The Lutheran Spokesman (August 1996)
Church of the Lutheran Confession 1996 Convention Report
"We Appreciate The Means Of Grace"
In this issue:
Run For Your Life!
We Are Holy People
The Problem Of Guilt
Pietism and Promise Keepers: The "Promises" And Antidotes
Familiarity And Change
The Human Tail, And Other Tales Of Evolution
Meet: David Lundin
For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.
Many of our eyes in recent weeks have been fastened on Atlanta -- and
the 1996 Summer Olympics. The sight of some of the world's greatest
athletes from 150 countries displaying their finely-honed skills has
left us filled with awe and amazement. Any involved in sports well
knows that these performances are products not just of natural
God-given ability, but also of months and years of rigorus discipline
The Olympics are not new. Dating back to centuries before Christ in
Greece, they long predate even the apostle Paul. Living and working in
Greece and Asia Minor on his missionary journeys, Paul likely shared
the widespread knowledge and interest in the Olympic games. They were
the World Series and the Super Bowl of his day. Victory in them meant
instant honor and fame, just as it still does today.
Small wonder the apostle uses the striking illustration in 1
Corinthians 9:24: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
The alluded-to race of our life is really the race for life -- with
eternal life as the prize.
How sad that so many, unaware of and unmotivated by the importance of
this race, run "aimlessly" (v. 26) -- without purpose or goals. Lured
by the temptation of "perishable crowns," their time and energies are
consumed in futile pursuits, and their "victories" are spiritually and
eternally empty. "For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole
world, and yet lose his own soul?" ( Mk. 8:38)
A Difficult Race
Yet even for the Christian on the "right track," the race for eternal
life will be a struggle. One gets the impression that the Olympic race
to which Paul is comparing life is not a sprint or 100 yard dash, but
rather the marathon.
Running the marathon requires a completely different approach.
Qualities required for long-distance running are stamina, endurance,
persistance, and a good dose of self-discipline and self-sacrifice (v.
27). For into each life-race there will come hills of spiritual
obstacles to climb and overcome, weighty burdens and spiritual
"crosses" to carry, the aching muscles of stress and pressures, and
indescribable fatigue as we sometimes "hit the wall," feeling we
cannot go on.
At such times nothing within us will keep us going. Only a
Spirit-implanted faith in the promises and assurances of God and His
Word will work:
* There we receive a refreshing splash of the Water of Life on our
* There we are rejuvenated with a spiritual "second wind";
* There we are strengthened to carry on;
* There we are assured the race has already been run -- and won --
for us and we need only follow in faith;
* There we fix our eyes on Jesus -- His atonement, His resurrection,
and His victory;
* There we are encouraged to "run with endurance the race that is set
before us" (Heb. 12:1).
Yes, run for your life -- eternal life. The race is run and won only
in Christ, the Author (Starter) and Finisher of our faith, to whom
alone be all glory. He will present us with the victory prize as we
cross the finish line -- not a perishable Olympic gold medal, but a
priceless, imperishable, heavenly crown of righteousness and glory,
whose Christ-lustre will never fade or tarnish. And unlike the Olympic
marathon which has only one winner, this heavenly crown awaits all who
live and die in the Lord.
As we run the race of our lives and go for the heavenly "gold" in
Christ, may each of us one day say with the apostle as we approach the
finish line: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on
that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His
appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
-- Pastor David Schierenbeck
This is the first of five messages which Convention Chaplain,
Pastor Michael Eichstadt, presented under the overall theme:
"Who Are We?"
"Who are you?" That is probably the number one question of the day.
After all, we have assembled here from dozens of different places.
Some of us are pastors or teachers; others are lay delegates and
interested observers. For some it's a first-time experience; for
others it's a repeat visit. In any case, if we are to spend this week
together carrying out the work before us, it's helpful to know a
little about one another. As we share our experiences, pull out
snapshots of children and grandchildren, and especially share our
faith, Christian fellowship is strengthened. And so we introduce
ourselves and ask one another: "Who are you?"
The same question can be asked of a group like the CLC. Perhaps as you
were making arrangements to come here your employer or neighbor asked
you what the CLC is all about. What is the CLC's reason for existence?
Who are we? It's a fair question. In these waning years of the 20th
century we are told to change with the times and to question old
assumptions which may no longer hold true.
And yet there really is no need for an identity crisis on our part.
