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*OLD NEWS–BUT STILL GOOD NEWS (Paul R. Koch, taken from the Messiah, Eau Claire newsletter, the Messenger, Christmas issue, 1997)

We suffer no shortage of access to news in our society–by papers, magazines, television, and now the Internet. There are plenty of titillating headlines this time of year, what with dirty politics, rumors of genocide, miracles of genetic engineering, scandals in high and low places. We are even interested in how our government treats foreign dignitaires.

The reader/surfer can find anything he is looking for–even human interest stories with an uplifting message. Perhaps we find an account of parental love or heroic self-sacrifice that warms the heart. History buffs have always known that people of yesteryear can be fascinating–as a recent lightweight journal with the title “Old News” presents fascinating articles about personalities from America’s past. Even one’s own family tree may uncover some real gems; which would be old news that’s still good news for succeeding generations.

OK–so you figured it out–we have been alluding to Christmas, the Old News that really IS Good News.

The dirty politics angle is represented by Herod, jealous of any potential rival royalty, who actually ordered the genocide well-authenticated around Bethlehem.

There’s plenty of human interest in Mary’s virgin pregnancy (the miracle of God’s genetic engineering) and in this lower-class family fleeing homeland as political refugees until the evil monarch died.

Oh, yes, the visiting dignitaries who were going to be used as political pawns: well, a higher power averted that device, and they accomplished their mission despite Herod.

And the best good news of all, first broadcast into the Bethlehem airways (in a special evening edition) delivered by God’s heavenly press corps under the by-line: “Glory to God in the highest…” the birth of a royal King-child, whose destiny was to establish a kingdom over all the earth, with loyal subjects whose hearts have been won by His heroic self-sacrifice–a kingdom that would see no overthrow, even by the old evil foe.

In His name and in His birth we rejoice, recognizing Him as our Savior-Lord-King, Jesus the Christ. Hallelujah!

–Further good news to follow from lectern and pulpit releases every week–


With the permission of the CLC and the Lutheran Spokesman (where applicable), a reprinting of the published writings of Prof. Egbert Schaller–other than the Northwestern Lutheran columns of the 1950s and the many articles written for the CLC’s Journal of Theology in the 1960s–has been undertaken by R. E. Wehrwein.

The following ten booklets of Schaller’s writings are now available:

  1)   "The Ancient Church Fathers" (28 pages)
  2)   "The Weapons of Our Warfare" (44 pp)
  3)   "The 'Status Controversiae' Within the Synodical Conference" 
        (44 pp)
  4-5) "Lights and Shadows from the Old Testament" (totaling 60 pp)
  6)   "The Beatitudes" and "Profiles in Church History" (totaling 
        32 pp)
  7)   "The Voice of the Old Testament" (28 pp)
  8)   "The Virtue of Christian Sobriety" (28 pp)
  9)   "Our Father's Business" (44 pp of ILC Chapel addresses)
  10)  "Concerning Christian Brotherhood and Christian Fellowship" 
        (12 pp)

We heartily recommend these writings–perhaps as a Christmas gift? Cost of the entire set of 10 booklets (postpaid) is $17.00 for 1-4 sets, or $15 for 5+ sets. (Individual booklets are available for a nominal price). Orders should be placed with R. E. Wehrwein, 1121 S. Jefferson St., New Ulm, MN 56073.

Yes, we heartily recommend these writings. We are among those old enough both to have sat at the feet of Prof. Schaller (1904-1971) and to have been his colleague in ministry for a few short years.

Here was a man at home in the Word of his Savior-God and thus richly gifted by the Spirit. Most impressive to this collegian/seminarian at the time was the professor’s ability–especially do we recall his chapel talks–to draw insightful and timely truths out of God’s dealings with His people in Old Testament times. A few short years later, now as a young pastor, we can still picture in our mind’s eye the professor before the 1968 CLC Convention delivering the assigned essay “The Virtue of Christian Sobriety.” Delegates of a church body still struggling in its formative years heard an esteemed brother set forth sobering truths from Scripture that had–and still have–profound bearing on the church’s mission and ministry to the world.

In our opinion Prof. Schaller’s Spokesman series “Lights and Shadows from the Old Testament” (sample quote below) is worth the price of the entire set. In the series are 20 articles that appeared on these pages from June 1960 to June 1964. All readers will be edified; pastors will find the articles to be rich resource material for personal study and sermonizing.

Here, then, just one spiritual morsel (comment on Gen. 22:1-5): “But say not: ‘Abraham could trust so firmly; I cannot.’ Certainly you can, and do. For faith ever clings, as ivy to a wall. God tests His people for that reason, that their faith may be encouraged to reach out quickly and take hold of His promises. When we follow every clear command of our Lord, follow where He points in His Word, we may come to many a Moriah and seem to be taken farther and farther away from what we had hoped to attain. Yet only they who follow the will of the Lord shall in the end reach the fulfillment of their Christian hope. Abraham found on Moriah what his faith sought. He had his son given him; and this time he really had him, for he had been willing and ready to give him up.”