Official Publication of the LMS-USA
August / November 1999
Vol. 6 No. 3 & 4
Convention Settles on Seminary Name
Without question, decisions reached with regard to the new Lutheran Ministerium and Synod Seminary, were the highlight of the June convention of the LMS. The papers presented at the Annual Conference held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN, focused on seminary education. When the synod convened for its final convention session on Monday morning, those presentations were fresh in mind. One thing that linked all the presentations was reference to Paul's letter to Timothy - especially that which we find in II Timothy 2:15. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth," and II Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
As a result, it was quite natural that the names which had earlier been suggested by the Ministerial were set aside, and the name, St. Timothy Lutheran Seminary, was put forth. The name was given unanimous approval by the voting delegates.
Further, Rev. Michael Zamzow was called upon to head up a committee including Pastors John Erickson and Robert Haltner and layman, Dr. Orville Langhough to see that the Seminary is 'up and rolling' as soon as this fall. Other business included acting on the requests of Pastors William Hartman, Robert Haltner, Michael Zamzow and Richard Horn, to the Subscriptional Pastor roster of the LMS. All were approved. Lay Pastor, Eric Germert, of Anniston, AL, was approved for licensing for another year.
The congregations of Community Lutheran of Anniston, AL, Ascension Lutheran Fellowship of Parsittany, N.J., and A Mighty Fortress Luteran Church, De Bary, FL, were approved for associate membership.
There were several pastors who asked to have their names removed from our roles and one who requested to be kept on our rolls with a duel membership. President Ralph Spears indicates that he has had several applications come in now since the convention. So, after all is said and done, it is good to see our little synod growing. And again, the days in Indianapolis were very special days as we enjoyed the opportunities for worship and fellowship together.
The following were elected to positions of leadership for the coming year - Rev. John Erickson, Synod Chairman; Diane Boekankamp, Synod Secretary; Jan Jerabek, Synod Treasurer.
A Budget of $5110 was approved. [It is to be remembered that budgeted monies are for opperation expenses only. LMS congregations give to missions and such directly. Two areas of increase are the seminary and travel expenses for the LMS President. Otherwise, the greatest expense we have is for Table Talk.] *
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Much Needed Aid to Pastors Now Available
Martin Luther once wrote that three key elements go into making a theologian: oratio, meditatio, tentatio. Oratio is prayer life, being in conversation with God, bringing our cares and joys to a loving Father.
Meditatio is not about sitting in a lotus position and thinking nothing.
For Luther, meditatio is about reading Gods Word, listening carefully to the guidance of that Word. Tentatio is the struggle of faith, facing our sinfulness and our powerlessness. It is about learning to trust God when the world gives no indication of Gods love and care. It is with this in mind, that Pastor Michael Zamzow has been compiling a book of daily readings from Scripture and the Lutheran Confession. Without the daily discipline of prayer, we all can become self-absorbed. There is also the danger of mulling over our own thoughts, spouting our own favorite phrases, promoting our own causes. A daily encounter with Gods Word is necessary recreation (re-creation) for everyone, but especially for pastors. It makes time and space for the power and guidance of God in busy lives. It is also necessary for Scripture reading to be more than the pondering of a few favorite verses. Hearing the whole counsel of God keeps us from hearing only what we want to hear. These concerns have guided the choice of readings.
The Sunday readings are based on the traditional lessons which preceded the three-year cycle now in general use. Each day is assigned a reading from the Psalms so that in the course of a year, the Psalter is prayed in its entirety. In the post-Trinity season, segments of Psalm 119 are the readings for each Saturday. The second readings cover the rest of Scripture. A reading from the Lutheran Confessions is offered as commentary on the readings or as a series of reflections on faith in the life of the church. The Psalm guides daily prayer from the best prayer-book: the Psalter. Meditation is guided by the lesson. The Christians encounter with life in this broken world is given focus and encouragement through the witness of the Confessions.
Some might be wondering why someone would go through the trouble of working up a daily devotion schedule. The answer is simple. The pastors of LMS need a resource which nourishes them and encourages a community of prayer and reflection. As a synod and ministerium, we are scattered about the country. Isolation and disconnection are constant dangers. The daily lections being compiled is an attempt to overcome the distance between us by gathering us around the same Word. A Church created, shaped, and nourished by the Word is less likely to drift in the sea of confusion around us. Shared prayer, shared Word, shared reflectionthese add up to the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren which brings the Gospel to life in everyday living.
The lections are made user friendly by providing an excerpt from the readings so that even on a busy day, the ties of prayer and meditation are maintained. It is hoped that the lections will serve our synod and ministerium and prove to be a small blessing and encouragement for the mission of LMS. *
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From the Writings of Juan de Valdes's
A great many Lutherans are not aware that Italy is the source of one of the most clear statements on Justification during the 16th century. Many don't realize that the Papal Representative at the Colloquy of Ratisbon in 1541, Cardinal Contarini, actually agreed with the Reformers previously on the doctrine of Justification by faith [Philip McNair, Peter Martyr in Italy, An anatomy of Apostasy (Oxford: Claredon, 1967) p. 15]. When he died the following year, his successor Carafa was an intransigent, conservative Catholic, who reorganized the Inquisition in Italy in 1542. He purposed to stamp out the reforming spirit which he saw threatening the papacy.