We can be assured of who we are by looking to the answers the Lord
provides in 1 Corinthians. We begin with 1 Corinthians 1:2-3. Paul
writes: "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in
Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those
everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their
Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ.
An Incredible Thing!
Who wre these Corinthians whom Paul addressed? Simply put, they were
God's holy people. Paul states it so matter-of-factly that we could
easily pass it by without a second thought. But this was an incredible
thing! Holy people in Corinth? The city was a wide-open seaport, the
fourth largest city in the Roman empire. It was a prosperous urban
center populated by Roman colonists, ex-slaves, former soldiers and a
smattering of Jews. People from all over the known world passed
through it just as in San Francisco, Phoenix, St. Louis, or any other
large city in our country. However, the city was also notorious for
its tough streets and immorality. "Corinthian" is still an adjective
used to describe a dissolute, luxury-loving lifestyle. Corinth was the
antithesis of holiness. How could there be hoy people there?
Even the Christians in Corinth could not claim that they were perfect
people. Paul provides a sordid list including: "sexually immoral,
idolaters, adulterers, homosexual offenders, thieves, greedy . . . "
(1 Cor. 6:9), and then adds: "that is what some of you were." Also,
the congregation was in danger of self-destructing because of church
politics, factions, lawsuits, and squabbling over spiritual gifts.
Holy people? Hardly! Don't picture them as perfect people who spent
their time polishing their haloes. They were not. They were fatally
flawed by sin.
Isn't that who we are too? We were born in the same mold. Adam's
sinful nature is just as much a part of us as it was of the
Corinthians. Not only that, all too often the ungodly influence of our
society rubs off on us. We find it is easier to go along with the
crowd rather than be different. We see so much wrong in our lives:
problems in our families, difficulties in our congregations, and
resentment in our hearts toward God. Is that a description of a holy
person? Is it not rather the portrait of a sinner deserving of God's
condemnation? No, it is deserving of God's condemnation.
A Reality In Christ
How could Paul write to these imperfect Christians as "sanctified"
and "called to be holy"? Was he using flattery to gain easier
acceptance by them? No, he was telling the truth. These were God's
holy people now, but it had nothing to do with their own goodness or
The key is in the three little words: "in Christ Jesus." These Corin-
thians were by nature no different than anyone else, but in Christ
Jesus their status with God changed completely. Paul says: "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 Cor. 6:11)l. "God
made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might
become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). In Christ Jesus the
sinners is pronounced a saint. All the guilt which stains our souls
and lives is washed away by the precious bolood of Jesus. Through that
soul-resuscitating Gospel the Holy Spirit calls doomed sinners out of
the world and sets them apart as God's holy people for His own saving
Look at who we are in Christ! Miraculously, we are holy people who can
call God "Father." As such, we are the recipients of His grace. From
our Baptism day to the day of our death we walk in the warmth and
light of His undeserved love. And while we live in troubled, uncertain
times, we have the peace which transcends all human understanding--the
peace between us and God earned by Jesus on the cross. We don't have
to wonder who we are.
What a difference that makes this week at Convention! Because we are
God's holy people, we are not here to push our own personal agenda or
gain some special advantage for our congregation. Our overriding theme
is one of gratitude for all the Lord has done. What greater privilege
could we receive than to serve our loving Lord in everything we do.
That is why we are here. There is a mountain of work ahead of us, the
weather may well be hot and sticky, and things are not as comfortable
as they are at home. Yet I'm certain that none of us would rather be
anywhere else than right here. For it is good to be here as the people
God has made us--holy people in Christ Jesus! How amazing! How
motivating! Praise God! Amen.
"That We Might have Hope" (Rom. 15:4)
Genesis Chapters Forty-Two Through Forty-Five
The Problem Of Guilt
The problem of guilt is a recurring theme in literature. A character
in a novel commits a crime and seems to get away with it. The police
have their suspicions but are unable to prove anything. The criminal
at first is relieved, thinking he has escaped justice. But soon he
finds that he has not escaped, for his conscience torments him, and
he cannot free himself from it. His life is made miserable by
the unrelenting accusations of a guilty conscience.
The sons of Jacob had this same experience after they imprisoned their
brother in a pit, discussed killing him, and finally sold him as a
slave to a band of Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. They seemed to
get away with their crime; Jacob their father was satisfied with
their explanation that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. As
long as they kept to themselves what had really happened, they were
It was not that easy. Years later when the brothers met up with Joseph
in Egypt the memory of their crime against him was still fresh in
their minds. Joseph--whom they did not recognize--spoke harshly to
them and accused them of being spies. He sent them back to Canaan with
others to bring back their youngest brother Benjamin.
