My Redeemer Lives --

A Timeless Truth, An Eternal Hope

I know that my Redeemer lives! When we speak these words we are brought to the joy of the empty tomb. We join the women who heard with amazement the glad good news: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!" (Lk. 24:5-6).

This is the joy of Easter. He who died for us has risen again. Living in the time of fulfillment--when all these things which God promised have come to pass--many fail to realize that our Redeemer, whose death gave hope of life to the patriarchs of old, was also looked upon by the patriarchs as their risen and everliving Savior.

The truth of Jesus' resurrection is not a new truth, but one that was part and parcel of God's plan from the beginning. It was a truth clung to in faith by those who have gone before us.

It is for this reason that the words of Job are so precious to us. "Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth" (Job 19:23-25).

For Job, who lived many centuries before Christ was born into the world, the truth of a living Savior and Redeemer was more than some nice sounding words, or a finely spoken truth, or a doctrine to believe. It was for him a living reality.

It was this reality of an everliving Redeemer that brought hope to him in the most desperate circumstances he encountered in life. It brought him the everlasting hope of an eternal life of glory before the Lord. "And after my skin is destroyed, this is know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:26-27).

A Sure And Certain Reality!

As we celebrate the fulfillment of all that the Scriptures prophesied regarding our Savior and Redeemer--who had to suffer and die for the remission of our sins--we find this same timeless truth lying at the heart of our faith. I know that my Redeemer lives! Yes, He who died has risen and lives forevermore.

I, too, look to that day when He shall stand upon the earth, and my eyes shall behold him in His resurrected glory. Though almost two millennia have passed since the resurrection of Jesus from the grave, the reality remains as sure and certain.

The truth remains intact, for the truth of a living Redeemer is a truth of God, and so it is for us a living reality. We read the joyous account of an empty grave, and it gives the same assurance, the same eternal hope that Job possessed in his heart. We look to the victory over death and the grave which our living Redeemer secured for us by His death and resurrection.

And we have hope, yes, even in the face of this life's most desperate days. We possess the eternal hope of a living Redeemer who shall stand once again upon the earth. I shall see Him for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another!

--Pastor Theodore Barthels

The following was written by a pastor for his own congregation as he was about to conduct his first funeral for a cremated member. -- Editor


It used to be that no God-fearing Christian would consider cremation as an option for Christian burial.

One Lutheran theologian wrote, "Cremation is an insidious denial of the resurrection from the dead. Our Christian consciousness shrinks from it, and can but shudder at the thought of it. A Lutheran pastor certainly cannot with a good conscience officiate at such a burial." Therein lies the church's reason for opposing cremation. It was seen as a denial of belief in the resurrection of the dead, and was, in fact, often used by unbelievers as a challenge to God. It was as if the person were saying to God: "You just try to resurrect my body and judge me!"

In this world of increasing funeral costs, cremation is becoming increasingly popular even among Christians. After all, some feel, is it good stewardship to use a good portion of the family's meager income or inheritance simply to put a body in the ground?

Is cremation God-pleasing? It depends on the motivation of the individual. If we are trying to challenge God by destroying the body, that is not God-pleasing. Obviously, that may be the attitude of the unbeliever. Such people, as Jesus says, "are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God" (Mt. 22:29).

Scriptural Considerations

For the believer in Christ, cremation is in no way seen as a hindrance to God and the resurrection. Job confesses: "After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another" (Job 19:26f).

Adam, Job, and countless other believers have long ago returned to the dust of the earth. And yet, they too shall stand in the resurrection at the Last Day in their bodies, as Scripture teaches: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. . . . It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:42ff); "[Christ] will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body . . . " (Php. 3:21).

Should we allow cremation or not? It is not a matter of getting the permission of the church, nor is it the church's place to forbid it across the board. There is no law against cremation. Although many have pointed to Christ's burial, the burial of Moses by God (Deut. 34:5f), as well as that of the burial of the patriarchs, David, Lazarus and others as strongly suggesting that a Christian ought to be buried, there is no command given in Scripture that we must bury our dead.

But the bottom line is that cremation is a matter of Christian freedom. Burial may be preferable, but as long as the weak are instructed concerning cremation so as to avoid offense (See Rom. 14:15, 1 Cor. 8:9), and so long as the motivation is not unchristian, nor for purposes of greed, we cannot forbid it. Nor do we want to place man-made laws on our people to burden them (see 1 Cor. 5:21, Gal. 5:1).

