The Lutheran Spokesman (April 1998)
In this issue:
I'm Dreaming Of A White ... Easter?!
NO SKELETONS HERE!
Through Grace To Resurrection
'ONE LANE ROAD AHEAD'
A Rust-Proof Confirmation Faith
Have You Considered Adoption?
The Two Debtors
Moses, Prophet Of God
Q & A About Fraternal Lutheran Insurance
For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.
In Marquette, Michigan, which had record snowfall in 1997 of almost
three hundred inches, Easter was indeed white last year, as snow lay
on the ground that day. But whether you live in Marquette, Michigan,
Phoenix Arizona, or Winter Haven, Florida, Easter will always be white
for believers in Christ Jesus.
The Color Of Mourning
For those living in the North, white usually means the dead of winter
-- dead flowers, dead trees, and dead car batteries, as the weather
turns cold and snow blankets the countryside. By April one's thoughts
turn to spring, green grass, and birds chirping, as life returns to
the landscape. And so it is fitting that Christ Jesus rose from the
dead in the springtime, having paid the price for sin on the cross as
He "died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was
buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the
scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3f).
Not surprisingly, winter notwithstanding, black is traditionally the
color of death and mourning. Scripture speaks of those in their sins
as walking in darkness, blind and dead. As we observe the Lord Jesus
suffering and dying to pay for our sins on Good Friday, the cloths are
black on the altar. Then a few days later Easter comes. Christ is
So the purple altar cloths of Lent, the black of Good Friday and
sorrow over sin give way to white Easter lilies and white altar
cloths, for white is the color of Easter, a color of rejoicing for the
Christian. What a contrast against the black backdrop of the Passion
Season! Unlike winter, where white means death to all manner of
things, the white of Easter means life, both spiritual and eternal.
That's what keeps the believer going during the long Lenten season. As
we sorrow over our sin and focus on the suffering of the Savior, we
are continually looking ahead, dreaming of a white Easter, dreaming of
the sweet message of the resurrection of the dead, of sin and Satan
conquered and death overcome. Certainly our pastors proclaim this
message to us also in the Lenten season, but the Gospel which is
always refreshing seems more so on Easter morn.
...As White As Snow
And if snow happens to blanket the ground that day, all the more
fitting. For what happened on Easter? Christ who humbled Himself and
did not despise the shame of the cross, was exalted, victorious over
sin, death, and the devil. When Christ was exalted at His
transfiguration, Mark describes His apparel as "shining, exceedingly
white, like snow" (Mk. 9:3). In John's revelation of the triumphant
Christ, the apostle beholds "One like the Son of Man . . . His head
and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow" (Rev. 1:14).
Why was Christ exalted? Again, Scripture directs our attention to the
snow. As it is written: "(Christ) was delivered up for our offenses
and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). He was
exalted because His payment for sin was accepted by God the Father.
When Christ died and rose again the world was declared "not guilty" of
sin, and the promise of the LORD God was fulfilled: "Though your sins
be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Is. 1:18). Like a
blanket of snow Christ covers our sins, for it is written: "You have
forgiven the iniquity of Your people, You have covered all their sin"
(Ps. 85:2), so that we are counted among those of whom the psalmist
writes: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
covered" (Ps. 32:1).
With sin taken away no more could the black of death and the grave
terrorize man, for Christ's bodily resurrection from the dead means
the bodily resurrection unto life everlasting for all who trust in Him
for salvation, as the Savior promises: "I am the resurrection and the
life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And
whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (Jn. 11:25).
So in the risen, living Christ forgiven sinners ask with the holy
writer: "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
Butthanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ" (1 Cor. 15:55ff).
Whether or not snow falls on Easter morning where you live, here's
wishing you a white Easter -- white, because Christ rose from the
dead; white, because you have been raised from spiritual death with
Christ in Baptism; white, because all of your sins have been covered
and you have been washed clean in the blood of Him who was dead and is
now alive; white, because His life means your life and resurrection.
-- Pastor Joel Fleischer
A recent novel titled 'A Skeleton in God's Closet' revolves around the
crucial question: "What if modern-day archeologists were to suddenly
unearth the remains of Christ's body?" In other words, what if Jesus
had been crucified, dead, and buried, and that was the end?
That prospect was the cause of the women's sadness as they trudged
toward the garden grave in the predawn darkness. It was the reason for
the disciples' fear as they tried to maintain a low profile in the
hours following Good Friday.
What If . . . ?
What if . . . ? Common sense and human experience ask, "How could it
be otherwise?" No one we know has come back from the dead. No ER on
earth can revive a patient who has truly died. Even respected
religious leaders seem to concede that Jesus could not really be
alive, as they speak of Christ living on only through His followers.
