Official Publication of the LMS-USA

February 1997

Volume 4, Number 1

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In This Issue - - -

Our Foundation

by Rev. John Erickson

When so much of what we, as Christians, have held to as important and dear seems to be crumbling away, what are we to do? After Pope John Paul II¹s recent attempt to reconcile science and faith by suggesting that physical evolution is ³more than just a theory,² and after catching a few minutes of a radio call in show in which a caller identified himself as a ³born again Christian who is a homosexual and proud that God had made him that way,² and with many Lutherans Œselling out¹ to the Reformed as we see in the ELCA Concordant, and adding to this, all the other things going on today in the world and in the church, one might well raise the question raised long ago by the Psalmist, ³When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?² (Ps. 11:3). An acquaintance recently wrote with concern over a matter others of us Lutherans have experienced, namely that his son has found a new home in a Southern Baptist congregation. Something seems to be lacking in so many of what were once good, solid, spiritually vibrant, Lutheran congregations. So much of what seem-ed good and solid some years ago, seems to be crumbling in our day. Well, if some of what is described above has been your experience, and if you have, at times, felt like the foundations of your faith are crumbling, then maybe you are looking in the wrong place for something foundational. After the psalmist raised his question, he moved to make the following statement. ³The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne² (v. 4). That is the move we too must make. The true foundation (hopefully our foundation) is not people... it is not tradition... it is not our Scandinavian, German, English, (or any other for that matter) heritage. Rather our foundation must be the LORD OF THE CHURCH, i.e., ³... no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ² (I Cor. 3:11). The foundation IS laid. The foundation IS in place. It may not always appear to us that way, but it is as true today as it was in the Psalmist¹s day, ³The Lord is in his holy temple...² And if we will look to Him and to his Word and promises, then we will not be surprised at the circumstances we, as believers, find ourselves in today, nor, need we become discouraged. The Lord of the Church is Jesus, he who is the "same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). He who is the foundation of the church told his followers (us), ³In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world² (Jn. 16:33), and, ³I am with you always, even to the end of the age² (Mt. 28:20), and, ³My Father who has given them (my sheep) to me is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father¹s hand² (Jn. 10:29). So, while there may be things happening which cause discouragement and may cause us to wonder as to the future of the Church, let us keep in mind that the foundation IS IN PLACE [God is faithful]. Our concern ought to be how we are building upon that foundation (see First Corinthians 3:10 ff - but that is for another time) [Are we being faithful?].

Luther and our Practice of Catechesis, Part 2

From the article, Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis, by William E. Thompson, Concordia Theological Quarterly, vol. 56; num. 2-3, April-July 1992, p. 99ff., Used with permission.

