The Lutheran Spokesman (August 1998)

In this issue:

No God Like Our God Educated To Go Out Into The World The Fellowship Of Kindred Minds Elections and Appointments Joshua's Victories And Last Days Kingdom Truths SMORGASBORD CLC Exploratory Services Announcements

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First given as a chapel address at ILC, Eau Claire --

"Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will give truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old" (Micah 7:18-20).

No God Like Our God

Micah asks a question that has certainly been asked often enough: "Who is a God like You?" And we asked that just a moment ago in the hymn: "Jehovah, let me now adore thee, for where is there a God such, Lord, as thou?" Though the question is one that may be put often, our concern is that it is so seldom answered with any accuracy or any great concern. People who have the evidence as to God's person and status seem to respond with "SO WHAT?" God is God, but why get excited about that? Why should you present me with that question, and why should I try to answer at all?

Though people do not want to admit it, they are looking for an answer all the time, even while evading the scriptural truth. And even sadder to say, our own answers do not always satisfy us. We show it when we evade even the asking of such a question in our own hearts. That ought to embarrass us. We must feel ashamed to look up and ask it, because our God will look back down at us and say: "Well, what do you think about me?"

Perhaps we had better let Micah ask the question then, listen to him, and form some conclusions. "Who is a God like You?" he asks, and provides an argument very much in favor of God, which in turn helps bring us to settle any argument we have with ourselves about God's personality, nature, and attitude toward us.

The prophet is acting as God's lawyer, so to speak, presenting God's claim to greatness. And like an able lawyer he marks off just those things which will best reveal the singular qualities of God, the outstanding traits upon which God's claim to fame is based.

God's case is a good one. Micah has a dozen important claims to make about God. You note that he does not say anything about God's work of creation, or of God's wisdom in the administration of this earth. The position of God as Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, is not what captivates Micah's attention. Rather, Micah would plead God's greatness to us entirely upon the merit of His dealing with sin. Here Micah reviews the entire wonderful story.

A God Who Pardons Iniquity

Two truths are emphasized, and they belong together also in the lives of the redeemed. The first is that familiar but amazing truth about God: He pardons iniquity and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage. He retains not His anger forever because He delights in mercy.

Here we see that God does not walk about on earth, stopping at the door of each household, examining each occupant, evaluating, and then piecemeal handing out some forgiveness here and there. God is not penny-pinching when it comes to forgiving sins, pardoning some who are lovable sinners or turning His back on others less lovable. HE PARDONS INIQUITY! That He has done wholesale as a universal act. He has redone what went wrong in Eden and has gone wrong ever since. This is a new creation done by God. We call it justification, of which we have here just the outline. We can fill in the details from our vantage point of scriptural knowledge, even as we have it summarized in Luther's explanation of the Second Article, for example.

God has done this despite the fact that He certainly has just cause to retain His anger. Despite the fact that His universal pardon is rejected on all sides and spurned, He does not lose patience. "He does not retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities."

What an outstanding heart is God's heart. He is absolutely unique in this that "He delights in mercy" towards humanity. This quality is non-existent in the idols of the heathen. This is a quality that is precisely non-human. Human mercy is too easily grudging, self-seeking, prideful. But not God's! Much rather would He pardon, all the way, to the limit, as Jesus proved in the malefactor on the cross, in the publicans, in Mary Magdalene.

That is not yet all that Micah reveals to carry God's case, which brings to a settlement any argument we may have with ourselves about God's pre-eminence in all: He "will subdue our iniquities." He will not leave His pardoned people under the grievous domination of their sinfulness. To do battle against the unconquerable is disheartening. But to be given God's power to subdue, to overcome, the most persistent wickedness, to be given His strength to supplant our weakness--that is the second great gift of our God in His mercies. "Look, I am with you always" said the Savior, even as He ascended on high to make all things work together for good to those who are His dear children. "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

Well, what do you think? Is God's case a good one? Would you allow a substitute into your soul to displace this God?

May our hearts tremble in awe before Him who has redeemed us, called us by our name, sanctified and chosen us as His children. May our hearts thrill with joy over being claimed by such a God in such lovingkindness and warmth. For all of which it is our privilege to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.

--Prof. Em. Paul R. Koch


It is almost time to send my youngest, the last of my four beautiful daughters, out into the world. Every parent surely must wonder, as I do: "Is my child ready to face the world? Is my child ready to go out there on his/her own?"

My child is five years old and will only be going off to kindergarten at the local public school, but I have learned from experience what this means. There are no two ways about it -- this child is going out into the world with its false and corrupt philosophy. The Spirit warns: "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Col. 2:8).