Know that at the Last Day also those faithful Christians who have been cremated "God will bring with Him," for they also "sleep in Jesus" (1 Thess. 4:14).

--Pastor Joel Fleischer

You And Barabbas

He was a vile killer--a ringleader in an effort to overthrow the government. Held in a Roman dungeon in Jerusalem, it was only a matter of time before he was convicted of his crimes and executed for them. If he had committed lesser offenses, this man known as Barabbas might have been fortunate enough to be beheaded. At least death was mercifully swift in that case. But it was for men like him that the Romans reserved the slow and torturous death of crucifixion.

Swift and sure justice was what this man deserved, but a remarkable turn of events, as told in the Bible, relates how this man, guilty as the day was long, walked away from his chains, away from his prison, and away from a death sentence, free and clear.

The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, had a problem. An angry mob had gathered outside the palace, demanding that the governor give his approval for them to crucify Jesus of Nazareth. Among other things, they falsely said that Jesus wanted to overthrow the government.

Pilate quickly found out that Jesus was an innocent man. But the crowd, now ready to riot, threatened to get Pilate in trouble with his boss if he refused to give in to their wishes.

Then a brilliant plan came to the governor's mind. He offered the crowd a choice: Should he release Jesus--whom everyone knew to be good and kind--or Barabbas--whom everyone knew to be dangerous? Why, of course, they would want Jesus to be released, and it would be as though it were their own idea!

Or so Pilate thought. He asked the crowd: "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said: "Barabbas!" Pilate said to them: "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said to him: "Let Him be crucified!" . . . Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified (Matt. 27).

Some might say that Barabbas was just a lucky man -- someone who happened to be in the right place at the right time. But those who know the whole story know better. When you come right down to it, there is nothing that happens by accident. This guilty man went free, and Jesus, God's innocent Son, went forth to die, because that's the way the Lord planned it.

And His gracious plans include you too, for across the centuries comes the message of a Savior who took the punishment that WE deserved.

It was not only the Roman whip, the crown of thorns, and the nails that held Him to the cross that Jesus had to endure for others. It was the wrath and anger of God over the sin and rebellion of all people. The freedom from sin and guilt that we now enjoy through faith in Christ came at an awful price--the death of God the Son.

You and Barabbas--it's not a pretty comparison, but it IS an accurate one. Both guilty, but both acquitted on account of Another who went, as our Substitute, to His death.

--Pastor Bruce Naumann

(First written for the clergy column of a local newspaper)

An Easter Message from our CLC President--

Understanding Our Anniversary

The convention of the Church of the Lutheran Confession will be held on the campus of Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire June 19-23. At this convention the CLC will observe its 40th anniversary.

The establishment of the CLC is dated from the constituting convention at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown, S. Dak. in August 1960. For forty years the God of all grace has guided and directed the CLC through the pits and valleys that confront a church seeking to maintain a confessional Lutheran stance in these days in which such confessionalism is buffeted by all kinds of winds.

We believe that it can be said, not in a spirit of complaint, but with an attitude of thanksgiving both for the testing and the grace of God: "We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair . . . " (2 Cor. 4:8). But through these forty years the CLC still stands--a bit weather-beaten, but firmly--because it has been built upon the Word (Matthew 7:24-28). As people of flesh, we have tested the Lord. But we have seen that our long-suffering God is faithful. Our God is good!

That our church still stands is not in and of itself a confirmation of its validity. After all, there are church bodies much older than ours which still exist even though they have kicked over the traces.

The continued life of a standing church is meaningful only if it remembers its purpose for being. That purpose of the church is not self-perpetuation. Such an attitude leads to what we see in so many churches today--compromise and loss of doctrinal integrity. A church that is seeking to redefine itself or find a message for the new century is a church adrift.

As we observe our anniversary, we are grateful to the Lord not simply for forty years but for the eternal message we have been privileged to proclaim. It is the ministry of our Lord and His resurrection which created the Holy Christian Church and which gives a church made up of confessors of Christ its message.