What if . . . ? What if Jesus were no different than anyone else and
were still dead? Paul gives a grim prognosis; "If Christ has not been
raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins" (1 Cor.
15:17). If Jesus' bones are lying dry and decayed in an ancient tomb,
then we're dead too. Then any hope is crushed under the life-sapping
burden of sin. How can we be hopeful when a guilty conscience and
God's righteous anger against sin hang over our lives like a black
cloud? Then all we could look forward to would be a life spent
desperately grasping for the mirage of happiness followed by an
eternity of torment.
What if . . . ? Easter tells us we don't have to wonder. We know! The
women were there. They saw the stone tossed aside and heard the
electrifying news from the holy messenger: "He is not here. He is
risen!" Heart-wrenching grief burst into glorious ecstasy. Peter and
John saw the empty tomb. With their own eyes the disciples saw the
resurrected Lord standing before them Easter evening. A week later
even the doubts of Thomas were erased. Fear gave way to wondrous awe.
St. Paul confirms the truth for all time: "Christ has indeed been
raised from the dead!" (1 Cor. 15:20). There are no 'what ifs?' HE IS
He Is Risen!
That certainty is my life and salvation. It tells me that my sin has
been paid for in full and can no longer be counted against me. It
gives me renewed hope, for it means that even on the worst of days
when I can't seem to get along with anyone, when I hurt others by what
I say and do, and offend God's holiness by living more like the world
than a child of God--even then I can unburden my soul by leaving all
my sin in Jesus' grave, and rejoice in the new life of forgiveness
guaranteed by Jesus' rising.
He is risen! That truth means I have a living Lord who is more than
just a footnote in a history text. He defeated Satan and now directs
our lives and determines the course of world history for the blessing
of His people. When troubles pile up on the outside and stress builds
within, I have the confidence that my Lord sees the situation, knows
the answer, and will, if necessary, move mountains for my benefit.
He is risen! That unalterable fact is my comfort when I stand grieving
at a fresh graveside or when I contemplate my own inevitable death.
Jesus, the Son of God, came to be my brother. He said: "I am the
resurrection and the life." He Himself rose to life. That means I too
will one day rise to eternal life with a perfect, glorified body.
If you ever wonder 'what if?', check it out for yourself. Look to the
Word. Go with the women and the disciples. See for yourself. Believe!
No skeletons here!
-- Pastor Michael Eichstadt
An Easter Message From Our CLC President --
Through Grace To Resurrection
By the time many of you read this, the writer will have changed
addresses. He will have moved from Grace to Resurrection, from
Fridley, Minnesota to Corpus Christi, Texas.
It is one of the advantages that the CLC enjoys to this point that its
president still serves as an active pastor of a congregation. He is
daily reminded of what the ministry is really all about. He remembers
the trials and joys of the pastoral ministry because he daily
experiences them. The ministry is not administrating. It is speaking
to the hearts of people like himself, people in need of the daily
instruction from the Word of God and the daily comfort of the Gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
'From Grace to Resurrection.' Our God is the God of grace. Offended by
our sin, the Father nevertheless showed to mankind love -- undeserved
love. He determined in His own heart to rescue man from the
consequence of sin. In grace He promised the Savior from sin. And it
is an expression of His grace that He preserved His promise, nourished
it over time, and in time sent the Savior in whom we believe -- by
grace. We are what we are--children of God--by virtue of grace. We
have what we have--faith unto salvation--by virtue of grace. "By grace
are ye saved, through faith. . . . " Our Lord "has saved us and called
us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before
time began" (2 Tim. 1:9). Grace goes back a long way, doesn't it?
Our past was blessed with the reality of divine grace. Our present
continues to be so blessed. For in His grace He keeps us in the faith
by means of the Gospel so that we might live in daily hope of the
It is to the resurrection that our hearts and minds are pointed in the
Easter season. But in the correct order. Our Lord Jesus Christ, having
paid the all-sufficient price for our sin through His death, rose
again from the dead according to the Scriptures. He became the
"first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20) and who
will yet fall asleep before the end of time. Now we who believe praise
the Father "who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead" (1 Pet. 1:3).
'From Grace to Resurrection.' Grace would be an empty thing if there
were no resurrection. There would be no resurrection unto life
everlasting if it were not for grace. Grace and resurrection are
forever tied together in the life of the Christian. Grace is the
underlying cause of the resurrection. The resurrection unto life is
the ultimate fruit of grace.
