Official Publication of the LMS-USA

August 2002

Volume 9, Number 3

In this Issue:

The 2002 LMS Annual Conference and Convention

Pastors and laity of the LMS gathered for their annual Conference on June 23. Conference presentations centered around the theme, Nurturing The Soul. These presentations, as well as the sermon for the Convention Service of Holy Communion, will soon be found on the LMS website,

The Annual Convention of the LMS was held on the afternoon of June 24. Rev. John Erickson of Chetek, WI was reelected synod chairman, Dianne Boekankamp. Indianapolis, IN was reelected synod secretary, and Jan Jerahek, Chetek, WI was reelected synod treasurer.

A couple of matters of business are worth making note of here. One matter of business had to do with voting at our annual synod meetings. The following was approved but will be worked out and voted on for final approval next year (It involves some changes to our constitution).

The following shall have a vote:

  1. each subscriptional pastor with a call to a congregation;
  2. each subscriptional pastor with a call that has LMS-USA responsibility;
  3. Other subscriptional pastors with ministry to the church at large, the synod convention will decide if the call meets ministry criteria. LMS-USA rostered clergy, even if not subscriptional, may be granted a vote by the synod convention;
  4. Each subscriptional congregation shall be entitled to a minimum of one vote. In order to keep a balance between lay and clergy votes, the number of lay votes per subscriptional congregation may be increased to compensate for the number of clergy votes. The number is to be adjusted each year by the synod convention to maintain the balance between lay and clergy votes.

Another business which will require some changes in our constitution has to do with the clergy roster. The following was approved. After two years of being accepted to the clergy roster, if a member of the clergy has not attended a meeting, he will be dropped from the clergy roster or put on an inactive roster. And secondly, A two year limit will be made for contact with LMS-USA by a person that has made an application to us. That person to be listed as inactive clergy. If no contact has been made in a year after that, the person be dropped from the clergy roster.

Dr. Robert Hotes was elected seminary president replacing Rev. Michael Zamzow. Dr. Hotes will continue to work on our three prong approach to preparing men for ministry of Word and Sacrament, i.e.,

  1. working with seminary graduates,
  2. working with prospective pastors with some or no seminary training but who desire training in an accredited institution, and
  3. working with the older, or second or third career individual.

[See our website,, for further information].

The report to the congregations of the Convention will be out to the congregations by early fall. This is unique to the LMS. Congregations are asked to review all action taken at the annual convention. If there is something that pastors or congregations are in disagreement with, if ten percent register that disagreement within 60 days of the mailing, then that matter will be put on hold and made a matter of business next year.

Youth of the LMS met again this year in conjunction with the LMS Conference/Convention. They followed the Conference theme, "Nurturing the Soul," by learning about themselves. Each participant was asked to take the Enneagram personality test, which placed each in one of nine spiritual types. No matter what their type, they were asked to face a flaw within themselves that they might be trying to avoid. In facing him or herself, each participant was encouraged to then follow Christ's example and become redeemed. This is possible because Christ perfectly addressed all human flaws. Besides confronting their fault, each youth was shown how to overcome their sin through prayer, Bible study, and community service. As an example of community service, the youth ran a car wash to raise money for the missions within our synod. Throughout the weekend, six guest pastors were asked to talk about their missions, and each youth was asked to decide where their car wash money might best be used.

In addition, the youth helped St. Matthew beautify its grounds by weeding and mulching the front area of the church. They also practiced and performed the play, Daniel in the Cowardly Lion's Den, an MGM presentation. The play complete with a back-flipping lion, a sulky King Darius, and a pensive and convincing Daniel, was a complete hit.

Of course no LMS Youth Conference could be complete without a rousing game of sardines, played on and off all weekend. The award for staying hid the longest without discovery goes to Courtney Eddy. We would like to thank Courtney, Sara Heavrin, and Arik Johnson for serving as Youth Leaders.

If you would like to receive a copy of the Enneagram material and personality test we used during the Youth Conference, you can request one at O

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Luther's Small Catechism and Christian Education

What place does the Catechism have in your Sunday School and Confirmation curriculum? Read what Luther had to say.