To assure that they would return, Joseph kept Simeon in Egypt as a
prisoner. To what did they attribute this unfortunate turn of events?
To their sin against Joseph. "Surely we are being punished because of
our brother," they said (42:21).
Though years had passed, they remembered Joseph's pleading for his
life. The memory of his pitiful cries must have tormented them
relentlessly. When they were on their way home from their second trip
to Egypt and Benjamin was accused of stealing Joseph's silver cup, a
horrified Judah said that God had uncovered their guilt (44:16).
The Only Remedy
The brothers expressed remorse and regret for what they had once done
to Joseph, but they could find no peace. They could not undo the great
harm that they had done first to Joseph himself and to their father
Jacob. They knew that they deserved to be punished by God for what
they had done. That is why they saw the hand of God's justice in every
unfavorable turn of events.
The only remedy for their guilt was forgiveness. Joseph put his
brothers to the test to see if they had repented of the evil they had
done to him. He gave them opportunities to demonstrate envy and
callousness toward Benjamin. When he saw that they had repented he
made himself known to them (in one of the most touching scenes in all
of Bible history). Joseph forgave his brothers. As a child of God
Joseph did not try to usurp God's authority as Judge by taking revenge
on his brothers or by holding a grudge against them (50:19).
Forgiveness is the only cure for guilt. The guilt-plagued soul will
never find peace by ignoring real guilt or by indulging in
rationalizations and excuses for sinful conduct. Guilt must be faced
and confessed, as David faced and confessed his guilt, saying to God,
"Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy
sight" (Ps. 51:4).
This is also what our Lord teaches through His apostle: "If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).
God who would have been just to punish us for our sins has instead
laid all our sins on Jesus His Son. The sacrifice of Jesus has
satisfied God's justice, and now He is just to forgive.
-- Pastor John Klatt
The "Promises" And Antidotes
Promise Keepers began with 72 men under the leadership of Colorado
football coach Bill McCartney in 1990. McCartney and the others were
members of the Vineyard denomination, a Pentecostal group led by Rev.
John Wimber, a faith healer with serious health problems. Wimber and
C. Peter Wagner taught the infamous "Signs and Wonders" course in
Church Growth at Fuller Seminary, promoting phony miracles as a way to
get people to attend church.
McCartney and his associates quickly made their Promise Keepers group
inter-denominational, with a goal of filling football stadiums. In
1995 they claimed a total attendance of over 700,000 men, according to
a report on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.
Promise Keepers began as a men's group and continues to grow as an
ecumenical men's group holding rallies with nationally known speakers,
such as James Dobson and Charles Swindoll. The glue which binds the
Promise Keepers together is a network of small prayer groups which
serves as a multi-denominational church.
The prayer group which sets itself up as a church within a church is
the product of Pietism, which began with Philip Spener, called the
first union theologian by Otto Heick.(1) Pentecostals use prayer groups
to teach people how to "pray in tongues, dance in the spirit, and be
slain in the spirit," all features of Satan worship in Africa. They
also volunteer to invade non-Pentecostal prayer groups to teach people
how to be real Christians, by their definition.
Prayer and lay-led Bible study groups have become popular due to the
constant promotion of them in the Church Growth Movement. Their model
church is Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, which is devoid of
crosses outside and in the worship area. Willow Creek is playing a
major role in Promise Keepers.
A Promise Keeper must make seven promises, which are a mixture of fine
sentiments and alarming oaths. Some of the obvious problems are:
1) He binds himself to participate in a cell group and place himself
under the spiritual authority of that group. In effect the cell group
becomes his church, his pastor and elders. Their only qualification is
that they are also Promise Keeprs.
2) He commits himself to praying for his pastor and working in his
church, but nothing is said about the pastor or church being faithful
to the Scriptures.
3) He acknowledges "denominational barriers," an interesting choice of
words, but is willing to cross denominational and racial lines at
least once a month. This is a combination of racial justice and Third
Wave Pentecostalism. Mixing a social justice goal and a religious goal
in the same promise is mischievous. Expect the Promise Keeprs to add
more political causes to their ecumenical agenda.
