June 6-8, 1998
St. Matthew Lutheran, Indianapolis, IN
Plans are not yet finalized for the June meeting, but convention business
will likely convene on Saturday afternoon, June 6. The Conference presentations
will likely convene on Sunday afternoon, June 7. The Conference sessions
should conclude by noon on Monday and the Convention business by the middle
of Monday afternoon.
The Conference guest presenter will again be Professor Kurt Marquart of Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. His presentations will focus on the office of the ministry.
Anyone is welcome to the Conference sessions as well as to observe the Convention sessions. Registration and lodging information, as well as a finalized schedule, will be included in the May issue of Table Talk.. If you have questions you wish to have answered before that time, contact the LMS-USA (see the box below).
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Rev. Mark Dankoff was to have the second article in this series in this issue
of Table Talk. However, as noted elsewhere in this issue, Rev. Dankoff has
been very busy moving and preparing to begin graduate studies at Westminster
Part two of this series of four should be ready for our May issue.
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Luther's Preaching Method
by Fred W. Meuser
Editor's note: The 'in thing' in preaching today is for the preacher to
scrap all notes, to get out from behind the pulpit, to be dynamic, entertaining,
and, keep it short! How does this measure up to the standards of the one
who is credited with giving the sermon central place in our worship experience?
Fred Meuser gives us some anwsers to this question in a chapter from his
book, LUTHER the Preacher.
Almost everyone has heard that Luther marked a watershed in the history of preaching. Up until his time the heart of the Christian life was seen in the sacraments, which gave the power of God's grace to enable Christians to do good works. In recognition of these, God then gave more grace. In the Reformation the heart of Christian life and of the sacraments was seen to be in the word of promise, the message about the amazing love of God in Christ. Through that message, God's favor, grace, and gifts are bestowed freely. Faith, trust, love, joy, and obedience are the result. So the purpose of preaching was radically changed. Through the proclamation God comes to us as Christ is proclaimed. Of course, a sermon is a Christian schoolroom, granary, and battleground, but above all it is an encounter with God, through which God intends to bestow the fullness of his gifts. The sermon definitely is not optional in Christian worship, and it is not a way of filling time before the real star of the show - the sacrament - makes its appearance.
All of this meant a change in the form of the sermon. Before Luther's time there was preaching in abundance. But most sermons were rather highly structured addresses that developed some subject chosen by the preacher: a theological question, a particular virtue or sin, a problem of the Christian life. There was a rather set pattern. First was the introduction, then the question was divided into many parts and analyzed. Preachers marshaled philosophical arguments to prove their case, citing the Fathers as authorities with points and subpoints, main teachings and subteachings, logical precision and speculative ability. Depending on the preacher, there might be more or less Scripture in a sermon. Often the saints were very prominent. However, the sermon was not taken with utter seriousness, because the sacrament was all-imporant.
With Luther, especially after 1521, came what many interpreters call a totally new form of the sermon: die schrift-auslegende Predigt. Schriftauslegend is usually translated as "expository." Auslegen literally means "to lay out," to exhibit or display, to make something evident or plain. Luther had long since come to the conviction that such a laying out of the plain central message of Scripture was priority number one in the needed correction of the church's teaching and life. From the start of his preaching ministry he gave much greater place to Scripture than almost any of his contemporaries. After 1521 this switch was complete and permanent. Listeners are to hear God speaking in his saving power and presence in sermons. The aim of the sermon is therefore to help hearers understand the text, not just a religious truth. Its goal is that God may speak a gracious word through a text so that the people may be given faith or be strengthened in faith by the Holy Spirit. Its method is to take a given segment of Scripture, find the key thought within it, and make that unmistakably clear. The text is to control the sermon. When the sermon is over the people are to remember the text and its primary message much more than the sermon. The sermon is to follow the flow of the text, the language and the dynamic of the text, and not impose its own direction of dynamic from without.
Luther's method has often been called that of the homily, but that is really inaccurate. A homily usually moves verse by verse without tying the whole together. Luther insisted on finding the Sinnmitte, the heart of the text. That heart, that Kern or kernel is to save the preacher from getting lost in details. Every story has a Herzpunkt which the preacher must find and return to again and again. Every time he preached on the entry into Jerusalem Luther landed feet first on "Behold your king comes to you!" even though no one sermon was just like any other.
