The Lutheran Spokesman (March 1997)
In this issue:
Let Us Go Now, Even Unto Jerusalem
A Meal Of Rememberance
A Clean Slate
"It Is My Catherine..."
We Are People Who Care
The Devil Works To Deceive
Meet: Beth Sydow
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On August 26, 1944 French General Charles De Gaulle led a victory
parade of Allied troops down the streets of Paris. It was now clear that
Nazi Germany was in its death throes. But the war was not yet won.
American soldeirs in parade formation marched right from the city
streets into combat.
Throughout the season of Lent we have been preparing for the week
Christians call "Holy Week." Likewise, in the weeks prior to Holy
Week, the Lord Jesus had been preparing His disciples for the events
of that week. As they proceeded toward Jerusalem in the days and weeks
before, Jesus had said to them on several occasions, more or less in
the same word: "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of
Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they
will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and
to scourge and to crucify. And the third day he will rise again."
As Advent marks the coming of Christ's birth and directs our attention
to His triumphant return in glory on the Last Day, Lent marks the
coming Passion of Christ in Holy Week, preparing us for His suffering,
death, and resurrection.
Palm Sunday, the last Sunday in Lent is the celebration of Christ's
triumphant ride into Jerusalem, "...sitting on a donkey, a colt, the
foal of a donkey" (Mt. 21:5). That's right, a celebration during Lent!
A triumphant celebration no less. Triumphant, for His ride into
Jerusalem the Sunday before He suffered and died was a victory parade,
in advance of His victory over sin, death, and thd devil.
We might liken it to the Allies triumphant parade through Paris during
World War II, the war not yet won, but confident in the outcome.
Except that Christ was more than confident in the final outcome of His
war on sin and death. The outcome of this war had been assured since
the LORD God had made that first Gospel Promise in the Garden of Eden
where it was promised that "the Seed of the woman" would crush the
head of the serpent, Satan.
On Palm Sunday Christ invites us to come with Him to Jerusalem to view
His Passion, that is, His suffering and death. In His victory march
through the streets of Jerusalem our resolve is strengthened to stay
with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane as He is arrested, tried, and
unjustly convicted and punished. Our resolve is strengthened to follow
Him through the horrible sufferings we will observe on Good Friday,
and to join Him in the victory celebration on Easter, marking His
triumphant resurrection from the dead, having conquered His foes and
ours, assuring US of final victory -- as the Savior Himself has
assured us: "Because I live, you will live also" (Jn. 14:19).
So this Palm Sunday we celebrate Christ's victory ride -- into
Jerusalem, into Battle, on to Victory! And, like Parisians celebrating
the liberating march of the Allies, we celebrate Christ's Victory
Parade year after year. As in Advent, where we look also for the
triumphant coming of our Lord and Savior into this world, so also on
Palm Sunday we look ahead to the final victory parade when Christ
returns on the Last Day.
Then believers also will rise victorious, and the words of the holy
writer shall be fulfilled: "That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those
under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Php. 2:10f).
-- Pastor Joel Fleischer
A MEAL OF REMEMBRANCE
"Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you
are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the
plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land
of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall
keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You
shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance"
Every time we celebrate communion, we hear the familiar words: "After
the same manner also Jesus took the cup when He had supped...." This
means that after "supper,' Jesus gave to His disciples the cup of wine
and the unleavened bread. The supper or meal these words refer to, of
course, is the Passover Meal. On this special night, first of all,
Jesus celebrated the Passover Meal with His disciples. The Passover
Meal had been celebrated by God's people for fifteen hundred years.
It was designed by God as a memorial feast. Every year His people
would be reminded of how God had delivered them from the bondage and
slavery of Egypt.
For four hundred and thirty years God's people had lived in Egypt,
longing for that day when they would return to that land promised to
Abraham. Things had gotten worse for them when a new dynasty took over
in Egypt. The people found themselves slaves in Egypt building the
God sent Moses to lead His people out of Egypt; however, Moses ran
into the hardened-heart opposition of Pharaoh. Pharaoh refused to
listen even though God demonstrated His power with nine plagues or
signs. Finally, God told Moses that He would smite the firstborn in
At the same time God would deliver His chosen people. The Lord told
Moses that He would pass over the houses of His people. Their houses
would be identified with the blood on the door frames. God told His
people to kill a one-year-old male lamb without spot or blemish. They
then should take the blood of the lamb and place it around their door
frames. The blood of the lamb would protect them from the death that
would ravage the land of Egypt.