The point that a five-year-old already faces the exposure to the basic or elementary principles of the world which are not according to Christ should not, indeed must not, be understood to mean that the danger is limited to young children. The Spirit's warning given us through the Apostle is real and urgent for every age, whether five or ninety-five.

If we are sending our children off to the world's elementary schools, high schools, or colleges, the reality is the same. They will be force-fed the basic principles of the world. The spoiling effect of the world's philosophy only intensifies as we progress in life from school out into the working world.

The pressure is there to become wise IN the ways of the world, instead of wise TO the ways of the world, and wise IN the ways of Christ. The danger remains throughout our lifetime that someone may cheat us out of our salvation, taking us captive to the world's way of thinking, which is NOT after Christ.

The Only Effective Defense

The only effective defense against the pervasive philosophy of the world which surrounds us in all our daily lives is the wisdom which is found in Christ alone. How blessed an education it is if "from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).

>From days of old God presented His wisdom and His truth as a necessary ingredient of everyday life. It is the philosophy and truth of God which we are encouraged to speak of continually within our families. "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deut. 6:7).

Many who read this rejoice in the blessing they possess in their Christian day schools, but many more do not yet possess that blessing and are not equipped to home school in every area of education. But we are all to be educators for ourselves and our children in the truth of God.

Even as we make faithful use of the agencies of our church in Christian schools, Sunday schools, and Bible Classes, let us never forfeit the joy and privilege that the Lord has entrusted to the home, and especially to fathers, to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Dr. Martin Luther did not address his Small Catechism to pastors. It was written to provide God's truths "As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to those of his household."

By the Spirit's power through our continuing Christian education, we are preparing ourselves and our children to go out into the world, aware of this captivating power of the world's philosophy, and maintaining that greater wisdom of the Word that we might be wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

--Pastor Theodore Barthels

Report on the 1998 Convention -- by Pastor Joel Fleischer, with thanks to Prof. Joseph Lau (Convention Chronicles) and Pastor James Albrecht (CLC Secretary).

The Fellowship Of Kindred Minds


The tone of the 1998 CLC Convention was set by the devotions and the essays. Which is to say, the tone for the convention was set by Scripture itself as, throughout the week, pastors and lay-delegates gathered regularly around the Word.

Convention chaplain Pastor Delwyn Maas (pastor in the Denver, Colo. area) opened the 23rd Convention with a devotion based on Hebrews 10:22-25. In his address Pastor Maas focused on the kinship we enjoy as members of the household of God. We recognize that this kinship is a creation of the Holy Spirit working through His Word. It is this kinship that leads us to want to carry out His kingdom work. "So why are we gathered here this week? As those who have been snatched from the gates of hell, where else should we be?" This kinship of grace was demonstrated through the week in the true spirit of fellowship shown towards one another.

In two very edifying essays the delegates were led through the past, present, and future of this kinship of grace that is called fellowship.

Pastor Michael Roehl (Bismarck, N.Dak.) presented the first essay Monday evening. It was entitled The Exercise of Fellowship in the Early Church. We were asked to imagine the monumental task that Jesus' disciples faced after His ascension. They were given the command to carry the Gospel message to all the earth. What a treasure the fellowship of kindred minds must have been as they faced their challenges together. Pastor Roehl went on to explain the two-dimensional nature of fellowship, as both a building up of like-minded individuals and as a defense system against wolves in sheep's clothing. We do well to faithfully use both of these dimensions in our kingdom work.

The essayist also provided insight into the way fellowship was exercised by several early church fathers. Some made the mistake of establishing men rather than the Word of God as that which was to determine the point of unity. However, their position on fellowship is strikingly similar to ours today. The essay concluded with this statement:

  "God grant that we cling ever more tightly to those who are our true
  brothers and sisters, as did those early Christians, and share with all
  the saints to the fullest the precious gift of Christian fellowship we
  have been given."

Pastor Mark Gullerud (One of two pastors at Messiah, Eau Claire) presented the second and final essay entitled The Exercise of Brotherly Fellowship in the Waning Days of the Church Militant. Even in these last days when so many have forsaken the scriptural principles of fellowship, God has granted His Church that special union of Christian likemindedness and mutual Christian love. What a privilege it is to hear God's Word proclaimed faithfully in our churches, schools, and publications. It is because of Christ's love for us that we are able to show forth a reciprocal, mutual love for each other. However, as the essayist pointed out, this fellowship does not go unchallenged. Through attacks from without and within, we struggle to cling to the Truth. God's Word has led us to settle disputes in our midst in a God-pleasing manner through the proper application of His Word. Finally, we were reminded to maintain Christian sobriety in battling the devil, to maintain the decency and order called for in Scripture, and to cover a multitude of sins in our love for one another.