The main point of a sermon is to be so clear in the preacher's mind that it controls everything that is said. If that is clear, then the rest of the sermon may be allowed to flow with considerable freedom. "In my sermons I bury myself to take just one passage and there I stay so the hearers may be able to say 'That was the sermon.'" And that's the way he did it. We have Luther's sermons on the Sunday Gospels over many years. No two are the same in structure or development. Yet every time that he preached on the desire of the people to make Jesus their king, he stood face-to-face with the firm will of Jesus to lead the people past "sign-faith" to trust in the "naked word."
Luther rejected the art of fancy introductions in favor of a simple statement of the text's center: "In this Gospel our Lord tells us that God is merciful to those who suffer." Or, "Here God tells us that He hides Himself from the wise and reveals Himself to the simple." Or (preaching on Christ's baptism), "Is this not a beautiful glorious blessed exchange in which Christ changes places with us, takes our sin upon Himself and gives us His innocence and purity?" On special occasions such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals, there was more of an introduction, but ordinarily he started with, "What does the text want to tell us?" Then he went right into it!
Many of us were taught to preach on a well-formulated, short, and preferably striking theme which would be developed - perhaps by analysis of the text, perhaps according to a superimposed scheme - in two or three fairly symmetrical parts. My homiletics professor even timed every class sermon to see whether the parts consumed fairly equal amounts of time. That system has served me well over the years, and I still show the effects (and, I hope at least occasionally, the blessings) of it in my preaching. Such a system was totally foreign to Luther. It might even have alarmed him, because it probably would not sound textual enough, and it allows too much room for preachers to import their own "thing" into sermons or to make sermons artful or even artificial.
Luther could not have been less interested in symmetry, external form, beauty of expression, alliterative phrases, plays on words, balance, polish, or other signs of the rhetorical art. He had seen too much of that in the preaching against which he rebelled not to be deeply suspicious of it. He would have regarded books of snappy sermon starters or canned illustrations as the presence of the very devil. Everything calculated or artful tends to push the heart of the text and the natural flow of the word of God into the background. All such homiletical tricks and playing with words (as he would call it), such toying around with proclamation are unfitting to the task. He also suspected that they masked an unworthy desire on a preacher's part to be popular.Such a desire for popularity was seen as the preacher's death trap.
There is no greater evil or poison than vainglory. . . . she is the bride of the devil . . . [and] works great harm in a preacher. It moves him to say . . . [I] must preach . . . so that the people may say: "This preacher will turn out to be a fine man. He [can] . . . produce something different and new." Then people gape and say, "He is certainly a fine preacher; he knows how to hit the nail on the head; I have never heard anyone put it this way." And so the man is puffed up with pride, tickled with the praise, and imagines that he is an ox when he really is scarcely a toad. Then he must be very careful not to spoil things with the people. Because they praise him, he must, in turn, praise them. So they praise one another until one goes to the devil with the other.
Luther would not like the style of the preaching of my two pastors (although he would love the content) because they work hard on the sermon's form, theme, and parts. They always preach on a carefully chosen theme so that you can follow the logical progression from one major part to another. They come up with interesting and often humorous introductions (not thigh-slappers, but chucklers), and they both love plays on words, which they use unusually well in service of the gospel.
Luther's only device, if it could be called that, was to set things in opposition to each other. He loved to employ tensions: law/gospel; conflict: sin/grace, God/Satan, paradox: freewill/bound will; and above all, dialog, at which he was a master. Dialog is part of a very high proportion of his sermons. Usually he spoke in the first person for both parties. There is conversation between Luther and his hearers, between God and humanity, God and Adam, Jesus and the disciples, God and Satan, Luther and Satan, sin and righteousness, life and death, and heaven and hell. In almost every sermon two sides confront each other. This is as close as Luther came to a designed form, but he did it so naturally that there was never anything phony about it. It was the way he saw life. "Wenn ich eine Predigt tue, so mache ich eine antithesin." [When I preach a sermon, I make an antithesis]. Doberstein puts it this way.
He never proclaims God's great Yes, God's acceptance of man in the gospel, without at the same time proclaiming his No, his rejection of all of man's presumption, work-righteousness and the imaginations of his reason. That was an expression of his insight that the sermon is part of the battle still going on between God and evil for the universe. And a battle always has two sides. The sermon is not just instruction, but conflict - of truth with error, God with Satan. There is the deepest kind of conflict within the reconciliation which God achieves through the gospel. It is a part of life that will not end this side of the grave. It makes Luther's sermons vibrant, powerful, in touch with life as the hearer lives it. He could preach that way because he had come through great conflict, lived with conflict in his own soul, but also knew the Victor whose presence and promise made it possible to survive in the midst of the conflict without being drained or overcome by it.
