...the Church properly is the congregation of saints and true believers...This would include Baptists, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Calvinists, Methodists, Anglicans, and so on...Presumably, anyway, given the way we handle ecumenical affairs...
And yet, we also say, per Article VII,
The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.But, as Lutherans, we would say that all of the above do not, in fact, teach the Gospel or administer the Sacraments rightly. So are Baptists, Catholics, EOs, Calvinists, Methodists, Anglicans, and on and on part of the Church, or not? Are some people in those denominations "secret Lutherans," perhaps unawares, and thus part of the Church? Which Karl was it - Rahner or Barth - who had the "secret Christian" theory?
It's late, so maybe I'm seeing a contradiction that really isn't there. But given the intellectually rigorous nature of seminary studies these days...hahaha...I'm gonna need someone to explain this to me.