The CLC places faithfulness to the Scriptures and the Confessions over
the dramatic rush of filling football stadiums. The United States has
seen decades of ecumenical revivals under Billy Graham, without
apparent effect. Graham's ecumenism was followed by Fuller Seminary's
Church Growth Movement, which is threatening to dominate WELS and
LC-MS thinking while reducing their membership and attendance.
If pastors and lay leaders read Luther, Chemnitz, the Book of Concord,
Walther, and Pieper, they will be encouraged to trust in the efficacy
of God's Word and discouraged from joining the Enthusiasts.
In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the
beginning from the first fall to the end of the world, its poison
having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is
the origin, power, life, and strength of all heresy, especially of
that of the Papacy and Mahomet. Therefore we ought and must constantly
maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise
than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil
himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and
God Himself is The Promise Keeper.
-- Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
1. History of Christian Thought, 2 vols., Philadelphia, Fortress
2. Smalcald Articles, VIII. Confession, 9-10. Concordia Triglotta, p.
497. Tappert, p. 313.
(*Elected or re-elected at this Convention)
President: The Rev. Daniel Fleischer*
V. President: The Rev. Elton Hallauer*
Secretary: The Rev. James Albrecht*
Moderator: Prof. Ronald Roehl*
Board of Missions
Mr. Don Ohlmann (1998)
The Rev. Bruce Naumann (1998)
Mr. Peter Krafft (2000)*
The Rev. Walter Schaller (2000)*
Board of Regents
The Rev. Vance Fossum (1998)
Dr. Burdette Wheaton (1998)
The Rev. Mark Bernthal (2000)*
Mr. Tom Beekman (2000)*
Board of Trustees
The Rev. James Sandeen (1998)
Mr. Dennis Oster (1998)
Mr. Phil Radichel (2000)*
The Rev. John Schierenbeck (2000)*
Conference Visitors (as ratified):
Minnesota -- The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn
South-Eastern -- The Rev. John Klatt
Great Lakes -- The Rev. Paul Tiefel
Pacific Coast -- The Rev. Bertram Naumann
West Central -- The Rev. Walter Schaller
Board of Education
The Rev. David Schierenbeck (1998)
Prof. Ross Roehl (1998)
Teacher Karl Olmanson (2000)
Mr. Gayle Stelter (2000)
Board of Doctrine
The Rev. Paul F. Nolting
Prof. Paul Schaller
The Rev. L.W. Schierenbeck
The Rev. L. Dale Redlin
The Rev. Mark Bernthal
Mr. Virgil Lee
Mr. Frank Paull
The Rev. Paul Naumann
The Rev. David Fuerstenau
The Rev. Thomas Schuetze
Mr. Jack Mayhew
Mr. Jonathan Weichmann
Mr. Don Ohlmann (Missions Advisor)
Missions Outreach Committee
The Rev. Mark Gullerud
Teacher Gene Schreyer
Mr. Tom Holland
Salary Compensation Comittee
Teacher Douglas Libby
Teacher Dan Barthels
Mr. Larry Dassow
ILC Publicity Committee
The Rev. John Hein
The Rev. Michael Wilke
Mr. Tom Beekman
CLC Foundation Board
Mr. Neal Wietgrefe (1998)
The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn (2000)
Mr. Duane Riggert (2002)
The Rev. Peter Reim
Mr. Paul Hein
Mr. Ivan Zarling
The Rev. Paul Naumann
Mr. Matt Shaser
Mr. Matt Kelly
Technology Study Committee
Mr. James Sydow
Mr. Glenn Oster
The Rev. Paul Larsen
Teacher James Lau
Investment Management Review Committee
The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn
Mr. Steve Leinberger
Mr. Orville Noeldner
Mr. Harvey Callies
Prof. David Lau
Pastor em. Rollin Reim
Mr. Steven Lentz
Ministry By Mail
The Rev. Paul F. Nolting, Editor
The Rev. Paul Naumann, Ass't Editor
Mrs. Susan Lentz, Bus. Manager
(See Staff Listing)
Journal Of Theology
Prof. John Lau, Editor
The Rev. Elton Hallauer, Ass't Editor
Mr. Benno Sydow, Circulation Manager
Prof. John Pfeiffer, Bus. Manager
The Revs. Paul Naumann, Vance Fossum, Stephen Kurtzahn, Paul F. Nolting,
Michael Roehl, Arthur Schultz, and Prof. Paul Schaller
Familiarity And Change
The 22nd Convention of the CLC opened with a feeling of familiarity.
