Bible history includes accounts of some unusual military victories. The walls of Jericho fell at the sound of shouts and trumpet blasts. The Midianite army fled at the noise of trumpets blowing and pitchers breaking. God wanted His people to understand that their victories over their enemies were given to them, not won by them.
In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul tells of the greatest victory of all, the victory over sin, death, and hell. As the victories in Old Testament history, so this victory was given to us. Christ Jesus fought the battle and paid the price.
This victory that is ours as a gift of God is the basis for all our work as a church body. The pastors, teachers, and lay delegates were reminded of this by the theme chosen for the Convention, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ… Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).
In his devotions as chaplain for the Convention, Pastor Thomas Schuetze (Faith Lutheran, Coloma, Mich.) reminded us that though we are weak, we can abound in the Lord’s work. He provides abundant grace and strength for what He has given us to do. He has called us to an abundant harvest of souls and has promised us abundant success.
President John Schierenbeck called upon us to “get back to the basics”—the simple gospel of forgiveness and life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many of the things that we do and that we worry about are in vain and useless. But the work of the Lord is never in vain because Christ has risen and lives to give power and success to the proclamation of the gospel.
We should not try to compete with those who teach a feel-good theology that cannot satisfy the needs of lost sinners. “When we minister to someone who is dying, we soon get back to the basics of Jesus’ death for our sins and His resurrection victory over death. People want to hear about their resurrection through Christ. Everything else is vanity.”
The two essays delivered to the Convention were based on the two—fold admonition in 1 Corinthians 15:58.
In the essay entitled Be Steadfast and Immovable, Pastor Walter Schaller (Mt. Zion, Madison Heights, Mich.) directed us to the steadfastness of the Apostle Paul, who continued to proclaim the gospel in the face of persecution. Paul refused to be driven from the gospel, for it is the life-giving message of Christ’s victory over sin and death. We have that same message, the only source of life in this world. “We see how crucial it is that we speak these gospel facts, this message of victory, out loud—with joy and conviction. And that we write and rewrite and restate these truths, these facts, again and again. For here is the power source of every believer and therefore of every Christian congregation and of our church body.” One powerful tool for recounting and retelling the gospel facts and their meaning is the historic Lutheran hymns. “They speak of the Savior’s victory…They do it with gratitude overflowing, applying these truths to heart and life.”
In the second essay Teacher Neil Bernthal (Immanuel Lutheran School, Winter Haven, Fla.) showed what it means to abound in the Lord’s work by using the examples of biblical persons. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Paul, and Jesus teach us that the work of the Lord involves a call, prayer, sacrifice, doing God’s will, and trusting Him. “The work of the Lord is an all-consuming and all-encompassing force in our lives…the first thought in the morning…our first words when we greet others. It should be part of who we are and how we live. The work of the Lord should be the work of us.”
Convention Worship Services
On Wednesday evening Convention delegates and visitors gathered for worship at Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. Pastor Paul Naumann (Ascension, Tacoma, Wash.) preached the sermon on Romans 8:31-39. His theme was “In Christ We are Super-Conquerors.” We can be opposed, but we can’t be defeated; we can be accused, but we can’t be condemned; we can be persecuted for Jesus’ sake, but we can’t be separated from Jesus’ love.
A Memorial Service during the last morning of the Convention remembered servants of the Word called home during the past two years: Pastor Robert Mackensen, Teachers Ona Wheaton and Dagne Gullerud. Also remembered were pastors’ spouses Anita Barthels (George), Kathleen Larson (Paul), Lois Mackensen (Robert), Erma (Schuetze) Tiefel (Waldemar), and Claudine Radtke (Gordon). Pastor Emeritus Daniel Fleischer spoke on Hebrews 11:8-16, “With thanksgiving to our Lord, we remember those who have attained to the ‘Better Country.’”
The business of the Convention is divided among seven floor committees, with each delegate assigned to one of them. Each committee meets, prepares its report, and brings it before the entire Convention which then votes to adopt, amend, or reject it. What follows are highlights of what the Convention adopted from each committee.