"The Catechism is the Bible of the laymen.. In it the entire body of Christian doctrine which every Christian must know in order to be saved, is contained . . . . Therefore we should by all means love and esteem the Catechism and diligently impress it upon youth; for in it the correct, true, ancient pure divine doctrine of the holy Christian Church is summarized. Whatever is contrary to this is to be considered an innovation and false, erroneous doctrine, be it ever so ancient, and we are to guard ourselves against it."

"My advise is not to discuss matters that have not been revealed but simply to stay with the Word of God, especially with the Catechism. For there you have a very precise course in our entire religion. . . . But it is despised because it is light stuff and youths and little children daily recite it."

"Ah, doctrinal sermons in the church do not edify young people. But quizzes at home, definitions of the Catechism, and questions concerning the confession of faith are of much greater benefit. They are, of course, troublesome; but they are very necessary."

"But this I say for myself: I, too, am a doctor and preacher, yea, as learned and experiences as all those may be who possess such presumption and this sense of security. Yet I act as a child who is learning the Catechism. In the morning and whenever I have time, I read and also recite, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Psalms, etc. And besides this I must also read and study every day, yet I cannot master the matter as I desire but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism and am glad to remain one."

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Who is the Israel of God Today?
A Historical Critique of Dispensationalism
Part Four in a Series on Prophecy
by Rev, Mark Darikof

What then, are the historical considerations presented by the Dispensational system, with particular reference to the futuristic view of Daniel 9, and the way in which 1 Thessalonians 4; 2 Thessalonians 2, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation 4-22 are woven around it? It would seem that the initial paramount consideration would be the establishment of the genesis of the position in history; secondarily would be an examination of the way in which the Dispensational system has impacted American Evangelicalism, particularly in its understanding of the Kingdom, its historical pessimism about society and the Church, and the fascinating, often paradoxical character of the political/religious link it has forged with modern Zionism and the State of Israel.

What are the sources, in terms of individuals and historical epochs, which enable the Dispensational theories of a parenthesis Church, a pre or mid-Tribulational Rapture, a Great Tribulation corresponding to Daniel's 70th week, and a two stage coming of Christ, to be traced to their provable origins? The absolute answers to these questions are a matter of debate, but ongoing historical research provides some clues, the meaning of which is in dispute between adherents of the Dispensational system and its opponents.

At a bare minimum, it can be reliably asserted that the Dispensational distinctives aforementioned are 19th century developments, a developing system of Biblical interpretation that was unknown in earlier epochs and especially in the early Church. It is true that Dispensational adherents attempt to maintain that their system is a continuation of historic premillennialism [44], yet Ladd maintains that, "For all practical purposes, we may consider that this movement-for dispensationalism has had such wide influence that it must be called a movement-had its source with Darby and Kelly." [45] Robert Cameron in 1896, had reacted with some others in the Niagara Bible Conference to some of the dispensational elements, blaming the movement completely on the Darbyists, saying that they had introduced "a theory absolutely without a single advocate in the history of the Church, from Polycarp down."[46] Timothy Weber, whose work, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming-American Premillennialism 1825-1982, is probably the most definitive historical appraisal of Dispensationalism since C. Norman Kraus' 1958 book, Dispensationalism in America, agrees that futurism made its way into the English-speaking world in the early nineteenth century, with Darby its most creative innovator in the development of the Dispensational distinctives which subsequently received further refinement from such contributors as James Brookes and C. I. Scofield. Interestingly enough, Weber traces the modern futurist movement to a Jesuit named Ribers, who proposed as early as 1590 that the prophecies concerning Antichrist would not be fulfilled until the very end of the church age, all in an attempt to undermine the Protestant claims that the papacy was in fact the Antichrist.[47]