However, it is not sufficient for a church simply to speak about the Lord. The Lord has given the message first of all that by His Spirit it may be inwardly digested and fill the hearts of God's people. The message of Christ and Him crucified has a hollow sound if it is not first of all believed in the heart.

A church makes meaningful proclamation when Jesus is the object and substance of the faith of its people. Only they who know that they are by nature dead in trespasses and sins can proclaim the new life in Christ with fervor. Only they who realize that since the fall they are under the wrath of God and who know and believe in the heart that Christ has overcome sin and death can speak the message with conviction. "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9). Where that is the faith and substance of what is preached, there will be a church with a message and therefore a purpose. That will be a church that is a blessing to many.

The walk of the women to the tomb in the early morning hours was not merely an early morning stroll. It had a purpose. The existence of a church body for one year, forty years, or one hundred years is purposeful if its members proclaim with heartfelt conviction: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last upon the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another" (Job 19:25-27).

With that faith supported by our Lord's promise both by the resurrection itself as well as His word ("Because I live, you shall live also" Jn. 14:19), the Church--and the church in which its members reside--shall never be irrelevant. The church body in which its members believe the message it proclaims will appreciate the commission of Christ (Mt. 28:19-20). It will proclaim the "heart-felt" message of everlasting life in Christ and celebrate its anniversary, not in praise of self but with thankfulness.

As we observe forty years, more importantly we celebrate with thanksgiving the message of victory over death and the devil, and the gift of eternal life in the risen Christ. This celebration will endure when anniversaries are no more.

"Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen" (Heb. 13:20-21).

--Pastor Daniel Fleischer

Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Hallelujah! Jesus Lives!

An Easter Hymn

#188 in the Lutheran Hymnal

In Acts chapter 19 we find the apostle Paul on his third missionary journey, spending a good deal of time in the city of Ephesus. The Spirit converted many through the Gospel that Paul preached, and this caused no small stir. Demetrius and other silversmiths, whose trade was "in danger of falling into disrepute" (v. 27), caused an uproar in the open theater. We read that "the whole city was filled with confusion. . . . Some therefore cried one thing and some another, . . . and most of them did not know why they had come together (vv. 29, 32, our emphasis).

While our church services are a far cry from a mob scene or an uproar (and happily so!), it is still important that we know why we "come together." In this month's hymn Carl B. Garve helps us to answer the question of why we come together, particularly on Easter Sunday.

We gather together to "Praise Him in a nobler song," for "He is now the Living One." In Jesus, our risen Lord, we have the answer to the problem of sin. His death atoned for us all. His resurrection is the Father's seal of approval that His payment on the cross was sufficient.

Yes, "Jesus lives! Why weepest thou?" What Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene at the tomb Garve would have us ask ourselves. We need not weep anymore, for "He who died our Brother here Lives our Brother still on high!" In Him "Life eternal waits for thee. . . . Where He is, thou, too, shalt be!"

As we celebrate Easter this year, may Garve's words help remind us why we have come together: "Hallelujah! Jesus lives!" May that wondrous truth serve to draw to Him your heart "with ever new delight"!

--Pastor Paul Krause

An ILC Chapel Talk

"He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God." -- Acts 3:8

In Jesus' Name:

We have been looking among the many people gathered here in chapel for various names found in the book of Acts. We looked for Ananias, Tychicus, even Elamites. In chapter three there are a number of familiar names: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel. But I am not looking for them today. I am looking for the "he" and "them" mentioned in our verse. "Them" is Peter and John, very familiar names in Western Society. The "he" is given no other name than this: a certain man, crippled from birth.

Peter and John were a couple of Jesus' disciples who did not always see eye-to-eye. Perhaps it was a difference in personality. John, for all of his being a "son of thunder," often seems mild compared to blustering Peter. Whatever the reason, when Jesus was telling Peter about how some day he would die in a manner that no one would choose, Peter turns and sees John there and blurts out, "What about him?" Have you ever heard anything like it? -- "You're giving me a D+? What about him?" -- "We have to read two chapters? What about them? It isn't fair!" -- There were times when that was Peter and John, not to mention all the other disciples who argued about who was the greatest.

But what a difference the Spirit makes! Now Peter and John are going up to the Temple together. He had brought them together in Christ, just as He has brought us together, many of us who would not "naturally" get along. We saw some of that last time also with the Elamites.