A New Covenant
God further told His people to roast the lamb and completely eat it in
a special meal. They were told to prepare unleavened bread (bread
without yeast) because they should be in a hurry to leave. They also
were to eat bitter vegetables (onions and garlic). Over time several
cups of wine were added to the celebration of the Passover Meal. God's
people were to reeanct this meal every year as a "memorial." They were
to remember how God had saved them out of Egypt and delivered them
from death. When their children asked, "Why are we doing this?", the
parents would explain how God had delivered His people out of Egypt
and made His covenant with them at Mt. Sinai.
In fulfillment of the Old Covenant, Jesus ate this meal with His
disciples on the night He was betrayed -- the night which would lead
to His death at the cross the next day. Jesus took from the Passover
Meal the unleavened bread and cup of wine. Jesus then gave the bread
and wine to His puzzled disciples. He told them that "this (bread) is
my body" and "this cup is the New Testament in my blood." Jesus would
establish a New Covenant of the forgiveness of sins by His death at
the cross. The Old Covenent which pointed to the coming of Jesus had
served its purpose.
The New Covenant (Testament) is a covenant of blood. God delivered His
people through the death of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. By the
death of Jesus God delivered His people from death. We are redeemed
by the holy and precious blood of the Lamb of God. God has given us a
New Testament Memorial Meal in the Lord's Supper. Every time we
partake of this meal, we remember Jesus' death at the cross for our
Every communion service we hear the words: "Do this in remembrance of
Me." We remember how the Lord God redeemed and saved His people through
the death of Jesus Christ. As we receive the bread and wine, we are
given the body and blood of Christ. As Luther wrote: "May this feast
thereof remind us" (TLH 313:2). We celebrate again this Maundy
Thursday God's Memorial Meal for the remission of our sins.
-- Pastor John Schierenbeck
Have you at any time wished that you could relive a day of your life
and do it differently? People express such a wish after a costly mistake;
they fantasize erasing guilt by the magic of a rerun. Yet who is to
say that such magic would produce a successful or happy experience?
That takes a different mechanism than guilt gained by mistakes, a
bigger change than regret will produce.
Certainly a new beginning is the very hope of our life. Does not God
tell us that in many ways? We are again coming into the annual miracle
of spring, and we all feel the refreshing, uplifting joy of it.
Besides, the promises of heaven that the Lord holds before us present
a new beginning in every sense, when the old things of this earth and
of sin have been forgotten and we awaken.
A Divine, Loving Exchange
The Lord has a message for you if you want to start all over. The
love of Christ must constrain you to do so: "For the Lord of Christ
constrains us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then
all died: and He died for all that those who live should live no
longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose
again" (2 Cor. 5:14f).
In the verses leading up to this declaration Paul has rehearsed how
God wrought His glorious gospel ministry through fragile and unworthy
human containers, earthen vessels. Yet they preached and worked with
intense emotion. And in the face of all opposition they testified to
the Savior. Here we learn how they could do so: the love of Christ
constrains us, drives us, compels us.
Now let us take note that the apostle, in speaking of the love of
Christ, does not mean Paul's love for Christ. It is Christ's love for
us. Behind the facts of this Passion season we are brought to focus on
the motive of our Savior, and the accomplishments produced by His
Surely it was matchless love which moved the holy, spotless Lamb of
God to surrender Himself to the curse for us all. The love that our
Savior has for sinners urged Him forward, knowing that the verdict of
death upon Himself would be sufficient for our life. What a power lies
in the truth that Christ died for all -- for "if one died, then all
died; and He died for all..." This divine, loving exchange is the most
marvelous truth under God's heaven.