It is this message rooted in Christ that is the touchstone of Grace in
Fridley, or Resurrection in Corpus Christi, in St. Stephen's of the
East Bay and Indian Landing in Rochester, New York, and in all
churches in between. For wherever there are churches there are sinners
in need of the proclamation of grace in Christ and hope of the
resurrection. Venues change. The needs of pastor and hearers do not,
and therefore the message dare not.
Wherever you attend one of our churches this Easter, you will hear the
message without qualification or evasion: "Christ the Lord is Risen
Today." Thank God for His grace.
Now, the peace of God be with you all in the hope of the resurrection.
-- Pastor Daniel Fleischer
If you've driven south out of Markesan on highway 44 lately, you may
have noticed that the highway department has an important message for
you at the front of the Markesan cemetery. As the photo shows, a big
orange sign was left leaning against the stone entrance, reading 'ONE
LANE ROAD AHEAD.'
Whether they intended to or not, the road workers have been doing a
good job doubling as preachers. The headstones behind this sign remind
us that we are all truly going down a path which arrives at the same
place--the grave. It is a one lane road from which no one returns to
Jesus talked about what lies at the end of this 'one lane road' when
He said: "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved" (Jn.
10:9). The gate that Jesus speaks of is even narrower than you may
have thought. Only a few will enter the gate at the end of the road
that leads to endless joy and pleasure with God in heaven. Since you
are heading down the 'one lane road' toward your grave, how can you be
sure what this "gate" is at the journey's end? Consider carefully, for
your very life depends on the answer to this question!
A great many people are headed for a crash at the end of the road.
They may think "there is much that is good in my life to balance out
the bad." But the Lord is not looking for a good balance. He says:
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is
perfect" (Mt. 5:48); and "the soul who sins shall die" (Ezek. 18:4).
God does not tell us that we must try very hard to be as "good" as we
can be, and that most people are going to be "good enough" when Christ
comes to judge the world on the Last Day. The Bible makes it clear
that, try as we might, there is no one who will be counted "good
enough" because of what they did in this life. Rather, it says: "All
have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Hoping to
enter into heaven through the gate of your own goodness will only
result in eternal condemnation, misery, and separation from God -- an
endless dead-end in hell.
According to Jesus: "Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which
leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Mt. 7:13-14). The real
gate to life is truly "narrow," but Jesus does not use this word in
the sense of "constricting and constraining." Instead, it is "narrow"
in the sense of being very specific. What Jesus wants us to know is
that there is one, and only one, gateway to heaven. "I am the way, the
truth, and the life," He says; "No one comes to the Father except
through Me" (Jn. 14:6).
In practical terms that means that there is only one way for you to
enter through the right gate at the end of the road, and that is to
give up on the hope of entering heaven because of what is good in you.
Instead, let your heart rest on what Jesus did for you. It is His
perfect goodness that covers your sins. It was His death on the cross
that paid the high price for your free admission to heaven. Finally,
it is His resurrection that proves that, for those whose hearts rest
on Him, the graveyard is not a final resting place, but only the
gateway to a new and glorious life!
Everyone without exception travels the 'one lane road' that leads to
the grave. In His Word God shows you what the "narrow gate" is that
lies a the end of that road. It is His Son, Jesus, who promises:
"Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (Jn. 11:26).
-- Pastor Bruce Naumann, Faith Lutheran Church, Markesan, Wis.
(This article was originally written for the pastor's local
There it was, what used to be my good shovel! Left outdoors underneath
a snowbank all winter, the spring thaw revealed a now badly rusted
spade. With a packet of heavy duty sandpaper and lots of elbow grease
I knew I could remove the rust and save it for useful work. The shovel
would never be the same again, though. The rust had forever deprived
it of some of its strength and sturdiness.
Rust eats away and makes a strong object into a weak one. It turns the
beautiful into something ugly. If left unchecked, rust can totally
The world, our flesh, and Satan -- like rust -- can eat away at our
faith. They can turn strong Christians into weak ones. They can turn
beautiful spirit-filled lives into ugly, self-centered lives.
It's not hard to see the corrosive work of these enemies to our faith
-- we see it when our actions are motivated by guilt rather than by a
thankful heart cleansed by Jesus' blood; when dependence on the Lord
for solutions to life's problems is replaced by self-made solutions;
when loving commitment to spouse and family are pushed aside for
personal pursuits; when God's gifts to us of time, treasure, and
talents are poured back only on to ourselves; when our language is
tarnished by gossip and course jesting; when we find easy excuses to
be away from God's house on Sunday morning; when we remain silent
during opportunities to proclaim the cross and empty tomb.
At this time every year many of our young people give witness to their
Christian faith through the rite of confirmation. Do you remember your
confirmation day? Do you remember your confirmation faith? What does
this have to do with our topic? Maybe we have a need to ask: what
happened to that fresh, vibrant, glowing faith that was so in love
with Christ and His Word? Has it gotten a bit rusty over the years?
