SUPERINTENDENT , a
See also:term which, apart from its general use for an official in
See also:charge, has a distinct religious
See also:connotation, being applied, e.g. to the
See also:head of a
See also:Sunday school and to the chief
See also:minister in a Methodist circuit . In its most important
See also:historical sense it refers to certain ecclesiastical
See also:officers of reformed churches of the Lutheran
See also:model . At the Reformation the question of the ordering and constitution of the churches was urgent . The greatest confusion prevailed: the priests were often dissolute, the
See also:people were ignorant, and meanwhile nobles were seizing the
See also:Church lands .
See also:Luther and
See also:Melanchthon would have preferred to retain the old episcopal
See also:control, and to have charged the bishops with the
See also:duty of making the necessary alterations in the ecclesiastical constitution . For, while they taught that in spiritual
See also:powers all ministers were equal, they recognized the propriety of allowing administrative distinctions . But the bishops were unwilling t o come to any terms with the Reformers, and it became necessary to appoint officers of some new kind . The name of superintendent was then given to a class of men who discharged many of the functions of the older bishops, while bearing a character which in several respects was new . Only in Denmark was the name of bishops reserved for the new officers after the Lutheran model had been adopted and the older bishops had been deposed and imprisoned . It is still used there, though no claim is made that it is the sign of formal
See also:apostolical succession . In Scotland the First
See also:Book of Discipline provided not only for ministers, teachers, elders and deacons, but also for superintendents and readers . The superintendents (who were appointed because of the scarcity o5
See also:Protestant pastors) took charge of districts corresponding in some degree with the episcopal dioceses, and made
See also:annual reports to the generalassembly of the ecclesiastical and religious state of their provinces, in the churches of which they also preached .
The distinctive character
See also:borne by the. new officers was determined by the
See also:cardinal principles which Luther had laid down in his
See also:work regarding the religious functions of the state . He conceived of the secular
See also:government as,an ordinance of
See also:God, and as being set to
See also:direct and control the.
See also:external fortunes of the Church . He hoped that righteous magistrates would at all times
See also:form a sound
See also:court of
See also:appeal in tirnes of ecclesiastical disorder, and that they would guard the interests of truth and
See also:justice more securely than had been done under papal jurisdiction . The superintendents who now had to undertake large administrative responsibilities in the Church were therefore to be appointed by the
See also:civil power and to be answerable,. to it, . They were to stand as intermediaries between the
See also:prince or magistrates on the one
See also:hand, and the ministers in their districts on the other . In his earlier writings Luther had laid his
See also:main emphasis on the spiritual priesthood of all believers . Every Sincere Christian was declared
See also:free, not only to preach, but also to administer the sacraments and to rebuke evil livers . The differences in
See also:office and
See also:function between the members implied no difference in
See also:rank, for the members of Christ's Church were all members of His
See also:body, and Luther believed that they would all be ruled into true
See also:order and charity by the Head . But he was shaken by the Peasants' War, and his faith in the virtues of the
See also:average man never recovered itself . The result was seen in his later writings, where he expresses his conviction that men need to be directed and restrained from without, and he looks to the state to undertake this duty . In the last resort the civil magistrates must take control of the Church . His vindication for thus subordinating the ecclesiastical to the civil
See also:lay in his
See also:assumption that the rulers of a Christian
See also:land would themselves be Christian, and that it was the Christian duty of the Church to render obedience to those who had been ordained of God to bear
See also:rule .
He, and the
See also:rest of the Reformers, were as
See also:firm believers in a visible Catholic Church as were any of those of whom he speaks as " the adherents of the old religion," and Luther, always conservative in feeling, clung to an
See also:alliance with the state and denied that the repudiation by the Reformers of papal authority had severed them from the visible Church . The character of the office and duties of . the superintendent were not everywhere the same . Luther shrank from imposing any stereotyped forms and asked that the
See also:special circumstances of each
See also:district should be consulted . He hoped that as few changes as possible would be made, and trusted that the reformed doctrines would spread peacefully throughout the
See also:country . After the
See also:Diet of Speyer (1526) the civil authorities were invited to reorganize the Church in their respective dominions as they thought best . This was not,telt to
See also:present any
See also:great difficulties in the free towns, for institutions of self-rule had there grown strong and schemes of ecclesiastical readjustment were speedily
See also:drawn up .