This late 16th century historical source for futurism made a contribution uniquely suited to the gifts of Darby in his seminal development of the classic Dispensational system, first in the British Isles, then through his travels to the United States in post Civil War America, where the distinctives of the system received further refinement and promulgation in the 19th century American prophecy conferences, which both Weber and Kraus provide historical documentation of. 19th century America was in the midst of radical shifts in its culture, economy, and political structure subsequent to the Civil War. Historicism had suffered a setback through the date-setting disaster of William Miller, a Baptist preacher from Vermont, who had calculated a foolproof arrival date for Jesus Christ of October 22, 1844. Miller and his followers became the "laughing stocks" of American Evangelicalism when Christ failed to appear.[48] The "Great Disappointment" resulted in the Millerite formation of the Seventh-Day Adventists, many of whom wrote off the rest of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism as the great whore of biblical prophecy (Rev. 17).[49] By 1845, Premillennialism had fallen on hard times through Miller's catastrophic mistake-yet by 1875 had rebounded in a new form called Dispensationalism, which held that no "last days" prophecy will be fulfilled until just before the return of Jesus Christ; which rejected the historicists' "year-day theory" for dating prophetic events, and the idea that the Papacy was the Biblical Antichrist. As Weber notes, the Dispensational denial that the prophecies were intended for the Church Age as a whole, served to relieve them of the "dangerous and often embarrassing task of matching biblical predictions with current events, and the task of setting dates for the second coming."[50] Weber adds that a key distinctive in the new system was the conviction that God has two completely different plans operating in history, one for an earthly people (Israel) and one for a heavenly people (the church). "Rightly dividing the Word of Truth,"came to mean, in particular the maintenance of the distinction between the two people of God.[51] C. H. Mackintosh, whose popularizations of Darby's theology sold well in the United States, gave a clear exposition of the new, novel idea of the "parenthesis" or "gap" theory based on Daniel 9 to the 19th century faithful.[52] Weber seizes upon the emerging radical implications and derivatives of this idea: In essence this meant that the Christian church had no prophecies of its own. It occupied a mysterious, prophetic time warp, a "great parenthesis," which had no place in God's original plans. . . . This perspective left dispensationalists, to say nothing of the church, in a difficult position. According to their reasoning, the church is in the world but can lay claim to none of the prophecies of future earthly events. As we have already seen, dispensationalists blushed at the thought of assigning earthly prophecies to God's heavenly people. Furthermore, as every dispensationalist knew, the Bible bulged with predictions of future events. Daniel's seventieth week, postponed for the time being, must occur sometime. This time of trouble, called the great tribulation by all pre-millennialists, was described in great detail in Revelation and other places (e. g. Matt. 24 and II Thess. 2). To complicate matters even further, dispensationalists believed that God was unwilling or unable to deal with his two peoples or operate his two plans at the same time. Consequently, it seemed necessary to remove the church [emphasis mine] before God could proceed with his final plans for Israel. This rather difficult problem was easily solved by dispensationalism's most controversial and distinctive doctrine-the secret, pretribulational rapture of the church [emphasis mine]. . . . Up to the early 1830's it seems that all futurist premillennialists had seen the rapture in conjunction with the second coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation. But dispensationalists, taking their cues from the creative teaching of John Darby, separated them. At the rapture, they said, Christ will come for his saints, and at the second coming, he will come with his saints. Between these two events will occur the tribulation, which dispensationalists equated with Daniel's seventieth week and the reign of Antichrist. In this way the church will be removed from the scene so that God can resume his prophetic countdown and his dealings with Israel.[53]

The charge that a preconceived ecclesiology was forcing novel exegetical schemes and conclusions upon Daniel 9 and other Biblical texts proved irresistable to opponents of Dispensationalism. Incredibly, some of its adherents, including John Walvoord, have agreed that the bifurcation of Israel and the Church is even more important than eschatology itself. Richard Reiter writes:

Additional evidence for the importance of the doctrine of the church came from the vigorous and capable presentation of pretribulationism carried on throughout the early 1950s by John F. Walvoord, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, in Bibliotheca Sacra. Published in 1957 as The Rapture Question, the series of essays that preceded The Blessed Hope by Ladd in 1956 picked up and answered Ladd's criticisms along with those of earlier posttribulationists. Walvoord clearly established that "the rapture question is determined more by ecclesiology than eschatology" for the definition of "church" and "the doctrine of the church is. . . determinative in the question of whether the church will go through the tribulation" [Reiter quoting Walvoord, The Rapture Question page 50].[54]