Has spiritual rust set in?
No Man-made Remedies
How is the problem fixed? How is the rust removed? There are no
man-made remedies. The "I can be a better Christian if I try hard
enough" mentality will do nothing to stop the corrosion. Our innate
spiritual powers (which are non-existent) can stop "soul rust" about
as well as scotch tape can keep a rusty muffler from falling off the
Human efforts to fix spiritual problems never work. God must do the
fixing. God's mission, for example, to save us from eternal damnation
was just that, God's mission. It was He Who sent His Son to rescue us.
It was He Who took the world's sin and placed it on Jesus so that He
suffered and died for it instead of us. It was He Who raised His Son
from death so that we could live forever in pure joy and glory! God
did it all! Even the faith that believes all this wonderful truth
comes from God.
Martin Luther was one who recognized how easily his own faith could
get rusty. He saw a personal need to return again and again to the
truths which he taught in his Catechism -- to the saving truths of
Christ. He writes: "I, too, am a theologian who has attained a fairly
good practical knowledge and experience of Holy Scriptures. . . . But
I do not so glory in this gift as not to join my children daily in
prayerfully reciting the Catechism. . . . If I do not do this but am
preoccupied with other business, I feel a definite loss because of the
neglect. For God gave the Word that we should impress it on ourselves.
. . . Without this practice our souls become rusty, as it were, and we
With these words Luther calls us back to what the apostle Paul calls
"the simplicity of Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2). With his catechism he bids
us return to God's mighty Word, the one and only power which can fix
our spiritual ailments. Luther understood that God's Word alone can
rust-proof our faith.
We pray: "Dear God, forgive our sins. With Your Word renew in us a
glowing and growing confirmation faith! Give us a sturdy spiritual
life which You can put to good use! AMEN!"
-- Pastor Michael Wilke
* PROMISE KEEPERS UPDATE
Last month on these pages we ran Pastor Bruce Naumann's helpful and
informative article on the Promise Keepers. The article pointed out
that the movement is a "mixture of worthy goals and anti-biblical
teaching" and, because of the latter, conscientious Christians will
want to "steer clear" of it.
We are aware that warnings against the movement have gone out from
other sources as well. Apparently such warnings are being heeded. The
February 28, 1998 issue of WORLD magazine reported that the very life
of the movement is in jeopardy: "all (Promise Keepers) staff will be
laid off as of March 31, and unpaid volunteers would try to keep the
financially troubled ministry going . . ." One executive summarized:
"We're broke." A contributing factor, it seems, is the movement's new
no-charge policy for those who participate in its stadium conferences,
the number of which is being considerably reduced (to bail them out
founder Bill McCartney is asking every church in America to give
In an evil day we have, we believe, 'at our finger tips' the spiritual
resources we need. Let us look to the Means of Grace--the "living and
powerful" Word of God (cf. Heb. 4:12) and the Sacraments--then to our
called pastors and teachers and the Christian fellowship we enjoy in
our local congregations. Such gifts from God can provide the guidance
and support necessary to accomplish such laudable PK goals as
practicing ethical and sexual purity and building stronger marriages
* NEW SERIES ON THE PARABLES
The Spokesman has had on-going Bible studies based on the Old
Testament as well as on the New Testament Epistles. What's missing, we
have felt for some time, are studies from the Gospels and the life of
Christ. In this issue we begin a series in which selected staff will
treat the parables taught by our Savior.
We would share a few thoughts on parables.
Many of us have taught, or been taught, that a parable is "an earthly
story with a heavenly meaning." Such a definition, easily conveyed and
remembered, can be properly understood. It has been said, however,
that Jesus' parables often contain a lot of earthly meaning, and
therefore a parable might be better defined as "a story about
something from everyday life that Jesus uses to teach something about
life with God." As if to emphasize the holy truth that the whole world
belongs to God, the Lord often uses references to nature or to common
events in life to draw out sacred, divine truths.
Don't make too much of the "story" part either, lest the impression be
given that parables are like fairy stories taught to youngsters. Their
inclusion in sacred Scripture means parables are divinely-inspired
stories which have serious life-and-death spiritual lessons to teach.
Our Lord tells us why He often spoke in parables--and the reason may
surprise: "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has
been given to you, but not to them (the multitudes). Whoever has will
be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have,
even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them
in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do
not hear or understand . . ." (Mt. 13:11ff). In parables Jesus
revealed sacred secrets to His disciples while concealing the truth
from those who already rejected Him. In other words, this teaching
technique was a form of verbal judgment on the unbelieving.