Delegates were greeted by familiar faces up on the gymnasium stage.
Folding chairs and bleachers provided an all-too-familiar feeling (a
feeling one must get accustomed to early in the week). Familiar faces
and voices and laughs could be recognized among the delegates.
Along with famliar aspects, however, delegates were greeted with
change. They parked in a new parking lot, entered the Fieldhouse
through a new building, and ate in a new dining facility. They sang
a hymn accompanied by a new pipe organ. They began to make acquain-
tances with new people and were no doubt placed on a different
committee than that of previous conventions. The weather was cool --
for a change (68 degrees F).
The theme of the Convention -- We Appreciate The Means Of Grace --
focused the attention of the delegates and observers on our Lord's
Gospel in Word and Sacraments, which are the vehicles the Holy Spirit
uses to communicate faith and salvation to us. We not only heard about
these Means of Grace, but we were partakers of them through the
ministers of the Convention. Pastor Michael Eichstadt (Holy Cross,
Phoenix, Ariz.) served as the Convention chaplain. He daily reminded
us of the various facets of our role in the world -- those who have
been blessed with faith and eternal life, and have been entrusted to
represent the Lord to others, through His appointed means.
The essayists each dealt with a different aspect of what it means to
be a "Means of Grace church." Pastor David Naumann (Holy Truth,
Ketchikan, Alaska) delivered the first essay which focused on the role
of the Means of Grace during the Reformation. The second essayist,
Pastor Leroy Dux (Mt. Zion, Detroit, Mich.) presented the Gospel in
Word and Sacrament in our worship life. In the third essay Pastor
John Ude (Messiah, Hales Corners, Wis.) spoke on the Means of Grace
and mission work.
Those of us present were highly impressed. Yes, there was appreciation
for the research and presentation of the essayists. Much more than
that, however, was the humble impression of humble awe that our Lord
would entrust vessels of clay such as us with the use of these Means,
which are such powerful, faith-creating tools of the Holy Spirit. We
look forward to the publication of these excellent essays in a future
edition of the CLC's Journal Of Theology.
Gordon Radtke, retired Professor, conducted the Convention Memorial
Service. Using Luke 22:61 as his text he urged us to not only remember
the men -- departed brothers Karl Brandle and C. M. Gullerud -- but
more importantly to "Remember the Word of the Lord." Wednesday evening
the Convention participants were blessed to share God's Word and
Sacrament at a communion service in the Fieldhouse. Using 1 John 1:8-9
as text Pastor Michael Sydow (Faith, Markesan, Wis., soon to be
installed as ILC Professor) chose as his sermon theme: "Our Savior is
Eager to Forgive Our Sins."
Highlights Of Convention Action
The Convention heard personal reports from our foreign missionaries,
Paul Gurgel and Mark Bohde, both of whom recently returned from their
Rev. Gurgel informed us about the increasingly difficult conditions in
Nigeria. In spite of this, progress is being made in our long-term
goal of helping our Nigerian brethren to become a self-sustaining and
self-perpetuating church body. The Lord has blessed the NCLC with the
acquisition of farmland near the Bible Institute for the support of
the seminary, as well as equipment for processing the harvest.
Rev. Bohde spoke of the challenges, blessings, and future
opportunities of our Thailand mission. He identified two necessary
ingredients for continuing the work in Thailand: A regular missionary
visa and a vehicle for transportation to outlying areas of the
country. Few, if any, Christian missionaries venture into these areas.
We pray that God would grant continued strength to the Bohde and
Gurgel families to carry out the Lord's work in our behalf in thse
Brief reports were also received from the CLC's stateside missionaries
who told of the progress of the work of these congregations to bear
the Gospel to their communities.
Among the resolutions concerning our mission efforts were the
* To set up a special collection, under the auspices of the Mission
Development Fund, to raise $30,000 in order to provide permanent
quarters for the Martin Luther Bible Institute in India, which is
under the direction of Pastor Mohan Bas.
* To increase assistance to the Church of the Lutheran Confession in
India, under the direction of Pastor V. S. Banjamin, to $5,400 for
the coming year. (Both Bas and Benjamin also receive support from
Project Kinship for their care of orphans.)
