Official Publication of the LMS-USA

November 1995

Volume 2, Number 4

Dankof Received on Clergy Roster

Pastor Mark Dankof, San Antonio, Texas, was recently received to the

clergy roster of the LMS-USA. He received his B.A. from Valparaiso

University and his M. Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in

Chicago. He plans further post graduate study at St. Mary's University in

San Antonio.


by Rev. Mark Dankof

In what would appear to many to be the twilight of both secular history

and the church age, questions about ministry and mission abound in the

context of the malignant state of ecclesiastical structures and the

terrifying decline of Western civilization and culture in a post Christian


These questions are repristin-ated in the renewed attempt to create,

under God's sovereign direction, a distinctively traditional, confessional,

evangelical Lutheran synod against the back-drop of the existence of hostile

cultural and theological forces. The intensity of the imperative to produce

coherent Biblical answers to questions of ministry and mission is magnified,

not simply by the adversarial role of the conditions of the larger culture

and institutional church, but by the public awareness of previous attempts to

establish a confessional center in American Lutheranism, which ended in

cynicism and failure. Perhaps more importantly, ministry and mission cannot

legitimately be undertaken by anyone in a long term sense, aside from the

philosophical and theological task of framing questions and answers which

create a consistent ideological foundation for one's understanding of the

task of the church Militant in the midst of a dying world.

The new Lutheran Ministerium and Synod - USA can succeed in spite of the

spirit of the present age, if it maintains a firm grip on its theological

identity and methodology, and avoids the tragic tendency to accommodate

either apostate liberalism and universalism on the left, or a sectarian

spirit on the starboard end of the denominational spectrum. The balance

inherent in sound Lutheran theology historically, proclaimed by the LSM - USA

nationally, can then serve to provide sound 16th century answers to questions

of ministry and mission in a package which will serve to meet the needs of a

bewildered institutional church and culture nearing the beginning of the 21st


What are the key components of a theology which will provide a new Synod

with the foundation for existence and practical out-reach in a darkening

cosmos? The questions and answers, summarized without parallel by the

Augsburg Confession and the other seminal confessional documents of the Book

of Concord, include three (3) loci, or pillars of faith and practice.

The first of these is the orthodox Lutheran subscription to the written

Word of God as reliable in all it affirms (II Tim. 3:16 and II Peter 1:21).

The subscription of the LMS - USA to the reliability and infallibility of

Scripture testifies not only to the absolute trustworthiness of the Triune

God and Jesus Christ, but to the understanding of Luther regarding the

indispensable link between the written Word and the operation of the Holy

Spirit in history. The Holy Spirit reveals the previously definitive

location by means of the Word. The Spirit speaks only through the Word,

which testifies to the connection between our salvation and the historical

Jesus Christ. The commitment of the new LMS - USA to a verifiable,

historically accurate record of the acts of the biblical God in history,

embodied in Jesus Christ and revealed by the Spirit of God utilizing the

appointed means (the Word), thus serves as the Synod's witness against both

neo-orthodoxy on the Lutheran left, and the encroachment of 16th century

Muntzerian enthusiasm in the form of 20th century neo-Pentecostal-ism. Both

unbelieving rationalism and an individualized revelation outside of the

written Word are thus jettisoned, for the assurance of the testimony of the

prophets and apostles under the illumination of the Third Person of the

Trinity (Ephesians 3:5).

Second, the LMS-USA must locate its Gospel in the Theology of the Cross

(theologia crucis) as articulated in Luther's Heidelberg Disputation of 1518.

Properly understood, the revelation of God for humanity occurs in the

mysterious and paradoxical backdrop of the suffering and apparent catastrophe

of Calvary. Paul writes in First Corinthians 1:18-25:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,

but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God... "Jews demand

miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified:

a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gen-tiles, but to those whom God

has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of

God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the

weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."

Does God then, reveal Himself in mystery, paradox, and suffering? And

if the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, in an-swering this question

in the af-firmative are correct, what are the implications for the Lutheran

Ministerium and Synod - USA in a theological world which desires to attract

the culture of today with demonstrable examples of God working through power,

prosperity, technology, and mass popularity in an America where marketplace

success serves as the only litmus test for truth? Or will our new synod find

its focus in the theology of Paul, Augustine, Luther, and the Confessions?

