They have condemned Article VII of our Confession, in which we said that the Church is the congregation of saints. The adversaries have added a long essay stating that the wicked are not to be separated from the Church, since John the Baptist has compared the Church to a threshing floor on which wheat and chaff are heaped together (Matt. 3:12), and Christ has compared it to a net in which there are both good and bad fish (Matt. 13:47). This is a true saying: "There is no remedy against the attacks of the slanderer." Nothing can be spoken with such care that it can escape ridicule. For this reason we have added Article VIII. Let no one think that we separate the wicked and hypocrites from the outward fellowship of the Church, or that we deny power to Sacraments administered by hypocrites or wicked men. There is no need here of a long defense against this slander. Article VIII is enough to acquit us. For we grant that in this life hypocrites and wicked people have been mingled with the Church, and that they are members of the Church according to the outward fellowship of the signs of the Church, that is, of Word, profession, and Sacraments. Neither are the Sacraments powerless when administered by wicked men. Paul predicts, "[The antichrist] takes his seat in the temple of God" (2 Thess. 2:4). In other words, he will rule and bear office in the Church.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.