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At times we read some compelling words to which we can only add: “Well said!” Here is one, with comment.

(From The Concordia Lutheran, Sept.-Oct. 1996). The writer, commenting on Jude 3 [“Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”], says: “We can ‘contend for the faith’ only if we KNOW WHAT IT IS. Therein lies the first challenge of every true Christian in Jude’s exhortation. It is a sad commentary on the state of outward ‘Lutheranism’ today that in the so-called ‘teaching church’ there is precious little real teaching going on. Indoctrination is not only regarded with suspicion by those laymen and pastors who pride themselves in their freedom and ability to ‘think for themselves’ and to ‘do the right thing’ without being made to ‘conform’ to a standard of doctrine and practice, but ‘the time {has} come when they will not endure {that is, put up with} sound doctrine’ (II Tim. 4:3).

“And sadly, Lutherans today (more notoriously than those in other Protestant denominations) are known to despise instruction. Bible classes are poorly attended where they even exist; interest in studying Christian doctrine is at an all-time low; and pastors very frankly tire of leading unwilling horses to water, much less of trying to interest them in drinking. No doubt one of the reasons for such lack of interest is that people don’t want to be held responsible for judging between truth and error, for standing up to be counted, and for ‘contend[ing] for the faith’; and with knowledge comes responsibility. Then, of course, there are also many pastors who, like those in Luther’s day (whom he addresses in his preface to the Small Catechism), do not themselves know Christian doctrine, do not themselves have any interest in learning it, and therefore themselves have no zeal for teaching it in spite of the mandates of God’s Word that they do so (John 21:15-17, Acts 20:28, II Timothy 4:1-5; I Peter 5:1-4; etc.). . . .”

Comment: We did some investigating. The earliest annual statistics available to us (1971) revealed an average of 962 of a total 6,817 CLC communicants (or 14%) attended Bible Class on a regular basis. The same figures for 1996 reveal 1,109 of 6,657 (or 17%) attend Bible Class regularly.

With the percentage up, shall we conclude all is well? It’s not easy when it’s still less than one in five who, on the average, attend Bible Class. In other words, it would seem CLC members haven’t escaped the “despising instruction” bug mentioned above.

Living as we are in the midst of rampant heresy and/or a cacophony of anti-christian voices, “Bereans” are needed. We refer to those first century Christian believers who were more noble than their counterparts in Thessalonica because they searched the Scriptures daily to see whether they were being taught what Scripture teaches (cf. Acts 17).