In the last issue of Table Talk you were introduced to the subject of the state of Catechesis in the Lutheran Church today. The article made clear that there is a crisis in this area in the church today as surely as there was in Luther¹s day. So if there is a crisis, and there is - namely that we have for the most part, come to ignore, avoid, and neglect the catechism in the church today - then what might we suggest as having contributed to that crisis? The author suggests a number of reasons. A. Disrespectful Attitude One reason... "is our unwillingness to honor our fathers in the faith. We believe that we know more than all those who have gone before us. Consequently, pastors use whatever seems right to them at any moment in time..." B. A Lack of Faith in the Means of Grace "The second and perhaps the most important reason is that we simply fail in the struggle to believe that our Lord is going to do what he says he is going to do through the means which He has mandated." The author suggests that even a quick look at catechetical material available for adults will reveal that most in most material much time is spent 'talking about the Word of God" but little in speaking "from it." They speak about the Word in many ways but not in terms of the law ³which reveals sin and gospel which forgives it.² Time is spent ³defining and defending ³the Word rather than ³speaking from it.² Time is spent trying to prove ³that the Bible is inerrant without speaking a word of law or gospel from the Scripture." ³It can legitimately be concluded that Luther recognized that conviction that the Bible is God¹s word comes from speaking from the Scripture, not from speaking about it with rational arguments..." A second reason we fail to believe that God will do what he says he will do through the means he has appointed, is that ³the sacraments and the forgiveness delivered through them are rarely at the center of attention in modern catechetical material but instead receive chapters embedded among others. The table of contents might read: 'Scripture,' 'God, 'Man,' 'Baptism,' 'The Lord¹s Supper,' 'Stewardship,' 'Evangelism,' and so forth. The centrality of God¹s forgiving action as seen in the Catechism is missing. We simply fail in the struggle to believe that God does what He says He does through His means..." C. The Adoption of Legalistic Goals A third reason the author points to as to why we are in a catechetical crisis is ³that the goals of catechesis are different in current materials than in Luther.² In today¹s materials there has been a significant shift from what Luther understood the life of discipleship to be. Often in our catechism materials, ³the law of God is taken up after a discussion of the sacraments. The implication and practical result is that the primary use of the law is not to accuse the sinner, but to direct his life. A disciple is Œliving¹ not so much by confessing sin and believing the absolution, but rather by accomplishing God¹s will through the commandments.² As the author points out this means that ³the gospel is now present for the sake of the law, rather than the law for the sake of the gospel... The goal of this catechetical pattern is to produce certain verifiable results in the life of the individual, rather than to train the baptized to live in their baptism with the promises of God at the center of their lives. The works of man become the center of the Christian life rather than the gifts of God.² D. A Search for Shortcuts Another reason for the catechetical crisis in our day is the tendency today to ³look for easy formulae for instruction rather than patiently instructing in the meaning of simple words. A case in point is catechetical material dealing with the Lord¹s Supper. In the Catechism Luther goes to great pains to make clear the meaning of the simple words of Christ and the gifts which they deliver. This procedure gives opportunity to evaluate the Reformed and Roman views on the basis of the words and the understanding of these words. The heterodox teaching in each is the emphasis on human participation and action in the Supper which attacks the merits of Christ and the righteousness of faith. Modern catechetical material typically takes neither the words nor the gifts of Christ seriously. For instance, most of these materials describe the differences between the Reformed, Roman, and Lutheran churches on the Supper in a chart describing which elements are present. This description is done on the basis of I Corinthians 10:16 and is intended to teach the Lutheran position of the real presence over against Roman transubstantiation and Reformed 'real absence'. Totally ignored, however, is the central thing at issue with Rome, the sacrifice of the mass and. with the Reformed, the purely spiritual eating which makes the Supper dependent on the one receiving rather than the one giving. These are the central issues between Lutherans, Romanists, and Reformed, and they center on the merits of Christ and the gifts which He gives.... Faith which trusts the word of God is born and nurtured through patient exposition of that word, not through easy formulae and categories which explain peripheral distinctions.² The author also shares with the reader why he thinks this ³quest for easy formulae for catechesis² is so common today. " is in part the result of a vocational crisis among pastors. Catechesis. preaching, the liturgy, the sacraments, and personal confession and absolution are no longer believed to be the primary means of pastoral care. The life of the church outlined in the Catechism has been supplanted by marketing schemes, programs, methods of persuasion, and 'leadership' which all promise success. the church and the ministry are being viewed increasingly as social or, even more disturbingly, as political phenomena which change as society changes. The result is that, when the 'felt needs' of the congregation are slick marketing, positive reinforcement, non-directive counseling, fund raising, or whatever, the world and the old man impose a shape of pastoral care which conforms to these 'needs.' The result is that pastors run from meeting to meeting, always trying to keep up with the latest fads, and are left without sufficient time to pray, study, hear confession (or confess themselves), or prepare sermons..."

