The Lutheran Spokesman (August 1996)

    Church of the Lutheran Confession 1996 Convention Report
    "We Appreciate The Means Of Grace"

In this issue:

Run For Your Life! We Are Holy People The Problem Of Guilt Pietism and Promise Keepers: The "Promises" And Antidotes Elections Familiarity And Change The Human Tail, And Other Tales Of Evolution Meet: David Lundin Announcements For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.



Many of our eyes in recent weeks have been fastened on Atlanta -- and the 1996 Summer Olympics. The sight of some of the world's greatest athletes from 150 countries displaying their finely-honed skills has left us filled with awe and amazement. Any involved in sports well knows that these performances are products not just of natural God-given ability, but also of months and years of rigorus discipline and training. The Olympics are not new. Dating back to centuries before Christ in Greece, they long predate even the apostle Paul. Living and working in Greece and Asia Minor on his missionary journeys, Paul likely shared the widespread knowledge and interest in the Olympic games. They were the World Series and the Super Bowl of his day. Victory in them meant instant honor and fame, just as it still does today. Small wonder the apostle uses the striking illustration in 1 Corinthians 9:24: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." The alluded-to race of our life is really the race for life -- with eternal life as the prize. How sad that so many, unaware of and unmotivated by the importance of this race, run "aimlessly" (v. 26) -- without purpose or goals. Lured by the temptation of "perishable crowns," their time and energies are consumed in futile pursuits, and their "victories" are spiritually and eternally empty. "For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and yet lose his own soul?" ( Mk. 8:38) A Difficult Race Yet even for the Christian on the "right track," the race for eternal life will be a struggle. One gets the impression that the Olympic race to which Paul is comparing life is not a sprint or 100 yard dash, but rather the marathon. Running the marathon requires a completely different approach. Qualities required for long-distance running are stamina, endurance, persistance, and a good dose of self-discipline and self-sacrifice (v. 27). For into each life-race there will come hills of spiritual obstacles to climb and overcome, weighty burdens and spiritual "crosses" to carry, the aching muscles of stress and pressures, and indescribable fatigue as we sometimes "hit the wall," feeling we cannot go on. At such times nothing within us will keep us going. Only a Spirit-implanted faith in the promises and assurances of God and His Word will work: * There we receive a refreshing splash of the Water of Life on our dehydrating souls; * There we are rejuvenated with a spiritual "second wind"; * There we are strengthened to carry on; * There we are assured the race has already been run -- and won -- for us and we need only follow in faith; * There we fix our eyes on Jesus -- His atonement, His resurrection, and His victory; * There we are encouraged to "run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1). Yes, run for your life -- eternal life. The race is run and won only in Christ, the Author (Starter) and Finisher of our faith, to whom alone be all glory. He will present us with the victory prize as we cross the finish line -- not a perishable Olympic gold medal, but a priceless, imperishable, heavenly crown of righteousness and glory, whose Christ-lustre will never fade or tarnish. And unlike the Olympic marathon which has only one winner, this heavenly crown awaits all who live and die in the Lord. As we run the race of our lives and go for the heavenly "gold" in Christ, may each of us one day say with the apostle as we approach the finish line: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8). -- Pastor David Schierenbeck