Or will it succumb to "Church Growth" seminars, the pressure to toss

overboard the historic liturgy of the church, and the ego enhancing false

dogma of direct, unmediated revelation of the Spirit outside of the Cross and

the Word which testifies to it? The answers will determine our understanding

of ministry and mission today, along with our place in history from God's

perspective, prior to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a third and final ingredient which should be inherent in the

lives of the people who constitute our new Synod and who will attempt

ministry and mission work within its confines. This is a dawning recognition

that in the final days for the church age preceding our Lord's return, the

Holy Christian Church, standing on the Word and the sufficiency of the Cross,

will be of necessity, a remnant gathering. As confirmed by our Lord in the

Olivet discourse (Matthew 24, Mk. 13, Lk. 21), those living for the Gospel in

the final hours of human history will experience the ravages of the deceptive

acts of false prophets, persecution, betrayal, hatred, division, and increase

in wickedness, and the growth of coldness and the decline of love. May this

explain the tragedies in many of the lives of those who have fought to

preserve the confessional Lutheran faith in an hour of decadence and evil?

Does this eschatological road map indicate what is yet to come in the lives

of believers who persevere to the end of time and who will proclaim the Word

and the Cross alone as the places where God has revealed and identified

Himself? If the answer is in the affirmative, the pastors, the leaders, and

the faithful remnant of our confession who step forward in faith with the

LMS- USA, will find their blessings, paradoxically, in ministering with sound

doctrine and integrity against the backdrop of an age which knows the meaning

of neither and which militates against the Gospel with all of its might. Let

us move forward without illusion of false foundation in opposing the spirit

of this age, and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God which soon

may be consummate in the eschaton itself.



LMS - USA Pastors and Congregations Give Thanks to, and for, The AALC.

Those LMS - USA congregations and Pastors coming from the American

Association of Lutheran Churches have expressed a sense of thankfulness for

the AALC. They are thankful for that church body for it enabled what would

become the core of LMS - USA to meet and learn to know of one anothers shared

common theology and to ascertain the need for a non Charismatic Moderate

Conservate or Middle Conservative Confessional Lutheran Church Body.

We made note of the coverage given to the formation of LMS-USA in the

July issue of the EVANGEL and express our thank you for that coverage.

Although we do not share a common doctrinal and theological base with the

AALC especially in regard to the matter of "charismatic, renewal, church

growth orientation," nonetheless, we will wel-come future theolgical dialogue

with the AALC as well as with all other judicatories claiming the Lutheran

Confessional identification.

Although LMS-USA was begun by a core of congregations and pastors

previously associated with the AALC it is already moving beyond that origin.

Barley Congregation, Bakers Summit, PA, as reported in the AALC EVANGEL was

not a member of the AALC, and now others too are coming into the LMS-USA who

likewise were not member pastors or member congregations of the AALC.

Already as of this writing LMS-USA is no longer just a grouping that came

forth from the AALC.

We have however just received into our fellowship a Pastor who was one

of the initial founders of the AALC but who withdrew from the AALC because of

the growing charismatic / church growth orientation that was taking place

just two to three years after the AALC formation. Though our LMS-USA

make-up will quickly move beyond its AALC origin, it is our prayer that the

good lessons learned during the sojourn in the AALC will not be forgotten.

In some ways it was a very good education for us and we aught always to give

thanks to God for good lessons that have been learne. Thus in this sense

also, we give thanks for the AALC.

Rev. Roy Steward


Avilable very soon... An excellent booklet by Rev. Julius V. Kimpel


At minimal cost - Send request to:

Kimpel Booklet

P.O. Box 31

Chetek, WI 54728



Rev. H. Richard Barley II was installed as Assistant Pastor of the PA.

General Parish at a Joint Worship Service held by the Faith and Barley

congregations on June 20, 1995.

This Central Pennsylvania Ev. Lutheran Ministerium and General Parish

is composed of Faith Ev. Lutheran Congregation, Altoona and Barley Ev.

Lutheran Congregation, Bakers Summit. Pastor Barley will assist in

additional PA. Mission starts and contacts as well as in various duties

within the Parish. He continues to own and operate a Financial Services

Business, in the Harrisburg PA area and has already been of immense help to

the LMS-USA Pastors and congregations in helping to establish "Health

Coverage Programs" and "Pension Plans" for the LMS-USA Pastors.