Fred W. Meuser, "Luther's Preaching Method" from, LUTHER the Preacher, Mpls, MN: Augsburg Publishing, 1983, pp. 45-50. Used with permission.
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by Rev. Ralph Spears
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent
power belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 6:7
In part 1 of this article, The Nature of Our Life Together; we noted that
Life begins and ends with CHRIST, not as a generic "name" to invoke on our
fellowship, but as He who truly makes "all things new". HE makes the fellowship
of our (Christian) life together unique, unlike any other, because - in Him
- it is a fellowship of communion. We become active members together in His
body where Christ is the standard and the model.
But each of us Christians are much less than perfect and yet - we are of Him. And the "treasure" of His body, we carry about in "earthen vessels". A good friend used to paraphrase this passage by saying that we are as "cracked pots" and that those cracks allow the glory to shine from within to others much in the way that Paul would say that "His power is made perfect in us even in our weakness".
The other side of those "cracks of imperfection", present many interesting challenges in the fellowship of the Body. On the one hand we are the "new man in Christ" on the other, hand there is that "old man" that must be put off daily. On the one hand, we are His, and on the other, we are people very much - of the world.
Luther in explaining - simul justus et pecatur - at the same time saint and sinner - said that he was like a "horse, ridden one moment by the Christ and the next , by the devil" a dichotomy reflecting Paul's "I do not do what I want but I do the very thing that I hate" (Romans 7:15). If Paul did "not understand (his) own actions" then Luther did not like his.
In the world we are sinners, condemned and condemning. But in Christ, confessing same, we are forgiven, absolved and remarkably raised to full partnership in Him and with Him. "For Jesus Christ alone" says Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "is our unity."
He heals the breach between us brought on by the sometimes annoying imperfections which we recognize in each other sometimes MORE than the promise that each holds.
"Through Him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, and fellowship with one another" says Bonhoeffer. In fact if we intellectualize fellowship and begin to exclude those whom we might consider "weak or insignificant", from Christian community and therefore useless, we may actually be excluding Christ for "in the poor brother, Christ is knocking at the door."
As Pastor Bonhoeffer points out, "we must be very careful at this point." For as another writer put it: "he whom (we) exclude as an outworn clod, may be at a terrible union with God". The trick says Bonhoeffer is seeing the brother in "God's reality" in the Spiritual community and not in mere human community in human love. Human love, he says can NOT love the enemy. And finally Bonhoeffer's telling distinction:
"Human love - breeds hot house flowers; spiritual love creates the fruits healthily in accord with GodÕs good will in the rain and storm and sunshine of God's outdoors." What better way to properly describe the fruits of the spirit that so distinguish each Christian in true Spiritual Community! Instead so many take these precious gifts out of the context of the spiritual community and they become rather the hot house flowers and fruits which do not last. So then people of a falsified community go about trying to "show off" their own gifts as if these gifts belonged to them, instead of being the "earthen vessel" which would show the Transcendent power that belongs to God. For "God creates every man in the likeness of His Son - the Crucified" with His treasure in our earthen vessel.
The Remarkable Gifts of the Spirit become the marks of the Spiritual Community and each possesses the gift - not of his or her self - but as Paul says - "for the common good". Gifts of the Spirit are given to each person and developed in each person, who ia a member of the Community. It is not his but given through him or her to the Community. This is another one of those points at which we must "be very careful". Because much confusion takes place here which pollutes the whole concept of the work of the Holy Spirit and substitutes the individual for the "transcendent power" within him, which power belongs "to God and not to us". It is not his (the individual's) to claim much less flaunt - in any way - for it is not his. The gift(s) belong to the community!
Gifts are remarkable because they are given quietly, almost unobtrusively, coming to flower (in the individual) within the Community and for the Community. Remarkable also, because they seem to be given (from our perspective), to the most unlikely people. It is almost as if the Father's answer to them is the same as St. Paul reports, "My power is made perfect in weakness". Nor should they be stereotypes always of those at the head of the "lists" of Paul's Epistles.
Gifts are often lavished on the young - on children for their openness, lovingness and gentle charm. No wonder that Our Lord says that we "should be like them to enter the kingdom of heaven". No mention of prophecy, healing or tongues, here but "becom(ing) as children". When even a child becomes too full of himself and that gentle gift so characteristic of childhood, then that special gift fades. And this relates to the saying which is true of all gifts, especially Spiritual gifts: "That which you misuse, you lose!"