When Peter and John arrived at the Temple Gate, the one called Beautiful, they saw a not-so-beautiful sight. It was the Cripple. He was carried to that spot every day to beg from the people going to worship. The Cripple probably could have gotten his doctorate in podiatry, for he knew feet and ankles well even though he couldn't use his own. But feet and ankles were what he saw going into the Temple day after day. Peter and John were looking right at him, and he was asking them for a handout, but Peter still had to bring his gaze up to the level of their faces by saying: "Look at us!"

He looked up, expecting gold or silver, but Peter had something better. He had the name of Jesus Christ, and the Name which caused Peter's and John's knees to bend together before Him now also caused ankles crippled from birth to spring up strong.

And that brings us to our verse: "He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God."

It was a miracle that ankles weak for so many years should suddenly be strong. It was a miracle that the Cripple could walk at once. Babies have to learn to walk, and people who have been invalids for a long time often have to learn to walk all over again.

But the most amazing thing is not the ability to leap--even to spike a volleyball or dunk a basketball. The most amazing thing is that this former Cripple went with Peter and John into the temple courts, praising God. Well, of course he did! Wouldn't anyone rescued from such dire straits go into the temple to praise God? Not necessarily! Nine out of ten lepers would not! They would not even return to One who was greater than the Temple!

So let us view this scene with appreciation for the One whose kind Word calls, gathers, enlightens, and strengthens us. We could be experts on what a Christian is; we could know just what a Christian should do in every situation; but by our own strength, we doctors of Christianity could only use our knowledge to criticize others, and like the Cripple would still not be able to do the good thing ourselves. If it depended on our own strength, when we looked to Him, it would be for some material comfort, silver and gold, something for our pain, and not for the heart of the matter. As Luther put it: "With might of ours can nothing be done," or at the end of his life: [Wir sind bettler. Das ist wahr] "We are truly beggars!"

But God, who is rich in mercy, has given us the name of Jesus, not only telling us about Him, but putting His name upon us in our baptism, and in many a benediction: His life, His death, His resurrection, all for us. And whether we are walking and leaping and praising God, or rolling a wheelchair and praising God, or on our deathbed and praising God, it is God who gives us not only our physical strength, but who also works the trust in our hearts to enter His presence with thanksgiving. Amen.

--Prof. Paul Schaller

Studies In Ephesians

Proclaiming the Unsearchable Riches

of Christ (See 3:8)

Chapter 3:14-21

Inner Strength For Family Life

A recent trip down to the recreational center one evening is a reminder of our culture's obsession with "fitness." On the way through the lobby, the visitor gets a look into one corner of the pool where swimming lessons are on for the young ones, while in another corner, the older set is into "water walking." Glass windows reveal the bodybuilders lifting weights; thicker glass walls shield the passerby from injury by stray racquetballs. Overhead there is the steady rhythm and throb of stair-steppers, treadmills, and stationary bicycles.

More power to 'em, we can say. "Bodily exercise profits a little," Paul says. But then he goes on to say: "but godliness is profitable for all things" (1 Tim. 4:8). With all our concern about physical well-being, we can't help but ask: "How much attention is being given to spiritual fitness?"

In the section of Ephesians before us, the case is made for real spiritual fitness--strength, not for the cardiovascular man, but for the "inner man."

This section of the letter represents a major transition from the earlier more 'theological' section to the later more 'ethical' section. Up to this point, Paul has taken his reader on a trip into the profound mysteries of God, all of which, finally, pertain to us, the believers. Here God has revealed to us our identity--who we are in Christ: we are the children of God.

What follows this section is the more practical 'ethical' portion of the letter--"How then, shall we live?" The life to which we are called is dynamic (represented by the word "walk"), so that the believer realizes that faith rests in God, but is never at rest in the world. We are to "walk worthy of our calling" (4:1); and walk "not as the Gentiles walk" (4:17). We seek to "walk in love" (5:1), as "children of the light" ought to walk (5:8).

Only Through The Gospel

Such walking requires the inner strength, toning, and endurance that only the Gospel can supply. The preceding section laid that foundation. Now Paul "bends his knees," praying urgently that the Father who gathered us all and made us a "family" in Christ will supply the inner strength necessary for us to live ("walk") as God's children ought to do. The walk of this life is, after all, an uphill journey. But our needs for this journey are supplied wholly through the "indwelling" of Christ--Christ taking up residence in our hearts through faith; faith worked by the Holy Spirit as we hear and take to heart the good news of our salvation.