Pastor Barley is making official application for membership on the

LMS-USA Clergy Roster.



The Official Seal of LMS-USA was intitially intended as an equilateral

triangle with the Luther Rose on the Inside and the Luther Solas surrounding

the exterior of the triangle. Across the base of the triangle were the

words "Scripture Alone". On the left hand side of the triangle were the

words "Grace alone" and on the right hand side of the triangel the words,

"Faith alone". All of this would be kept as is but at the top point of the

triangle we have decided to add the 4th Sola or the words "Christ Alone"

It was felt that the upper most point of the triangle points to Christ

alone and that indeed that is the object of all that forms the triangle -

Scripture alone points to Christ alone; likewise Faith alone is in Christ

alone; and certainly Grace alone is achieved and imputed to us each and all

by Christ alone. Likewise our Luther-an Confessions represented by the

Luther Rose are the true explication of Holy Scripture and thus are likewise

pointing to Christ alone.

The suggestion for the inclusion of the 4th Sola as part of our Logo

Seal came from an AALC friend. We are very thankful for this suggestion for

it is exactly in line with where we are coming from in the LMS-USA.LMS Seal




Our LMS-USA Ministerium is currently formulating a statement on the Holy

Spirit and his Proper Work.

The contextual outline for the proposed LMS Holy Spirit statement

follows the catechetical statement of Dr. Josef Stumpf.

I. His person and Nature: He is true God

II. His work: He calls, enlightens, sanctifies, and preserves me [the

believer(s)] in the true faith.

III. His Workmanship: The Holy Christian Church

IV. The Fruits of His Work: 1. The forgiveness of sins. 2. The resurrection

of the body, and life everlasting.

In the context of this framework the proposal is to list specifically

those areas of doctrine that LMS-USA supports and those areas of doctrine

LMS-USA rejects. For example such a statement will almost certainly include

reference to the LMS-USA conviction that the Holy Spirit does His working

solely through Word and Sacrament and that His primary work is that of

pointing to Jesus, etc....

Additionally the Ministerium is reviewing the writings of the Book of

Concord additional to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther's Small

Catechism with the intent to consider recomending that the Steering Committee

of LMS-USA act to adopt these as Subscriptional documents of the body.



LMS-USA is about to launch its own World Wide Web home page. Through

the capable computer/ Internet advice and expertise of Arik Johnson, a member

of Christ Lutheran, Chetek, and the folks of Aurora Worldwide Development

Corporation, LMS-USA will soon use this amazing new media to 'get our message

out' as well as to link us with other Lutherans holding to our confessional

and Biblical stance.

We already use America Online to spread our message (our founding

documents and this newsletter) but our own home page is the next step, and

to a world wide audience!



by Dr. Charles S. Anderson

The Lutheran Confessions obviously had a place in the history of the

Lutheran Church but is there a place for the confessions in the life of the

Church today? In his book, Faith And Freedom (Augsburg Pub. House, 1977),

Dr. Anderson addresses this question.

Earlier in chapter 2 the author makes the point that many deal with the

Confessions as one might deal with legal documents. There are others who

understand them and deal with them as historical artifacts. Dr. Anderson

finds it more helpful to see the Confessions as pointers, treasures, and


The Confessions are pointers. In a refreshingly unselfconscious manner

they point beyond themselves to the Scriptures. They insist, "that the

prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only

rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be

appraised and judged" (F.C.Ep. p. 464; see also p. 505).

According to the Confessions the Scriptures themselves have a pointing

function; they point beyond themselves to their center, to Christ. Whenever

I think of the Confessors and their self-understanding as pointers to the

Scriptures and to Jesus Christ, I think of a painting by Matthias Grunewald,

a picture of the crucified Christ with some onlookers standing by. One of

the watchers is John the Baptist who is pointing at the central figure. If

you look at the figure of John carefully, you will note that something is

wrong with the picture. The pointing finger on the hand raised toward Jesus

is elongated out of proportion. This was the artist's way of showing John's

self-perception: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:20). The

Confessors stand in that tradition of pointing beyond themselves.