No wonder then, that Paul boasts of his weakness, so that things which would show God's glory might show through. (2 Cor.11:30) For those who boast of their gift especially of gifts that they "cannot give" are "like clouds and wind without rain" (Proverbs)
The most remarkable gifts as well as those most important ARE people themselves! Even people in the "rough" so to speak- have a gift to give - sometimes even in spite of themselves. No matter how they try to eclipse their gift - it comes through the "cracks" and they show the transcendence from within themselves. How many gruff old folks do we know who are trying to hide a softness, tenderness and love within their earthen vessel, and doing a terrible job, because it shines through - still.
Finally it is of LOVE that we speak, love which creates Spiritual Community, love which identifies this Community, love which is the essence of authentic Community. Agape love is the love of which we speak, it can be no less. It has to be the agape love that Paul speaks of in the vaunted passage of 1 Corinthians 13. NOT human love, for human love could not do the things herein described.
Bonhoeffer frees agape love from the "wrapper" of Corinthians and shows that it is the operative force of God in all true Community. Only THIS can "hope all things, believe all things, endure all things and never ends" when all else does. Love is our Fellowship! Love is our unity!
May we know this long before all else known as gifts of the Spirit come to a grinding halt, and only the LOVE of God is left! In knowing THIS love we gladly put ourselves last behind others because as we do, we realize the greatest of all that we might know - that to which the highest and best of Spiritual Community points!
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.
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Following a strategy meeting held on February 12, efforts are going ahead
for what will hopefully result in a new LMS-USA congregation in Hudson,
Wisconsin. Just across the river from Minneapolis / St. Paul, Hudson is one
of the fastest growing communities in the Metro Area.
Rev. Robert Haltner, Sr., has sensed a call to work in this area and would encourage anyone who might be interested in this effort to contact him and/or if anyone knows people in this area who might be interested to either let them know so they can contact Pastor Haltner or they can give such names directly to Pastor Haltner.
This work could easily draw from as far away as the eastern Metro Area of Minnesota and in Wisconsin, from the university community of River Falls. You can contact Pastor Haltner (for now) at:
P. O. Box 268
Haugen, WI 54841
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The seal of the LMS-USA includes a fourth SOLA in addition to the traditional
three SOLAS of the Reformation. But the statement, Christ Alone, was certainly
central to Luther's teaching.
Luther on Christ Alone
SEEK GOD IN CHRIST ALONE
...Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9
Begin your search with Christ and stay with Him and cleave to Him, and if
your own thoughts and reason, or another man's, would lead you elsewhere,
shut your eyes and say: I should and will know of no other God than Christ,
my Lord. Behold, if He is sent by the Father, He must have something really
great to say and do for us, by the Father's will, so that we should hear
Him as the Most High Himself. And what then is the word we hear? No other
than that He came to help the world and to make the Father our friend.
What is the deed? No other than that He preaches and suffers and in the end dies on the cross. Before, the Father's heart, and will, and work lie open before me, and I perceive and know Him fully, and this no man could ever see or reach by his own wise and penetrating thoughts, however high he might climb with his speculations.
But if you abandon this clear prospect, and climb up into God's Majesty on high, you must stumble, fear and fall because you have withdrawn yourself from God's grace, and have dared to stare at the Majesty unveiled, which is too high and overpowering for you. For apart from Christ, Nature can neither perceive nor attain the grace and love of God, and apart from Him is nothing but wrath and condemnation.
Sermon on John xiv-xx
W.A. 28. 101 f.
THE GOSPEL IS NOTHING BUT CHRIST
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. John 14:1
Here, then, and elsewhere I hear that all His words are designed to comfort
me, indeed all His thoughts and words and works are pure kindness and
Therefore this must be true and cannot be false: if a man has a heavy, dull, and frightened heart, it cannot be from Christ. For He is not the man to make hearts fearful, sad, and heavy. For He came and wrought His work and ascended into heaven to take away from our hearts all fear and sadness and give us in their stead a joyful heart and conscience, and joyful thoughts. But, you say, does not Christ Himself often threaten and frighten us in the Gospel, as when He says: 'Repent!', and again in Luke xiii: 'I tell you, nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish'?
Behold, this is the very meaning of such words of Christ, that a sad and heavy conscience should care for nothing but that it find Him, and say to Him: Say what Thou wilt, these are Christ's own words, who can ignore them?