If Christ died in place of, instead of, all humanity, then his death
took the place of their death, and as far as their sins and punishment
are concerned, all have already gotten through that. So the love of
Christ has made it possible for every human to say "goodbye" once and
for all to that old life that was headed for certain destruction in
hell, which is, after all, tied to sin and its consequences.
It Has Been Done FOR YOU!
What an exciting new prospect this has opened to the world! That is
why the apostles could not rest. They knew the miracle of love that
put sin and death into its grave with Jesus, and as He arose again
unto new life, so all humans are given title to a new life, to start a
new way. People are spending their days as slaves to sin and regret
and guilt and headed for a death that somebody else already died for
them. How anxiously the apostles sought to make their fellowmen
realize that. Should the love of the Savior go to waste? See the
miracle of love that has come to pass! "And He died for all, that
those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who
died and rose again."
Who would not like to acquire such a new beginning? We speak not only
of the criminal who would like to live his life over; not only of the
drunkard or drug addict who wishes he could put the past behind him;
not only of the weakling who has sold his soul to the devil for
pleasure and grieves that it did not satisfy. We speak of all of us
whose lives are befouled by bad attitudes, besmirched by lust and
greed and lies and bad temper and self-conceit. Whoever can say, I
wish I had it to do over, should know it has been done for you in
divine love. Christ lived your life for you, and He lived it perfectly
and beautifully. He accepted your sins, imperfections, mistakes, and
paid the bill.
That enables each of us to start with a clean slate. But not without
Christ. For unless we are found in Christ, everything we do is still a
patching of an old garment, a hopeless guilt-powered effort at
building our own righteousness. If we are recreating our own lives by
the black magic of our own resolve and good intentions, then we are
acting as though we had not yet died, and then it is still the old
life we are leading ever if we use Christ as our example or guide.
The love of Christ must bring us to the new starting place created by
God for sinners. When we see ourselves as redeemed by Him, we see that
only His work makes us children of God and heirs of heaven. We know
that is where we belong, and that is how we want to live. We gladly
surrender our mistakes, remorse, and guilt to Jesus, where all needs
and our future are divinely cared for in His great redeeming love.
-- Paul Koch, Prof. em.
Standing Fast In The Liberty By Which Christ
Has Made Us Free (See 5:1)
"It Is My Catherine..."
There is someting about the human nature that prompts a man to honor
his favorite mode of transportation by naming it after his greatest
love. The yachtsman may sail his Belinda II through the San Juan
Islands on a second honeymoon with his Belinda (the first); the
long-haul trucker will glance out the restaurant window of Sapp Bros.
near Omaha and cast an approving eye on his Jasmine, just washed and
shining in all her eighteen-wheel glory.
"The Epistle to the Galatians is my epistle to which I have wedded
myself. It is my Catherine von Bora." Martin Luther shared the
same instinct as others, calling his favorite mode of transportation
by his wife's name.
A Fine Vehicle
The Epistle to the Galatians was, for this servant of the Lord, a fine
vehicle that transported his attention away from himself, brought him
nearer the Cross and, ultimately, to the very gates of heaven. Calling
it "a very clear text and a flash of celestial lightning," this
Spirit-breathed document earned Luther's singular devotion because it
addressed the central controvery in his life -- how is a wretched,
sinful man to stand before a righteous, implacable God?
Catherine von Bora (the woman) came as a late-in-life surprise to a
man who had concluded that he would never marry. She was not endowed
with any dowry, nor drop-dead looks in the eyes of the world. But
Luther was endeared to her for her honesty and directness (after
leaving the convent, Luther tried to fix her up with another bachelor;
she announced that she would never marry the bachelor, but she was not
unreasonable -- she would take Dr. Luther!).
Katie, of course, became Luther's greatest earthly treasure -- an
honest and unflinching counterpart; a comfort in distress; a companion
making his life fruitful beyond all expectations. All of which related
well to the spiritual power and wealth Luther found in his "Catherine
von Bora" (the Epistle).
The apostle Paul, in his epistles to churches and associates of the
New Testament era, reveals quite a range of emotion and temperament.