Secondly, the Confessions are treasures. They are a part of the living

tradition of the church. They are a part, of what the New Testament period

called the paradosis, the root word of which means "to hand over the goods,

to deliver." St. Paul uses it when he says, "For I received from the Lord

what I also delivered to you" (I Corinthians 11:23). The New Testament

community was convinced of the possibility of handing over the goods, that

some things could be committed, transmitted. At first this was done by oral

tradition but at a very early time they also turned to written statements.

Certain terms were used to indicate this type of material: faith (I Timothy

3:13, 6:21, Jude 3); confession (1 Timothy 6:12, Hebrews 3:1, 10:23);

doctrine of Christ (2 John 9); standard of teaching (Romans 6:17). The early

Christians were convinced that there was a kernel of doctrine, which was

normative and which could be expressed and passed on as a part of the living

tradition of the community. These little confessional nuggets are usually

found in the midst of statements of praise and also of recognition of sin.

Confession of sin is a part of doxology because it is an acknowledgment of

one's place before God, and thus is a statement of honor and praise to God

for his mercy.

Another feature of life in the early church indicates this combination

of confession of faith and doxology. The early Christians were marked off

from contemporary Judaism by the confession, "Jesus is Messiah." In contrast

to those who still waited for God to come and restore what was lost, some

Christians affirmed that he had already and in fact done his great work in

the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In the Romans world, however, another

confession was needed. Here the words change to "Jesus [or Christ] is Lord."

This was in direct opposition to the civil religion of that day which

insisted that Caesar was Lord. The Christian confession was the cause for

death in many instances. It praised God in the person of his son, and thus

was a statement both of faith and of doxology. It was and is a part of the

living tradition of the church.

Finally, consider the Confessions as anchors. In a time of theological

and political relativism, when any position seems as acceptable as any other,

as long as someone happens to feel strongly enough about it, the words of our

Lord take on particular meaning, "Everyone then who hears these words of mine

and does them will be like the wise man who built his house upon the rock

(Matthew 7:24). Now, of course we cannot apply these words directly to the

Confessions, but insofar as and because they present the Scriptures they are


Confessional statements are necessary. They are needed in connection

with the unity of the church, to preserve the truth of the Scriptures, to

guard the proclamation, to regulate life and teaching. Remember how they

come from times of great stress and controversy. We will see how they

addressed the issues and so held the community close to its central message.

Statements of faith are necessary. They are also very dangerous if they

lead us to conclude that our correct words and statements somehow or other

capture God and enable us to manipulate him to our own theological ends. If

they hinder us from distinguishing between the Scriptures and the theological

statements drawn from them, they are being used contrary to the intention of

their writers. While they quote the church fathers, they note pointedly that

the final test is always the Scriptures. The fathers of the church "were men

who could err and be deceived" (Apol. XXIV, 95, p. 267).

For all of the dangers, such statements are necessary. We are not allowed

the luxury of retreat into either mysticism or irrationalism. God addresses

persons in his Word; he addresses the whole person, including the mind.

Words, statements, intellect... all are to be used, but always with the note

of humility, with a spirit of tentativeness that recognizes that our best

statements are never the last word; that they are subject to error and are in

need of constant correction; that we do see as through a mirror dimly (I

Corinthians 13:12); and that only in the final time will God make all things

new and complete.

As an anchor the Confessions also are needed as a constant test of how

we proclaim and live the message of our Lord. They serve as a guide to the

interpretation of the Scriptures. Both the Scriptures and the Confessions

hold the saving action of God in Jesus Christ as their central interpretive

theme. When looking at the Word of God, the Lutherans underline the words,

"these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of

God, and that believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).

The Lutheran documents center on Christ and the event of salvation.

This is the main message of the Scriptures and also provides the basic line

of proper interpretation. "It leads in a preeminent way to the clear and

proper understanding of all of Scripture, it alone points the way to the

inexpressible treasure and right knowledge of Christ, and it alone opens the

door into the whole Bible. Without this article no poor conscience can have

a proper, constant, and certain comfort or discern the riches of Christ's

grace" (Apol. IV, 2, p. 107).

Christ and his saving work on our behalf are the center of the

Scriptures; to confront us with this message is its saving purpose. This

message, this interpretation, is not generally acceptable or popular; the

gospel is always offensive. The Confessions as anchor tend to pull us back

and hold us to the gospel center of the Christian message.