And behold, if we could understand and discern aright, both things would be true, namely, that Christ confronts those whom the devil has frightened into despair, and again, that He frightens those whom the devil has made sure and presumptuous. For these two will always wage war the one against the other; what the devil spoils, Christ must build up and set right; and again, what the devil builds, Christ destroys.
Exposition of John xiv
W.A. 45. 472 ff.
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Are All God's Children?
Rev. John Erickson
Some time ago I was reading a book where, in speaking of people in general,
the statement was made, "we are all God's children." About the same time
I happened to be listening to a well known "Christian" radio program. It
was a round table discussion. In the midst of the discussion, a participant
in making her point, and again speaking of people in general, said, "all
are God's children." In spite of the fact that when the Bible makes reference
to those who are 'Children of God' it is always in letters that are addressed
to Christians, it is a popular notion today, that all are God's children.
Some years ago I came across a Bible study (and sadly, it was produced by Lutherans) which was dealing with foreign mission work in the church. The author stated that all are God's children. And, since this is the case, the reason for missionaries was simply that someone would be there to tell those in foreign lands that they are God's children.
That's quite a contrast to what we find in Romans 3:10. Here we read concerning natural man, "There is no one righteous not even one..." It also stands in contrast to what we read in John 1:12. Here we note it is those who "receive him [Jesus], who believed on His name, [whom] he gave the right to become children of God."
Clearly, those who are members of God's family are those who have received Jesus... it is those who have been born anew (John 3:3 and Titus 3:5-6)... it is those who believe and are baptized (Mk. 16:16). And these are made members not through anything they have done... but through faith in what God has done for them... that faith itself being a gift... so it is ALL of God (Eph. 2:8ff)
Our task as a church is not to tell everyone they are okay and that they are already one of God's children. Rather it is to share with them that by nature they are not God's children. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10). But we are not to leave it at that, we are also to share with them that there is hope. If they will "Repent and be baptized... in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of... sins" (Acts 2:38), they will be saved.
But that's not the end of it... now, having been made his children, we are to "continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming" (I John 2:28). Those who wish to be called Children of God must remain "faithful, even to the point of death" if we wish to receive "the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Therefore a most important directive is that spoken of by our Lord in the Great Commission. There the instruction is given, "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20). It is vitally important that those who are children of God know how they "ought to live" (2 Pe 3:11); and that they know how to "work out their salvation" (2 Pe 3:11). And why is this important? Because our Lord makes clear, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). It is the responsibility of the church not only to call people to repentance and faith, but to teach. And it is the responsibility of God's children to do. And, for those of God's children who are faithful... there is still something more. John tells us, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2). Those who God has made his children have much to look forward to.
Here and now, they can experience the forgiveness of sin, freedom from guilt and shame, peace and joy in their heart, and the hope of heaven. While all this is true, there is also the fact that "in this world they will have trouble" (John 16:33). Because this is the case, some might be tempted to despair; to question if the future reward is worth the trouble. But here too God's children are given hope. For he in whom God's children have placed their hope is the very one who tells his children, "... take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). And, "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matt. 28:20). With the promise of his presence why should one despair? For GodÕs children know - we know - that having Him with us means "God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). In other words, even in the "obeying" and "living as we ought" we are not alone! He is with us to help us to be ready for his appearing. Knowing that, all God's children can proclaim with the author of the book of Hebrews, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Heb. 13:6). And then, when he does appear... each of God's children will know what Paul spoke of when he said, "there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8).
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The English physician Braxton Hicks who practiced medicine circa 1850-1860,
and the apostle Paul appear to have something in common. They both spoke
of pseudo or phony events as causing disappointment. Hicks identified false
labor contractions in the human birth process as causing fear and discouragement
in the mother to be, because those false labor signs are "hard to tell apart
from the contractions of true labor." Paul roundly chided the Galatian
congregation for their legal-like and old Jewish mechanical observances of
"particular days, and months, and seasons, and years" (Gal. 4:10) as just
another means of trying to win God's favor through human works. The problem
with that was that those special times were so religious that they resembled
holiness; only resembled holiness, but were no where near the real item of
holiness - just like false labor pains resembling, but not the real thing.
Such caused the apostle to suspect that he too had "Hick's signs" about his
work among those Galatians. He said: "I fear that I have labored among and
over you in vain (empty, useless) purpose." (Gal. 4:10-11 et al.). In the
face of the overwhelming evidence of how our society - and as we too allow
ourselves to be caught up in such madness as Christians - debauches special
days and times into phony attempts to gain favor with God by practicing
"holidays" - we have to be very cautious to detect... "Hick's Signs"
Rev. Robert Haltner, Sr. shared the above as his introduction to his Thanksgiving Eve message this past November. He pointed out how these "Hick's Signs" are to be found not only in our observing of Thanksgiving, they are found in most all our holiday observances, and that includes our celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord.
