Post Tags 50th anniversary, history of the clc, out of necessity
Dear Friends in Christ,
It is fitting that we conclude this series of chapel talks on the history of the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) on the day of our Lord’s ascension. For just as our risen Lord and Savior at God’s right hand has guided us in the past, so our present and our future are in the hands of our Savior who rules over us at God’s right hand.
The Gospel of Mark concludes with these words: “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.”
“…What will our church be like in the year 2060? That is a long ways away, but many of you will probably be living at that time, if the world lasts that long. We can barely even imagine what it will be like in 2060. Our present and our future are in the hands of the Head of our Church, Jesus Christ.”
What does it mean that Jesus is sitting down at the right hand of God? We do not have to figure out the meaning of these words by using our imaginations. God has revealed to us what is meant by His sitting at the right hand of God. Listen to these words from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “God raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power. …And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.”
On the basis of this Bible passage our catechism says:
“Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God means that He rules everything for the benefit of His people. God is a spirit; He does not have a body which has a right hand. Sitting at one’s right hand is a picture of a position of honor and authority. Christ rules at God’s right hand as our Prophet, High Priest, and King.”
Our CLC has officers and boards. Our congregations have pastors and elders and teachers and committees. It is important that we have these officers so that all things may be done decently and in order, as we are instructed. But the real and only Head of the Church is Jesus Christ at God’s right hand. All authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth.
All the blessings we have enjoyed in the past have come from Him. As our Prophet He has taught us through the prophets and apostles in His Word. As our High Priest He made the supreme sacrifice of offering Himself up on the cross to atone for all our sins. As our King He has worked all things together for our good. For He rules over all in the interest of His Church on Earth, that is, His sheep and lambs who trust in Him as their Savior and Lord. He has used His almighty power for our benefit, guiding us, watching over us, keeping us safe.
And now, what about
Back in 1960 the year 2010 was a long ways in the future. Fifty years. The ascended Lord was with us during those fifty years, blessing us in ways too numerous to mention at this time. Will He be with us during the next fifty years? What will our church be like in the year 2060? That is a long ways away, but many of you will probably be living at that time, if the world lasts that long. We can barely even imagine what it will be like in 2060.
Our present and our future are in the hands of the Head of our Church, Jesus Christ. He may decide to wrap things up before that time, bringing to an end this whole world and everything in it. That would be a good thing, would it not? All the Christians who have died from the beginning of the world would then arise from their graves and be ushered into the presence of their Savior, together with the living believers, all of us then to enjoy the presence of our Lord forever. Fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore, as the Bible says.
But if our Lord delays His coming and allows the world to continue for another fifty years, there are some things we can count on for sure. We can continue to count on the assurance given us in God’s Word that our sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. Jesus, as our High Priest, is interceding for us at God’s right hand as our Mediator, telling the Father that He has already paid for all of our sins. We can continue to count on all of the promises of our God in His Word, for Jesus, our Prophet, has given us His Word in Scripture, and Jesus will continue to see to it that His Word will not perish from the Earth.
And we can continue to count on Jesus as our King in the years to come, ruling over all things in the interest of His people. But we cannot count on ourselves. We cannot depend on the strength of our faith and love. We cannot depend on the loyalty of the Church of the Lutheran Confession or on its leaders. There have been orthodox, confessional Lutheran church bodies in the past that at one time were faithful in their teaching and practice but now they have fallen away, some of them very far away from where they were. God has not promised anywhere that the CLC will remain on Earth or that the CLC will remain faithful in its teaching and practice. We can’t trust in ourselves or in our church body.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and sits at the right hand of God. He is our Head. He is our Savior. May we always put our trust in Him. We sing the hymns stanzas.
Christ, Thou art the sure Foundation,
Thou the Head and Cornerstone;
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the Church in one;
Thou Thy Zion’s Help forever
And her Confidence alone.