Wednesday evening brought a wonderful demonstration of the blessings of our fellowship of kindred minds as communicant members of the CLC celebrated the Lord's Supper together in a service in the Immanuel Lutheran College Field House. Pastor Joel Fleischer (Marquette, Mich.) served as service liturgist; Prof. Clifford Kuehne (Immanuel Lutheran College) delivered the sermon; and David Schaller, Immanuel Seminary student, was organist.


With joy the Convention recognized the expanding fellowship of kindred minds granted by a Spirit-created unity in faith and doctrine on the part of the following called workers and congregations.

Received as pastors in the synod during the last two years and accepted as voting members at this convention were: David Baker (Immanuel, Addison, Ill.); George Dummann (Grace, Valentine, Nebr.); Roland H. Gurgel (Faith, Nicollet & New Ulm, Minn.); Timothy Holland (Living Word, Hendersonville, N.C.); Delwyn Maas (St. Matthew, Colorado Springs, Colo. and St. Paul, Golden, Colo.); Philip Matzke (St. Peter's, Stambaugh, Mich.); James Naumann (Mt. Olive, Lamar, Colo.); Todd Ohlmann (Faith, Ballwin, Mo.); Victor Tiefel (Retired); and Timothy Wheaton (St. Luke's, Lemmon, S.Dak.).

Two men were received as teachers during the last two years and were accepted as voting members at this convention: Paul Sullivan (Professor at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire); and Michael Wheaton (Teacher at Immanuel, Mankato, Minn.).

Five congregations were accepted as synod members: Resurrection Ev. Lutheran Church, Calgary, AB, Canada; St. Matthew Ev. Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colo.; St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Golden, Colo.; St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Vernon, BC, Canada; and Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, Atlanta, Ga.

Ascension Lutheran Church, Kimball, Minn. has declared itself to be in confessional agreement with the CLC and is served by our pastors, but it is not a member congregation at this time. Recognizing kindred minds in Paris, France, the Convention declared fellowship with the Independent Lutheran Congregation of Paris, recognizing them as an independent congregation in affiliation with the Church of the Lutheran Convention. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we look forward to a growing relationship with our brethren in Paris.


  When here our pathways part,
  We suffer bitter pain;
  Yet, one in Christ and one in heart,
  We hope to meet again.

The 1998 Convention saw the retirement of two beloved servants in our church body.

Recognizing the recent retirement of Mr. Don Ohlmann after twenty-four years of service on the Board of Missions, President Daniel Fleischer expressed the sincere thanks of the church body to the Lord of the Church and to Mr. Ohlmann for his years of service. In appreciation for his many years of faithful service, Mr. Ohlmann was presented with an engraved clock.

Another retirement was observed on Wednesday morning. This retirement was from the Church Militant into the Church Triumphant. Pastor Rollin Reim (San Francisco, West Bay) led the Convention in a memorial service for Pastor Leland Grams who had been called home to heaven by his Lord December 15, 1997. Pastor Reim directed the attention of the delegates to the wonderful picture drawn in Revelation 19:5-9 of a great multitude in heaven singing the praises of our God. Jesus, the Lamb, is seen awaiting His bride, the Church. The righteous acts of His saints on earth, worked in them through Christ, are pictured as the fine linen that arrays His bride. Truly, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!


Speaking of retirement, after years of debate, writing, and more debate, the so-called self-love issue was retired once and for all in our midst, thanks to the careful study of Holy Scripture. After careful consideration the following statements of principle were adopted by the convention:

  -- All love proceeding from the Old Man is sinful, and
  -- All love proceeding from the New Man is God-pleasing

By careful study of His Word, the Holy Spirit has once again preserved that blessed tie that seemed so threatened in recent times. We thank God for the unity of confession that only the Spirit can create and maintain.

The Convention delegates also approved of the further study of scriptural principles regarding a Christian's association with organizations, including the American Legion. Results of this study will be brought to the next Convention.


When we do mission work, we are seeking to bring others into this fellowship of kindred minds through the proclamation of the Gospel.

The reports from the CLC's stateside missionaries reminded us of our opportunities in many places in the world. God's Word surely does not return unto Him void. We are reminded that the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.

