Emergency calls

Hello! I had a question about laymen ordaining pastors in an emergency. For example, in the Soviet Union, many Lutheran pastors were killed, and laymen were left with no pastor. So, because they did not have access to one, and since the need for one was huge, they ordained their own leaders. Was this a valid ordination? If so, why? Are there verses from Scripture (or Early Church writings) that show this to be valid (either by example or by implication)? Thank you for your time.

With your question on ordination, we need to back up one step. It is a divine call that enables a person to serve in the public ministry, to serve on behalf of others (1 Corinthians 9:14; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Timothy 3:1-10). Ordination is “public recognition or confirmation of the validity and legitimacy of the call that was sent and accepted.” (The Shepherd Under Christ, page 49). Ordination and installation are matters of adiaphora in that Scripture does not expressly command them nor forbid them. They are certainly meaningful, significant and historic customs that include the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:4; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6).

If Christians, in times of emergency as your question illustrated, call a non-theologically trained man to serve as their pastor temporarily, that is a valid call. Any ordination that followed would validate the issuance and acceptance of the call.