Praise and honor to the Father,
Praise and honor to the Son,
Praise and honor to the Spirit,
Ever Three and ever One,
One in might and one in glory,
While unending ages run.
TLH #466:1 & 4
Dear Friends in Christ,
Chapter 20 of the history of the CLC is entitled “The Changing Times.”
Everyone will have to admit that there have been many changes in the world and in the church world since our church body was organized in 1960. But have there been changes in the Church of the Lutheran Confession?
By God’s grace our doctrinal platform remains the same now as it was then. That is good, because it is written: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” How happy we can be that God does not change! Nor does His love for us sinners change! Jesus died for the sins of the world, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Those facts do not change, and they assure us that our sins are forgiven, and we have a place in heaven reserved for us. Read More…
Post Tags 50th anniversary, clc schools, out of necessity
Dear Friends in Christ,
There are sixteen congregations in our church body that are presently enjoying a special blessing from the Lord. These congregations are operating elementary Christian day schools. Some of these schools have been in existence since the very beginning of the CLC, such as Immanuel Lutheran School in Mankato, Minnesota. In fact, Immanuel congregation has also been operating its own Christian high school ever since Immanuel Lutheran College moved from Mankato to Eau Claire in 1963. Read More…
Post Tags 50th anniversary, history of the clc, out of necessity
Chapter 18 of the Book: Out Of Necessity
A History of the Church of the Lutheran Confession
Dear Friends in Christ,
The summer of 1963 was a very busy
one on this campus. There were volunteers from many CLC congregations on the scene, trying to prepare the former Ingram Estate for the fifth school year of Immanuel Lutheran College. For the first four years Mankato, Minnesota, was the home of our school.
There were two major projects underway in 1963: the remodeling of the big barn and the remodeling of the little barn. Two Albrecht brothers were in charge of the remodeling crews: Pastor Christian Albrecht of Watertown, South Dakota, and Pastor Paul G. Albrecht of Bowdle, South Dakota. If these brothers were here with us today, what would make them the most happy?
I am sure they would be pleased to see the new Academic Center. Already in 1963 they had hoped to build a structure for classrooms, but our church body could not afford it. That is why the two barns had to be remodeled. It is true that the two buildings they worked on are no longer on campus, but they would be happy to know that the big barn, to be known as Northwest Hall, served for many years as boys’ dormitory, classroom building, and administration center. They would be happy that the little barn served for many years as the Sem House.
But I believe the two Albrecht brothers would be even more happy to know that some of their great grandchildren are students on this campus today, together with the descendants of many of the other volunteers who contributed their talents in 1963.
But I believe that what would make the Albrecht brothers the happiest today is the blessing from God that in the past fifty years the doctrinal basis of Immanuel Lutheran College has not changed. For this certainly was the main reason that the volunteers gathered on this campus in 1963. They wanted to establish and maintain a school where the Word of God would hold sway, where the Word of God would prevail not only in religion classes but in history classes and science classes and sociology classes and psychology classes, where the Word of God would be the guide and norm in all campus life, in the dormitories, and in all extra-curricular activities.
Anyone who has studied American history knows that many of the schools begun by Christians on sound Christian principles in this country are no longer guided by Christian teaching. They have become secular institutions, and in some cases have become anti-Christian in their teaching and practice. Three of the oldest schools in our country are Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, all of them founded as Christian schools to be guided by the Word of God. But that certainly is not the case in these schools today. So it is a very special blessing of God that throughout the history of Immanuel Lutheran College there has never been a teacher who denied the inspiration of the Bible or the six-day creation of the world or the teaching that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world, or the fellowship principles taught in the Bible. This is not a blessing to be taken for granted, but a blessing to be thankful for every day of our lives, and something that we need to keep on praying for and striving for continually.
There were eight full-time teachers at this school in 1963, and there are twelve full-time teachers today. None of the original eight teachers is still teaching today. But Prof. Ron Roehl was here in 1963, and he still has an office as registrar in the new Academic Center, and he is still living on campus.