But none of the others approaches the level of urgent concern and
incisive logic evident in his address to the Galatians. Just as Luther
had no need to wonder where he stood with Katie at any given time, so
Paul led the Galatians know exactly what was on his mind: "I marvel
that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace
of Christ, to a different gospel...." (1:6).
Perhaps Paul shouldn't have been quite so surprised. He had reason to
believe that the Galatians were somewhat fickle. The churches
addressed were most likely comprised of those of central Asia Minor, a
region called Galatia, where Paul carried out his first missionary
work under the auspices of the church at Antioch. These cities
included Lystra, where Paul was at first mistaken for a god, but later
stoned and left for dead. But the power of the Gospel had been evident
in his ministry in this region, and the churches of Iconium, Lystra,
and Derbe were places Paul returned to again and again.
The Unadulterated Gospel
Because Paul was such a prominent personage in the planting of these
churches, he himself became a point of controversy there, when other
teachers arrived claiming to have better credentials than Paul. They
attacked his person so that they could undermine his teaching. So we
find in Paul's answer not only a vigorous defense of the correct
doctrine, but also a reminder of his own apostolic credentials: "Paul,
an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and
God the Father who raised him from the dead)" (1:1). It was on the
basis of his apostolic calling that he had come to Galatia in the
first place, preaching the striking gospel message: "Grace to you and
peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself
for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age,
according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever
and ever. Amen" (12:3-5).
What Paul had told them, face to face, regarding the salutary work of
Jesus Christ and the perfect salvation one finds through repentance
and faith in Him, was so sufficient, so inviolable, that he now stood
ready to pronounce a curse on any would, whether man or angel or even
himself, if such a one should try to supplant or supplement the
doctrine he had originally preached to them in Christ's name and by
His authority. His words were aimed directly at those who were at that
moment "troubling" them (5:12).
The "troublers" are known to us as "Judaizers" -- Jewish
traditionalists who taught that salvation by Christ alone was an
incomplete "gospel" (1:8). But their "improvements" were, in Paul's
view, no true gospel at all.
Rather than revise his message to please men, Paul contends that his
sole interest is in pleasing God: "For if I still pleased men, I would
not be a servant of Christ" (1:10).
That devotion to the unadulterated Gospel was a jewel in the crown of
Scripture for Luther, in an era when many of the church's battles were
won or lost on the field of "justification through faith in Christ,
alone." Because Satan is ever looking for ways to deny or pervert this
teaching, the Epistle to the Galatians merits our devout attention,
May it also become your Catherine von Bora!
-- Pastor Peter Reim
(A final devotion by the chaplain of last summer's CLC Convention
at ILC, Eau Claire. The general theme asked the question: "Who
When my family and I moved to Phoenix in the late '80's, we opened an
account with a little bank on the street corner near our home. It was
a nice place to do business. But then our friendly little bank was
swallowed up by a bigger bank, and shortly afterwards by a still
larger one. Things began to change. Employees were laid off and ATMs
took their place. We were encouraged to conduct our business outside at
the ATM, rather than speak to a real person inside the lobby. Finally,
we were told that if we carried out too many transactions inside, we
would be charged an extra fee.
Some say it's symptomatic of a bigger societal problem--an uncaring,
impersonal attitude toward the individual. No one cares. People see
their jobs only in terms of what they can get out of them. Marriages,
families, and friendships are spoiled because there is no concern for
the other person, only what's in it for "me."
It's easy for us to fall into that kind of mindset as individuals and
as a church. We get caught up in our own personal wants and give the
impression that we don't care about anyone else.
But is that really who the Lord calls us to be: intolerant people
concerned first and foremost with self? We get a much different picture
when we look at St. Paul's words in 1 Cor. 9:19: "Though I am free
and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many
Free To Be A Slave
Paul was a free man. He enjoyed the freedoms of a Roman citizen. But
more than that, he reveled in the freedom which Christ gave him. Paul
was free from the requirements and condemnation of the Law. He did not
have to lug a heavy burden of guilt around while trying to earn God's
favor by keeping the commandments. He was free from all that because
Christ fulfilled the Law for all and washed away guilt with His blood.