In our overseas mission fields it was reported that Pastor David Koenig will be working not only at our missions in Nigeria, but will also help to support our mission fields in India, as well as pursuing further outreach opportunities in Africa.

The Convention also urged the Board of Missions to fund a second foreign missionary to Nigeria by 2001 if possible. Such a project would help our church body avoid having a long vacancy in the foreign mission field as has happened in the past. In addition, such support for the missionary already in the field would be invaluable, both for the work and from a personal standpoint.

It was further reported that with the addition of a satellite phone and a laptop computer Missionary Koenig will be in touch with our stateside CLC members who have e-mail access. This will certainly be a blessing to the Koenigs as they will be better able to keep in touch with friends and family at home. If you would like to e-mail the Koenigs, their e-mail address is:


In order to help our congregations and parents as they instruct our children in the teachings of God's Word, it was resolved that a three-year Sunday School curriculum be developed under the leadership of the CLC Board of Education with the help of volunteer pastors, teachers, and laity.

The discussion on finances reminded all that Immanuel Lutheran College is not simply the students' school, but that it is truly our school. Its professors are our professors, and our continued support for ILC is vital to its continued operation.


As always, striving to be good stewards with our financial blessings occupied a good portion of the convention's time right up to the final hours on Friday. The Cooperative Budget Plan (CBP) for the up-coming biennium was set at $559,775, with the total subsidy being $546,755 for fiscal year (FY) 1999. The breakdown is: Missions, $199,865; Regents $219,890; Trustees $140,000; Total $559,755; Less FY 1998 surplus $13,000; Total subsidy needed FY 1999, $546,755.

The total operating budget for the CLC from July '98 through June '99 is set at $1,149,335 ($559,755 + $589,580 {expected student revenue}).

Though tedious at times, this joint stewardship is a part of the fellowship of kindred minds that we all share. It is necessary to our efforts for the maintenance of our external body, so that we may effectively work to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.


As part of his closing remarks to the delegates, who had put in five days of intense kingdom work, Moderator Prof. Ronald Roehl said: "Most of the work is not done here, but at home..." Indeed, the matters resolved upon in the fear of God will be carried out only as, by the Spirit's help and strength, the delegates carry the message to kindred hearts and minds in their home congregations.

You are encouraged to visit with your congregational delegates and/or read the Convention report when it is delivered to the congregations in the coming weeks. Through the work and resolutions adopted at the 23rd Convention, let us pray that the kingdom of God might spread mightily among us and from us.

The Lord preserve us in our unity of faith founded on the Word of God, and bless us in 2000 when, God-willing, we are once again convention-bound to work to His glory.


(*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. Peter Krafft (2000)
  Pastor Michael Eichstadt (2000)
  Pastor Bruce Naumann (2002)*
  Mr. Jack Mayhew (2002)*

Board of Regents
  The Rev. Mark Bernthal (2000)
  Mr. Tom Beekman (2000)
  The Rev. Vance Fossum (2002)*
  Mr. James Gullerud (2002)*

Board of Trustees
  Mr. Phil Radichel (2000)
  The Rev. John Schierenbeck (2000)
  The Rev. James Sandeen (2002)*
  Mr. Dennis Oster (2002)*

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. Michael Roehl


Board of Education Dr. Gayle Stelter (2000) Teacher Karl Olmanson (2000) The Rev. Steven Sippert (2002) Prof. Ross Roehl (2002) Board of Doctrine The Rev. Paul F. Nolting The Rev. Mark Bernthal The Rev. Bertram Naumann The Rev. Thomas Schuetze Prof. Em. John Lau Mr. Melvin Eichstadt Mr. Frank Paull Kinship Committee Mr. Jack Mayhew, Chairman The Rev. Paul Naumann, Secretary The Rev. David Fuerstenau, Treasurer The Rev. Thomas Schuetze Mr. Peter Krafft Mr. Jonathan Wiechman Missions Outreach Committee The Rev. Walter Schaller Teacher Karl Olmanson Mr. Marty Beekman Salary Compensation Committee Teacher Douglas Libby Teacher Daniel Barthels Mr. Larry Dassow ILC Publicity Committee The Rev. John Hein The Rev. Michael Wilke Prof. John Pfeiffer Mr. Tom Beekman CLC Foundation Board The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn (2000) Mr. Duane Riggert (2002) Mr. Tim Noeldner (2004) Constitution Committee The Rev. Peter Reim Mr. Paul Hein Mr. Ivan Zarling Publishing Committee The Rev. Paul Naumann Teacher James Lau Mr. John Abbott Mr. Matthew Kelly Mr. Glenn Oster Mr. Matthew Schaser Mr. Lowell Moen, Advisory Investment Management Review Committee The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn Mr. Bruce Bartlow Mr. Charles Seelye 40th Anniversary Committee The Rev. John H. Johannes Teacher Mark Kranz Mr. David Gurath CLC Archivist Prof. David Lau CLC Statistician Mr. Jim Sydow CLC Directory The Rev. Michael Sprengeler CLC Auditor Mr. Stephen Lentz Ministry By Mail The Rev. Paul Naumann, Editor The Rev. Steven Sippert, Asst. Editor Lutheran Spokesman (See Staff listing, p. 2) Journal Of Theology Prof. Em. John Lau, Editor The Rev. Elton Hallauer, Asst. Editor Mr. Benno Sydow, Circulation Manager The Rev. Michael Eichstadt The Rev. Norman Greve The Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn The Rev. P. F. Nolting The Rev. Michael Roehl Prof. David Lau Prof. John Pfeiffer Prof. Paul Schaller Next Regular CLC Convention: Monday, June 19 through Friday, June 23, 2000


