The Church must always be alert to the dangers from without and within. The most troublesome are the dangers of false prophets within the church. We deal with them on the basis of God's Word and not human authority.
Paul says, "Our citizenship is in heaven" And, "The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds"
Our teachers distinguish between the duties of these two authorities [state and church]. They command that both be honored and acknowledged as God's gifts and blessings.
If bishops have any authority of the State, this is not because they are bishops. In other words, it is not by the Gospel's commission. It is an authority they have received from kings for the purpose of administering the civil affairs. This is another office, not the ministry of the Gospel.
The bishops' civil authority must be distinguished from the Church's jurisdiction. The only authority that belongs to the bishops is what they have according to the Gospel. For they have been given the ministry of the Word and Sacraments. They have no other authority according to the Gospel than the authority to forgive sins, to judge doctrine, to reject doctrines contrary to the Gospel, and to exclude from the communion of the Church wicked people, whose wickedness is known. They cannot exclude people with human force, but simply by the Word. But when they teach or establish anything against the Gospel, then the congregations are forbidden by God's command to obey them. Beware of false prophets. (Matt. 7:15) (paragraphs 16-23)
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.