Confessional Lutheranism and American Fundamentalism ~ Part II

by Rev. Mark Dankof

Having examined the convergences of orthodox Lutheranism and American Fundamentalism in last month's edition of Table Talk, we now turn to the examination of the divergences in these two theological approaches within world Christianity. It is important to remember that American Fundamentalism is not a monolith, but a movement profoundly influenced by the four fold strains of Calvinism, Puritanism, Arminianism, and Dispensationalism. This curious patchwork and kaleidoscope of historical and theological ingredients has resulted in a situation where one can identify, in general, three (3) trends in 20th century American Fundamentalism which separate it from the Lutheran tradition. These are 1) an inadequate, and in some cases, false understanding of Law and Gospel and justification by faith in some sectors of the Fundamentalist camp, 2) a rationalistic view of the Sacraments which gravitates toward the belief that the Eucharist and Baptism are works of man in response to God, rather than means through which God conveys grace and forgiveness of sin to man, and 3) an eschatology which, under the influence of the dispensationalism of J.N. Darby and Clarence Larkin, emphasizes an absolute literalism in prophetic interpretation and a separate, significant identity for ethnic Israel outside of the aegis of the Church. Calvinism has been charged historically with a formal, legalistic approach to Christianity, in contrast to the evangelical spirit of Luther. The observation that "Luther stresses the glory of God's love; Calvin stresses God's love of glory" (Coates, Lutheran Cyclopedia, p. 125), can be understood against the backdrop of Calvin's denial of the universal offering of God's love to the world in Christ, limiting the offering only to the "elect." In Calvin's system, God is the author of an election which metes out both salvation and eternal damnation (double predestination), a notion which seems, inexorably, to lead to a view of God's will which tempers the Lutheran emphasis upon the divine desire to impart grace to all. The Formula of Concord states, "Moreover, it is to be diligently considered that when God punishes sin with sins, that is, when He afterwards punishes with obduracy and blindness those who had been converted, because of their subsequent security, impenitence, and willful sins, this should not be interpreted to mean that it never had been God's good pleasure that such persons should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved." The Formula thus emphasizes the earnest attempt of God to save all, even those who will be eventually lost, and that "man alone is the cause of his damnation" (Bente, Historical Introductions to the Book of Concord). Lutheranism recognizes the eventual perdition of those outside of Christ; it places the responsibility for this, however, on rebellious, sinful humanity, not upon a loving, reaching God. It avoids the inevitable legalism and accompanying context of a distorted, falsely attributed harshness of God that has historically plagued extreme forms of Calvinism and much of modern American Fundamentalism. At the same time, Lutheranism stands against the Arminian influence upon other sectors of American Fundamentalism. In the Arminian reaction to the false Calvinistic belief in double predestination, another false doctrine developed, namely that God's election of some is based in the notion that some have a more inherent predisposition to right conduct and receptivity to the Gospel. This equally dangerous notion de-emphasizes the universality of original sin and the absolute Godlessness and corruption of all. The absolute necessity of God's grace and His grace alone in salvation found in Lutheran teaching, is contrasted here with the Arminian adherence to synergism, the dangerous notion that man can and does cooperate with God in the achievement of salvation, and in its maintenance with "holy living". Here enters another component of legalism found in much of American Fundamentalism, and more so in modern Pentecostalism and Wesleyan thought, that since man has contributed to his election with some predisposition to Godliness, that his election can only be made secure with constant vigilance expressed in separatism from worldliness and engagement with purity. The obvious problem which emerges here, is that definitions of what constitutes worldliness and purity differ, along with the accompanying uncertainty about how much moral accomplishment is required to secure heaven. H. L Mencken's observation that Calvinism is the "unbridled fear that somehow, somewhere in the world, someone may be happy" should equally apply to the world of Arminius, and his introduction of uncertainty about how salvation is achieved and Who alone can be its cause and author. Thus, using a brand of human logic that can only obscure Scripture's true meaning, the Calvinist denies the universal character of God's offering of grace, while the Armenian denies the universal, absolute character of the effects of original sin upon the spiritual capabilities of man. In either case, a proper understanding of justification by grace through faith, and Law and Gospel, is lost, much to the impoverishment of modern day American Fundamentalist thought. This improper use of rationalism subsequently extends to the subjects of the Sacraments and the Means of Grace and to eschatology, both of which will be examined in Part III of this series the next issue of Table Talk ³Practice, Dear Christian, Practice²