"That We Might Have Hope" (Rom. 15:4)

Joshua Chapters Ten Through Twenty-four

Joshua's Victories And Last Days

On any list of successful generals of ancient times, you would be sure to find certain familiar names such as Alexander the Great, perhaps, and Julius Caesar.

But there is one name that you probably would not find on any such list, though it deserves to be on such a list more than any other. That is the name of Joshua, the son of Nun.

The book of Joshua records the successes of Israel under the command of Joshua, and it is a record unsurpassed in military history. As Israel entered Canaan, they did so with a series of stunning military victories. No enemy was able to prevail against them regardless of their numbers, regardless of their strength.

But there is a good reason for not listing Joshua with other great military commanders. He never claimed that his successes were due to his skill or bravery. He humbly confessed that he owed every victory to the help of the LORD.

Israel's victory over the Amorites at Gibeon (Josh. 10) gives us a look at how decisively and completely the LORD routed every enemy that challenged Israel or stood in their way as they took possession of Canaan. After an all-night march Joshua and his men made a surprise attack on the five Amorite kings and their armies and defeated them.

But what was the key element in this victory? Was it the element of surprise? Was it the stamina and skill of the soldiers? No. This is the way the Bible records the victory: "So the LORD routed them before Israel."

We read also that as the enemy armies fled before Israel "the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them . . . There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword."

And--in that most remarkable happening in the history of warfare--the LORD caused the sun to stand still for an entire day to give the army of Israel time to finish the fight and win the victory.

There is no boasting in the book of Joshua such as you will find in secular histories of military campaigns. Rather, it is said that Joshua and Israel were successful because "the LORD fought for Israel."

A Man Of Faith

Joshua was successful and Israel was blessed under his leadership because he was a man of faith. Joshua was a mighty hero because he believed God and took Him at His word.

Before Israel entered Canaan, Joshua had been one of the spies sent to bring back a report about the land. When the people heard about the size and strength of the tribes living there, they were ready to give up and go back to Egypt. But Joshua (together with Caleb) encouraged the people: "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us" (Num. 14:8). The LORD's promise was enough for him. What the LORD had said He would also do, and no obstacle, no matter how large, would stand in the way.

Joshua was never left disappointed or ashamed for having believed God and for having urged all Israel to believe Him. The book of Joshua records this mighty vindication of his faith: "So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that he had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass" (Josh. 21:43-45).

Joshua did not take for granted the continued help and blessing of God. If Israel were to continue to enjoy God's favor, they needed to continue in fellowship with Him, to believe Him and trust Him. He warned Israel that if they turned away from the LORD to serve other gods, the LORD would depart from them. He said: "When you have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you" (Josh. 23:16).

Another Joshua!

Israel was blessed under Joshua's leadership, and the blessing outlived him. Near the end of the book of Joshua we read that "Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the LORD which He had done for Israel" (Josh. 24:31).

To truly appreciate Joshua and the history of his career as a fighter for Israel, we need to think of him in the light of another Joshua. It is no coincidence that our Savior was given the name Jesus which is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua. The Savior's name was given to him in response to the command of the angel: "You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins" (Mt. 1:21).

Jesus, like Joshua before Him, fought for His people and was successful.

But the victory of Jesus surpassed anything Joshua ever did. He defeated not just armies of mighty warriors, but Satan and his hosts. Jesus defeated not just a terrifying human enemy, but death itself. His weapons were not swords or spears. He won His victory by laying down His life as a sacrifice to God for the sins of the world. His victory wasn't just for one nation at one time, but for all people and all times. His victory is for us all.