At times we are told the specific reason which prompted Jesus to tell
a parable (e.g. Lk. 19:11). Sometimes our Lord Himself explains one of
His parables (e.g. Mt. 13:18ff, 13:37ff).
In every case the expounder of a parable will want to stay within the
analogy (or common and generally accepted understanding) of Holy
Scripture. Here too the rule applies: let scripture interpret
And another caution is in place: don't stretch the spiritual
application(s) beyond the central or "key" lesson(s) intended. For
example, what is the "key" in the parable of the rich man and poor
Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)? Is it that a person is better off being poor?
Of course not. There will be materially-rich people in heaven and
poverty-stricken people in hell. The key point of this particular
parable has to do with prioritizing God's Word in one's life.
There are, finally, three different groupings of these sacred stories.
First, there are the various "kingdom" parables which Jesus taught
during His early Galilean ministry (most of which are recorded in
Matthew 13). Secondly, there are those which occur later in the
Savior's ministry and are found only in Luke (cf. chapters 10 through
19). Thirdly, our Lord taught a special set of parables during Holy
Week, and they are found in later chapters of Matthew (chs. 21-25).
"He who has ears, let him hear" (Mt. 13:9), said Jesus. May the Spirit
of God bless our "hearing" of the Savior's parables.
* PROFESSOR JOHN LAU RETIRES (Editorial note: At our request Pastor
Gordon Radtke prepared this writing at the time of the retirement of
his long-time colleague. It was sent to us last Spring. We are sorry
for our delay of the article until this time.)
On the evening of May 23, 1997 Immanuel Lutheran College presented
their Graduation/Commencement concert. At the close of the concert the
audience was invited to the dining hall for a reception to mark the
retirement of John Lau: a pastor, a professor, and college president.
The Lord prepared His servant John, a native of South Dakota, with a
BA degree from Northwestern College, Watertown, Wis. He received his
CRM degree (Candidate for the Holy Ministry) from the Wisconsin
Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis.
John also received teaching experience at Bethany Lutheran College,
Mankato, Minn. He served as the pastor of congregations in
Minneapolis, Minn., Osceola, Wis., and Onalaska, Wis.
During the "interim years" (the years between his leaving the
Wisconsin Synod in order to faithfully follow his Lord's instruction
and his Call to ILC), John served a congregation in Onalaska while
working for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections in La Cross, Wis.
Later, he also served a new CLC congregation in Chicago while working
as a claims and field representative for the Social Security
Administration in Chicago.
In 1965 John Lau was called to serve ILC, Eau Claire. While in Eau
Claire he received a Masters Degree in English from the University of
Wisconsin. At ILC he was called to serve as the first Dean of Students
and served as Dean for seven years, in addition to his teaching
schedule in the high school, college, and seminary departments. Over
the years his classes included English, German, Latin, Science,
Religion, and History. He was the resident expert on the writings of
William Shakespeare and John Milton.
In 1989 John Lau was called to be the fourth president of ILC (in
addition to his teaching schedule). He was well prepared for this
extra work for he had also acquired experience as the editor of the
Journal of Theology, as CLC Archivist-Historian, as past member of the
CLC Board of Education, and as the CLC Vice President.
John Lau was married to Dorothy Mueller on June 11, 1954. They have
two children: Jonathan who lives in Eau Claire, and Kathryn who lives
in Texas. At the Graduation/Commencement service on May 24, the
Regents of ILC presented John Lau with a CLC purse of gratitude, as
well as with a plaque of appreciation for his faithful services.
We thank the Lord for having supplied us with such valuable gifts in
the person of His called servant. We pray that the Lord will grant
John and Dorothy a pleasant and memory-filled retirement, before their
joyful day of Home-coming!
(Since this article was first written Prof. Lau has kept busy. Last
September he & Dorothy accompanied CLC President Daniel Fleischer,
Mrs. Barbara Fleischer, and Pastor Horst Gutsche on an exploratory
trip to France and Germany. The last couple of months Lau has served
as vacancy pastor in North Port and Coral Springs, Florida.--Ed.)
* NEW FIELD IN INDIA (this report comes to us from Missionary David
Koenig; see photograph elsewhere in this issue)
The Bharath Ev. Lutheran Church has a new field of labor on the
eastern coast of India. Pastor Bas holds monthly seminars for
twenty-seven workers in twenty-seven stations in the Nellore area of
Andhra Pradesh, India. These men are intent on affiliating with the
BELC. The broad gamut of Scripture teaching will be presented so that
there might be a true unity of the Spirit.