Paul was free from the fear of death, for Christ crushed death by His
own death and resurrection. The apostle was a free man in the best
sense of the word!
He was so free through faith in Christ that he became a slave to
everyone. Christ had given him forgiveness and life, and had set him
free from selfish concerns. Now there was someone more important than
self -- the Lord Jesus. Christ's will became Paul's will. "I no longer
live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal.
2:20). And so Paul became a "people person." He was genuinely
interested in the lives of others. His life's goal became ministering
to the spiritual needs of people wherever he went.
God has made us the same kind of people. We have been called out of
the world to be God's own special creation, people who reflect His
love in their relationships with everyone around them. Christ gives us
the power and motivation to live as people who care.
My bank may never go back to its old personalized, friendly way of
doing business. Our world may grow increasingly cold and uncaring. But
the Lord has transformed us into different people, people who love and
care because He first loved us.
May that love powerfully move us to put aside self in order to reach
out to every single precious soul with the saving Gospel of Christ.
May we always be people who care! Amen.
-- Pastor Michael Eichstadt
The Devil #4
The Devil Works To Deceive
Deception is the operative word here, then the concept behind the
word, then the malignant spirit behind that.
Speaking of the Devil, as we are, today's theme centers on his
infernal successes by deception of humans. Being a liar from the
beginning and the procreator of deceptivity (Jn. 8:44), Satan succeeds
in his machinations simply by making sin seem attractive. In Eden, for
example, Satan smoozed his way into Eve's heart so deceitfully that
she was turned into a different person--from being God's loving child
into being Satan's cold-hearted puppet.
To us an analogy, Satan got into her spiritual programming and
reprogrammed her emoting, her imaginging, and her reasoning. Once
the virus of sinfulness got into her hard drive, her heart became
compatible with any and all software of sinning: pride, selfishness,
A Study In Craftiness
The record of Eve's fall--and Adam's too-- presents us with a casebook
study in Satan's craftiness (Genesis 3:1-5). Observe: first he
approached her with what appeared to be a harmless request for
information. "Pardon me, but did I hear correctly that God has put a
restriction on you, to forbid you to eat from every tree of the garden?"
The implication, of course, was that God was less generous than one would
like to think He was, limiting their "freedom of choice."
Her response seems to reflect a suspicion that God was, indeed,
unnecessarily narrow in not allowing her so much as a caressing touch
of the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve just
didn't catch on that Satan was already reprogramming her attitude
toward God. He implanted the suspicion that God is not as generous and
sharing as befits a deity who should respond warmly to her human
So when Satan flatly contradicted God's "you shall surely die," she
presented no defense of God's will or words. By then Satan knew he
could progress to the next step. Satan's rationale for God's negative
attitude is that God is selfish: God does not want his eminence
undercut by sharing any of His wisdom with humankind. So Eve was
deceived about God and about herself in God's heart and world.
Herein lies the warning: when God speaks, also when withholding from
us what our human appetite desires, we need to beware of any rational
and emotional pressures that would lead us to dishonor God in our
hearts and disobey His will in our lives.
When Eve sidled over to the forbidden tree for another closer look,
she discovered that her eyes were not hurt by admiring, nor were her
fingers burned by the touching, and it even tasted wonderful! Besides,
her heart craved its delicious promise -- "a tree desirable to make
one wise...". Satan had so appealed to her stomach (physical
pleasure!) to her feeling for esthetics (emotional pleasure!) and to
her mind (intellectual pleasure!), that the deceitfulness of her
cravings stifled God's Word in her heart.
Reclaimed By God
What does the child of God learn from this? Quite simply, Satan makes
sin seem attractive by using our selfish appetites for pleasure to
work against our soul's welfare. When we find attractions in our lives
that appeal to our senses, our emotions, or our ego, the alarm bell
should be clanging: "This looks like a deceitful ploy from the old,
experienced, wily, evil foe."
Let's face it. If superman (Adam) and superwoman (Eve) were outwitted
by Satan, what chance do we, their weakened descendants, have of
outmaneuvering him on our own? The truth about humans is that we are
no match for his infernal Lowness. Thus, God found it necessary to
reclaim sinners by the second, superior Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Cor.