by Rev. Ralph Spears

An old musicians¹s joke has a young violinist, instrument case under his arm, approach an old wizened bum who, unknown to the young man, had tried but never made it in the music world. ³How do you get to Carnegie Hall?² he asks the old man hopefully. ³Practice - my boy, Practice, Practice!² Is Christianity the great unpracticed Religion of the modern world as some critics have said? By the looks of things today, we might answer with a resounding YES! Increasingly there is Talk about, but less and less practice of, the ŒFaith of our Fathers¹ and mothers - the Faith Our Lord Jesus Christ. Religion even has its own channels on Cable TV where things about the faith are discussed as casually as the patter on Geraldo or Jay Leno. And this is not lost on their viewers. ³Why Pastor² they say in anticipation of a question unasked, ³I have my church right here on T.V. with singing and a sermon.² But even among the more serious church members, worship has become much lower on the priority pole. With an increase in the schedule of Sunday sports and programs added to a growing ŒSunday mornings are for us¹ attitude, AND a host of folks who now man the establishments for the public¹s selection of leisure that free week end day; regular Sunday worship is becoming a thing of the past, at least an item greatly diminished in our day. But it is the essential practice and personal involvement in the Faith that has suffered as we have failed to ³Keep the Sabbath Day - Holy² [holy meaning, separate, apart, special and untouched by the world]. Since SUNDAY has been the only day that a great majority of Christians PRACTICE their Religion, this is an even greater problem and they¹re not even headed to ³Carnegie Hall"! Attendance at Bible Studies (if they are still offered) in most congregations has also experienced a real decline as well. O Yes, there are alternatives, a Roman Catholic church near by, clogs the local streets with traffic on Saturday evening for those who prefer the Lord¹s day free and free of guilt! (Of course the Seventh Day Adventists would say that they are at least historically correct.) However, lest we err in arguing for only one proper time may we say that ³praying continually² as suggested by Paul, and the historic Office of regular daily worship - every day; should make clear, that regular worship - as suggested several times in the Psalms, for instance - is the Ideal! Nor should we be equally at fault in suggesting that regular, repetitive periods of Worship are the only thing! The eastern Moslems are one of the groups today which exhibit a regularity of call to worship much akin to the Christian church¹s hours of Matins, Prime, Terce and Vespers. As I walked about the larger cities of Israel several years ago the Œcalls¹ from the minaret every three hours provided an audible trace of ŒThe Holy¹ in the Holy Land with a certain charm, even though some Moslems would deny that their form is a Religion so much as a Cultural Exercise. However, Christianity unpracticed, is scarcely a Religion either for those who DO NOT practice it. And this is precisely where I did not fully appreciate Martin Luther and I suspect I was not alone. Martin Luther only became a Protestant over his protest of the sins of the Roman Catholic Church of which he was a staunch member - in practice. He assumed a meaningful use of the Hourly Offices, in fact he at least had a part in combining Matins and Lauds, Sept and Vespers into a more even movement of worshipful flow. One might think in gazing upon ALL of his writings in one place - that he must have spent most of his time in writing when in fact, Luther spent much more time in meaningful worship which (with the Holy Spirit) was the Source of the bountiful flow of his written thought. I had not read until relatively recently his written directive that the Christian at the end of the day ŒMake the sign of the Cross and thank God for his protection in same¹ and at the beginning of the day, to do the same in asking guidance for that day. Even in seminary - no one crossed themselves lest they be thought to be Œhigh church¹ or an ŒAmbrosian¹ of sorts. It is probably easier for students of Luther to be more familiar (and comfortable) with his earthiness than with his profound piety. If Carnegie Hall is Heaven to the musician, then Brother Martin was shamelessly heading toward his own Carnegie Hall in practice and more practice which was NOT works righteous - but rewarding and necessary to his soul. Anything you do not use - you lose! Let¹s face it, we are creatures of habit much more than we might think for good AND bad. Worship IS a good habit, something that we look forward to ultimately, because of our need for the experience with our God. Just as I have heard the excuses of the T.V. church people, I have also heard people quietly admit that they really felt rather lost on a Sunday when they did not worship at their accustomed hour, ³as if the day was wasted,² - was the way one lady put it. Probably no age is a stranger to the form of worship without meaning. St Paul toward the end of his earthly ministry warns Œseminarian¹ Timothy of glaring problems in ³the last days,² with Œmen¹ loving the wrong things for the wrong reasons, bringing on - of course - negative qualities. But at the very end of this list (2 Tim. 3:5) Paul makes a most interesting statement about people ³holding the form of religion but denying the power.² His advise, ³Avoid such people!² But what does he mean? Would this be a reprise of Jeremiah¹s words about the people of his own day, that their lips were close to God but that their hearts were far from Him? An empty form is more than useless whether a liturgy or a concept involving religion, because it denies the Power by eclipsing it or even by being unaware of it. Worship is not difficult nor should it be tedious. BUT  MAINTAINING THE HOLINESS OF WORSHIP IS! Making sure that the contents of worship are pure and the surroundings are proper - is a job for more than the pastor. Witness the charge to the Council of the Congregation on the occasion of installation: ³It shall be Your Job to see that... the services of God¹s house be held at the proper times, and conducted in accordance with the Order of the Church that the pure Word of God be preached as the Church confesses it.