IMMANUEL LUTHERAN COLLEGE
It was noted with thanksgiving that the four vacancies on the teaching
staff of ILC have been filled. Student enrollment for the fall of
1996 is projected at 155. Hearfelt thanks were also offered to the
Lord for the blessing of the new ILC Commons and Dining Hall -- which
has proven to be invaluable, not only for student use but also for
use by Convention delegates! The total cost of the building came to
just over $1 million, of which $640,000 has been collected. A
detailed report on the building project was made available to the
Regarding ILC, the Convention resolved:
* That the Board of Regents create and staff a new position, Facility
Manager for the campus, as soon as it is feasible.
* That the Publicity Committee for the Commons building be
re-appointed to service, and be authorized to develop a videotape
presentation of the ILC campus and the new ILC Commons for
distribution to CLC congregations.
* That we decline an offer from one of ILC's neighbors to purchase a
small portion of the property.
As in many Conventions of the past, the CLC has once again taken up
some earnest questions of a doctrinal nature. One such question
pertains to the Christian's attitude toward self. No one among us
denies the dangers of the worldly exaltation of sinful pride, which is
trumpeted in the modern "self-esteem" movement. However, a question
remains as to what the regenerate Christian's attitude toward self
ought to be. The Convention resolved to initiate an orderly process,
involving the Board of Doctrine, delegate and pastoral conferences,
and finally the 1998 Convention, to address this topic.
A similar process was begun to investigate whether certain veterans'
organizations are semi-religious in nature, thus involving their
participants in religious unionism. In the past our Lord has blessed
the CLC with the means and the will to address such questions
forthrightly, and to arrive at a resolution that is governed by His
Word. We pray that He will continue, by His grace, to preserve us in
His truth both now and in the future.
On Thursday evening the Lord blessed the CLC and two congregations in
Colorado with a joyful resolution of past differences over doctrine.
Nearly two decades ago these two congregations, along with an
affiliated Lutheran church in Japan, left our fellowship over issues
concerning "the third use of the Law." On-going doctrinal discussions
between the leaders of these congregations and representatives of the
CLC bore fruit when a joint statement on these matters was presented
to the Convention. This statement represents a settlement, on the
basis of God's Word, of any past differences or misunderstandings on
these doctrinal issues. It also clears the way for a formal
affiliatiion by thse two congregations with the CLC. The Japan
congregation is also expected to establish fellowship ties with our
When the resolution came to the floor "that we rejoice in this
agreement created by the Holy Spirit," the Convention responded with a
unanimous standing vote, and then paused to sing "Praise God from Whom
All Blessings Flow." Pastor Delwyn Maas, representing the Colorado
congregations, addressed the Convention, giving glory to God for His
work through the Word. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1)
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy
name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (Ps.
103:1-2). We do well always to remember the wonderful blessings that
our Lord showers upon us, enabling us through the Gospel-motivated
offerings of His people to go forward as a synod with His saving
Still, as is often the case, the Convention struggled to accomodate
tremendous needs with limited financial resources. The total CLC
budget for fiscal year 1996-97 was set at $541,000. These funds
will be allocated in this way: "$204,000 for Missions, $212,000 for
Regents, and $125,000 for Trustees. Important non-budgetary funds
which are in special need of contributions from our members include
the Mission Development Fund (MDF) the Immanuel Lutheran College
Improvement Fund (IIF), the ILC Student Aid Fund (SAF), and the ILC
Commons Fund for Debt Retirement. In view of these many pressing needs,
the Convention resolved to "direct the fall 1996 area pastoral
conferences to discuss various ways of making a thorough study of
Christian stewardship in each of our congregations in the following
One of the difficult financial resolutions to be made had to do with
the salary level of our CLC "code workers," which includes our
missionaries as well as the teaching staff of ILC. A number of
previous Conventions have identified the improvement of our support
for these servants as top priority of the synod.
In the reporting and resolutions this Convention recognized that we
have failed to provide adequately for our called workers. Although the
Convention did not meet the recommendation of the Standing
Compensation Committee, it did resolve to increase base salary for
"code" workers by $50 per month in July of 1996, and again by $50 per
month in January of 1997. This will be done even if severe budgetary
cuts must be made to accomplish it. A resolution was also made to
encourage self-supporting congregations to compensate their called
workers at least at this improved CLC "code" level.