15:45). When He finished that job, successfully and decisively, God
reclaimed us from the power of Satan, reprogramming us to conform to
the image of His Son (Rom. 9:29), whereby we function in love to Him
and our fellow humans.
Thanks be to God for His superior wisdom, love, power, and mercies --
and all for sinners like me!!
-- Paul Koch, Prof. em.
* Ann Landers Is Wrong
(an article in the Sleepy Eye (Minn.) Herald- Dispatch, January
23, 1997, by Pastor Paul Fleischer)
Did you happen to see the Ann Landers column which appeared last
November in which she passed along something she apparently had found
somewhere about the "Origins of World's Religions"? A subsequent letter
to the editor in our local paper called attention to at least one of
the mistakes in the article: "Jesus Christ did not start the Roman
Catholic Church. He started the Catholic Church. There is a
We agree. Jesus Christ did not start the Roman Catholic Church with
its myriad of teachings which clash with the Scriptures, God's Word
of Truth. The church or "religion" which Jesus "started" and which
is truly catholic (that is, universal and world-wide) is the Holy
Christian Church, the communion of saints, composed of all those, and
only those, who believe in Jesus as Savior. This Church is based alone
on the teachings of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:19-20). The
foundation of this Church is Jesus Christ and Him alone (1 Cor. 3:11).
This church spans the whole course of time, antedating even Abraham
and other Old Testament patriarchs. This Church goes back to Adam and
Eve who believed in the first Promise of the coming Savior given in
the Garden of Eden (cf. Gen. 3:15).
In fact, the events and/or tenets undergirding the true Christian
"religion" go back before the beginning of time. According to
Scripture, God in eternity 1) decreed that His only-begotten Son
would be offered as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world
(2 Tim. 1:9, Eph. 3:11); and 2) predestinated to eternal life those
who trust in Christ as their Savior, having called them by the
Gospel (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13-14).
We put the words "started" and "religion" in quotes. Why? Properly
understood, when the eternal Son of God became incarnate and walked
on this earth, He didn't start or begin any religion! "The Word became
flesh" (the Christmas miracle) not to start a new religion but that
He, the eternal Son, might carry out His earthly mission of rescuing
and redeeming sinners with His holy life and substitutionary, atoning
The article Ann Landers endorsed is also wrong in suggesting that
Abraham founded the Jewish faith. He did not. Abraham was a "Christian"
for he believed in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whom the adherents of the
Jewish faith have always rejected! Jesus had much to say to the
unbelieving Jews about this (See John 8:37ff).
Finally, the article was at best misleading when it suggests that "if
you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an
ex-monk in the Catholic Church, in 1517." When Luther undertook the
Lutheran Reformation he himself argued against the idea that he was
starting a new church. He wrote: "This message is not a novel invention
of ours but the very ancient, approved teaching of the apostles brought
to light again. Neither have we invented a new Baptism, Sacrament of the
Altar, Lord's Prayer, and Creed; nor do we desire to know or to have
anything new in Christendom. We only contend for, and hold to, the
ancient: that which Christ and the apostles have left behind them and
have given to us."
What Ann Landers writes is "bible" for many Americans. Unfortunately
and sadly much of the advice or counsel she gives is godless and
humanistic, flies into the face of the Holy Bible, and is thus anti-
christian. With such views she has, as much as anyone in American
society, contributed contributed to the erosion of biblical standards
and absolutes, as well as to the breakdown of the traditional home and
The bottom line? Since, as is often the case, she doesn't know what she
is writing about, it would be best not to read the Ann Landers' "bible"
and/or heed her advice. Rather, let the genuinely distressed and
troubled or those otherwise yearning for helpful advice, seek a Bible-
believing counselor. Such will be able to guide the seeker in the
divinely-inspired counsel of God's Word and His Holy Spirit in the Sacred
* THE DIRECTION OF LUTHERANISM
(From the bulletin of Grace Lutheran, Fridley, Minn. Daniel Fleischer
The direction of Lutheranism is manifested by a continuing move toward
unionism (unionism: the joint church work and/or worship between or
among such as are not agreed in doctrine). The most recent edition of
The Lutheran News NETWORK (a joint endeavor of the ELCA and the LC-MS
which comes out of Florida) gives evidence of how the Aid Association
for Lutherans (AAL) fosters unionism between various synods.