In the fall of 1963 the total enrollment was less than 100, but in six years it was up to 137 and, of these, 47 were in the college department. We would like to have that many college students today. By the 1974-1975 school year the total enrollment was 179, which, I believe, was the highest enrollment in ILC history. But the enrollment did not remain at that level. In fact, by the 1982-1983 school year the high school enrollment was down to 74.
But the teachers kept teaching, and soon the Lord gave us the gift of more students. Even as every child is a gift from God, so also every student is a gift from God, a gift to be guided and molded by the Word of God. The enrollment began to climb again in the 1980s. By 1988 there were 105 in high school, 38 in college, and 7 in seminary. But by 1993 the total enrollment was down to 125, with only 12 beginning ninth-graders. Was the school going to die for lack of students? No, the very next year there were 30 ninth-graders, and by the year 2000 there were 132 high school students, and the total enrollment was 176, close to the all-time high.
We pray that the Lord will give us this many students again, not for the glory of this school, but so that our teachers have the opportunity to teach God’s Word and ways to the next generation, so that they in turn can pass this on to their children and grandchildren.
For this is the will of God, as recorded in Psalm 78: “He established a testimony in Jacob, …which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God.” We sing TLH #629.
Concluding Our Observance Of The Clc’s 50th Anniversary
In the calendar year now drawing to a close, our church body with its respective congregations has individually and collectively marked a half-century of wonderful blessings. As the synod’s official “spokesman,” our little magazine too has been noting the event.
Together we have looked back to the days of our founding in thankful remembrance of our eternal Savior – God’s gracious guidance and protection all along the way. At the same time we have encouraged one another to look ahead confidently, trusting in Him who – with all His holy attributes, including His unconditional, sacrificial love for us poor, unworthy sinners – is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In sermons throughout the year, each of our pastors has surely made frequent reference to the synod’s anniversary. A number of our congregations have, in fact, observed their own anniversaries – some more or less than fifty years – simultaneously with the synod’s.
As we conclude the synod’s anniversary year, your editor/pastor wishes to share a portion of what was preached in a Transfiguration Sunday sermon last Spring at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, Wyo. (a site of one of the original Interim Conferences). The text included these words:
“While [Peter] was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’ When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only”
The sermon on this text concluded as follows.
This concluding frame of the holy video we are witnessing calls attention to the fact that we are to HEAR JESUS ONLY (as God the Father says)! Jesus is not just one of many prophets or religious teachers, but the unique Prophet prophesied by Moses and Elijah centuries earlier. Him, Jesus, we are to hear, none other! We have one Master, Christ, in all things spiritual!
And where is it, fellow Christians, that Jesus can be “heard”? Where else but in His Word in the Scriptures? As Peter would later testify in his epistle: “We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place…” (2 Peter 1:19). Jesus teaches in the Gospel: “If you continue in my Word, then are you my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 18:15) Yes, even in this truth-denying, supposedly everything-is-relative, nothing-is-absolute, one-religion-is-as-good-as-another day and age, there still is truth! There still is error, false teaching! In His great commission on the Mount of Ascension, the risen and glorified Lord sent out His disciples with the directive: “Teach all things, whatsoever I have commanded you,” promising, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Truly, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28).
All of this helps to explain – this, our 50th anniversary year as a synod – the sensitivity we in the CLC have for the purity of Bible doctrine. We would see JESUS ONLY in all things. We would see JESUS ONLY in clear focus, and we have learned from Scripture itself that all false teaching blurs and distorts the picture of Jesus as our only and all-sufficient Savior. Any false teaching can cause the gospel of Jesus to become a blurred, fuzzy, murky, distorted picture causing us to miss the glory of Jesus. Let us not weary then of the struggle to maintain pure doctrine. May God in His grace keep us sensitive to the truth, and preserve unto us a holy loathing for any besmirching of the complete picture He paints for us in the Bible. We would see and hear JESUS ONLY, for alone in Him and His saving Word do we have a clear panoramic view of God’s plan for our eternal salvation.