This line of analysis mirrors Darby himself, who claimed that the doctrine [of the pre-Tribulational rapture] "virtually jumped out of the pages of Scripture once he accepted and consistently maintained the distinction between Israel and the Church."[55] He writes:

It is this conviction, that the Church is properly heavenly in its calling and relationship with Christ, forming no part of the course of events of the earth, which makes its rapture so simple and clear; and on the other hand, it shows how the denial of its rapture brings down the Church to an earthly position, and destroys its whole spiritual character and position. Prophecy does not relate to heaven. The Christian's hope is not a prophetic subject at all.[56]

Kraus duly notes the prior importance of the ecclesiology issue for Darby, noting that, "It was not until several years after his break with the Anglican Church in 1827 that he became specifically interested in prophecy. His interest in this subject is at least second handedly traceable to the Albury Conferences, out of which grew the Irvingite movement."[57] Kraus also quotes James Bear as indicating that the Albury Conferences, and the subsequent Powerscourt House conferences, were the traceable location and genesis of the Dispensational distinctives, where the "truths of the distinctive nature of the Church and the 'rapture' were discovered, which led to the development of a new complex of ideas which we know today as 'Dispensationalism.'"[58] When the significance of Darby's trips to Canada in 1859, 1864, and 1866, and his trips to the United States in 1870, 1872-1873, and 1874 are duly noted,[59] it is clear that Kraus is correct in demonstrating that all of the key figures in American Dispensational thought were merely repristinating and further developing and systematizing the basic ecclesiology and eschatology of Darby himself:

Even a casual review of these outlines and explanations makes it clear that the American writers were influenced by Darby. Their outlines are essentially repetitions; at best they are variations on a theme. The differences in the outlines grow out of the relative emphasis placed on the definition of a dispensation as a historical or theological concept. In each case a dispensation is a combination of both elements, the theological superimposed upon the historical. However, dispensationalism is basically theological rather than historical in its orientation. It is not primarily an attempt to trace the rise and fall of political, social, or religious movements in the passage of time. It is, rather, a philosophy of history-an attempt to interpret history according to a theological norm. Thus the differences which appear in the outlines are not essential, but are merely individual applications of the accepted dispensational norm. When this point is clearly recognized it is immediately apparent what Darby's relation is to those who follow. He expounded the norm.[60]

These American writers included S. H. Cox (1793-1880), Henry M. Parsons (1828-1913), the Christian Zionist William E. Blackstone (1841-1935), A. J. Frost, James Hall Brookes (1830-1897) who is termed by Kraus the "outstanding leader of the Bible conference movement from 1875 to the time of his death,"[61] and G. Campbell Morgan (1864-1945).[62] These names were accompanied by pulpit presences influenced by Darbyism which included A. J. Gordon at the Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston; D. L. Moody in Chicago; and of course, Brookes himself at the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church in St. Louis.[63] Kraus notes the significance as well, of the early division in the Plymouth Brethren movement over Darby's Dispensational distinctives, coming chiefly from Benjamin Wills Newton (1805-1898) and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), who became increasingly marginalized in Darby's takeover of the mainstream of the movement, and in the latter's exportation of the distinctives to a waiting American audience:

Early in the Brethren movement two viewpoints concerning eschatology emerged. As Darby developed his dispensational concepts he met with opposition within his own group. Benjamin Wills Newton (1805-1898) and the great textual scholar, Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), disagreed with his dispensational distinctions. George Muller who had joined the Plymouth Brethren in 1830 also felt, as he told Robert Cameron, that he had to make a choice between Mr. Darby and the Bible, and that he had chosen the Bible. But it was the "exclusive Brethren" under the leadership of Darby that made the initial contacts in America [emphasis mine]. Probably the two most popular writers, and the widest read by American ministers, were William Trotter and Charles Henry Macintosh, although the writings of William Kelly and Darby also circulated widely. Until about 1880 the literature of Tregelles, Newton, and George Muller had very little influence upon the Bible conference movement; and when it did become known it did not turn the tide of dispensationalism [emphasis mine].[64]