As usual elections were notable for what did not happen. No
campaigning was necessary or desired, and there was no wrangling
between "conservative" and "liberal" factions. Our unity in the
Spirit, and our confidence in the God-fearing men that the Lord has
provided to serve us, are blessings that we ought not take for
CLC President, Rev. Daniel Fleischer*;
Vice President, Rev. Elton Hallauer*;
Secretary, Rev. James Albrecht;
Moderator, Prof. Ronald Roehl*;
Bd. of Missions, Rev. Walter Schaller* (called servant), Mr. Peter
Bd. of Regents, Rev. Mark Bernthal (called servant), Mr. Thomas
Bd. of Trustees, Mr. Philip Radichel (layman), Rev. John
Schierenbeck* (called servant).
We note with thanks to our Lord the many years of faithful service to
our church body by the officers and board members who are leaving
their elected posts, either to retire or to begin other areas of synod
work. They include Secretary Paul F. Nolting, Bd. of Missions member
Lee Krueger, Bd. of Regents member Michael Sydow, and Bd. of Regents
member Marlin Beekman. We value their service to us as a gift from
God, and we wish them the Lord's blessings in their new areas of
"OH GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD!"
This past gathering of our CLC in Convention has brought many reasons
for thanks. We are thankful for the time together in the Word and for
the many reminders of our unique role as a "Means of Grace" church. We
are thankful for the safe travel of our delegates, the comfort of our
new ILC facilities, and the blessing of Christian fellowship we
enjoy. But more than that we give thanks that our Lord has given us the
privilege of bearing His Means of Grace to others.
As a synod we are an association of like-minded Christians across this
nation. What binds us to each other is not a common blood line, nor a
common culture, nor a common political viewpoint. Our partnership is
grounded in the truths of God's Word. Our Lord has blessed us with
both the Gospel motivation and the material resources so that we can
act in concert to bring the news of Christ crucified to our neighbors
and to the world.
May the Lord give us the grace to show that our thanks are genuine by
going forward as His ambassadors ourselves, and by gladly providing
the necessary means for our joint program to bring the Word to the
In the May 20, 1982 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr.
Fred Ledley, M. D. presented a clinical case report titled "Evolution
and the Human Tail." Ledley's report concerned a baby born with a two
inch long fleshy growth on its back, bearing a superficial resemblance
to a tail. Ledley strongly implied that this growth (called a caudal
appendage) was essentially a "human tail," though he admitted that it
had virtually none of the distinctive biological characteristics of a
All true tails have bones in them that are posterior extensions of the
vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associsted with
their vertebrae which permit some movement of the tail. Ledley
conceded that there has never been a single documented case of an
animal tail lacking these distinctive features, nor has there been a
single case of a human caudal appendage having any of these features.
In fact, the caudal appendage Ledley described is merely a fatty
outgrowth of skin that wasn't even located in the right place on the
back to be a tail! Still, Ledley saw his caudal appendage as providing
compelling proof for the evolution of man from our monkey-like
ancestors. He said that "even those of us who are familiar with the
literature that defined our place in nature (Darwinism) -- are rarely
confronted with the relation between human beings and their primitive
ancestors on a daily basis. The caudal appendage brings this reality
to the fore and makes it tangible and inescapable." Is there any
branch of science, other than evolution, where such trivial data can
be extrapolated into such profound and "inescapable" facts?
The "human tail" is just one example of what evolutionists call a
"vestigial organ." As the name suggests, these organs are supposed to
represent useless remnants of what were once functional and useful
organs in our primitive ancestors. As recently as 1971 the
Encyclopedia Britannica claimed that there were more than 100
vestigial organs in man. Even critically important organs such as the
thymus and parathyroid glands were once considered to be vestigial
simply because their functions were not understood. As biomedical
science has progressed, there are fewer and fewer claims of
functionless organs. Despite their diminishing numbers, vestigial
organs are still mentioned in textbooks as one of the strongest
evidences for evolution and against intelligent design by a Creator.
The most frequently sighted examples of vestigial organs in man are
the coccyx and the appendix.
The human coccyx, or "tail bone," is a group of four or five small
vertebrae fused into one bone at the lower end of our vertebral
column. Most of us never really think about our "tail bone" until we
fall on it. Evolutionists are dead certain that the coccyx is a
vestige or a tail left over from our monkey-like ancestors. The coccyx
does occupy the same relative position at the end of our vertebral
column as does the tail in tailed primates, but then, where else would
it be? The vertebral column is a linear row of bones that supports the
head at its beginning and it must end somewhere. Wherever it ends,
evolutionists will be sure to call it a vestigial tail.