“Heavenly Father, keep the eyes of our holy faith focused on JESUS ONLY and our ears and hearts attuned to hear JESUS ONLY. Do this, Father, for Your glory and honor, and for the eternal welfare of our and our children’s blood-bought souls.”
As we sing in the hymn:
Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus
Can my heartfelt longing still
Lo, I pledge myself to Jesus —
What He wills alone to will…. Amen.
Post Tags 50th anniversary, berea, history of the clc
50th Anniversary Observance
“Berea–Then and Now” was the theme of Professor Steven Sippert’s message to 50th anniversary worshipers at Berea Lutheran Church of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, on June 20, 1010.
Prof. Sippert called attention to the fact that, guided solely by the truth of God’s Word and grounded firmly in faith in Christ Jesus, the Bible Bereans (Acts chapter 17) treasured Holy Scripture and measured all–including the Apostle Paul’s message–by its divine standards.
With its birth date paralleling that of the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC), those who founded and continued the ministry of Berea Lutheran Church have sought to follow the footsteps of their biblical namesake. From its beginnings in a Minneapolis home, to its first church home in the city of St. Paul as a mission congregation of the CLC, to its present Inver Grove Heights (St. Paul suburb) location, through several building and expansion programs—all along the way God has blessed the preaching and teaching of His Holy Word and Gospel in both our church and our Christian Day School (established 1978).
Current membership of the congregation is 380 souls, with enrollment in the Day School at 28.
Those over the years who have provided pastoral leadership include Gordon Radtke (conducted first worship service), Marvin Eibs (1960-1970), Paul Larsen (1970-1983), and David Schierenbeck (1983-present).
Full-time Day School teachers have included Marlys Gerth, Beth Nolting, David Bernthal, Robert and Judith Snell, Susan Rehm, and Matthew Thurow (presently).
It was a wonderful anniversary day as the Lord granted good weather, a jubilant anniversary service, a wonderful program, and a fellowship meal. Many willing hearts and hands served in readying all for this God-glorifying festival.
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your Name be glory because of Your mercy and truth” (Ps. 115:1).
As our Lord guided and blessed the Bereans in the book of Acts, so may we ever look to Him as our Strength and Hope in the future.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Chapter 17 of the history of the CLC is entitled “Doctrinal Controversies.”
Yes, we have to admit that in the history of our church body there have been serious debates and controversies concerning doctrinal matters. I doubt that there is any church body on Earth that has never had such controversies.But we should hasten to add that the controversies in the CLC have never dealt directly with the basic teachings of Christianity. There has never been any dispute among us as to whether the true God is the Triune God, whether Jesus is true God and true man, whether Jesus died for the sin of the world, whether we are justified by faith rather than by works, whether the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. By the grace of God we have been spared from such controversies, even though many other church bodies have been troubled by these things.
Still we have had controversies on doctrinal matters, and in some cases these controversies have led to the withdrawals of some of our members because they did not agree with the resolution of the controversy that was adopted by the CLC. Our history book refers to eight controversies in the CLC. We do not have the time to go into detail on any of these controversies this morning. We would probably need a full class period on each one of these controversies to get a good grasp of the specific problems and how they were resolved.
The point I want to make here this morning is that sometimes controversy is necessary, and that God uses controversy to get us to study His Word more carefully and to examine our own beliefs and practices in the light of God’s Word.
There was one major doctrinal controversy in the Christian Church in the days of the apostles. It was a controversy that involved the apostles Paul and Peter and the brother of the Lord Jesus named James. The question that was debated was a very important one: What is necessary for salvation? The one party taught that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation and nothing else. The other party insisted that faith in Christ was necessary for salvation but that following the Old Testament regulations concerning circumcision and the eating of certain foods was also necessary for salvation. Those that taught this are generally called Judaizers because they were insisting that following the Jewish laws was necessary for salvation.