We Are Holy People

This is the first of five messages which Convention Chaplain, Pastor Michael Eichstadt, presented under the overall theme: "Who Are We?" "Who are you?" That is probably the number one question of the day. After all, we have assembled here from dozens of different places. Some of us are pastors or teachers; others are lay delegates and interested observers. For some it's a first-time experience; for others it's a repeat visit. In any case, if we are to spend this week together carrying out the work before us, it's helpful to know a little about one another. As we share our experiences, pull out snapshots of children and grandchildren, and especially share our faith, Christian fellowship is strengthened. And so we introduce ourselves and ask one another: "Who are you?" The same question can be asked of a group like the CLC. Perhaps as you were making arrangements to come here your employer or neighbor asked you what the CLC is all about. What is the CLC's reason for existence? Who are we? It's a fair question. In these waning years of the 20th century we are told to change with the times and to question old assumptions which may no longer hold true. And yet there really is no need for an identity crisis on our part. We can be assured of who we are by looking to the answers the Lord provides in 1 Corinthians. We begin with 1 Corinthians 1:2-3. Paul writes: "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. An Incredible Thing! Who wre these Corinthians whom Paul addressed? Simply put, they were God's holy people. Paul states it so matter-of-factly that we could easily pass it by without a second thought. But this was an incredible thing! Holy people in Corinth? The city was a wide-open seaport, the fourth largest city in the Roman empire. It was a prosperous urban center populated by Roman colonists, ex-slaves, former soldiers and a smattering of Jews. People from all over the known world passed through it just as in San Francisco, Phoenix, St. Louis, or any other large city in our country. However, the city was also notorious for its tough streets and immorality. "Corinthian" is still an adjective used to describe a dissolute, luxury-loving lifestyle. Corinth was the antithesis of holiness. How could there be hoy people there? Even the Christians in Corinth could not claim that they were perfect people. Paul provides a sordid list including: "sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexual offenders, thieves, greedy . . . " (1 Cor. 6:9), and then adds: "that is what some of you were." Also, the congregation was in danger of self-destructing because of church politics, factions, lawsuits, and squabbling over spiritual gifts. Holy people? Hardly! Don't picture them as perfect people who spent their time polishing their haloes. They were not. They were fatally flawed by sin. Isn't that who we are too? We were born in the same mold. Adam's sinful nature is just as much a part of us as it was of the Corinthians. Not only that, all too often the ungodly influence of our society rubs off on us. We find it is easier to go along with the crowd rather than be different. We see so much wrong in our lives: problems in our families, difficulties in our congregations, and resentment in our hearts toward God. Is that a description of a holy person? Is it not rather the portrait of a sinner deserving of God's condemnation? No, it is deserving of God's condemnation. A Reality In Christ How could Paul write to these imperfect Christians as "sanctified" and "called to be holy"? Was he using flattery to gain easier acceptance by them? No, he was telling the truth. These were God's holy people now, but it had nothing to do with their own goodness or efforts. The key is in the three little words: "in Christ Jesus." These Corin- thians were by nature no different than anyone else, but in Christ Jesus their status with God changed completely. Paul says: "You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11)l. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). In Christ Jesus the sinners is pronounced a saint. All the guilt which stains our souls and lives is washed away by the precious bolood of Jesus. Through that soul-resuscitating Gospel the Holy Spirit calls doomed sinners out of the world and sets them apart as God's holy people for His own saving purpose. Look at who we are in Christ! Miraculously, we are holy people who can call God "Father." As such, we are the recipients of His grace. From our Baptism day to the day of our death we walk in the warmth and light of His undeserved love. And while we live in troubled, uncertain times, we have the peace which transcends all human understanding--the peace between us and God earned by Jesus on the cross. We don't have to wonder who we are. What a difference that makes this week at Convention! Because we are God's holy people, we are not here to push our own personal agenda or gain some special advantage for our congregation. Our overriding theme is one of gratitude for all the Lord has done. What greater privilege could we receive than to serve our loving Lord in everything we do. That is why we are here. There is a mountain of work ahead of us, the weather may well be hot and sticky, and things are not as comfortable as they are at home. Yet I'm certain that none of us would rather be anywhere else than right here. For it is good to be here as the people God has made us--holy people in Christ Jesus! How amazing! How motivating! Praise God! Amen.


