Called: Recovering Lutheran Principles for Ministry and Vocation explores vocation and the call to ministry from a Lutheran perspective and reveals their promise for the wider church. It offers a foundation and clarity for those considering the office of rostered ministry, while encouraging all believers to live their spiritual priesthood and faith vocation by responding to the gospel's call to love and serve the neighbor.
The book has two main parts: The first part provides a historical overview of the inner call to ministry in the European and American contexts. This inner call in Lutheranism was encouraged by pietist leaders and later required by orthodox writers. In the American context, nineteenth-century Lutherans in the Muhlenberg tradition gave unprecedented emphasis to inner call, and Midwest confessionalists continued the tradition of encouraging inner call while treating it separately from the "regular call." Both streams flowed into the twentieth century as the church experienced mergers and addressed the ordination of women.
The second part of the book provides a Lutheran theology of vocation and ministry, with chapters on vocation, ministerial call, and lay ministry. The importance of external factors is applied to the calling to the office of ministry, with applications for clergy commitment and mission, and to the priesthood of all believers, with applications for the mission of the church in an era of institutional decline.
The book aims to support pastors and others considering rostered ministry and helps thoughtful lay readers support ordained ministry while discovering their own rights and duties to minister. Called will be especially helpful for congregational call committees and denominational ministry candidacy committees.