Thus, a historical line of development in the development and promulgation of Dispensational Distinctives may legitimately be drawn from Darby and his "exclusive Brethren" to his most distinguished 19th century exponents, including Brookes, Trotter, Macintosh, and Blackstone; subsequently to C. I. Scofield and his most significant editor for his early 20th century Scofield Reference Bible, Arno C. Gaebelein;[65] later to the more recent responsible refinements of the Dispensational system through the work of Lewis Sperry Chafer, Charles Ryrie, and John Walvoord; and finally to the Sensational Dispensationalism of Hal Lindsey and the Late Great Planet Earth in 1970, whose 18 million copies in sales popularized a position whose lineage is traceable to the Irishman Darby and his disenchantment with the Anglican communion. In all of these writers, the futuristic 70th week of Daniel, the two-stage coming of Christ, and the secret, "at any moment" pre-Tribulational Rapture predominate, in the interest of maintaining the Church/Israel dichotomy.


[44]. Kraus, op. cit., 45.
[45]. ibid., 45, quoting George Ladd in Crucial Questions About the Kingdom of God, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1952: 49.
[46]. ibid., 45-46, quoting Robert Cameron in "Prophetic Teachers," The Watchword, Vol. XVIII, October, 1986: 258.
[47]. Weber, Living in the Shadow, op. cit., page 247, footnote 9 to chapter 1.
[48]. ibid., 16.
[49]. ibid., 16.
[50]. ibid., 16.
[51]. ibid., 18.
[52]. ibid., 20.
[53]. ibid., 21.
[54]. Richard R. Reiter, "A History of the Development of the Rapture Positions," in The Rapture-Pre, Mid, or Post Tribulational? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984: 35-36.
[55]. Weber, Living in the Shadow, op. cit., 22.
[56]. ibid., 22. Weber quotes Darby in his Collected Works, XI, 156. On page 248 of Living in the Shadow, in footnote 23 for chapter 1, Weber observes that, "John Walvoord, a present-day dispensationalist, similarly states that one's doctrine of the church is more important for the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture than is any particular scriptural passage. John Walvoord, The Rapture Question (Findlay, O.: Dunham Publishing, 1957), p. 16."
[57]. Kraus., op. cit., 28.
[58]. ibid., 28 quoting James Bear in "Historic Premillennialism", Union Theological Seminary Review, Vol. LV, May 1944, p. 215.
[59]. ibid., 46.
[60]. ibid., 43-44.
[61]. ibid., 36.
[62]. ibid., 41.
[63]. ibid., 46.
[64]. ibid., 48.
[65]. ibid., 113.

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The Reu Explanation of the Small Catechism is again available

The LMS's second reprint of the Reu Explanation of the Luther's Small Catechism is now available. Considerable corrections and several minor additions made in this edition. The cost is expected to remain at ten dollars a copy for the two year course book.

If interested contact Rev. John Erickson
P.O. Box 31
Chetek, WI 54728

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Minister's Prayer Book
by Richard W. Horn, LMS Ministerium Secretary

The LMS's second reprint of the Reu Explanation of the Luther's Small Catechism is now available. Considerable corrections and several minor additions made in this edition. The cost is expected to remain at ten dollars a copy for the two year course book.

Through the generosity of special gifts to the LMS-USA, two resources are being made available to all Subscriptional and Associate members of the Ministerium of the church: a copy of Minister's Prayer Book (1986 edition) and an LMS-USA Prayer Bookmark.

The devotional life of a pastor too often is pushed aside for other ("more important"?) tasks of ministry. Yet how can a pastor be effective without prayer and reading, without the Scriptures and legacies of hymns and writings from throughout the history of the Christian faith? Lutheran pastors, in particular, must be ready to be fed with the Word of God and to pray frequently and in a disciplined way.