"That We Might have Hope" (Rom. 15:4) Genesis Chapters Forty-Two Through Forty-Five The Problem Of Guilt The problem of guilt is a recurring theme in literature. A character in a novel commits a crime and seems to get away with it. The police have their suspicions but are unable to prove anything. The criminal at first is relieved, thinking he has escaped justice. But soon he finds that he has not escaped, for his conscience torments him, and he cannot free himself from it. His life is made miserable by the unrelenting accusations of a guilty conscience. The sons of Jacob had this same experience after they imprisoned their brother in a pit, discussed killing him, and finally sold him as a slave to a band of Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. They seemed to get away with their crime; Jacob their father was satisfied with their explanation that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. As long as they kept to themselves what had really happened, they were safe. It was not that easy. Years later when the brothers met up with Joseph in Egypt the memory of their crime against him was still fresh in their minds. Joseph--whom they did not recognize--spoke harshly to them and accused them of being spies. He sent them back to Canaan with others to bring back their youngest brother Benjamin. To assure that they would return, Joseph kept Simeon in Egypt as a prisoner. To what did they attribute this unfortunate turn of events? To their sin against Joseph. "Surely we are being punished because of our brother," they said (42:21). Though years had passed, they remembered Joseph's pleading for his life. The memory of his pitiful cries must have tormented them relentlessly. When they were on their way home from their second trip to Egypt and Benjamin was accused of stealing Joseph's silver cup, a horrified Judah said that God had uncovered their guilt (44:16). The Only Remedy The brothers expressed remorse and regret for what they had once done to Joseph, but they could find no peace. They could not undo the great harm that they had done first to Joseph himself and to their father Jacob. They knew that they deserved to be punished by God for what they had done. That is why they saw the hand of God's justice in every unfavorable turn of events. The only remedy for their guilt was forgiveness. Joseph put his brothers to the test to see if they had repented of the evil they had done to him. He gave them opportunities to demonstrate envy and callousness toward Benjamin. When he saw that they had repented he made himself known to them (in one of the most touching scenes in all of Bible history). Joseph forgave his brothers. As a child of God Joseph did not try to usurp God's authority as Judge by taking revenge on his brothers or by holding a grudge against them (50:19). Forgiveness is the only cure for guilt. The guilt-plagued soul will never find peace by ignoring real guilt or by indulging in rationalizations and excuses for sinful conduct. Guilt must be faced and confessed, as David faced and confessed his guilt, saying to God, "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight" (Ps. 51:4). This is also what our Lord teaches through His apostle: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9). God who would have been just to punish us for our sins has instead laid all our sins on Jesus His Son. The sacrifice of Jesus has satisfied God's justice, and now He is just to forgive. -- Pastor John Klatt

Pietism And Promise Keepers (fourth and last in series):

The "Promises" And Antidotes Promise Keepers began with 72 men under the leadership of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney in 1990. McCartney and the others were members of the Vineyard denomination, a Pentecostal group led by Rev. John Wimber, a faith healer with serious health problems. Wimber and C. Peter Wagner taught the infamous "Signs and Wonders" course in Church Growth at Fuller Seminary, promoting phony miracles as a way to get people to attend church. McCartney and his associates quickly made their Promise Keepers group inter-denominational, with a goal of filling football stadiums. In 1995 they claimed a total attendance of over 700,000 men, according to a report on Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. Promise Keepers began as a men's group and continues to grow as an ecumenical men's group holding rallies with nationally known speakers, such as James Dobson and Charles Swindoll. The glue which binds the Promise Keepers together is a network of small prayer groups which serves as a multi-denominational church. The prayer group which sets itself up as a church within a church is the product of Pietism, which began with Philip Spener, called the first union theologian by Otto Heick.(1) Pentecostals use prayer groups to teach people how to "pray in tongues, dance in the spirit, and be slain in the spirit," all features of Satan worship in Africa. They also volunteer to invade non-Pentecostal prayer groups to teach people how to be real Christians, by their definition. Prayer and lay-led Bible study groups have become popular due to the constant promotion of them in the Church Growth Movement. Their model church is Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, which is devoid of crosses outside and in the worship area. Willow Creek is playing a major role in Promise Keepers. A Promise Keeper must make seven promises, which are a mixture of fine sentiments and alarming oaths. Some of the obvious problems are: 1) He binds himself to participate in a cell group and place himself under the spiritual authority of that group. In effect the cell group becomes his church, his pastor and elders. Their only qualification is that they are also Promise Keeprs. 2) He commits himself to praying for his pastor and working in his church, but nothing is said about the pastor or church being faithful to the Scriptures. 3) He acknowledges "denominational barriers," an interesting choice of words, but is willing to cross denominational and racial lines at least once a month. This is a combination of racial justice and Third Wave Pentecostalism. Mixing a social justice goal and a religious goal in the same promise is mischievous. Expect the Promise Keeprs to add more political causes to their ecumenical agenda. The CLC places faithfulness to the Scriptures and the Confessions over the dramatic rush of filling football stadiums. The United States has seen decades of ecumenical revivals under Billy Graham, without apparent effect. Graham's ecumenism was followed by Fuller Seminary's Church Growth Movement, which is threatening to dominate WELS and LC-MS thinking while reducing their membership and attendance. If pastors and lay leaders read Luther, Chemnitz, the Book of Concord, Walther, and Pieper, they will be encouraged to trust in the efficacy of God's Word and discouraged from joining the Enthusiasts. In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning from the first fall to the end of the world, its poison having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power, life, and strength of all heresy, especially of that of the Papacy and Mahomet. Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments.(2) God Himself is The Promise Keeper. -- Pastor Gregory L. Jackson 1. History of Christian Thought, 2 vols., Philadelphia, Fortress Press. 2. Smalcald Articles, VIII. Confession, 9-10. Concordia Triglotta, p. 497. Tappert, p. 313.