See also:Richter and Sehling' have published a number of these ordinances, and they show that as a rule one of the city
See also:clergy was appointed superintendent by the city fathers and set in a position of administrative authority over all the churches within their jurisdiction . They were answerable to those fathers for their
See also:good order . Greater difficulties presented themselves in the territories of the German princes, and in the case of Saxony Luther proposed to the elector that his first step should be to send out a commission of visitation which should
See also:report on the moral and spiritual
See also:condition of his principality, district by district . His proposal was carried out, and Luther himself became one of the visitors (1527-1525) . He found the people in a state of such religious indifference and
See also:ignorance, and the clergy living often in such grossness, that his faith in their fitness to govern themselves. ecclesiastically sank even
See also:lower than before, and he resisted all schemes for self-government such as had been proposed by
See also:Lambert . The church organization which he devised for Saxony provided t In their
See also:works on Die evangelischen Kirchenordnung
See also:des eaten Jahrhunderts (
See also:Weimar, 1846; and
See also:Leipzig, 1902-t904) .
noplace for democratic or representative elements: the grasp of the state must at all times be
See also:felt . The superintendent must speak at all times as a minister of the state, and the state must be represented in the synod to which he makes his first report, for upon the synod there must sit not only the pastors but also a delegate from every
See also:parish . If any appeal should be made from the decisions of the synod it must be heard in the court of the electoral prince, for he, as supreme civil ruler, possessed the
See also:jus episcopale, the right of oversight of the churches . Luther proposed that he should exercise this right by appointing a consistorial court composed in
See also:part of theologians and in part of
See also:canon lawyers, and it was thus that in 1542 the
See also:Wittenberg ecclesiastical
See also:consistory was formed . Other principalities adopted the model, so that the institution becarne
See also:common throughout the Lutheran churches . In this
See also:scheme the superintendent (or superattendant) was charged with such part of the duty of the older bishops as had been purely administrative . He must concern himself with the
See also:discharge of their duties by the pastors of the churches, as well as with their character and demeanour . He must supervise their conduct of public worship, as well as give them licence to preach . He must take cognizance of their
See also:ministry to the indigent in their parishes, and of their management of the
See also:schools . He must further direct the studies of candidates for the pastoral office . He was answerable to the civil authorities to report all evil-living and false teaching, and those authorities had final power in the matters referred to them . If those matters, however, presented technical difficulties, they could be referred to the consistorial courts .
The earliest occasion of the
See also:appointment of such a superintendent would seem to be found in the decisions of Prince
See also:John of Saxony about 1527 . He assigns the duties of the office, and summons the newly appointed officer to give diligent heed to the conduct and teaching of the pastors under him, faithfully to warn them of all errors, and, in case they prove obstinate, to report them to the electoral court . He must further give close
See also:attention to the due observance of the
See also:laws, for in this
See also:matter the previously appointed visitors to the principality had reported
See also:grave laxity . The title of this office was not new, but was taken over from the later Scholastics, who had employed it as a suitable
See also:translation of the word krta,coroi, but Prince John made it clear that his superintendents were not to be bishops in the old sense of the term . For every pastor was declared in the reformed
See also:doctrine to be truly a
See also:bishop and to have the spiritual functions and authority of a bishop; but the older bishops had also claimed a large number of administrative powers, and these for the future must be retained in the hands of the secular power, which would
See also:express itself in the first instance through the state-appointed superintendent . In the few cases in which the old bishoprics were retained in Lutheran communities their tenants held office directly from the state . Some of the smaller principalities appointed but a single superintendent for their territory, who, instead of being answerable to a consistory, sat as spiritual member on the territorial council, whilst in towns the superintendent was summoned to the
See also:town council whenever Church matters arose for discussion . In larger states there were various classes of superintendents with their respective duties severally assigned . In
See also:modern times the functions of the superintendent have been somewhat confused in consequence of the introduction into Lutheran Church theory of inconsistent elements of Presbyterian and synodal type . See T . M .
See also:History of the Reformation (1906), i .
400–416; and the articles " Kirchenordnung " and " Superintendent " inHerzog-Hauck's Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie and Kirche . (E .
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