Originally published in 1959, Minister's Prayer Book was written for pastors to use in daily devotions and is focused entirely on the theme of pastoral ministry. This outstanding classic was modestly updated in 1986 only by changing references to hymns and liturgical portions from the Service Book and Hymnal (SBH) to the usage of the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) and using the two-year daily lectionary of the LBW. This book is considered the best available resource for our pastors, giving them a framework of care through the solitude of meeting God in the midst of the witness and experiences of other pastors and Christian friends.

Dr. John W. Doberstein, editor of the book, writes in the Introduction: "I can, and must, be my own pastor. In the instance of prayer I allow God to speak to my condition through the words of the Bible and the words of witnesses. Luther's triad, meditatio, tentatio, oratio, a priceless pearl of our devotional heritage, sums it up. This personal 'cure of soul' is prayerful, thoughtful, meditative, receptive listening to the Word of God as it speaks to me out of the words of the Bible and of witnesses (meditatio), the self-examination which is its necessary concomitant, as I am 'taken aside, searched, challenged, smitten. and brought to decision' (tentatio), and finally the prayer that is my response to this Word of God that confronts me (oratio).

This book, however, calls us to follow a thoroughly evangelical meditation and prayer not based on "a mystical tradition which is completely alien to the gospel and can only be confusing to the evangelical user of them. Prayer and liturgy are realized dogma, doctrine which is prayed; but if the doctrine is false, putting it into the form of devotion does not make it any less false." "In the Large Catechism Luther answers quite simply, in a way that sentimental mystics may despise, the question 'Why pray?' by saying: because God has commanded it and promised that he will hear. Evangelical meditation is founded upon obedience and faith."

Can this meditation on Scripture and prayer just 'happen"? Not without thought and preparation! Using the resources contained in the book - extensive prayers, appointed Scripture readings, lessons on the ministry readings from an anthology of meditations, intercessions, suggested liturgical Orders for Devotions, and other resources (including Luther's A Simple Way To Pray) - the devotions follow seven basic themes of the minister's calling and life while the overall theme of the Church Year provides the structure of the texts, hymns, psalms, daily lessons and the Collect for the Week.

In addition to the Minister's Prayer Book, conscientious planning of time and the availability of the Bib!e (what devotion wouldn't?) and the LBW are needed and should be used, though in occasional circumstances the book can be used alone for brief prayer and devotions.

Perhaps the Forward in the revised edition of 1986 puts it best: "The value of the book continues, for in an increasingly secularized society pastors more than ever need guidance in their devotional life and spirituality. Moreover, pastors need to meditate and reflect upon the nature and work of their office continually being recalled to its center and essence. Thus A Minister's Prayer Book has importance not only for pastors but for the health of the whole church."

A second resource is also available to use either with the Minister's Prayer Book or alone for private prayer: a Lutheran Ministerium and Synod - USA Prayer Bookmark. This bookmark lists the names of all the Subscriptional, Associate and Applicant (Provisional) pastors and the two lay pastors of our Ministerium so that we are able to include each of them in our daily prayers. One idea that we can suggest is that, in addition to regular devotional time, each pastor and lay member pause in brief prayer at a given time each day( 12:00 Noon prevailing time is good for many people with a watch alarm or local fire siren test, etc.) to remember one, several or all of these pastors by lifting them up in prayer before God at that time. It is more important that we pause for prayer than be concerned about when we should pause for prayer (God synchronizes our time!).

In obedience to God and with the opportunities of ministry provided to us daily, these two resources will bring God's strength to our pastors in faith and in their pastoral care of themselves and one another. When God works in this unique and special way, all of us receive a blessing!

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Keeping The Faith
The LMS Women's Study of Hebrews
by Maureen Spears

The LMS Synod Convention one year ago endorsed the formation of a LMS Women's group. Now the first LMS sponsored Bible Study is being made available for use by women's groups in local congregations. Maureen Spears of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, is the author of the study, Keeping The Faith. She introduces this study in the article which follows.

What if the Christian church had decided to follow the teachings of its own apostles rather than a convert, named Paul? What would the flavor of the Christian church be now if we dwelled, not on the Gospel and the law, but following Christ as the perfect example?