² Furthermore, the Pastor (especially) but also the worshipers need to prepare themselves for this most important experience in all quietness and honesty. No, there isn¹t anything NEW to be discovered in worship (although lately have tried as in Œholy laughter¹); just to rediscover the old forms without ³denying the power² is much more than sufficient indeed. If anything, some people today seem to be desperately searching for new forms and inventing their own power. We could almost call this new round of sometimes frenzied worship form, an outcome based worship. Once they decide what it is that they want to get out of it, they then prime the form so that the outcome lives up to their expectations. And IF it does not seem to live up to expectation then how can that be bad? Little do they realize that they¹re pulling their own string. Jeremiah was right about the lips being close to God while the hearts are not. As ³our common wealth is in heaven² we do not enter worship with the outcome decided already. WE DO know that as our worship is sincere and the form is valid, - it cannot be bad and IS always beneficial - often in ways that we would NOT have thought possible. A ³Peace that passes all understanding² and therefore ³expectation² is the live product of worship. EVIDENCE of ALL of THIS is now coming in great abundance from an unexpected source: SCIENCE AND MEDICINE! Dr. Dale Matthews of Georgetown University¹s School of Medicine thinks that we are, according to him, ³entering the Age of Prayer AND prosaic² meaning that with evidence of many recent studies in hand, it is time to link the positive effects of the spiritual life with modern science. Dr. Charles Menderson, a cancer specialist at Atlanta¹s Piedmont Hospital agrees, mentioning the ³powerful placebo effect of Faith.² Patients with IT definitely come out of treatment much better. Dr. David Larson, a research psychiatrist of the N.I.H., (now with the Research branch) says, ³80% of all studies done on the effects of Faith show that having deep religious beliefs positively affect your health.² There are also clinical studies done by otherwise hard-boiled Doctors on the effects of prayer on healing such as the 1988 study done by Dr. Randolph Byrd, a cardiologist at San Francisco General Hospital, which showed ³dramatic² results in the case of 393 patients. A 1992 Study on the Influence of Religion on Adult health by Dr. Kenneth F. Ferraro, of Purdue University, showed very similar results and is documented to the hilt. When I spoke again with Dr. Ferraro last year, there was more research tabulated since the printed nine page paper originally appeared which also, strongly supports the original conclusion. HOWEVER - THERE IS ONE THING THAT EACH OF THESE STUDIES EMPHASIZED IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER; THAT THEY ARE SPEAKING HERE OF PEOPLE - MEN AND WOMEN - WITH MORE THAN A LITTLE RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND PRACTICE. These are not those who casually may believe that there is a God, but those in whom a profound Faith is apparent. In some cases their Faith affected those doctors who wanted to know MORE. Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School believes that the benefits of faith are more powerful than a placebo effect. In his book, Timeless Healing, he says; ³Faith¹s (role) in the medical treatment is wonderfully therapeutic, and successful in treatment in 60 to 90% of the most common medical problems. But if you so believe, faith in an invincible and infallible force (God) carries even more healing power --- It is a supremely potent belief² As Jesus says several times in the Gospels, ³Your faith has made you well² so the Medical Science of healing is just beginning to have a glimmer of what He was saying. And then there is the magnificent opening to Hebrews 11, ³Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.² Nowhere are we so aware of the reality of the Œunseen¹ as IN Worship, as this unseen God touches us in so many ways in which we are not even aware. ³Practice makes perfect² whether in music or in Faith! I know this as I struggle to find time to practice my trumpet at least once a week just to ³keep up² my lip. Practice makes Faith real for it is the very exercise of Faith itself! And worship is that exercise. (The real genius of Christianity as exhibited by Jesus however, is the balance of service or Œdoing unto others¹ with worship, as the exercise of Faith.) ŒFaith without works is not only dead¹ as James said, - faith without works is NOT faith. Martin Luther was a man of regular practiced WORSHIP, observing the hourly offices as an outline of his personal worship. We do NOT begin to understand his whole concept of faith without understanding this! Indeed, our heritage is much richer than most Lutherans know without knowing this. For this is the other side of his concept of The Real Presence of Christ, not just a theological position on the Eucharist, mind you, but a living realization to be used in participation with the Body of Christ - in Worship! Worship as an exercise of our faith - seems to be taken so casually by so many - due in part to the fact that worship seems passive. Therefore, we seem to do it as if we are Œrunning aimlessly.¹ Paul addresses this in that last paragraph of 1 Corinthians 9, ³Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So RUN that YOU may obtain it...² Playing the trumpet is a discipline like running, but I don¹t keep up my lip to win any kind of Œwreath¹ and certainly not to get to Carnegie Hall. No. Reading in the 15th chapter of 1st. Corinthians, I notice that at the time when the true reality of Christ¹s resurrection will become clear, that there will be plenty of work for trumpets - and that is one GIG that I would LOVE to play!