Board of Education and Publications
The Convention encouraged the Board to continue to look for and publish items that promote the kingdom of God. A reprint of Preaching to Preachers, a book of sermons by Dr. Norman A. Madson (1886-1962), is scheduled for publication in September, 2012.
The Board is responsible for the CLC website (clclutheran.org) by which the Lord has enabled us to reach many people in various parts of the world.
In response to a memorial the Standing Committee on Worship was directed to compile hymns and liturgies from the most recently published confessional Lutheran hymnals and make them available for study by CLC congregations. The Committee is to present its findings and recommendations to the 2014 CLC Convention.
Board of Regents (Immanuel Lutheran College)
Thanks to the Lord was expressed for improvements to the campus. The work of the ILC Professorage Committee was acknowledged, organizing volunteers to upgrade the faculty housing. The renovation of Ingram Hall is nearly complete. A new masonry entrance sign and lighted cross will help identify ILC.
Thanks was offered to the Lord of the Church for recent ILC graduates who now serve in the CLC ministry and as lay members in our congregations. Gifts to the ILC Student Aid Fund and SAF Endowment Fund are encouraged. The Board was directed to actively promote the Associate of Arts program by which our young people can take basic liberal arts and science courses at ILC before going on to other institutions to complete a degree.
Professor Michael Buck has retired after serving for thirty-six years as teacher, coach, and athletic director. The Board was authorized to hire an Information Technology Manager to handle computer and network administration and maintenance.
Board of Missions
The Convention praised God for the gospel work done by six congregations that receive subsidy from the CLC. The Board has formed a Committee on Domestic Fields to explore and develop ideas for reaching new areas in the U.S. and Canada, especially in ways that we have not tried before.
Thanks was offered to the Lord for giving abundant opportunities for training pastors and assisting in mission work in foreign fields. We rejoice at hearing news of the spread of the gospel in Myanmar, Nepal, India, and several countries in Africa. New places for exploratory missions efforts include Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Convention prayed for a Lutheran pastor in Pakistan who is suffering persecution for the sake of Christ. A total of $25,000 was added to budgets to take advantage of opportunities to train as many as several hundred pastors.
Thanks was expressed for Missionary David Koenig’s longtime faithful work, as he is stepping down from his position as full-time foreign missionary. Also acknowledged was the faithful support of his wife Mary.
Board of Doctrine
Church Fellowship was declared with two Lutheran congregations: Steadfast Evangelical Lutheran Church, Tanunda, Australia, and the Lutheran Free Church, Uppland, Sweden.
The Board has asked Prof. Emeritus David Lau to prepare tracts on the blessings and positive aspects of church fellowship.
Board of Trustees
“We gratefully acknowledge the material gifts with which our Lord and Master has blessed us during the past two years. Let us continue to pray for His wisdom that we be faithful stewards of all His gifts from above.”
The following Fiscal Year 2012 budget was adopted:
Education and Publications $10,000
Total General Fund $909,400
ILC Revenue $887,000
Total FY12 Spending Plan $1,796,400
Living Hope Lutheran Church of Appleton, Wisconsin, was received as a member congregation of the CLC. The following were accepted as voting members of the CLC: Pastor David Pfeiffer (Ascension, Batavia, Ill.), Pastor-Elect Mark Tiefel (Bethel, Morris, Minn.), Teacher-Elect Sherman Carstensen (Trinity, Watertown, S.Dak.), Teacher-Elect Joshua Ohlmann (Messiah, Eau Claire, Wis.), Professor-Elect David Rodebaugh (ILC).
Attending the Convention were 61 pastors, 18 teachers, 11 professors, and 58 lay delegates.
The Convention expressed thanks for the dedicated service of outgoing CLC officers, President John Schierenbeck, and ILC President John Pfeiffer. It also offered prayer in behalf of newly-elected synod President Michael Eichstadt and newly-appointed ILC President Steven Sippert.