Between the workers of the Apostle Paul, and the Epistles of Peter, James, and John, is the book of Hebrews, the most ignored gem of the New Testament. With esoteric language, Hebrews spurs its readers to face adversity by reminding them that they are the continuation of a rich heritage in the person of Jesus Christ, who is defined as Prophet, Priest and King.

Origins of the Book of Hebrews Written around A.D. 68, many scholars attribute Hebrews to Paul, who was originally Saul, a Roman citizen and Pharisee who "ravage(d) the church,' by "entering house after house and dragging off men and women" to prison (Acts 8:3). After seeing the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he converts to Christianity (Hebrews 9). But the very sentence structure of Hebrews attests to a different author. If you compare Romans to Hebrews, you do not observe the often wordy passages discussing the Gospel and the law -- a trademark of Paul. Rather, the author explores us to stay faithful by centering our attention on Christ alone, The writing style is so different, in fact, that some scholars attribute Hebrews to Barnabus. Barnabus is "Joseph, who was surnamed by the apostles, Barnabus" which means "Son of Enlightenment." A native of Cyprus, Barnabus is a Levite, who sells a field belonging to him, and lays the money at the apostles feet (Acts 4:36-37). He also introduces the converted Paul to the Church in Jerusalem. Later, the Church chooses Barnabus to accompany Paul on his first missionary journey. During the second journey, Barnabus quarrels with Paul, and sails to Cyprus without him.

LMS Bible Study

Whoever the true author of Hebrews is, he inspires us to follow Christ, not because it is our duty, or through faith, but because we have a rich tradition. He traces this tradition from the beginning of time, through the person of Christ, as Prophet, Priest, and King, by which he reminds us of the "host of witnesses" in our past. The LMS Study of Hebrews is designed to bring a greater understanding of your own rich heritage no matter what your current situation. The study allows you to read the passages of Hebrews and decide for yourself (a very Lutheran concept) what the author wants you to learn. The study goes one step further by tying the teaching of Hebrews with Luther's Small Catechism, so that you can learn more about your own unique faith as a Lutheran. Questions at the end of the lesson encourage you to apply and share what you've learned.

Paul versus the Original

What if Christianity today centered its teachings more on the view point of Hebrews rather then than the dichotomy of Paul's discussion of law versus Gospel? Although Paul clearly states that we are free from the law through Christ (Romans 6:22), he in fact spends most of his time discussing the law from which we supposedly are free. It is no surprise, then, that many Christian faiths still define what you can or cannot do, and argue over what to consider major and minor theology, rather than emphasizing the example of Christ. When you make Christ your primary focus, you are not concerned with the mechanics of the law because Christ and the Gospel have fulfilled the law. When you make Christ your example, you have faith in your salvation without proving you've had a born-again experience.

As a follower of Paul, you still think of yourself as a new convert, still susceptible to the ways of the world. Following Hebrews example, you are counted as part of the rich heritage of Christ. Your goal becomes to follow his example in thought, word, and deed.

The world may never know what would have happened if Paul had not been so prominent in the early Church, even to the point of crowding out the works of other apostles. You, however, may know, by studying Hebrews.

Hebrews Study Availability

The LMS Women's Study of Hebrews will be available in September, just in time for your fall Bible Study. You can pre-order copies of the study by emailing Maureen Spears at, or by sending requests to:

Maureen Spears
44 Woodside Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46219

Copies will also be available on the LMS Web site. When you order, please state the number of copies and the address to which you want the copies sent.

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Contact Information

The LMS-USA is a Biblical, Confessional, Evangelical, Liturgical, Congregational expression of the universal (catholic) orthodox Church on earth. It is a 'Forum by Subscription.' As a 'Forum' the intent is that there will be an ongoing discussion of theological issues and concerns among clergy and lay alike. The LMS-USA meets annually for a Theological Conference and this publication, besides carrying news of the Ministerium and Synod, functions also as a vehicle for this continuing dialogue.

For information or to make comment contact:

President/Pastor, LMS-USA
2837 East New York St.,
Indianapolis, IN 46201

Table Talk
P. O. Box 31
Chetek, WI 54728

email - or

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