Acts Chapter 15
The book of Acts tells us about this controversy in chapter 15. It came to a head at the conclusion of the apostle Paul’s first mission journey. On this mission journey Paul preached the gospel of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles. He assured the Gentiles that they too were children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. He did not tell them that they had to follow certain Jewish rules in order to be saved.
But when he came back to Antioch after his mission trip, some of the Christians from Jerusalem were telling the Gentiles: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Since these Christians came from Jerusalem, the birthplace of the Church, and since they claimed to represent the views of James, the brother of Jesus, this became a major controversy.
The apostle Paul was certain that the position he was taking was the right one. He regarded the Judaizers as false teachers. So we read in his letter to the Galatians: “We did not yield submission to them even for an hour, that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you.” Paul did not want to go along with the wrong view even for a moment for the sake of avoiding an argument or for the sake of outward peace. He resisted what he considered to be false teaching. He spoke up.
At one point in this controversy it seemed that even Peter was siding with the Judaizers. Peter stopped eating with the Gentile Christians in order to please the men from Jerusalem. Paul could not let this pass without saying something, even though it would involve more controversy. Paul wrote to the Galatians: “When Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face.” Yes, here we have the unpleasant scene of one apostle disagreeing with another apostle in front of the whole congregation. Controversy in the church! You see, it is sometimes necessary.
How was it resolved? The book of Acts tells us: “When Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.” They had a meeting, just like our church conventions today. There at that meeting, on the basis of God’s Word, they resolved the controversy. Peter, Paul, and James, the brother of the Lord, all agreed that the view of the Judaizers was false teaching and could not be tolerated. In Peter’s words: “We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.” May our gracious Lord help us always to resolve our controversies through the written Word of our Savior God. (TLH #260:5-6)
Fellow Redeemed in Christ,
May the Lord speak well of you all in the name of Jesus.
Please, rest assured that we are with you, in spirit and in truth, in the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the blessed Church of the Lutheran Confession. It is, indeed, an event of statistical significance. It is worthy of much rejoicing with heartfelt thanksgiving to the Lord for the privilege, through His all-sufficient grace.
When one looks back over the years to see how our church body has grown from her embryonic stage to a congregation of believing souls, it is inspiring and marvelous. It is marvelous, what the creeping hands of yesterday are bringing to us today. It is a lesson for us, not to despise the creeping hands of today.
Our heartfelt thanksgiving goes to the omniscient God of missions for the CLC – Nigeria mission work. As a privilege, through His grace, the Lord is using NCLC mission work to accomplish much for His kingdom; a thoroughfare reaching out to other parts of Africa, with the saving Gospel. Glory goes to God alone.
Memorial thanksgiving goes to the Lord, in honor of Mr. Oscar Erpenstein, for having used him, as instrument to open the mind and heart of those who knew not, and knew what they knew not, to know that they knew not. Mr. Erpenstein was in the flock shepherded by the Rev. Rollin Reim, St. Stephen Lutheran (CLC) Millbrae, California.
We cannot forget mentioning with thanksgiving to the Lord, the two missionaries, Carl Thurow and Norbert Reim, who came to give us the name NCLC in 1974, and our pioneer resident missionary, Pastor Dave Koenig. His exemplary Christian faith with his costly courageous steadfastness is written in the history of CLC – Nigeria mission work, with thanksgiving to the Lord.
Praise God. In spite of all oppressions, havocs of the devil, there is CLC in NCLC. So, truth is never suppressed.
Meanwhile, love to all in the CLC, with special regard to the Rev. Paul R. Gurgel. He has a large, edifying paragraph in the annals of the CLC – Nigeria mission work.
Please, for your information, the Rev. Pastor E. E. Essien is gone to rest in the Lord. Burial is fixed on August 14, 2010. The family expects missionaries Koenig, Paul, Ude and others to attend the burial.
Grace, mercy and peace be with you from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father in truth and love.