Haltner points out that the term "Easter", "is a term of heathen origin palmed off on the world by one man which does not point to Christ, but to lies and which infers sexuality, fecundity, and reproduction. The Anglo-Saxon priest (Roman Catholic) Venerable Bede in the 8th century derived it from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre." While there is little question but that the term "Easter" could be "redeemed" and thus come to have new meaning, it is also the case that in too many cases today, and even among Christians, the observance of Easter has links to, and has taken on some of those things that characterized it in its heathen state.
One might well question if things such as Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, butterflies, and maybe even our Easter breakfasts, do not have more to do with "Hick's Signs" than they do with the real thing. And while there may not be harm in some of the things connected with the celebration of Easter today, it is also the case that in the church, and as Christians, our desire ought (and must be) the real thing. Paul put it this way, "...if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (I Cor. 15:13-14).
As Christians we are called upon to "follow Him". All who are thus called, together, make up the church, the "ecclesia". And Rev. Haltner reminds us, "To the ecclesia, then, goes this gentle exhortation. 'Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.' (Romans 16:17-18)."
Even in our observing of Easter, we should be careful; careful that our worship might be "in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:23) and careful that the witness we give to the world and to the weaker brother or sister, might be witness with no cause for question (Matt. 18:6).
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Pittsburg PA. Rev. Mark Dankof, vice Chairman of the LMS-USA Ministerium,
recently moved from Kerrville, TX, to Glenside, PA, to begin graduate work
February 9, at Westminister Theological Seminary.
Rev. Dankof will be majoring in systematic theology and theological German as part of the Th. M/PH.D. program. His hope is to do thesis work on "An Examination of the Theological, Philosophical, and Historical Underpinnings of the Doctine of the Ubiquity of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist as understood by the Lutheran Confessions."
Rev. Dankof's address is, Beaver Manor, 777 Limekiln Pike, Apt. B5, Glenside, PA 19038.
Indianapolis, IN. St. Matthew Lutheran Church is much in the mode
of St. John - the Baptist in his magnificent statement concerning the Christ,
"He must increase but I must decrease." For the work of St. Matthew Church
does increase even as her membership, like many inner-city congregations
today, decreases. And this work sometimes makes very different kinds of
connections to accomplish its purpose.
Recently the large basement full of Sunday School rooms provided in the early sixties, while only two or three are used now, have been filled in part by the activities of the Head Start Program of Indianapolis - in this case the Adult Education component.
So new wiring was run to accomodate seventeen computers for both a Computer Education program and a G.E.D. program run through Head Start. In addition three offices of the program are housed in the other wing of the basement which seventy years ago was the entire worship area for the congregation in her first stage of building.
This has more than helped the congregation to meet a hefty utility bill for the large building, but it has also provided marvelous opportunities for many that St. Matthew has been helping in an expanding ministry of late. As many come for food, counseling and other assistance they are also referred to the ready G.E.D. program in the carpeted room #8 in the basement which inspires a whole new sense of purpose in many of the younger adults who visit St. Matthew for help.
Several of these same folks who have come for a continuation of their educational credential down stairs, have been referred upstairs for counseling with the pastor.
Just this week, a new Jobs Counselor has been added by Head Start and there is sharing already between "upstairs" and "downstairs" concerning jobs for visitors to the building.
Several of the Head Start folks have been surprised by the comprehensive services that St. Matthew has offered to the neighborhood but the offerings of Head Start have certainly increased those possibilities. And this has been very good, because more people come to the church during the week now, in search of deeper things than just food and clothing.
Chetek, WI. The congregation of Christ Lutheran Church, in their annual meeting, January 18, voted unanimously to move ahead with the construction of a classroom addition to their church facility. Christ Lutheran celebrated it's 10th anniversary this past June and built their present church facility in 1991. The addition will add four classrooms and an 800 sq. ft. general purpose room.
Minneapolis, MN. For those in the Northwestern Metro area of the Twin Cities, Rev. Jeffrey Iverson continues his efforts in establishing Word of God Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Park, MN. If interested, or if you know persons who might be interested, you/they can contact Pastor Iverson at:
Word of God Lutheran Church
6124 69th Ave. N.
Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
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