Finally, the confessions serve as an anchor that holds us from drifting

into heresy. Heresy is a bad word for some people today. The idea that

someone can judge another's position and declare it in error goes against our

commitment to freedom of expression, to pluralism in thought and practice.

However out of date it may seem, the Confessions maintain that it is possible

to depart from the apostolic faith, that it is possible to withdraw from the

faithful community. Certainly variety of theological position is possible,

even within the biblical record. Certainly there are many voices claiming my

attention, offering the latest insights into every possible subject. But

don't say they are all of equal value; don't pretend they are all right, all

acceptable as long as someone feels strongly about them and is committed to

them. It is possible to be wrong. And to be wrong in one's relationship to

God in Jesus Christ is a matter of permanent consequence.

By centering our thoughts on Jesus Christ, by calling us back again and

again to this center, the Confessions provide a footing against the currents,

winds, and tides that swirl around and within every believer.

How should we regard the Confessions today? As pointers, treasures, and

anchors. As such they provide both continuity with the wealth of the insight

of the past, and also openness and responsiveness to the needs of the present

and future. On the basic issues they do address our day. They are and can

be our confessions.

What does it mean to subscribe to the Confessions, to make them our own?

It means to recognize that their contents are confession of faith, not rules;

they are evangelical witnesses, not legal requirements. Therefore one does

not witness to, but with the Confessions, as they and we subordinate

ourselves to the Scriptures which point to the center, to Christ.

In this sense the Confessions are liberating documents because they

constantly refer us to the gospel and tell us its meaning. They thus free us

from all kinds of autonomous or heteronomous theologies; they free us to

assume a theonomous stance. An autonomous theology centers upon, and takes

direction from the self. One that is heteronomous is influenced by external

forces. A theonomous stance sees all of life in relation to God.

The gospel, the good news of God in Jesus Christ, is always contrary to

our natural schemes. We are by nature legalists, and would like to believe

that in some way we have a claim on God, that his grace in some sense depends

on our goodness, our intellect, our piety. The good news is that we are

loved because of what God is, not what we are and deserve. This message is

never something that one memorizes, or captures and then has forever. We are

reminded of it each day, or we turn again to some self-centered,

self-praising scheme, some theology of barter in which we trade our supposed

goodness for God's approval and acceptance.

The gospel frees us, and the Confessions understand and lead us to the

gospel. They may use language at times that is foreign to us and difficult

to understand. They may fight some battles that no longer excite or interest

us. They may even make historical and exegetical judgments that are

incorrect. But they do direct us to the gospel, and so are freeing and

enabling documents.

Reprinted, with the permission of the author, from Faith and Freedom, Charles

S. Anderson, Mpls., MN: Augsburg, 1977.



LITTLESTOWN, PA - The Living Faith Evangelical Free Lutheran Mission

Congregation in Littlestown, PA. is a new work supported by three of the

LMS-USA congregations. The congregation, whose make up is very youthful,

meets for worship in the local YMCA.

As is the case with many congregations today, this new congregation has had a

problem finding pianists and organists to lead the liturgy and hymnody of

Sunday worship. Thanks to a very creative member of the congregation, they

have developed a sound and tape deck system which allows the congregational

singing to be supported by a full orchestra and organ. Living Faith now

follows a very definite Lutheran liturgical order supported by very high

quality and lively music. If anyone has interest in this equipment and/or

how it works, contact: Rev. Larry Douthwaite, 44 Craft Way, Littlestown, PA


THE LMS-USA ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION were stamped as received by the

Pennsylvania Department of State on August 16 and stamped as approved by the

same Commonwealth Department on August 25, 1995.

The LMS-USA application for group tax exemption is now underway.


Our LMS-USA President/Pastor and Ministerium Secretary represented the LMS at

the August Pastors Conference of the Church of the Lutheran Confessions in

Eau Claire, WI.

We have been delighted with the interaction that we have had with the CLC

folks. Several of their Pastors have attended each of our past Indianapolis

Conferences as observers and have expressed a desire to continue the

practice. We of LMS-USA will reciprocate. We do not hold Altar and Pulpit

Fellowship with the CLC but welcome the opportunities for continued dialogue.