Pray for these men and their study and work as our sister church
reaches out to them and their people. "I have set before you an open
door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little
power, and yet you have kept my Word and have not denied My Name"
The President of the CLC has recently approved our request to help
both couples in the CLC as well as unmarried mothers or fathers in the
CLC who are considering adoption for their child. Ross and Lynette
Roehl would collect profiles of couples in the CLC who wish to adopt a
child. We will keep these profiles on hand and if a CLC pastor has a
member who wishes for a CLC couple to adopt his/her child we will send
the profiles we have on hand to that pastor. His member then can read
through the profiles and select a couple from the group. So far we
have been able to get two CLC families in touch with CLC birth
mothers. We had one request for profiles from a pastor and did not
have any to share with his member.
We hope that any CLC couples who are considering adoption will send us
a one to two page short history of themselves. We also would like a
picture to include with the profile. You do not have to give your last
name or your location. If you could send us five copies we would be
able to share our files with more pastors at the same time.
If you have any questions about adoption or would like to know more
about what we are hoping to do, please feel free to call or write us.
There have been other CLC adoptive couples who have volunteered to
answer questions or talk with others who, like us, have adopted
children. Often those who have been through adoption can help prepare
those who are hoping to adopt.
The most important approach to adoption is to remember prayer to Him
who is in complete control of all families. It is the Lord who decides
how He will build families. He only knows best how large your family
should be. If you are a young lady considering adoption for your child
or if you are a couple wishing to adopt, begin with the Lord. If you
determine that He wants adoption for you, please contact us that we
can keep our children in CLC homes where they will be raised in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Note: The above was submitted by Ross and Lynette Roehl. Their address
is 509 Ingram Drive, Eau Claire, WI 54701. Their phone is (715)
Luke 7:41-50 -- The Two Debtors
A parable has been defined as an instruction method in which scenes
from nature or from human life are used to illustrate higher religious
or religious-moral truths. Presenting those truths in vivid parable
form makes them easier to understand and to remember.
The parable we consider first is found within the account of Jesus'
dining at the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50). This man was
not an enemy like most of the Pharisees. Yet, he did not see Jesus as
While they were dining, a woman publicly known as a sinner came into
the room. She washed Jesus' feet with her tears, wiped them with her
hair, kissed them and anointed them with her fragrant oil.
Simon was disgusted that Jesus would permit this emotional attention
from the woman. Either Jesus had to be unaware of what this woman was
or He didn't care. In either case, it ruled Him out as a prophet in
Knowing Simon's thoughts, Jesus spoke the parable. "There was a
certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii,
and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he
freely forgave them both."
Jesus asked Simon: "Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him
more?" Simon provided the correct answer: "I suppose the one he
forgave the most." Immediately, Jesus applied the lesson. He pointed
out the lack of love which Simon had displayed toward Him. There had
been no foot washing, no kiss of greeting and no anointing with oil --
all common courtesies to guests.
The woman had done all of these things. She did them in a way which
revealed humility and gratitude -- washing His feet with tears and
wiping them with her hair, kissing His feet and anointing them with
Jesus continued: "Therefore, I say to you, her sins, which are many,
are forgiven, for she loved much." Some would have us believe that
Jesus was teaching that the woman's sins were forgiven because of her
love toward Jesus. That is absolutely false. [The 'for' does not
express the cause--merely the logical connection between the thing
proved (the forgiveness of sin) and the proof (the love and gratitude
which were displayed.)] As Jesus told the woman at the end of this
account: "Your faith has saved you." Her love was a fruit of faith.
The woman had come to faith in Jesus earlier. She had heard His words
and been led to believe that He offered forgiveness for her many sins.
When Jesus told her: "Your sins are forgiven," she already believed
that. That is why she came uninvited and showed such humble gratitude
toward Jesus. Jesus was confirming that belief. And that is why our
pastors assure us of forgiveness so often.
The woman's many sins had been an impassable barrier to her reaching
heaven. But with forgiveness her eternal fate had been changed by
Jesus. >From this happy realization flowed her high emotion and deep
gratitude. She loved her Savior much.
Simon felt no distress over his sins. As a good pupil of the
Pharisees, he was not conscious of the extent or the seriousness of
his sins. He saw no need for a Savior -- no need for Jesus. Therefore,
he had no real love for Jesus. Simon remained in his sins, refusing
the forgiveness Jesus held out to him.
May the Lord spare us from being Simons. May God grant that we be
found, like the woman, acknowledging our sins and expressing our
humility and gratitude to Jesus for the forgiveness and eternal life
which are ours through faith in Him.