And as Joshua led Israel to rest in the promised land, so Jesus leads us to perfect rest in everlasting life.

--Pastor John Klatt

Parables Of The Master

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-46

Kingdom Truths

We have discovered that the thirteenth chapter of Matthew's Gospel is plumb full of kingdom-of-heaven parables. Anyone interested in God's things can here acquire a better grasp of kingdom truths, for such was Jesus' intent in this girdle of parables that produces a midriff bulge in Matthew's Gospel.

The Mustard Seed

Now put your finger on the parable of the mustard seed (vv. 31-33). We've already had other parables of seed, field, and growth, so we ask ourselves: "Now what does Jesus emphasize in this one?"

Well, He emphasizes the kingdom qualities of sturdiness and sheltering. In brief, migrators find the outreaching branches of the Kingdom, settle in, establish their homes and raise their families in the shelter of God's kingdom of grace. We like this because we are rich with such experiences in our congregational family.

The Yeast

Next we follow Jesus into the kitchen. There's a truth hidden in the housewife's bakery. The yeast (leaven) she uses does its job from the inside out, doesn't it?

And although the yeast does its job quietly and gently, it does a most thorough job which cannot be brought to a halt short of a hot oven. Aha! We deduce that when the hand of God blends His Word into human hearts, and when the Word comes into vital contact with all particles and layers of our life, God makes it work (ferment, actually) in a quiet, powerful, unstoppable way. And it keeps on expanding until it has done its job.

We thank God for working like that with us!

The Hidden Treasure

Now skip down to verse 44. Imagine that on a cross-country hike in old mining territory you stumble upon a moldering cabin, and as you nudge around in a trash pile nearby in hopes of uncovering a relic, you see the glint of a cluster of gold nuggets. Wouldn't you rush to town, identify the parcel in the plat book, pay the back taxes, and purchase the plot, if you could? Why? Because you recognize your opportunity to possess an overlooked treasure, that's why!

So it is that a person idly wandering through the Bible may happen to noticed the gold of God's gift in Christ Jesus. Dare he hope to lay claim upon it for his very own? When he finds out that he may, he publicly stakes his claim on it.

That's how some folks stumble upon the kingdom of heaven and acquire salvation, sort of "by accident." Hallelujah!

The Pearl

The second of the "treasure" parables (vv. 45-46) diverges from the accidental-discovery aspect to the slant of purposeful pursuit.

Here's the serious minded truth seeker (perhaps a nobler version of church shopping) who makes it his business to research all religions; thus he reads the Koran; he dabbles in the literature of Eastern religions; he studies the philosophies of Marxism and New Age; but he does not feel satisfied with these plastic imitations.

In his study of the Bible he then discovers the Pearl of all pearls, the Genesis Prototype, the legendary Gem counterfeited by others; he beholds the iridescent Pearl produced by God's own Son devoting Himself to the tedious job of covering over the grit of human sin with layer upon layer of His own works for sinners, and the Father--upon inspection--has decreed that He is totally satisfied with the resulting flawless pearl. This is the Pearl which God Himself has produced!

When he learns that this is the way the kingdom of heaven is available to him, he latches onto the priceless treasure of Jesus' righteousness with a rejoicing heart.

Same to you. Amen!

--Prof. Em. Paul R. Koch


* PRESERVING INNOCENCE -- (Adapted from the Newsletter of Grace Lutheran Church, Sleepy Eye, Minn. Paul Fleischer is pastor.)

I read an article recently called "Preserving Innocence." The article addressed the fact that our children are increasingly exposed to the ways of the world. It described our day as "an age when anything goes."

With the ever-increasing breakdown of traditional standards and mores, with many television shows, videos, and movies pushing those standards and limits ever farther to the non-Christian and anti-Christian left, what can a concerned Christian parent do? While some might argue that we can't--and shouldn't even try--to shield our children from ungodly and worldly influences since they need to learn what the "real world" is like to live wisely in it, some among us are more inclined to be in sympathy with this quote from the above-named article:

"How do you protect your children 'from influences that would defeat and interfere with your goals to make their lives more God-centered?' (One parent answers:) 'Isolation . . . We are careful about their friends. . . . We control what they see on videos. . . . I don't want to keep my children culturally illiterate or defenseless in the world. . . . Of course, when they get older they will confront circumstances beyond my control. But now I want their experiences to be clean and focused on what's good for them. I want them to experience innocence and purity.'"