(*Elected or re-elected at this Convention) CLC Officers: President: The Rev. Daniel Fleischer* V. President: The Rev. Elton Hallauer* Secretary: The Rev. James Albrecht* Moderator: Prof. Ronald Roehl* Board of Missions Mr. Don Ohlmann (1998) The Rev. Bruce Naumann (1998) Mr. Peter Krafft (2000)* The Rev. Walter Schaller (2000)* Board of Regents The Rev. Vance Fossum (1998) Dr. Burdette Wheaton (1998) The Rev. Mark Bernthal (2000)* Mr. Tom Beekman (2000)* Board of Trustees The Rev. James Sandeen (1998) Mr. Dennis Oster (1998) Mr. Phil Radichel (2000)* The Rev. John Schierenbeck (2000)* Conference Visitors (as ratified): Minnesota -- The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn South-Eastern -- The Rev. John Klatt Great Lakes -- The Rev. Paul Tiefel Pacific Coast -- The Rev. Bertram Naumann West Central -- The Rev. Walter Schaller


Board of Education The Rev. David Schierenbeck (1998) Prof. Ross Roehl (1998) Teacher Karl Olmanson (2000) Mr. Gayle Stelter (2000) Board of Doctrine The Rev. Paul F. Nolting Prof. Paul Schaller The Rev. L.W. Schierenbeck The Rev. L. Dale Redlin The Rev. Mark Bernthal Mr. Virgil Lee Mr. Frank Paull Kinship Committee The Rev. Paul Naumann The Rev. David Fuerstenau The Rev. Thomas Schuetze Mr. Jack Mayhew Mr. Jonathan Weichmann Mr. Don Ohlmann (Missions Advisor) Missions Outreach Committee The Rev. Mark Gullerud Teacher Gene Schreyer Mr. Tom Holland Salary Compensation Comittee Teacher Douglas Libby Teacher Dan Barthels Mr. Larry Dassow ILC Publicity Committee The Rev. John Hein The Rev. Michael Wilke Mr. Tom Beekman CLC Foundation Board Mr. Neal Wietgrefe (1998) The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn (2000) Mr. Duane Riggert (2002) Constitution Committee The Rev. Peter Reim Mr. Paul Hein Mr. Ivan Zarling Publishing Committee The Rev. Paul Naumann Mr. Matt Shaser Mr. Matt Kelly Technology Study Committee Mr. James Sydow Mr. Glenn Oster The Rev. Paul Larsen Teacher James Lau Investment Management Review Committee The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn Mr. Steve Leinberger Mr. Orville Noeldner CLC Statistician Mr. Harvey Callies CLC Archivist Prof. David Lau CLC Directory Pastor em. Rollin Reim CLC Auditor Mr. Steven Lentz Ministry By Mail The Rev. Paul F. Nolting, Editor The Rev. Paul Naumann, Ass't Editor Mrs. Susan Lentz, Bus. Manager Lutheran Spokesman (See Staff Listing) Journal Of Theology Prof. John Lau, Editor The Rev. Elton Hallauer, Ass't Editor Mr. Benno Sydow, Circulation Manager Prof. John Pfeiffer, Bus. Manager The Revs. Paul Naumann, Vance Fossum, Stephen Kurtzahn, Paul F. Nolting, Michael Roehl, Arthur Schultz, and Prof. Paul Schaller

