Ministerium is a term applied to an ecclesiastical body within the pale of the Lutheran Church. It is composed only of ordained ministers, and transacts business pertaining only to the interests of the ministry, such as the examination, licensure, and ordination of candidates for the ministry. "This is the specific and chief business of the ministerium. It also, when necessary, examines and decides charges of heresy against any of its own members, and may, by appeal, act in the cause of a layman charged with heresy — but only by appeal 'from the decision of a Church Council."' It will thus be seen that the business transacted by the ministerium is of a special and definite character; and to preclude any attempt to go beyond this, it is expressly provided that "all business not specifically intrusted to the ministerium... shall belong to the synod." Of late efforts have been made, especially in this country, to abolish the ministerium, and to transfer its power to the synod, in order that the lay members of the Church may have a voice in the management of the affairs now within the jurisdiction of the ministerium; and this demand has been made upon the ground that the Lutheran Church has suffered more from heresy and immorality in her ministry than other churches, because the minister is amenable only to his clerical brethren. See an able discussion on this subject in the Quarterly Review of the Evangelical Luth. Church, January 1873, art. 5.

Definition of minister

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