CHRIST LUTHERAN, CHETEK, WI - A unaminious second congregational vote on

August 23, means that Christ Lutheran Church joined with their pastor as a

charter subscription member of the LMS-USA.

MINISTRY IN THE INNER CITY - St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN,

finds itself on the near East side Inner City and has for several years

looked after some of the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter for those

in the immediate neighborhood and those transient to the area.

Vacation Bible School is always special at St. Matthew and this August found

about 70 children from the congregation and neighborhood involved in a

program featuring the days of Jesus with stories, plays, music and crafts

even refreshments (dates, figs and matzoh) appropriate to His time.

Twenty-eight adults acted as shepherds, teachers, craftsmen and women,

musicians, and actors in the Bible plays.

It was a busy time. Two children from the area were autistic and needed

constant supervision not to mention the usual livelyness especially of the

younger ones who often have little place to play during the day.

Rally day (Sept. 10), this year, featured an ice cream social for the

neighborhood in the church parking lot. This was followed by entertainment

(plays on the Old Testament with a good dash of humor thrown in) in the down

stairs lounge.

FAITH EV. LUTH., ALTOONA, PA, has completed the purchase of its new property.

Renovation of the 40' X 70' block building which accompanied the property has

begun. The new Faith Lutheran Church will be in the neighboring town of

Duncansville, PA, but the church office will remain at its Altoona address.

Creative plans include a sanctuary with seating for 135, a kitchenette,

restrooms, three class rooms, and an upstairs storage area. The congregation

has targeted Christmas Eve as the date for its first worship service in the

new facility.

PIQA, OH - Bethel Independent Lutheran Congregation, Piqua Ohio has

annouced the beginning of its very first Confirmation Class. Bethel

congregation is approaching 1 year of age and we at LMS-USA rejoice at this

new development in its life. The Congregation celebrated its first Holy

Baptism several months previous.

Bethel Congregation sent its Pastor, The Rev. Dr. Michael Bennett and a lay

representative as observers to the April 1995 Constituting Conference of

LMS-USA. Prior to their own formation as a congregation they had sent the

Pastor and a delegate to the 1994 Indianapolis Conference.

DECATUR, IL - CLS CONVENTION - LMS-USA Acting President/Pastor, Rev. Ralph

Spears attended the Convention of our newly formed sister Lutheran Church

Body - The Lutheran Confessional Synod. LCS Bishop, The Rev. Randy De

Jaynes, has been an observer at our Indianapolis Conferences and our

President has reciprocated and been warmly welcomed at the LCS annual

convention held October 19-20 in Decatur, Illinois. LCS has grown out of

former LCA congregations and Pastors hailing from the earlier General Council

- USA and the Tennessee Synod of Eastern Lutheran-ism. We appreciate very

much this interactive opportunity even though we of LMS-USA are not in Altar

and Pulpit fellowship with the LCS.


THE GREAT 'SOLAS' by Rev. Ralph Spears














The Latin word Sola, translated "Alone" then doesn't mean lonely or

lacking, but complete in itself. When the Christian Faith is limited to all

of these 'solas' then less IS more !

On the other hand, those who study the physics of astronomy -

astrophysicists, speak of the moment before what we call God's Creation as

the "Moment" or "Point" of "SINGULARITY."

Fascinating, isn't it - that before time and space began to be, there

was only GOD at a MOMENT before time - singular and complete in HIMSELF, for

HE was indeed the POINT of SINGULARITY from which HE moved to create or bring

about - all created things including those things we take so for granted -

time and space! So that which contained all things in potential was

contained within a single dot, never mind how big the dot was either, for it

was all there was; complete, singular, standing alone. And, there was no

other, besides HIM. Less is more in this Singularity because IT is


When we say Christ Alone, we are not restricting or imposing limits

on others; rather we are identifying and pointing to that source from which

all things came to be. As John asserts very simply in his Gospel, "all

things were made through HIM, and without HIM was not anything made that was

made," As GOD moved from HIS point of singularity and created all things

through the SON, the first born of creation, time and space and all that IS,

came TO BE!

"For in HIM (Christ) all the full-ness of God was pleased to dwell."

(Colossians 1:9)

I have heard people say that they only need Christ, and I would agree.

