In this issue we have the last in a series of chapel talks which Pastor David Lau delivered during the 2009-10 school year to the student body at Immanuel Lutheran High School, College, and Seminary, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. ILC is our synod’s school for training the up-coming generation—pastors, teachers, and lay-people—to be disciples of Christ.
Pastor Lau’s talks on the various chapters of our synod’s history book (which he had written for the synod’s fiftieth anniversary) stressed the importance of upholding a staunchly Bible-based foundation for our “church in the world.”
Yes, our church is in the world, yet—pray God—not of the world, for its members have been called out of the world, as Peter writes: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
As we serve our Savior in the world, we strive to do so 1) as Christians; 2) as Lutherans; 3) as confessional Lutheran Christians.
1) As Christians
we serve our Savior aright when we do so as those firmly convinced that the God-Man Jesus Christ is alone “the way, the truth, and the life” for, as He Himself taught, “no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
The book of Acts reports how this absolute truth claim was staunchly upheld by the Lord’s apostles even in the face of persecution to the point of martyrdom. While under arrest by the civil authorities, these “uneducated and untrained men” said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Earlier they asserted, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
While we in the CLC strive to maintain this absolute truth, many “Christian” denominations today have relinquished it.
2) As Lutherans
we serve our Savior aright when we do so as those firmly convinced that the salvation which Christ provides for sinners can be found only and alone in the divinely inspired Holy Scriptures, which “are able to make you wise for salvation,” for they are “given by inspiration of God and (are) profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15ff).
We believe—with the sixteenth century Reformer of the church, Dr. Martin Luther—that these Holy Scriptures are all-sufficient, teaching all we need to know about God’s wondrous grace and mercy toward the world of sinners, “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Many “Lutheran” churches today don’t uphold the Holy Scriptures as the objective, all-sufficient, and only source of Truth. The result is that poor souls are robbed of the certainty of their undeserved, free, and complete salvation in and through Christ Jesus.
3) As confessional
Lutheran Christians—we serve our Savior aright when we do so as those firmly convinced that there is no license or liberty to tamper with His teachings.
Jesus said to those “who believed Him, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31f). In His Great Commission the same Lord who directs His disciples to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…” goes on to say that they should teach would-be disciples “to observe all things that I have commanded you….” (Matthew 28:19f).
Yet evidence abounds today that large segments of the visible Christian church in general, and Lutheranism in particular, have jettisoned the “observe all things” directive of the Great Commission. Choosing to be “progressive” rather than confessional before the world, they condone and/or accept abortion, same-sex marriage, women clergy, evolutionary origins, and many other “less obvious” but equally dangerous (Scripture-undermining, faith-scuttling) false teachings.
From this backdrop we say: the CLC history book gives its readers an historical snapshot of one small Lutheran church body’s struggles to establish and maintain a truly Christian, truly Lutheran, truly confessional church which, while in the world, is not of it. As such, we recommend it as a very worthwhile resource book for would-be disciples of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.