But can we ever hear too much of the Gospel? Does the point come where we should move on from this 'theology' business and get to work on our own Christian life? If that's the way it's being done, then it's not a Christian life. That's why this section bridges between the 'theological' and the 'ethical'--we cannot live a 'Christian' life unless Christ accompanies us in the heart.

Here's the goal of this indwelling--this 'faith-life': "That you be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge." Here is the foundation of the Christian life--to know and believe the unbelievable love of God; here is the meat on which it feeds--the knowledge . . . no, the comprehension--of Christ.

It is the Gospel that impresses upon our cold hearts the love that has been shown us. Paul began with God's work of predestination, the election of grace (1:3-14); he goes on to tell of the enlightenment (1:18); of grace (2:8-9); of quickening (2:1); of making us His own family (2:14-22). All these activities are the work of the true God, who "blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (1:3). Through this we come to know that "God is love" (I John 4:16), and believing it, that love--that "fullness of God"--fills us.

By God's love we are equipped and invigorated for the road that lies before us, or as Paul says, for the "good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (2:10). It is by people who walk by faith, in whom Jesus Christ dwells by faith, that God is glorified and praised.

Paul finishes our section with a doxology and benediction: "To Him be the glory." Sections to come will set forth the patterns, opportunities, and challenges that will require the believer to exercise that spiritual fitness. His work in us will, in the end, resound to His glory.

--Pastor Peter Reim

(The undersigned presented the following to a Senior Ladies Luncheon in his home congregation; many of the thoughts, including those in the accompanying prayer, are taken from the devotionals "The Yoke Made Easy" and "The Burden Made Light" by Alfred Doerffler.)

What Can Shut-Ins Do?

Sometimes those who are shut-in or on the sickbed wonder what they can do for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. There is much that those who are confined to home, or even bed, can do for the Lord and His Church, as well as for their own spiritual life:

1) They can count their blessings. God continues to shower His blessings upon us even in days of confinement due to illness or advancing years. When David wrote in the 103rd psalm: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits..." his thoughts weren't restricted to days and years of the "prime" of life. Every day the Lord forgives our sins, surrounds us with loved ones, gives strength to carry on, provides food and drink, and comforts through His Word. Recognizing these blessings moves the Christian to thank God every day, saying with Jacob at Jabbok: "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which You have shown Your servant" (Gen. 32:10).

2) They can pray. Don't minimize prayer--what it can do for the one praying or for those or that which is being prayed for! Prayer is talking to God on a heart-to-heart basis. Who is God but our loving heavenly Father in Christ Jesus? As such He is interested in what is happening in the lives of His children. He has given His Son, and "shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32)

We can pray for the Church: for those who are still outside the Church of believers; for missionaries and the spread of the Gospel at home and abroad; for those we know may be growing cold or indifferent to the Gospel; for those we know who might be growing discouraged and disheartened. On Sunday morning one unable to go to church can pray for the pastor and the members that the Lord would bless the message that is being delivered by the called shepherd and being heard by the sheep of the flock.

3) They can praise the Lord. Think of Paul and Silas as they sat in prison (Acts 16). As they were "shut-in" the prison with "feet fast in the stocks" what did they do? They "sang praises unto God." Similarly, with the Holy Spirit at work in his heart, the Christian can be hopeful and cheerful in the midst of trials and troubles, even glorying in tribulation (see Rom. 5:1-5).

4) They can read. First of all, the Bible! God has given us His Word, the revelation of His will, to make us wise unto salvation, to comfort us in trouble, and to help us overcome our doubts and misgivings. He encourages us to "search the Scriptures" because they are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16). Our Savior calls God's Word "the one thing needful." From that Word we learn valuable lessons as, by faith, we come to grips with the various problems and vexations in life. (Ask your pastor to suggest devotional books and other good Christian literature.)

What if one's eyesight is dim or failing? There are large-print Bibles and devotional books available; there are Bible audio-tapes. The Lutheran Spokesman, our CLC church magazine, is also available on tape.

