal judgment was raised to the level of the regional churches , and the Confessional writings appeared as secondary norms alongside the Bible .

Roman Catholic understanding

According to the Roman Catholic understanding, the ecclesiastical teaching office is in continuity with the authority conferred by Jesus Christ on his apostles and handed down through history. In the universal church it guarantees the binding force of the Roman Catholic faith, presents it comprehensively, interprets it and protects it from falsification.

A distinction is made between ordinary and extraordinary teaching positions. Every bishop has the ordinary teaching post, the fellowship of all bishops with the Pope, as well as the Pope himself. The extraordinary magisterium is exercised by a council of all bishops in communion with the Pope, just like the Pope alone when he speaks ex cathedra .

Decisions of the highest magisterium are formally valid due to their authority even without reception by the believers or other church authorities. In terms of content, however, they are tied to the faith of the Church , which they explicitly explain, and aim at the consensus of God's people . In terms of certainty and binding force, dogmatics distinguishes the degrees of certainty or nota from beliefs .

Evangelical understanding

In the Protestant churches , the teaching office means, on the one hand, the exercise of public proclamation and, on the other hand, binding teaching decisions by the church leadership. The Magisterium of the Church is exercised collectively. The holders of the teaching office include those who are called to church office through ordination and vocation , as well as synods and other organs of church governance. In individual church ordinances, the bishops often have a special guardianship. However, this is also embedded in the joint teaching post.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Martin Luther, WA 11, 408-416.