It is just for this reason that the CLC is NOT involved with the AAL,
and works at informing its members why they should leave the AAL. AAL
claims that it is not a church. It is correct in that assertion.
However, it is involved in doing church work and promoting unionism
through its fraternal activity which involves Lutherans of different
confessions, most notably, ELCA, LC-MS, WELS, and ELS. The
aforementioned newspaper reports how an inter-Lutheran group from the
ELCA and the LC-MS will be engaged in what is called "Cooperative
Parish Planning Committee" meetings next April. This effort is funded
by the AAL.
Interestingly, training events "will include members of the Wisconsin
Evangelical Lutheran Synod" (whether officials or lay-members is not
indicated). The purpose of such training events will be to teach how
to implement strategy for "preparing adults for baptism and daily
ministry." The strategy involves lay leaders and "uses prayer,
congregational worship, small Bible Study, and social ministry to help
new converts develop a strong faith and to spiritually energize both
returning members and the whole congregation."
This is another illustration of the influence of what is known as the
Church Growth Movement. Plans, strategies, and social ministry
supplant the Means of Grace, the Gospel in Word and Sacrament, as the
focus and foundation of the witness of the church. We confess that it
is only the Means of Grace that creates faith, strengthens faith, and
As we read this we ask ourselves, "What does the CLC have in common
with ELCA, for example, that would move us to send members to sit at
the feet of the ELCA to be taught by it?" The answer is that we have
nothing in common with the ELCA, and for that reason we would not
participate if we had been asked. We weren't! But had we been, we
would have pointed to John 8:31-32, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Romans
16:17-18 as reasons why we could not and would not.
What this whole thing points out again is why we have not been in
fellowship with the WELS for 36 years. It also makes crystal clear
what still stands between, regardless at what level or to what extent
the WELS is involved! We still hear it said that there is no
difference between the WELS and the CLC. But contemporary history
destroys that contention.
The doctrine of church fellowship and its practice based on Scripture
is essential to the life of a confessional church. Because this
doctrine is interpreted by many as being of another age is no reason
to give it up. Because it is so contrary to the modern ecumenical
movement is not reason for giving it up, but rather of practicing it
the more strenuously. The fact is that if one wants to understand why
the Lutheran Church is in the deteriorating condition it is today, one
only needs to look at the lack of understanding of this doctrine and
Finally, let it be said, the CLC is not interested in preserving and
practicing this doctrine because it is against something, but rather
because it stands for something! God help us to be evangelical in our
teaching, and firm in our confession. Only then is God glorified, and
only then do we have a reason to exist, and a message that gives the
troubled heart confidence.
Meet: Beth Sydow
Elizabeth Sydow is a teacher at Grace Lutheran Chruch in Fridley,
Minnesota. Beth attended Imannuel Lutheran High School and College.
She accepted a call to teach at Immanuel, Mankato in 1966. She
taught there for three years, during which time she also received a BS
degree in Elementary Education from Mankato State University.
In 1969 Beth interrupted her teaching career in order to raise a
family. She and her husband James have four children: Jennifer (26),
Jay (24), Stephen (22), and Daniel (18). She returned to teaching in
1985 at Grace, Fridley.
Beth chose teaching as a career because she enjoys working with young
people in preparing them for this life and the life to come. Her
favorite subjects are religion and math. At recess she enjoys kickball.
For Beth the most rewarding part of teaching is seeing students apply
the Word of God in life situations.
Outside of school Beth's interests include reading, running, and
attending the sporting events of her children.
We'd like to thank Beth for her many years of service to our synod
Minnesota Teachers' Conference
Date: February 17, 1997
Place: Grace Lutheran School Fridley, Minnesota
* 9:30 a.m. Opening Devotion and other preliminaries
* 10:00 Teaching Sex Education in our Grade Schools From a
Christian Perspective -- Mrs. Laila Fleischer
* 11:00 Round Table Discussions
* 11:40 Lunch Break
* 1:00-3:00 "Introduction to the Internet" -- We have reserved a
computer lab with windows-based computers. Each computer
has access to the Internet. The computer lab is located at
TIES in Roseville.
