Licensing, according to which one confers the right to preach and to baptize to a man for a while, is a great wickedness which is forced in America. Upright Lutherans have cried murder about it and brought in that one has lost more and more of it. If someone came from Germany who volunteered for the preaching office, then he was examined by the American church councils. If it turned out in such exams that he did not know whether or not John was a prophet, whether the Revelation of St. John was at the end of the Bible or before Deuteronomy, whether David had lived before or after the Judges, then one said: The man must surely still come to deeper insights, but he can also do good. And so they gave him a piece of paper, according to which he had the power to lead people to hell. What is a Synod that tolerates such abominations among themselves, other than a vagabond society that is no better than such whom she has made into a preacher? If they may imagine among themselves they are liberal and not as harsh as the Old Lutherans: God will show them once, what it is not to be gruff in this matter. On that great day He will say to them: “Bring me again the blood of souls that you have shed partly yourselves and partly by others.” What kind of perverseness this is! One gives such people the right to preach, baptize, to solemnize marriages; only they were not allowed to administer the Holy Supper; and do not consider that even preaching is the hardest thing in the whole office, even that it is the most beneficial thing that a preacher can do, but that it also can be the most dangerous thing for him and others. And these men give it to the first, best price! Only when Holy Communion should be administered should one of them that is in office consecrate. But these people are now dying out. Whoever still has a drop of Christian blood in his veins goes into the Office with fear and trembling. For the Lord says to a preacher: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman that you should warn the wicked on My behalf. If you now do not preach that he who belongs in hell hears it from you, and the one who belongs in heaven does not hear it from you, then you yourself are a child of hell and I will require the blood of the neglected souls from your hand.” It requires many years of study in order to be able to divide the Word of Truth properly and to administer the Office according to God’s will. But for now there comes such a blockhead who knows nothing and has the audacity to be a doctor of souls who wants to dissuade people from the path to hell, and he himself is going to hell. Is this not awful?
– Wilhelm Sihler, “Theses on Church Fellowship”, Commentary on Thesis 11