This power includes all the spiritual authority, which Christ has given to His Church on earth. On the basis of this authority the congregation has the right:
- To proclaim and teach God’s Word and administer the holy Sacraments.
- To care for souls with God’s Word.
- To remit the sins of penitent sinners, and to retain the sins of the impenitent.
- To call and ordain pastors to perform the above functions.
1 Pet. 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy
nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of him who
hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Mark 16:15: Go ye into all the world and preach the ospel to every creature.
Matt. 28:18-20: The Baptismal command.
1 Cor. 11:24: This do in remembrance of Me (Holy Communion).
This power is called the Office of the Keys, because it opens heaven by forgiving sins and closes heaven by retaining sins.