5) They can support the church with their offerings. If we can't give as we once did on a weekly basis, remember the "widow's mite." It is not the amount given which is the important thing. Rather, the Giver of all is pleased with that which is returned to Him from a cheerful, trusting heart.

As the advancing years take a toll on one's physical strength, it is understood that this may sap one's financial resources. In-home "care providers" may be needed, or one may find it necessary to become a resident of a nursing home or other care center. Yet we are told that more money is being passed along to the next generation these years than ever before--which suggests that many have accumulated sizeable savings and bank accounts.

6) They can realize they are an example to others. We say "are" instead of "can be," because one way or another we are examples!

At any age or season in life, believers will want to let their Christian light shine. This is as important in "sunset" years as it is when one is younger or middle-aged. At all times may we be able to say with St. Paul: "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content . . . " (Php. 4:11).

Pray that God, through His Holy Spirit, will keep you from becoming a "grumpy old man (woman)" who makes life miserable for those around you by incessant griping and complaining. Rather, pray that God will help you reflect your Christian faith with a confidence and joy befitting those looking foward to an eternity of bliss in heaven with the Savior.

--Pastor Paul Fleischer


Lord God, You have made a covenant with me in which you have promised to be my gracious Father and I Your redeemed child through Jesus Christ. Therefore, I seek You for strength and help, for You are able to save in all circumstances. With the advancing years, I ask You to continue to enrich me day by day with Your love, with Your divine forgiveness, and with Your help. Fill me with the joy of service and teach me to know that I can live to the glory of Your name even when confined to the sickroom or when otherwise feeling abandoned and alone. Preserve me from discontent. Bring to my remembrance the great suffering and agony of my Savior, who has gone to the cross to redeem me that I might be Your own. Give to me peaceful days and restful nights. Bless my home, family, and all my loved ones with your divine presence, and keep us all in that saving faith which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Fortieth Anniversary Historical Vignettes

vignette (vin-yet'), n. 1. short literary essay; sketch

vignettist (vin-yet'ist), n. a maker of vignettes, painter, photographer, or writer

Dateline: San Francisco, California


Oscar Erpenstein and (wife) Marie were major players in several ways. Anchor people in the initial effort to establish a CLC ministry in northern California, for one thing. Especially, however, for his role in the birth of the NCLC.

Oscar and Marie had been sending funds to people in Nigeria. When he retired and had little money to share, he offered study materials. This was welcomed, and chapters of his own personal dogmatics made their way to that first group of inquirers that included Patrick Udo. This contact ultimately led to the relationship of the CLC and the newly-formed Nigerian Church of the Lutheran Confession.

That personal dogmatics? Erpenstein's way of securing his faith. Son of a skeptic Swedenborgian clergyman, he was on his own spiritually from an early age. He put his amazing intellect to work in the service of the gospel. When he could not find a publisher for his book in defense of biblical creation, he bought his own press, hand-set all the type and produced it himself.

More than anyone else I know of, Marie was the great persuader who encouraged Rev. Udo to undertake his work in Nigeria.

Historical Markings

Where Have We Been?

Where Are We Going?

" . . . Naturally, any study of the Synodical Conference heritage must begin with one man, C. F. W. Walther. We are all his children in one sense or the other. And though we shall have some criticisms to make later on, let it be understood clearly that we view Dr. Walther as one of the most outstanding gifts of our God in the 2,000 years since Christ. He must be counted with the men since St. Paul in a list of Augustine, Athanasius, and Martin Luther.

" . . . Walther's greatness overshadowed everything else in Missouri. The other members of the faculty of St. Louis were insignificant by comparison in the eyes of the students. The graduates during these first 30 years or so were Waltherians, through and through. This created the unity in Missouri, the strong esprit de corps. There was a consistency in doctrine in every realm of practice and pastoral theology through the Synod. This strong, unified clergy imbued with Walther's massive spirit stood ready to receive and welcome the mass of immigrants from Germany that flooded the country in the period from 1850 to 1900. This Walther army was not only a well-drilled Prussian army, it had great substance because Walther gave these men more than himself. He stressed above all objective justification, that God had proclaimed an Easter pardon for every sinner in the world. Therein lay Walther's meaning, his strength, and his great success. Never before since apostolic days has such a host of faithful Gospel creatures arisen in one generation, establishing congregations from shore to shore. As other groups were assimilated by Missouri, they could not bring adverse influences, for the solid corps was too strong and large. If one joined Missouri, one became Missourian. That briefly is what we have inherited from Walther and the Missouri Synod. The entire concept of a confessional Lutheran church in a free society, uncompromising loyalty to Christ, an appreciation of the central truth of objective justification, the importance of Christian Day Schools, sound congregational life adapted to a democratic society, excellent organization, and a zeal for missions."