Report On The 1996 Convention

Familiarity And Change

The 22nd Convention of the CLC opened with a feeling of familiarity. Delegates were greeted by familiar faces up on the gymnasium stage. Folding chairs and bleachers provided an all-too-familiar feeling (a feeling one must get accustomed to early in the week). Familiar faces and voices and laughs could be recognized among the delegates. Along with famliar aspects, however, delegates were greeted with change. They parked in a new parking lot, entered the Fieldhouse through a new building, and ate in a new dining facility. They sang a hymn accompanied by a new pipe organ. They began to make acquain- tances with new people and were no doubt placed on a different committee than that of previous conventions. The weather was cool -- for a change (68 degrees F). Appreciation The theme of the Convention -- We Appreciate The Means Of Grace -- focused the attention of the delegates and observers on our Lord's Gospel in Word and Sacraments, which are the vehicles the Holy Spirit uses to communicate faith and salvation to us. We not only heard about these Means of Grace, but we were partakers of them through the ministers of the Convention. Pastor Michael Eichstadt (Holy Cross, Phoenix, Ariz.) served as the Convention chaplain. He daily reminded us of the various facets of our role in the world -- those who have been blessed with faith and eternal life, and have been entrusted to represent the Lord to others, through His appointed means. The essayists each dealt with a different aspect of what it means to be a "Means of Grace church." Pastor David Naumann (Holy Truth, Ketchikan, Alaska) delivered the first essay which focused on the role of the Means of Grace during the Reformation. The second essayist, Pastor Leroy Dux (Mt. Zion, Detroit, Mich.) presented the Gospel in Word and Sacrament in our worship life. In the third essay Pastor John Ude (Messiah, Hales Corners, Wis.) spoke on the Means of Grace and mission work. Those of us present were highly impressed. Yes, there was appreciation for the research and presentation of the essayists. Much more than that, however, was the humble impression of humble awe that our Lord would entrust vessels of clay such as us with the use of these Means, which are such powerful, faith-creating tools of the Holy Spirit. We look forward to the publication of these excellent essays in a future edition of the CLC's Journal Of Theology. Gordon Radtke, retired Professor, conducted the Convention Memorial Service. Using Luke 22:61 as his text he urged us to not only remember the men -- departed brothers Karl Brandle and C. M. Gullerud -- but more importantly to "Remember the Word of the Lord." Wednesday evening the Convention participants were blessed to share God's Word and Sacrament at a communion service in the Fieldhouse. Using 1 John 1:8-9 as text Pastor Michael Sydow (Faith, Markesan, Wis., soon to be installed as ILC Professor) chose as his sermon theme: "Our Savior is Eager to Forgive Our Sins."