-- James D. Lau
The CLC In The Chicago Area
Immanuel Lutheran Church, which serves the greater Chicago area, has
begun conducting off-site exploratory worship services on a regular
weekly basis. These services are in place of the regular services at
the Addison location. The congregation is excited about this new venture
by which the Lord appears to be opening new doors for its witness to the
The new site is at the "Overseas Club," a dining hall in Batavia, which
is about 20 miles west of the previous location. The worship service
begins at 9:30 a.m. with Bible Class at 10:45. Pastor David Schmidt and
his family continue to live in the parsonage at Addison. For more
information the pastor may be reached by calling (708) 629-2688.
Ministry By Mail
Rev. Paul F. Nolting has resigned as editor of the Ministry By Mail,
effective May 31, 1997. Rev. Paul Naumann has been appointed as the
-- Daniel Fleischer, President
The Coordinating Council meets at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau
Claire, Wisconsin on April 9-10, 1997.
-- Pastor James Albrecht, Secretary
Immanuel Lutheran College
March 16, Trinity, Millston, Wis. 10:15 a.m.
March 21, Grace, Sleepy Eye, Minn. 7:30 p.m.
March 22, St. Paul's, White River, S.Dak. 7:30 p.m.
March 23, Redeemer, Cheyenne, Wyo. 4:00 p.m.
March 23, Prince of Peace, Loveland, Colo. 7:30 p.m.
March 24, St. Paul, Golden, Colo. 7:30 p.m.
March 26, Holy Cross, Phoenix, Ariz. 7:30 p.m.
March 27, St. Matthew, Colorado Springs, Colo. 2:00 p.m.
March 27, Mt. Olive, Lamar, Colo. 7:30 p.m.
March 28, Grace, Valentine, Nebr. 7:30 p.m.
March 29, Immanuel, Mankato, Minn. 7:30 p.m.
March 30, St. Paul's, Austin, Minn. 9:30 a.m.
April 6 - Our Redeemer's, Red Wing, Minn. 10:30 a.m.
April 6, Messiah, Eau Claire, Wis. 7:00 p.m.
Please confirm concert times with hosting congregations.
-- John Reim, Director
CLC DIRECTORY CHANGES AND CORRECTIONS
Please note the following in your 1997-1998 CLC Directory:
+ Page 3 -- the year for uniting as CLC should be 1960, not 1959
+ Page 4 -- Add the Rev. Walter Schaller (2000) as a member of the
Board of Missions
+ Page 4 -- Add Mr. Tom Beekman's address: 8410 Rambil Road, Eau
Claire, WI 54703; (715) 834-6736
+ Page 5 -- Prof. David Lau added to the list of Journal of Theology
contributors. Prof. Paul Schaller is not on the staff
+ Page 5 -- Prof. David Lau has replaced Prof. John Lau as Archivist
+ Page 15 -- Robert McDonald is pastor of St. Peter's, Stambaugh, MI
+ Page 16 -- Delete "Interim Pastor" reference in listing of Grace,
Sleepy Eye, MN
+ Page 20 -- E-mail address of Pastor/Editor Paul Fleischer:
+ Page 22 -- The street address of Prof. John Lau after June 30 is
2035 E. Lexington Blvd.
On The Internet
You may access the CLC Home Page at this address:
The Spokesman is also on the Internet. To access it you can either 1)
Go to the CLC Home Page; in the section titled "CLC Literature and
Information" there are links to the current Spokesman and to the
Spokesman Archives. Or 2) Go directly to the Spokesman link:
Call Committee on Graduates
Congregations submitting a call for a pastor or a teacher candidate to
the Call Committee on Graduates should have such call in the hands of
the president by April 4. The Committee will meet on Wednesday, April
9, at 7:00 p.m. at ILC. The Call form and accompanying letter should
be complete, with the exception of a candidate's name.
-- Daniel Fleischer, President