--from the 1964 essay 'A CENTURY OF JUDGMENT AND GRACE' by Rev. W. Schaller Jr.

Volunteers and gifts help to maintain ILC in Eau Claire

After witnessing first-hand the fruits of faith of fellow Christians throughout the CLC, I am compelled to pass along this information for all to know, and to encourage more to do the same.

In my three and a half years at Immanuel, I have seen over $50,000 saved in labor costs by individuals giving of their time and talents to work as volunteers. Our man-hours are so limited, and our work load is so diverse that we are always able to put someone's talents to use.

Volunteers come in all sorts of ways to serve our Lord: some young, some old; some for a day, some for a week (summer rooms are available); some come as a church group, some together as a family, or a couple, and some come alone.

Some are from as close as our own ILC 'family' and local congregation, while others from a great distance pitch in when they arrive for a conference or convention. Some come empty-handed (not a problem), others bring tools and materials, even to the point of pulling trailers!

Everyone's attitude is always the same. They are here to do what is most needed to assist in the maintenance of this gift we have--called ILC!

I have also seen donations come in the form of job materials and equipment, new and used, again saving us thousands of dollars if we were to purchase them. When asked what is needed to help our work, I pull out a list of items which would aid in the care of our building and grounds if we were to have them.

Many offerings also have come in through the ILC Improvement Fund (IIF). These offerings can be given right at your local congregation. This fund has helped in the completion of a good number of larger necessary projects, as well as in the purchase of larger equipment--things which are unobtainable through the general budget. This is a great option for those who find they cannot assist in person because of distance, time, or other factors. This fund has become a necessary means for the maintenance of an aging campus.

Thank you, fellow workers, and thanks be to the Lord for the help He bestowed on Immanuel College at the hands of His servants throughout the CLC. May God bless you for all your fruits.

Anyone interested in assisting in the maintenance of our synod's college may obtain more information by contacting Luther Sieg at (715) 836-6637; FAX (715) 836-6634; E-mail:

--Submitted by the Immanuel Lutheran College Facilities Manager, Luther Sieg

Anniversary Celebration

Ninety Years Of Grace

On October 3, 1999 St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lemmon, South Dakota celebrated its 90th anniversary. After the church dinner there was a short program on the history of the congregation. This was followed by a special worship service with Rev. Norman Greve from Eagle Lake, Minn. as speaker. Pastor Greve is the son of former St. Luke's pastor Vernon Greve.

St. Luke's came into existence about the time the railroad was opening up the country in 1909. The congregation began with a family on the way to Lemmon desiring to have their young son baptized. Pastor Scherf was unavailable in Roscoe, and when he heard of the need, he and Pastor Keller from Bowdle came to Lemmon to perform the baptism of Roy Freking. Seeing the need for the Lord's work to be done in Lemmon, they sent for a vicar from Illinois. So the congregation was born.

The first services were conducted in homes. A church building was built in 1910. That building served until 1963 when the present church building was constructed. Until 1918 worship services were held completely in German. English was used sparingly until 1950, at which time services were exclusively in English.

On March 8, 1959 synodical fellowship with the Wisconsin Synod was severed for doctrinal reasons.

The Lord has blessed St. Luke's with eighteen pastors. They include the following: Julius Lenz, William Pankow, Henry Hopp, Herman Kuether, William Haar, C. A. Hinz, Donald Rossin, R. E. Blume, E. C. Kuehl, Helmuth Rutz, W. A. Schumann, E. W. Rische, William Winter, R. E. Pope, V. E. Greve, A. F. W. Geiger, David Koenig, and Walter Schaller. The present pastor is Timothy Wheaton.

From 1974 until 1985, the congregation also enjoyed the blessing of a Christian Day School. Serving as teachers through those years were the following: Erma Maier, Debi (Gurgel) Ude, Sharon (Seibel) Kurtzahn, Ted Quade, Lola Lyndgaard, Karl Olmanson, and Pastor Koenig. A number of members assisted in the training of St. Luke's children by filling the positions of band director, aide, and substitute.