-- Pastor Keith Olmanson
"That We Might Have Hope" (Rom. 15:4)
Deuteronomy Chapters One Through Thirty-four
Moses, Prophet Of God
The word prophet is most commonly used of someone who is thought to be
able to foretell the future. For example, Nostradamus, a French
astrologer of the sixteenth century, has been called a prophet because
his book of obscure rhymes is thought to have predicted subsequent
But in the Bible a prophet is someone who acts as spokesman for
someone else. The true prophets of God were men to whom God spoke who
in turn conveyed His word to others. False prophets were those who
spoke in the name of false gods or who falsely claimed to speak in the
name of the true God.
A True Prophet
Moses was the greatest of Old Testament prophets of God. The Bible
itself states that after his death there was never again a prophet
like him, whom the LORD knew face to face (Deut. 34:10).
Moses was a true prophet in that he faithfully conveyed to Israel all
that the LORD spoke to him, subtracting nothing and adding nothing of
his own. We see this in the book of Deuteronomy which records the last
words of Moses. Before his death Moses reviewed and explained to
Israel God's holy law. He taught them that the essence of the law is
not mere outward obedience but love: "To fear the LORD your God, to
walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with
all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 10:12).
The ministry of Moses was largely a "ministry of death" and a
"ministry of condemnation" (2 Cor. 3:7,9), for he was given the
responsibility of communicating God's law, which always condemns man
for failing to live up to its holy requirements.
Moses taught that the essence of obedience to the law is love, but
this also condemns by revealing that not only evil deeds but also
loveless thoughts, words, and motives are sin in the sight of God.
This is not to take anything away from the importance of the ministry
The clear revelation of God's law in all its uncompromising severity
serves God's purpose in forcing us to acknowledge our sins and to
despair of coming to God on the basis of our own merits. Without God's
written law staring us in the face we could easily deceive ourselves
into thinking that our life is not so bad, for we can always point to
others who are worse than we are. Apart from a clear knowledge of
God's law man can and does imagine that God is pleased with his works.
It is this spiritual pride and self-righteousness that leads people to
despise Christ and the Gospel. Without the law, who needs a Savior?
The Seed Of The Woman
But the ministry of Moses was not entirely a ministry of death and
condemnation. Moses also pointed his people to the Savior who would
free man from death and the condemnation of the law. He recorded the
first Gospel in which the Savior is spoken of as the Seed of the woman
who would destroy the power of Satan (Genesis 3:15).
And in Deuteronomy Moses spoke of Christ as the Prophet whom God would
raise up from among His people. He would be like Moses in that He
would be a man who would speak to them in a human voice and not
terrify them with thunder, lightning, and smoke as God had done when
He appeared to Israel at Mount Sinai.
Like Moses Christ would faithfully communicate the Word of God. Yet
His would be the far greater and more glorious revelation of God's
incarnate Son. He would reveal not just God's holiness but especially
God's love. He would proclaim it as He did when He said: "For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God
did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the
world through him might be saved" (Jn. 3:16-17). He would demonstrate
God's love by laying down His life on the cross as a sacrifice to God
for the world's sin.
The last chapter of Deuteronomy records the death of Moses and his
unique burial by the hand of God in a secret place (Deut. 34:5-6).
But this is not his last appearance in the Bible. He makes one last
appearance in the New Testament, on the Mount of Transfiguration.
There Moses and Elijah stand with Jesus talking with Him about His
approaching passion, death, and resurrection. There especially we see
that the ministry of Moses the prophet was about Christ. He proclaimed
and recorded the divine law to shine a light on human sin to humble
human hearts, to prepare them for the Savior. And in his role as
prophet he pictured Jesus, the greater Prophet who revealed God's love
for us sinners.
-- Pastor John Klatt
Q: What are AAL and LB?
A: Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood are
"fraternal benefit societies." They sell insurance policies to their
members on a non-profit basis. They do generate income, but instead of
paying dividends to shareholders, they use the money for social and
religious causes among Lutheran churches.
Q: Who can belong to AAL or LB?
A: Only someone who belongs to a Lutheran church, or is the spouse or
child of a Lutheran, may belong. However, it does not matter which
Lutheran church you belong to. These companies have many members among
the (more conservative) Wisconsin Synod, the (liberal) Missouri Synod,
and the (ultra-liberal) Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Q: What kind of support do AAL and LB provide?
