* BLACK AND WHITE AND GRAY
“Black and white is comfortable, but gray may be more honest.” This is the commentary headline of an article in the ecumenical newspaper, Metro Lutheran. If you want to know what is wrong in the church, and within liberal Lutheranism, there you have it. It is clear that th4e article is not speaking of matters neither commanded or forbidden in Scripture. In such areas to which Scripture does not speak a yea or a nay, the Christian is free to exercise Christian freedom. Such areas are not matters of conscience. And in purely secular matters — e.g., What time shall we hold service? — there can be compromise.
The writer is speaking of matters of faith. She says, “No one Synod can have all the right answers.” We will allow her that for the sake of the argument! But Scripture has the right answers to matters of faith. When an assembly of believers (Church), or a synod consisting of such, is gathered around the Word of God and holds fast to the inspired and inerrant Word of God, it is in possession of the right answers. Churches and synods can err. Yet when they speak the Word of God without mixture of human opinion, they DO HAVE the right answer to matters of faith.
It is not fashionable today to claim that one has the Truth, the whole Truth. We are not ashamed to say, “We have it!” We may not always act on it, and that is sin. But we have it! To claim to believe the Bible as the Word of God and yet deny any part of it makes God a liar, as well as oneself. To say that one cannot have the whole Truth denies that the Bible is the Word of God. To say that everyone has a little bit of the Truth and that no one has it all is unbelief.
Of course, the tact of the article is that there may be more than one right answer to difficult questions. She happens to be a member of the LC-MS. She wondered how she can be certain of the “set of answers” provided by her church. “I wonder how one can be certain if they are the ‘right’ answers as opposed to the ‘wrong’ answers.” The answer to her question is simple. Be a Berean. They “searched the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Scripture has all the answers to matters of faith. And they who believe the Scripture and who teach it can know that they believe and speak Truth, because: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God….” (2 Tim. 3:16). And, God is Truth!
The problem does not lie in being unable to find the right answer, or in being unable to distinguish between the right and the wrong. It lies in human reason which will not accept the answer.
Her solution? It’s not new, but it lies at the root of the confusion she feels, and the undermining of faith. “We also must pray, study God’s Word, and most importantly, remember to keep our eyes on the big issue on which we all agree–that Jesus Christ is our true salvation.” We are thankful for that last line. But how does one know that to be the absolute Truth if one thinks the rest of the book, the Bible from which that conclusion is drawn, is or may be flawed and subject to individual interpretation?
When it comes to matters of faith and the doctrines of Scripture, black and white is comfortable. Jesus said: “If you continue in My Word . . . you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). Gray is dishonest.
We invite people to study the Bible with us, and therefrom know the Truth. There is found the truth about ourselves. We are siners. There is found the truth about our salvation. It is in Christ alone, and is appropriated through faith in Him. Further, “It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousnerss, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16).
The truth is that the Bible is Truth, and they who believe it have the truth — absolutely.
–From the bulletin of Grace, Fridley; Daniel Fleischer is pastor.
* A PRINCIPAL’S ANNUAL REPORT —
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Several years ago as I watched the last car of students head for home, I felt drained and discouraged. The day had been long, the week seemed to be lost, and the month was way too long (it was only the 8th day). As I returned to my desk, I reached for the Bible and quietly prayed, “Lord — help me!” While paging through the Bible, my eyes were led to the words quoted above, and once again the Lord in all His wisdom answered my prayer.
As we look back over the past year and begin the planning for the next one, my thoughts go back more than a year. Recently, one of the members stated to me: ” . . . If someone would have told us (the congregation) five years ago that by 1996 we would have had a school up and running for three years, a second teacher on the way, a new building in which to house the school, and church services full almost every Sunday, we would have looked at him in disbelief! . . .” If we would not have lived through the past three years of blessings that the Lord has given us, we too might wonder ‘Can this all come true?’.”
During the convention several individuals mentioned: ” . . . Oh, you are from that miracle church in Milwaukee . . . .” Such a statement makes you stop and think and agree that the Lord has been blessing us richly. It truly has been a miracle. Thank you, Lord!
As I think back over the years and the rough waters that this congregation has traveled, the words of the verse speak loud and clear: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed . . . .” Looking back I will never forget the tears of joy that I saw flow during the first opening service here at Messiah Lutheran School. Now a congregation that had waited on the Lord for a school for so long could rejoice in assisting parents in the education of the young lambs of the congregation. The building came into being and the Lord led us to the calling of a second teacher. ” . . . For I am your God. I will strengthen you . . . .”
Our third year of education here at Messiah has come and gone like the wind which brings the comforting, cool evening breeze. The Lord was there every moment of every day, with parents, students, teacher, and staff members as He promised. The largest enrollment to date passed through our doors; 28 students finished the year with four going on to high school in the fall (three to Immanuel Lutheran High School in Eau Claire).
We were again blessed with the many talents of members of the congregation who shared countless hours of their time with our student body. “. . . I will strengthen you . . .” the Lord states, and He did through these individuals.
May their services continue to be used to the glory of the Lord and to the well-being of each and every lamb who comes to Messiah Lutheran School.
(Note: This annual report to the congregation at Messiah, Hales Corners, Wis. by Principal Theodore Quade was submitted to the Spokesman by a member of the congregation.)