But Carafa's suspicions were aroused too late. For the chief apostle of justification by faith in Italy, Juan de Valdes, died in 1541. It was he who had inspired the faith of many influential churchmen and scholars in Italy. It looked as if there was actually crypto-Lutheranism within Rome itself. Rather scornfully Calvin alluded to this movement within Italy in 1543 as "Nicodemite," an allusion to Nichodemus as a secret disciple of Jesus [Ibid, p. 6].
What follows is an excerpt from One Hundred and Ten Considerations and Other Writings by Juan de Valdes. This and the above introductory remarks are taken from the volume, The Benefit of Christ, by Juan de Valdes and Don Benedetto, published by Multnoma Press of Portland, Oregon. The work is out of print. At this time when we give recognition to the Reformation that led to the formation of the Lutheran Church, it is helpful to remember that many were influenced by the work of the Reformers outside those who actually 'came on board.' So let us not despair in sharing all that finds its basis in the Word Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone. *
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Commissioning Held at Christ Lutheran, Chetek, WI, for Mission Pastor
Sunday, November 7, was a very special day at Christ Lutheran Church, Chetek, WI when Mr. Frank Lukasiewicz was commissioned as mission pastor for a new work to begin in Wisconsin, just east of the twin city area of Minneaplis / St. Paul, MN.
Pastor Lukasiewicz, a second career man, has finished his seminary training and has been licensed for the ministry of Word and Sacrament by the LMS. He spent some 26 years in this area before going to seminary so he knows the area. At this time there are ten or eleven families interested in starting a new congregation. *
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St. Timothy Evangelical Seminary is looking for books to begin its library. The list below is incomplete and 'thrown together,' but it is a start. If you, or maybe you know someone with books who might be willing to make a donation of theological books to a place where they will be used, consider the new LMS seminary liabrary. There may be pastors or others willing to donate an entire library. That too would be much appreciated. Any such gifts are tax decductable.
Any correspondance in this regard can be sent to:
St. Timothy Evangelical Seminary
% Christ Lutheran Church
P. O. Box 31
Chetek, WI 54728
The Seminary Library Wish List:
Patristics, Ancient Church, Medieval Studies:
Luther and Lutheran Studies:
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His Royal Banners Forward Go !
What of True Lutheran Identity?"
by Rev. Ralph Spears
This has to be one of the most confusing times ever for the Church Militant - the church here on earth - in this whole millenium. The banners usually point in the direction of the enemy such as, the world and its vices, or the more subtle foes who have twisted the good into bad
by making a full frontal assault on the Church and its teachings until the foundations of Faith are threatened. Now the threat comes from within the Church as never before since the time of the Reformation. The banners are bedecked with symbols which have lost their meaning to the ones following them so that they no longer point proudly to the exalted Faith delivered by the Saints. Within the symbol for Luther the lily is withered, the heart is broken and the cross is ignored. Those who looked to the Lutheran church as a reliable anchor of the Faith in their Baptism and Confirmation have been forsaken. Meanwhile, the real enemy finds less resistance to frontal assaults and offensive jabs at the mid-section of that precious Faith. Enemies today are often considered to be of the household of ones own Faith !
It is as though the advice of Wormwood to his nephew Screwtape in C. S. Lewis Screwtape Letters has been well taken. Keep the minds of those Christians off of the real threat to their single minded faith, Make them think that the greater problem is to be found in each Other'! NOW, that is not far from the truth, since the largest American body bearing Lutheran in its title has sold out their Lutheran heritage.
It can now be said !
For quite some time, we have watched with bated breath as hard won articles of faith were being given up to defeat from within - one by one - in exchange for a cheap grace unity. Of course, this unity is nothing more than a confusing and uneasy amalgamation of bodies that does not take into account its own significant differences, let alone the true nature of the unity that they apparently seek. Instead of sewing a patch on an old wineskin (which our Lord said - couldnt be done) they are attempting to sew several old wine skins together without bothering to patch any of them!
And, the patch work banner resulting from the collision of Protestant bodies, hangs limp from its staff, hardly able to point in any direction let alone the right one. Is this what Our Lord prayed for in the Garden in his last earthly evening - for us - the whole Church? (John 17:22) Can Christians really confuse a crunching amalgam of bent bodies into one outward mass, for a true inner Oneness in unity of the Faith which Our Lord gives us when He and The Father make their home within us?
But what of those Lutherans who have not bowed to Baal or made motion to kiss him to borrow the words of The Lord to Elijah as He explained that indeed there were still a considerable remnant of faithful believers left in Israel. This was quite a surprise to Elijah who had been hiding in a cave thinking that only HE was left the carry the banner!