A: AAL and LB regularly donate large sums of money directly to
Lutheran synods, as well as to their colleges, seminaries, and
elementary schools. They often provide "matching funds" for local
congregational fundraising efforts. According to an AAL publication,
the Wisconsin Synod received $1.9 million in grants and matching funds
from AAL in 1993. The Missouri Synod received $7.1 million that year,
and the ELCA received about $7 million. More millions come from
Q: What's wrong with supporting the programs of various Lutheran
A: There are, no doubt, many beneficial services that are made
possible through the aid of fraternal insurance money. However, this
money also supports some terrible things that we would never want to
help along ourselves. For instance, there is a strong pro-abortion and
pro-homosexual agenda in the ELCA which is aided by fraternal
insurance money. Even worse than that is the false doctrine that
infects these heterodox church bodies. For instance, in ELCA
seminaries it is taught that Jesus' virgin birth and His resurrection
may well be myths. It should make us shudder to think of helping a
professor to teach a future pastor that Jesus didn't truly rise from
Q: But isn't membership in AAL or LB just a business deal? How is this
different from buying insurance with Allstate, for instance?
A: It is not necessary -- nor is it possible -- to investigate how
every company spends its profits before we buy something from them.
But AAL and LB are not just companies from which you buy a product.
You cannot buy insurance from them unless you are a member. When you
belong to this kind of fraternal society, you are not simply a
customer of a company, you ARE the company, by reason of your
fraternal membership and voting rights. Therefore, you are responsible
for how the company's profits are spent, and that makes it much more
than just a "business arrangement." Lutheran fraternal insurance calls
itself your religious "brother" in many ways -- in fact, that's what
the word "fraternal" means.
Q: Are there Scripture passages to guide us on this subject?
A: Yes. Consider Romans 16:17: "Note those who cause divisions and
offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them."
Avoiding false teachers means that we refuse to be partners with them
in religious matters. Simply buying a product from a company does not
make you a religious partner with them. However, membership in AAL or
LB is different. Since it is a fraternal benefit society for
Lutherans, your membership does make you a religious partner with the
WELS, LC-MS, and ELCA.
2 John 1:10-11 says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this
doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who
greets him shares in his evil deeds." Surely we do not want our money
and involvement to help along the "evil deeds" of promoting false
doctrine and even immorality, as is happening in many "Lutheran"
churches and schools.
Q: What's the "bottom line"?
A: The question can be summarized in this way: "Is it pleasing to our
Lord to be a member of a fraternal society that, in addition to its
other activities, supports and promotes false teachers?" The answer
from Scripture is "no," and that is why membership in fraternal
Lutheran benefit societies is not compatible with our Christian life
-- Submitted by Pastor Bruce Naumann who first prepared this
information for his congregation in Markesan, Wis.
Women's Fellow Luncheon
"Read All the Days of Your Life"
based on Deuteronomy 17:19
"And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all
the days of his life:
that he may learn to fear the LORD his God,
to keep all the words of
this law and these statutes, to do them."
Wednesday, June 17, 1998
Messiah Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall
2015 N. Hastings Way Eau Claire, Wisconsin
(Registration limited to 150 ladies)
Send registration fee and name (by June 1) to:
3627 Gold Ridge Road
Eau Claire, WI 54701
11:00 a.m. Registration & Viewing of Banner Dsplay
11:30 a.m. Choir Rehersal
12:00 noon Roll Call & Lunch
1:00 p.m. Program
3:00 p.m. Adjournment
Imminent Change Of Address
As of April 26, the address of Rev. (President) Daniel Fleischer will
be 201 Princess Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78410-1615. Phone (512)
Great Lakes Delegate Conference
Place: Luther Memorial, Fond du Lac, Wis.
Time: Monday, June 1, 1:00 CDT until Tuesday, June 2, at 12:30
(an afternoon session will be added if needed)
Agenda: 1998 Convention Prospectus
A Bible Study
Please announce to the host pastor, John Johannes, with your indicated
time of arrival and housing needs.
-- Pastor John Ude, Secretary
Acknowledgement: The poem "i walk, carpet beneath my feet" is by Caleb
Schaller, a first year pre-theology student at Immanuel Lutheran
College, Eau Claire, Wis.
i walk, carpet beneath my feet, comfortable shoes
He walks, a dusty trail, worn sandals
No burden i bear all is lent
A heavy cross of sin digs into His pure flesh
To my knees i ease, crimson velvet it cushions them
His bare knees drop to the trail, dirty rocks dig into His flesh
my hands press firmly against the splintering wood of the cross
Words flow from the pastor's throat, sent by the Man over centuries
Insults are hurled from foul mouths, spurned by satan
Metallic sound rings out on the altar as silver hits silver
Clanging metal on metal rings over Calvary as nails are driven home
His body and blood touch my lips and sustain
Sour wine with myrrh is lifted to His lips, they turn aside
my head bowed, i pray and am forgiven, sins lifted from me
His head looks up and cries, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?", sins are
heaped upon Him and He is
i arise and go from the altar of the Lord
Christ has arisen and waits for me at His altar