Several LMS-USA pastors have taken advantage of the agreement with the ELCA and have transferred their pension funds into the LMS-USA plan where they now have full control over their investment decisions. The transfers that have taken place have moved smoothly and quickly. Rev. Richard Barley, Director of Pensions and Financial Benefits for the LMS-USA, had been working toward this agreement for some time. Finally, on August 1, 1996, the agreement was signed by the President Pas-tor of the LMS-USA, Rev. Ralph Spears, Rev. H. Richard Barley II, ELCA Pension Board President, Mr. John S. Kpanke, and Board Vice President for Pension Administration, Mr. Lyle M. Anderson. This is a reciprocity agreement. It allows pastors of the two national church bodies to transfer their pension funds from the pension plans of either church body should they choose to apply for and be received into membership on the clergy roster of the other, even though the two church bodies are not in pulpit and altar fellowship. There is little question but that the matter of pensions is a matter of real concern when pastors consider joining or transferring from one denomination to another. It is therefore significant that this agreement has come about as it has, early in our life as a synod. Consideration is being given looking for similar agreements with other Lutheran bodies. Anyone having questions may contact Pastor Barley at 717-566-3964 or by mail at PO Box 347, Hummelstown, PA 17036. All inquiries will be held in strictest confidence.

Informational Meeting on LMS-USA planned in PA LMS-USA

Pennsylvania Congregations have geared up for the planting of several Mission congregations in the year ahead. A first effort is to be launched for the York, Harrisburg, Lancaster PA. area on Sunday March 16 at 4:00 P.M. in the York, PA. Holiday Inn meeting room. Newspaper Advertisements will herald the effort with ³The Lutheran Church : The way it used to be and the way it ought to be in Pennsylvania². All lay people, pastors and others are invited to the informational meeting to discussion the formation of a mission congregation in the area. The gathering is for those interested in a more traditional, historic, and confessional Lutheran emphasis. No reservations required. Pastor Steward (Altoona, PA) will host the meeting and will be joined by other Pennsylvania LMS-USA pastors. The Rev. W. Stephen Fermier, who has been named the York area Mission coordinator, has made application to the LMS-USA Ministerium. Additional Mission starts in what is known as the ³Golden Triangle of Lutheranism in Pennsylvania² (York-Harrisburg-Lancaster) will be initiated in mid summer or early fall of 1997. The LMS-USA hopes to have at least 3 successful Mission Congregation plantings (possibly 4) in place by the end of 1997. Two of these are planned for Pennsylvania and one is planned for Minnesota.

1997 LMS-USA Ministerium Gathering

Christ Lutheran Church Chetek, WI April 16-18, 1997

All pastors of the LMS-USA are invited and encouraged to attend this annual Ministerial meeting. There is business to discuss, but there will also be opportunity for worship and fellowship. A general invitation is also extended to any clergy who may be interested in investigating the LMS-USA and opportunities for ministry in the synod. If interested, contact President Pastor Rev. Ralph Spears [see back of this newsletter for address and/or phone}. The public is invited Thursday evening when we will look at the need for some theological distinctives now in this era of ecumenicism. For further information and/or directions to the church call or fax Pastor Erickson (715-924-2552).

This year's Indianapolis Conference and the LMS-USA Annual Convention will be meeting June 8 and 9, 1997. Further information and registration forms will be forthcoming in the May issue of Table Talk. If all moves ahead as planned we expect to witness several highlights at our June gathering. 1) Guest lecturer, Dr. Carter Lindberg, professor at Boston University will critique the modern Church Growth Movement. 2) We will witness the first ordination to Word and Sacrament in the LMS-USA. 3) We will receive additional pastors and congregations to our clergy and congregational rosters.

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 dialogue.

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