What should be the true Lutheran identity? After these 482 years, can its essence be re-discovered and known ? Several years ago, this was the pivotal question raised clearly by Pastor John Erickson (presently LMS Synod Chairman) which eventually led to the formation of our body the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod. And still several years later, this remains the most important question before us! Some would have all conservative, right wing Lutheran Christians band together to craft a fine tuned Lutheran BANNER, consisting of Reformation thought, post-Reformation Lutheran thought and the work of Chemnitz and company. This would be the supreme stuff of a true Lutheran flag and banner for today.
Allow me to pause here and admit quite honestly that I had not even heard of the renown writer and thinker of the Second Reformation until about five years ago and much to my loss to be sure. I wasnt sure of my pronunciation until some time later so that it would roll off of my tongue just right. [Indeed I had practiced long enough just to properly pronounce the name of my very favorite composer. Its not Bach or Bock you see but Baak Huh!]
Others would insist that if all Lutherans practiced closed Communion then we would have it!, when I thought that our fearless leader in true justification by Faith fashion had said Glauben und Sie es haben: Believe and you have it! In other words, more and more I sense that Lutherans who count themselves TRUE Lutherans (excluding Garrison Keeler for the moment!) believe that if all conservative Lutherans line up on the same page together at the same time - that the Parousia will indeed come!
Have we been saved from the atrocities of present day left wing Lutheranism only to become right wing Lutheran Pharisees sniffing out those adiaphorae?
Perhaps its time to view Martin Luther, Brother / Dr. Martin Luther again in his own context. Luthers original motion which led to the Protestant Reformation, was not to create a Lutheran Church at all. His goal was not to separate from the Catholic church, but, in affirmation of Our Lords prayer for unity in John 17, to bring it back together and on track. His contention was that true Faith is the only kind of unity that is a valid unity! He believed this so strongly that he said that there should never be a Church called by his name but by the Lords Name. We think this just a quaint tale rather than a sincere motion towards a body truly unified in Faith. Luther and a small band of faithful who were increasingly being called Lutherans, crafted an admirable, at times a brilliant body of materials which spoke for the Spirit of that precious Faith very threatened by the darkness of that age. Collectively they made the Great Confession of Christ - clearly and courageously. And on the rock of this Confession, the Church of Christ prevailed against the gates of hell once more. Instead of Lutheran Confessions, these writings and affirmations for clarity, are better termed Christian Confessions because it is Christ and His Church they confess in careful, relevant and Scriptural detail. Never is there a concern, for instance, that these Confessions would eclipse Scripture any more than the Mishna would eclipse the Torah and Haftorah., upon which it comments.
The role that Martin Luther and company played with boundless integrity insured that the succeeding Reformation - even the counter-Reformation - and the Lutheran response to that, would at least be asking the right questions. Incredible is the reaction today from some of the Lutherans involved in the CCM fracas. They say that this was all somehow a big mistake from which we should now shrink because of the schism implied! Such logic would brand Pauls and even Jesus ministry with the same iron! How misguided they are! What then IS the Lutheran role today? The question still stands with more relevancy that ever and there are clearly at least two alternatives:
Should we remaining real Lutherans who have not bowed to the present day Satan' . . . should we be some kind of repristinated super-Lutherans in past tense infused with the worthy writings of Chemnitz or Walther and nearly endless debate about the 'grounds of theological battle that has already been won? While this is truly a part of our heritage it means very little to on-going ministry of the Church today!
Or is it not that the real role of the Remnant Church today (those who understand the historical Lutheran witness in the proper setting for Luthers day and ours) is to be found in faithful acts of ministry with the Scripture AND the Confessions as our guide. It is ours to act according to Faith not to recreate the Lutheran Church with the proper set of tinker toys.
Our precious time should be spent more in ministry to a world in need, not irrelevant theological debate (remembering that there certainly is relevant discussion of same) and lead to a standard for our banner of show me your faith by what is accomplished in ministry rather than how well you present and debate it . In this way we may be faithful to Our Lords calling and perhapsjust perhapsworthy of the tradition that is Lutheran!
May our banners point in the same direction toward the real enemy! *
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It May Be Late . . . But It Is Here!
Jesus spoke on one occasion of the importance of sitting down to count the cost before one begins to build.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28
One of the main reasons for this is so there will be no need for embarrassment. Well . . . your editor - who took his vacation plus a month leave of absence to build a new home this past summer - did look at the financial cost of construction. But there were other costs he did not consider. One of those costs what that of time.
There would be plenty of time to see to some of the synodical responsibilities, after all, most of the work of the local congregation was being taken care of by others. Well - it didn't quite work that way. Seeing that the August issue of this publication was ready for press and mailed on time - well - it just did not happen. Then it was thought it might just come out a month late. That didn't happen either. Then the decision was made to combine it with the November issue and get that out by the first of November. As you see... that didn't quite happen either. But the issue is now in your hand and hopefully, with the February issue, all will be back on track. *
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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:
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Chetek, WI 54728
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