God has truly blessed the members of St. Luke's during the past ninety years. He has provided faithful leaders and faithful members. It is the congregation's prayer that the Lord would continue to bless them in the years to come with faithful stewards of the Word.

--Submitted by Pastor Timothy Wheaton


Change Of Address

Pastor James Sandeen
6871 Wyman Way
Westminster, CO 80030-5758
Phone: (303) 429-1795

Parenting Seminar Materials

The CLC Board of Education has produced video tapes, audio tapes, and manual for the Parenting Seminar held recently at Immanuel of Mankato, Minn., under the direction of Pastor Wayne Eichstadt.

The tapes and manual are now available at the ILC Bookhouse for cost. The video tapes can be ordered separately. The audio tapes were recorded from the video tapes.

Manual (about 300 pages) $12.50 plus postage; video tapes (4 two-hour tapes), $20.00 plus postage; audio cassettes (8 one-hour tapes), $6.00 plus postage.

All items can be ordered from the ILC Bookhouse or purchased on site. The address is 501 Grover Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701-7199. Phone (715) 836-6623. E-mail:

Request For Colloquy

Rev. Steven Karp of Busby, Alberta, Canada, has requested colloquy with the intent of entering the public ministry of the Church of the Lutheran Confession. Any information or comment regarding this application should be in the hands of the president by the end of May.

--Daniel Fleischer, President


With permission of the Journal Of Theology, all the sermons and sermon studies that Prof. Egbert Schaller wrote for the Journal during the 1960s have been compiled into seven booklets totaling nearly 250 pages. Included is material for most of the church year, with an emphasis on Lent, as well as series on Daniel 1-9 and the opening chapters of 1 Samuel. The price is $20 per set (postpaid), with a reduction to $17 if three or more sets are ordered.

Also still available are the 10 earlier booklets (totalling over 300 pages) in which various scattered writings of Prof. Schaller are republished. Included are chapel addresses, a major paper of 1958 and another of 1968, a number of Lutheran Spokesman series, and more. (The December 1998 Spokesman has additional details on pp. 9-11). The cost is $17 (postpaid), with a reduction to $15 if three or more sets are ordered.

Contact R. E. Wehrwein, 1121 S. Jefferson St., New Ulm, MN 56073; e-mail to; phone (507) 359-4105.

The project of compiling all the other Journal writings of Prof. Schaller into a projected nine booklets is about half finished.

From The Board of Regents For Immanuel Lutheran College

1) The Board invites nominations for the office of ILC president since the current term of Professor John Pfeiffer expires May 31, 2000. All pastors, professors, male teachers, and voting members of the CLC are entitled to nominate a man from the faculty of Immanuel to serve a two-year term beginning June 1, 2000.

Nominations must be written or E-mailed ( and received by the undersigned no later than midnight April 9, 2000.

Mr. Tom Beekman
ILC Board of Regents
8410 Rambil Road
Eau Claire, WI 54703

2) The Board of Regents for Immanuel Lutheran College announces the observance of Professor Clifford Kuehne's retirement. After the graduation concert on Friday, May 19, campus visitors are invited to a reception in his honor. Professor Kuehne's faithful service to the church will also be acknowledged in connection with the graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 20.

At that time we would like to present a monetary gift to him as a token of our appreciation for his forty years in the preaching and teaching ministry which included nearly thirty years at Immanuel. CLC members are invited to contribute to a "retirement purse" that will be presented to him on graduation day. Please make your checks payable to Immanuel Lutheran College, and stipulate: "for the Kuehne purse." Send your gifts to

Mr. Lowell Moen, ILC Business Manager
Immanuel Lutheran College
501 Grover Road
Eau Claire, WI 54701


The Youth Conference being planned for Grand Lake, Colo. this summer (August 4-8) has been expanded to include College Freshmen and Sophomores. CLC Youth who are currently in 8th grade--College Sophomore are invited to attend. Full details and registration forms/information are available from your pastor or through Immanuel Lutheran Church of Mankato, Minn. (421 North 2nd Street, Mankato, MN 56001 -- (507) 345-3027 -- or