However, it is said to the exclusion of all else. While In Christ, is

EVERYTHING and in proper perspective. Not exclusive, but inclusive of all of

LIFE, "for in Him was life and THIS life was the light of men" (John 1:4)

When we say Faith Alone we seek not to exclude any. Rather, we point to

the only means of truly perceiving Our Father in Christ. There are and

always have been, such subtle and deceptive ways in 'do it yourself faith'

which is not faith at all but man's own means of creating God in his own

image. The Tower of Babel ( Gen. 11 ) was only one of the very early notable

attempts at MAN made religion which never works. When any man manufactures

his own religious experience and calls it 'faith' - it is empty and he only

deceives himself as the Epistles of Paul, John and James attest.

When we say Grace Alone, we witness to the loving nature of Our Father

who ALWAYS reaches out to us especially the Word and Work of Christ. We

don't earn it - ever! We do not even deserve it, but His mercies, Truth, and

steadfast Love are ever reaching out to ALL as richly shown in the Psalms,

the Parables and the Acts of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

When we say Scripture Alone, we say gladly and with certainty that this

is how we know ALL of the above. This WORD of GOD is the foundation, the

rock - the norm of our Faith! This Scripture in fact makes "sense" of all

other human knowledge, literature and teaching and is indeed the norm for its


When we say that we "Gladly submit" to the authority of Scripture and

the primacy of Faith in Christ and His gracious gift of grace ALONE, some may

misunderstand, thinking that we are

forced or are being 'blind' in our faith. No, this is the ultimate act of

freedom, done joyfully, and without ANY reservation. We no longer stand -

alone, but are together in Christ Alone, by Faith Alone through the

Scriptures Alone by His Grace - ALONE !

The SOLAS stand as nexus points of Wisdom to the pilgrim who would

follow HIM. As Our Lord said His apostles, " If any man would come after

Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

As we follow Him a kind of transmutation takes place and we become more

and more like

Him in love, self sacrifice and service. Relying on Christ Alone then

becomes, HE in us, and we in HIM !

When people want MORE there are usually problems: a tower reaching the

heavens: a visible symbol or golden calf, or a king such as every other


Less IS more for in the solas HE gives us everything we need.

Some two hundred years after Luther centered the Church once more on

justification by faith alone - Sola Fides - a young Lutheran composer quietly

inscribed SOLA in yet a different way. A brilliant keyboard performer on

clavier, harpsichord and organ, J.S. Bach had the job of writing a Cantata, a

sermon in music for each Sunday of the Church year. He would take the

simple melody of one of the chorales such as "Now Thank We All Our God" or

Luther's hymn, "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come" which had come to

represent the Gospel in melody, and weave about it, brilliant counter

melodies to augment the well known tune. So good were they, that the

counter-melodies were sometimes better known than the Chorale tune itself, as

in the case of the well known "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring".

Johann Sebastian Bach went on to pen many rich works which have

become the standard for organ, choir and orchestra including the monumental

St.Matthew Passion considered by many to be the greatest single work of all

time. He was a very inovative organist in the stops that he used, his hands

could span an octave and a third (about ten keys) while playing trills and

ornamentation all the while with the three fingers in between, his cantatas

(half of which are lost to us) contain gorgeous arias with beautiful

melodies; and many works for brass and valveless trumpets are difficult to

play even today.

And his compositions including his development of the fugue, have

become the norm for beginning composition students. At his death, being

blind, he dictated the remainder of his last composition to his son Wilhelm

Freidemann, "Before THEE-Now I Stand" !!

But the most important thing that he did was to inscribe each of his



"To God ALONE The Glory"

Today many of our highways and super highways, whether 'electric' or

concrete, are wide and lead to destruction. More 'lanes' lead to less!

Even the church in many places has become caught up and preoccupied in

thinking falsely, that such is His way, whereas, the straight and narrow way

leads to the Kingdom!

The Discipleship and discipline of Jesus Christ ALONE is what we need,

because IT is Everything!!

For we are justified by Faith ALONE in CHRIST ALONE !!



LMS-USA Vice President/ Pastor, Roy Steward, met with a LB

representative on October 11. Among the various items discussed was the

availability of Lutheran Brotherhood Grant Funds to our new church body.

It was disclosed that LB has now enabled Independent Lutheran

Congregations to qualify for the Congregational Branch Matching Fund program.

Previously congregations had to be affiliated with an Incorporated Lutheran

Church Body.