Highlights Of Convention Action

MISSIONS The Convention heard personal reports from our foreign missionaries, Paul Gurgel and Mark Bohde, both of whom recently returned from their overseas work. Rev. Gurgel informed us about the increasingly difficult conditions in Nigeria. In spite of this, progress is being made in our long-term goal of helping our Nigerian brethren to become a self-sustaining and self-perpetuating church body. The Lord has blessed the NCLC with the acquisition of farmland near the Bible Institute for the support of the seminary, as well as equipment for processing the harvest. Rev. Bohde spoke of the challenges, blessings, and future opportunities of our Thailand mission. He identified two necessary ingredients for continuing the work in Thailand: A regular missionary visa and a vehicle for transportation to outlying areas of the country. Few, if any, Christian missionaries venture into these areas. We pray that God would grant continued strength to the Bohde and Gurgel families to carry out the Lord's work in our behalf in thse foreign fields. Brief reports were also received from the CLC's stateside missionaries who told of the progress of the work of these congregations to bear the Gospel to their communities. Among the resolutions concerning our mission efforts were the following: * To set up a special collection, under the auspices of the Mission Development Fund, to raise $30,000 in order to provide permanent quarters for the Martin Luther Bible Institute in India, which is under the direction of Pastor Mohan Bas. * To increase assistance to the Church of the Lutheran Confession in India, under the direction of Pastor V. S. Banjamin, to $5,400 for the coming year. (Both Bas and Benjamin also receive support from Project Kinship for their care of orphans.) IMMANUEL LUTHERAN COLLEGE It was noted with thanksgiving that the four vacancies on the teaching staff of ILC have been filled. Student enrollment for the fall of 1996 is projected at 155. Hearfelt thanks were also offered to the Lord for the blessing of the new ILC Commons and Dining Hall -- which has proven to be invaluable, not only for student use but also for use by Convention delegates! The total cost of the building came to just over $1 million, of which $640,000 has been collected. A detailed report on the building project was made available to the delegates. Regarding ILC, the Convention resolved: * That the Board of Regents create and staff a new position, Facility Manager for the campus, as soon as it is feasible. * That the Publicity Committee for the Commons building be re-appointed to service, and be authorized to develop a videotape presentation of the ILC campus and the new ILC Commons for distribution to CLC congregations. * That we decline an offer from one of ILC's neighbors to purchase a small portion of the property. DOCTRINE As in many Conventions of the past, the CLC has once again taken up some earnest questions of a doctrinal nature. One such question pertains to the Christian's attitude toward self. No one among us denies the dangers of the worldly exaltation of sinful pride, which is trumpeted in the modern "self-esteem" movement. However, a question remains as to what the regenerate Christian's attitude toward self ought to be. The Convention resolved to initiate an orderly process, involving the Board of Doctrine, delegate and pastoral conferences, and finally the 1998 Convention, to address this topic. A similar process was begun to investigate whether certain veterans' organizations are semi-religious in nature, thus involving their participants in religious unionism. In the past our Lord has blessed the CLC with the means and the will to address such questions forthrightly, and to arrive at a resolution that is governed by His Word. We pray that He will continue, by His grace, to preserve us in His truth both now and in the future. On Thursday evening the Lord blessed the CLC and two congregations in Colorado with a joyful resolution of past differences over doctrine. Nearly two decades ago these two congregations, along with an affiliated Lutheran church in Japan, left our fellowship over issues concerning "the third use of the Law." On-going doctrinal discussions between the leaders of these congregations and representatives of the CLC bore fruit when a joint statement on these matters was presented to the Convention. This statement represents a settlement, on the basis of God's Word, of any past differences or misunderstandings on these doctrinal issues. It also clears the way for a formal affiliatiion by thse two congregations with the CLC. The Japan congregation is also expected to establish fellowship ties with our church body. When the resolution came to the floor "that we rejoice in this agreement created by the Holy Spirit," the Convention responded with a unanimous standing vote, and then paused to sing "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." Pastor Delwyn Maas, representing the Colorado congregations, addressed the Convention, giving glory to God for His work through the Word. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1) FINANCES "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (Ps. 103:1-2). We do well always to remember the wonderful blessings that our Lord showers upon us, enabling us through the Gospel-motivated offerings of His people to go forward as a synod with His saving Gospel. Still, as is often the case, the Convention struggled to accomodate tremendous needs with limited financial resources. The total CLC budget for fiscal year 1996-97 was set at $541,000. These funds will be allocated in this way: "$204,000 for Missions, $212,000 for Regents, and $125,000 for Trustees. Important non-budgetary funds which are in special need of contributions from our members include the Mission Development Fund (MDF) the Immanuel Lutheran College Improvement Fund (IIF), the ILC Student Aid Fund (SAF), and the ILC Commons Fund for Debt Retirement. In view of these many pressing needs, the Convention resolved to "direct the fall 1996 area pastoral conferences to discuss various ways of making a thorough study of Christian stewardship in each of our congregations in the following months." One of the difficult financial resolutions to be made had to do with the salary level of our CLC "code workers," which includes our missionaries as well as the teaching staff of ILC. A number of previous Conventions have identified the improvement of our support for these servants as top priority of the synod. In the reporting and resolutions this Convention recognized that we have failed to provide adequately for our called workers. Although the Convention did not meet the recommendation of the Standing Compensation Committee, it did resolve to increase base salary for "code" workers by $50 per month in July of 1996, and again by $50 per month in January of 1997. This will be done even if severe budgetary cuts must be made to accomplish it. A resolution was also made to encourage self-supporting congregations to compensate their called workers at least at this improved CLC "code" level. ELECTIONS As usual elections were notable for what did not happen. No campaigning was necessary or desired, and there was no wrangling between "conservative" and "liberal" factions. Our unity in the Spirit, and our confidence in the God-fearing men that the Lord has provided to serve us, are blessings that we ought not take for granted! Election results: CLC President, Rev. Daniel Fleischer*; Vice President, Rev. Elton Hallauer*; Secretary, Rev. James Albrecht; Moderator, Prof. Ronald Roehl*; Bd. of Missions, Rev. Walter Schaller* (called servant), Mr. Peter Krafft (layman); Bd. of Regents, Rev. Mark Bernthal (called servant), Mr. Thomas Beekman (layman); Bd. of Trustees, Mr. Philip Radichel (layman), Rev. John Schierenbeck* (called servant). {*indicates re-election} We note with thanks to our Lord the many years of faithful service to our church body by the officers and board members who are leaving their elected posts, either to retire or to begin other areas of synod work. They include Secretary Paul F. Nolting, Bd. of Missions member Lee Krueger, Bd. of Regents member Michael Sydow, and Bd. of Regents member Marlin Beekman. We value their service to us as a gift from God, and we wish them the Lord's blessings in their new areas of kingdom work! "OH GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD!" This past gathering of our CLC in Convention has brought many reasons for thanks. We are thankful for the time together in the Word and for the many reminders of our unique role as a "Means of Grace" church. We are thankful for the safe travel of our delegates, the comfort of our new ILC facilities, and the blessing of Christian fellowship we enjoy. But more than that we give thanks that our Lord has given us the privilege of bearing His Means of Grace to others. As a synod we are an association of like-minded Christians across this nation. What binds us to each other is not a common blood line, nor a common culture, nor a common political viewpoint. Our partnership is grounded in the truths of God's Word. Our Lord has blessed us with both the Gospel motivation and the material resources so that we can act in concert to bring the news of Christ crucified to our neighbors and to the world. May the Lord give us the grace to show that our thanks are genuine by going forward as His ambassadors ourselves, and by gladly providing the necessary means for our joint program to bring the Word to the world.