What is there being expressed is part of what we call "Christian education." Christian education involves the formal imparting of God's Word of truth through catechism/Sunday School lessons as well as through Bible study, Bible reading and devotions. That's the "positive" side. But there also is what might be called a "negative" side: shielding and sheltering our children from the flood of worldly and ungodly influences all around them and us.

Christian parenting involves both the positive and negative. For Christ's disciples to be a "light in" and a "salt to" the world, they are not to become hermits and withdraw from it. But this doesn't mean either that our children need to learn and/or know everything they can about what it means to be "of the world" while living in it.

In other words, conscientious parents know that raising God-fearing children will involve a certain amount of 'isolation.' Parents who homeschool (such as the parent quoted above) or who send their children to a private Christian school have this 'isolation' factor going for them. On the other hand, Christian parents whose children attend public schools have their work cut out for them. Their children lack the built-in isolation factor that comes with formal Christian schooling. Such parents must work extra hard to guard their children against daily exposure to humanistic (God-less) influences in conflict with their and their children's faith.

Here is more from the article mentioned above:

"The Bible admonishes us to be careful and diligent in the raising of our children. God also admonishes us to dwell on what is holy and pure. Combine the admonitions, and we have a biblical mandate for raising our children. Our No. 1 goal is to bring our children to saving faith in Christ. If we fail in that, we have failed in the only matter that matters. We are to deflect doggedly anything that would interfere, be it friendships or classes in current events. . . ."

In an age with anything goes, God strengthen and help our parents to do the very best they can to keep their children shielded and sheltered from the world.

* MORE ON "SHELTERING" CHILDREN (from a 1982 CLC Convention Essay):

. . . In connection with our promoting Christian schools, if we are accused of failing to prepare our children for this world, we are similarly charged with 'sheltering' them from it. On this subject, Paul Harvey is quoted as making the following observation:

"Years ago it was argued that students maturing in a sheltered environment would, like hothouse plants, be unprepared for the cold outside world. Now more than ever more Americans are eventually realizing that it is in fact the public or state school student who is 'over-protected.' He is 'sheltered' from religious instruction and exposed to all forms of non-Christian philosophy and behavior."

Think of it. How devious Satan is! Since the hearts and minds of men are restless until they rest in God, how out-of-balance is that education which "shelters" men from knowing the one true God and His Word which alone can provide the real, true answers to life's big questions. If they are rightly sensitive to the many and subtle influences of the ungodly world, parents who have a Christian school available for their children will think it over a hundred times before advancing the argument that they want their children to be prepared for the "real" world by asking them to "swim in it" as they "push them overboard" into the public school system of our land. . .

(Copies of this still timely essay may be obtained by writing the editor. Ask for "An Ongoing Crying Need: Educating our Children for the Real World.")

* MORE YOUNG WITNESSES (in our June issue we passed along a true story of Christian young people letting their light shine; here is another such heartening account as reported this summer on our CLC E-mail discussion forum; the school mentioned is our Immanuel High School of Eau Claire; the reporter is Prof. Ross Roehl.)

. . . This past week eight young ladies from Immanuel traveled to Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a team basketball camp. The format was three days of basketball consisting of ten games against public schools from the eastern part of the state. Needless to say the girls were tired. How successful was the team? Very!

The girls ended up 2-8, losing 5 games by only 2 points each. They were very competitive and learned to play together well. But that's not success.

The coach who worked with the girls said that he had the nicest bunch there. He actually said that they were too nice. They helped up the other team when they fell, and even said "Sorry" when they knocked someone over. They were the first to line up and shake hands with smiles on their faces, win or lose. Another observer commented that it was nice to see a team of ladies that you could tell were Christians without even knowing where they were from.

>From the girls' comments, they had several opportunities to talk about their school and why they attended Immanuel. They said it straight and they said it well. This was in contrast to the vile language I heard in just the short while I was walking the halls the last day. This is truly success . . . of the Christ-centered education these young people have received from their parents and from the Christian schools they have attended.

Praise the Lord for these young ladies who will be carrying His Word to the world wherever they go.


This is a list of "start-up" congregations who are being served by an off-site pastor. Some meet in homes, others in rented facilities. Also included are our two CLC exploratory missions in Gold Canyon, Ariz. and Grand Rapids/Cadillac, Mich. Visitors are warmly welcomed. Those who are considering a move, or are just traveling through the area, are encouraged to contact these groups and worship with them.