Congregations of our LMS-USA (incorporated as of Aug 16) would have

qualified for the congregational matching funds under the former affiliation

with an incorporated Lutheran body requirement. But it is helpful to know

that independent Lutheran Congregations also can now qualify for this

support. Currently all of the congregations of LMS-USA participate in the

LB Branch program. The Littles-town, PA. Mission Congregation also is

participating in the congregational matching fund program.

LMS-USA officers and Steering Committee members are looking at a number

of ways in which to make use of the LB grants given to Incorporated Lutheran

Church Bodies. LB has also launched a new intitiative to set up a Lutheran

Community Foundation. Members and friends of LMS-USA congregations wishing

to give major gifts can now make their gifts through the Lutheran Brotherhood

Luth. Community Foundation. This would obviate the need for LMS-USA to set

up its own Foundation.

The possibilities of help for synod, pastors and congregations from the

LB Fraternal folks is exciting and can add much to our new, as well as

ongoing, ministy.



by Rev. John Erickson

It came across my desk again... another article... this time it was a

group of conservative Jewish leaders considering relaxing the 3,000 year-old

views of homosexuality and premarital sex. It was with regard to the issue

of homosexuality that I especially took notice. The article stated, "it was

important to address [the issue of homosexuality] in light of modern research

which sees homosexuality as 'so much a matter of nature.' "

Some of our Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian friends, to name a few

(or at least a good number in their ranks), and now the Conservative Jews,

are all making the claim that because recent studies have concluded that

homosexual orientation is inherent or a "matter of nature" therefore it

becomes imperative on the religious community to accept such behavior as

legitimate - and beyond merely being legitimate, that such behavior, when

practiced in a committed relationship, be blessed.

The usual reaction by the conservative Christian community is that such

behavior is not natural but a learned behavior and as such, an abomination to

God. There is little question but that the Bible makes clear such behavior

is an abomination to God, but I also believe the Bible would side with the

view that such behavior is a "matter of nature."

The Bible teaches that all are "...sinful at birth, sinful from the

time... [of conception]" (Psalm 51:6) As a result, "there is no one

righteous.. no one who understands... no one who does good..." (Romans

3:10ff). And because humankind is sinful at the heart... sinful behavior

results. "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality,

impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord , jealousy,

fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness,

orgies, and the like..." (Galatians 5:19-21a).

But we must also note what follows these words. "I warn you... that

those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (v. 21b).

This is the case... this is the truth, whether or not one wants to accept

it... whether or not it 'makes sense to us.' In fact Scripture deals with

the issue of one's understanding also. "The man without the Spirit [what we

are by nature] does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God,

for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they

are spiritually discerned."

So Scripture too, like so many in our day, informs us that, yes indeed,

issues like homosexuality, same sex marriages (but let us not forget all the

other sins we often would like to place in some other category), all are in

fact, "a matter of nature" ... a matter of fallen human nature. But note

also, that, rather than excusing or justifying such things because they are

"a matter of nature," the Bible - and for that very reason - condemns such

things. And further forbids our continuing in such things, "Shall we go on

sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! ... We were... buried with

him through baptism into death in order that... we.. may live a new life."

(Romans 6:4).

It is true as we confess (or is it merely words?) in the corporate

confession, "we are by nature, sinful and unclean, and we have sinned against

You by thought, word and deed." It is true as found in the Brief Order, "We

confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have

sinned against you in thought, word and deed..." As members of the human

race, we are all sinners who stand in need of God's forgiving grace and

mercy, and of his power to make new.

It is God's power at work in us that will give us a new understanding of

what "a matter of nature" really is, and in addition, that same power will

give us a new understanding of what "a matter of the Spirit" is all about.

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers

nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor

drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And

that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you

were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our

God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The LMS-USA is a 'Forum by Subscription' in the Moderate Conservative or

Middle Conservative position in American Lutheranism. As a 'Forum' the

intent is that there will be an ongoing discussion of theological issues and

concerns among clergy and lay alike. The LSM-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


For information or to make comment contact:

President/Pastor, LMS-USA

2837 East New York St., Indianapolis, IN 46201

AOL & Internet Contact: LMS

Table Talk

P. O. Box 31

Chetek, WI 54728