The Human Tail, And Other Tales of Evolution

In the May 20, 1982 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Fred Ledley, M. D. presented a clinical case report titled "Evolution and the Human Tail." Ledley's report concerned a baby born with a two inch long fleshy growth on its back, bearing a superficial resemblance to a tail. Ledley strongly implied that this growth (called a caudal appendage) was essentially a "human tail," though he admitted that it had virtually none of the distinctive biological characteristics of a tail! All true tails have bones in them that are posterior extensions of the vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associsted with their vertebrae which permit some movement of the tail. Ledley conceded that there has never been a single documented case of an animal tail lacking these distinctive features, nor has there been a single case of a human caudal appendage having any of these features. In fact, the caudal appendage Ledley described is merely a fatty outgrowth of skin that wasn't even located in the right place on the back to be a tail! Still, Ledley saw his caudal appendage as providing compelling proof for the evolution of man from our monkey-like ancestors. He said that "even those of us who are familiar with the literature that defined our place in nature (Darwinism) -- are rarely confronted with the relation between human beings and their primitive ancestors on a daily basis. The caudal appendage brings this reality to the fore and makes it tangible and inescapable." Is there any branch of science, other than evolution, where such trivial data can be extrapolated into such profound and "inescapable" facts? The "human tail" is just one example of what evolutionists call a "vestigial organ." As the name suggests, these organs are supposed to represent useless remnants of what were once functional and useful organs in our primitive ancestors. As recently as 1971 the Encyclopedia Britannica claimed that there were more than 100 vestigial organs in man. Even critically important organs such as the thymus and parathyroid glands were once considered to be vestigial simply because their functions were not understood. As biomedical science has progressed, there are fewer and fewer claims of functionless organs. Despite their diminishing numbers, vestigial organs are still mentioned in textbooks as one of the strongest evidences for evolution and against intelligent design by a Creator. The most frequently sighted examples of vestigial organs in man are the coccyx and the appendix. The human coccyx, or "tail bone," is a group of four or five small vertebrae fused into one bone at the lower end of our vertebral column. Most of us never really think about our "tail bone" until we fall on it. Evolutionists are dead certain that the coccyx is a vestige or a tail left over from our monkey-like ancestors. The coccyx does occupy the same relative position at the end of our vertebral column as does the tail in tailed primates, but then, where else would it be? The vertebral column is a linear row of bones that supports the head at its beginning and it must end somewhere. Wherever it ends, evolutionists will be sure to call it a vestigial tail. Most modern biology textbooks give the erroneous impression that the human coccyx has no real function other than to remind us of the "inescapable fact" of evolution. In fact, the coccyx has some very important functions. Several muscles converge from the ring-like arrangement of the pelvic (hip) bones to anchor on the coccyx, forming a bowel-shaped muscular floor of the pelvis called the pelvic diaphragm. The incurved coccyx with its attached pelvic diaphragm keeps the many organs in our abdominal cavity from literally falling through between our legs. Some of the pelvic disphragm muscles are also important in controlling the elimination of waste from our body through the rectum. Another common evolutionary claim found in textbooks is that the human appendix is really a vestigial cecum left over from our plant-eating evolutionary ancestors. The cecum is a blind-ending pouch near the beginning of the large intestine which provides additional space for digestion. In some plant-eating animals, such as cows, the cecum contains special bacteria which aid in the digestion of cellulose. The appendix is clearly not a vestigial cecum because almost every mammal has a cecum and many of these also have an appendix! Man, for example, has both a cecum and an appendix -- neither is vestigial or useless. The appendix, like the once "vestigial" tonsils and adenoids, is a lymphoid organ (part of the body's immune system) which makes antibodies against infections in the digestive system. Believing it to be a useless evolutionary "left over," many surgeons once removed even the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity. Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be considered medical malpractice. There are organs in the body which have no known function in the adult but are still not vestigial in the evolutionary sense. For example, poorly developed and inactive mammary glands are found in adult males of all mammals, including man. Even evolutionists do not believe that these rudimentary glands are vestigial mammary glands left over from female ancestors of males, nor do they believe that males once nursed their young. There is a much better explanation for the male mammary gland. Males and females develop from nearly identical embryos which, at an early stage of development, become either male or female under the influence of genes in the sex chromosomes. The same parts of an embryo may produce either male or female sex organs and mammary glands. In humans, almost every component of female sex organs can be found in a rudimentary form in the male; and the reverse is also true. Thus, the presence of rudimentary organs in the adult do not tell us something about evolution, but rather tell us something about embryology. In conclusion, the "vestigial" status of many organs has often been merely a way of covering up our ignorance of their true function. Unfortunately, there is little inclination to investigate the functional significance of organs believed to be "useless." There are now few, if any, organs that are considered to be functionless in both embryo and adult. Even if vestigial organs were to exist they would not provide evidence for evolution but rather for devolution. The problem for evolutionists is not how uselful organs are lost, but how evolution produces new useful organs with all their integrated complexity. It is here that we find true evolutionary tales. -- Dr. David N. Menton

In Our CLC Classrooms --

Meet:David Lundin

Mr. David Lundin will be the new principal and teacher of Holy Trinity Lutheran School in West Columbia, South Carolina starting this fall. He will be moving from the Dallas, Texas area with his wife Carol and youngest daughter Rebecca (age 15). There are two other children, Jennifer (age 26) and Adam (age 22) who will remain in Texas. Mr. Lundin was declared eligible by the CLC for a call through colloquy last summer. He has an extensive educational background which includes a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in education. He has taught in Missouri Synod parochial schools in Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, California, and Texas. His favorite subject to teach is history. Outside of school he enjoys walking, reading, raising cairn terriers, and collecting ties. His favorite classroom saying is, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today!" Mr. Lundin will be installed on August 18, 1996 in West Columbia. We welcome him into our CLC classrooms. May God bless his work abundantly.


Installation In accord with our usage and order, Paul T. Krause, who was called by St. John's Lutheran of Clarkston, Wash. and Peace Lutheran of Orofino, Idaho to be pastor was installed on May 11, 1996. -- Pastor Paul Schaller In accord with our usage and order, John Hein, who was called by Our Redeemer's Lutheran congregation of Red Wing, Minn. to be its pastor was ordained and installed on June 23, 1996. L. W. Schierenbeck preached the sermon. Pastor Gregory Jackson, Prof. Clifford Kuehne, and Prof. John Lau assisted. -- Pastor Daniel Fleischer Address For those who might wish to contact the new lay-member of the Board of Missions: Mr. Peter Krafft 2342 Skyland Drive Tallahassee, FL 32303 Phone (904) 386-6479s