Most modern biology textbooks give the erroneous impression that the
human coccyx has no real function other than to remind us of the
"inescapable fact" of evolution. In fact, the coccyx has some very
important functions. Several muscles converge from the ring-like
arrangement of the pelvic (hip) bones to anchor on the coccyx, forming
a bowel-shaped muscular floor of the pelvis called the pelvic
diaphragm. The incurved coccyx with its attached pelvic diaphragm
keeps the many organs in our abdominal cavity from literally falling
through between our legs. Some of the pelvic disphragm muscles are
also important in controlling the elimination of waste from our body
through the rectum.
Another common evolutionary claim found in textbooks is that the human
appendix is really a vestigial cecum left over from our plant-eating
evolutionary ancestors. The cecum is a blind-ending pouch near the
beginning of the large intestine which provides additional space for
digestion. In some plant-eating animals, such as cows, the cecum
contains special bacteria which aid in the digestion of cellulose. The
appendix is clearly not a vestigial cecum because almost every mammal
has a cecum and many of these also have an appendix! Man, for example,
has both a cecum and an appendix -- neither is vestigial or useless.
The appendix, like the once "vestigial" tonsils and adenoids, is a
lymphoid organ (part of the body's immune system) which makes
antibodies against infections in the digestive system. Believing it to
be a useless evolutionary "left over," many surgeons once removed even
the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity.
Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be
considered medical malpractice.
There are organs in the body which have no known function in the adult
but are still not vestigial in the evolutionary sense. For example,
poorly developed and inactive mammary glands are found in adult males
of all mammals, including man. Even evolutionists do not believe that
these rudimentary glands are vestigial mammary glands left over from
female ancestors of males, nor do they believe that males once nursed
their young. There is a much better explanation for the male mammary
gland. Males and females develop from nearly identical embryos which,
at an early stage of development, become either male or female under
the influence of genes in the sex chromosomes. The same parts of an
embryo may produce either male or female sex organs and mammary
glands. In humans, almost every component of female sex organs can be
found in a rudimentary form in the male; and the reverse is also true.
Thus, the presence of rudimentary organs in the adult do not tell us
something about evolution, but rather tell us something about
In conclusion, the "vestigial" status of many organs has often been
merely a way of covering up our ignorance of their true function.
Unfortunately, there is little inclination to investigate the
functional significance of organs believed to be "useless." There are
now few, if any, organs that are considered to be functionless in both
embryo and adult. Even if vestigial organs were to exist they would
not provide evidence for evolution but rather for devolution. The
problem for evolutionists is not how uselful organs are lost, but how
evolution produces new useful organs with all their integrated
complexity. It is here that we find true evolutionary tales.
-- Dr. David N. Menton
Mr. David Lundin will be the new principal and teacher of Holy Trinity
Lutheran School in West Columbia, South Carolina starting this fall.
He will be moving from the Dallas, Texas area with his wife Carol and
youngest daughter Rebecca (age 15). There are two other children,
Jennifer (age 26) and Adam (age 22) who will remain in Texas.
Mr. Lundin was declared eligible by the CLC for a call through
colloquy last summer. He has an extensive educational background which
includes a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in
education. He has taught in Missouri Synod parochial schools in
Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, California, and Texas.
His favorite subject to teach is history. Outside of school he enjoys
walking, reading, raising cairn terriers, and collecting ties. His
favorite classroom saying is, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you
can do today!"
Mr. Lundin will be installed on August 18, 1996 in West Columbia. We
welcome him into our CLC classrooms. May God bless his work
In accord with our usage and order, Paul T. Krause, who was called by
St. John's Lutheran of Clarkston, Wash. and Peace Lutheran of
Orofino, Idaho to be pastor was installed on May 11, 1996.
-- Pastor Paul Schaller
In accord with our usage and order, John Hein, who was called by Our
Redeemer's Lutheran congregation of Red Wing, Minn. to be its pastor
was ordained and installed on June 23, 1996. L. W. Schierenbeck
preached the sermon. Pastor Gregory Jackson, Prof. Clifford Kuehne,
and Prof. John Lau assisted.
-- Pastor Daniel Fleischer
For those who might wish to contact the new lay-member of the Board of
Mr. Peter Krafft
2342 Skyland Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Phone (904) 386-6479s