--------               ----------------          ---------------------
Arizona,               Warren Fanning            Gerald Gehling
   Gold Canyon         602-983-8518              602-983-9052

California,            Michael Sprengeler
   Stockton            510-886-3252

Colorado,              Delwyn Mass               Chuck Seelye
   Colorado Springs    303-278-7216              719-685-5848

Florida,               John Schierenbeck         Paul Kuehne
   Orlando             941-299-4084              407-277-2183

Florida,               Paul Larsen               Bob Doriot
   Coral Springs       941-423-1822 or           305-429-0063
   (North Fort         941-423-2728

Georgia,               Vance Fossum              Wayne Everhart
   Atlanta area        803-796-0770              706-654-4645
                       Info Line: 770-409-9120

Michigan,              Walter Schaller           Bob Remus
   Cadillac,           616-791-7552              616-832-2687
   Reed City

Michigan,              Walter Schaller           Harald Schillinger
   Grand Rapids        616-791-7552              616-453-6609

Minnesota,             John Ude                  Reuben Streich
   Kimball             612-784-8784              320-453-7562
   (St. Cloud Area)

New Mexico,            Norbert Reim              Robin Vogsland
   Albuquerque         602-974-8911              505-892-6934

North Dakota,          Theodore Barthels         Gary Pansch
   Fargo               218-847-2080              701-277-1727

Ohio,                  Mark Bernthal
   Columbus/           517-792-9390

Texas,                 James Naumann             Local Contact
   Amarillo            719-336-5773              806-358-3717

Texas,                 Thomas Schuetze           Richard Ehret
   Killeen             972-733-4535              817-526-7697

Texas,                 Daniel Fleischer          Buddy Hovda
   Weslaco             512-241-5147              956-565-2851
   (Rio Grande Valley)

Virginia,              Timothy Holland           David Loop
   Fairfax             704-692-7731              703-250-2020
   (Wash. DC area)

Washington,            Terrel Kesterson
   Withrow             509-327-4203

Wisconsin,             Mark Gurath               Kirby Pabst
   Brice Prairie       715-833-8967              608-781-0835
   (LaCrosse area)

Wisconsin,             Gordon Radtke
   Fairchild           715-834-6280


Great Lakes Pastoral Conference Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 1998 Saginaw, Michigan

  * Eschatology of Daniel -- Paul F. Nolting
  * A Review of Basic Hermeneutical Principles -- Pastor Mark Bernthal
  * Church History, Council of Nicaea or Post Nicene Era -- Pastor John Johannes
  * When is a Catechumen Ready for Confirmation? -- Pastor Arthur Schulz
  * A Study of "Protesting Fellowship" -- Pastor Mark Gullerud
  * Some type of study of the "Wauwatosa Theology" -- Pastor Bruce Naumann
  * In What Way had the Gospel been Preached "in all the world" in New
    Testament Times? To What Extent has This Occurred Today? -- Pastor Walter
  * New Testament Exegesis, 2 Corinthians 12:1ff -- Pastor Paul Tiefel
  * Old Testament Exegesis, Ecclesiastes 10:1ff -- Pastor John Ude
  * Isagogical Study -- Pastor Robert McDonald
  * Some phase of sermon study emphasizing homiletical rules -- a Professor

Communion service speaker: Pastor Joel Fleischer
Chaplain: Pastor David Schmidt

--Pastor Robert McDonald, Secretary

West Central Pastoral Conference

Dates: Sept. 15-17, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (MDT) on Tuesday through noon on Thursday

Place: St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Golden, Colo.

  1)  Old Testament Exegesis: Isaiah 55:8-11 -- Pastor Steven Sippert
  2)  New Testament Exegesis: Romans 7:14-25 -- Pastor Michael Schierenbeck
  3)  Study of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6: "Encouragement for Discouraged Pastors" --
      Pastor Delwyn Maas
  4)  Forgiveness of Sins vs. Assurance of the Forgiveness of Sins in the
      Lord's Supper -- Pastor Michael Wilke
  5)  Science or Sin: How does God View Modern-day "Fertility Methods"? --
      Pastor Michael Roehl
  6)  A Balanced Review of Some of the Key Figures of the Reformation --
      Pastor Andrew Schaller
  7)  "Let All Things be Done Decently and in Order: The Problems of
      Disorderly Practice in the Church" -- Pastor Frank Gantt
  8)  An Evaluation of the Evangelical Free Church -- Pastor John Hein
  9)  A Study of the Fourth Commandment with Special Consideration of the
      Attached Promise -- Pastor Timothy Wheaton
  10) Book Reviews: a) Reviewer's choice of an ancient Church History
      resource -- Pastor David Fuerstenau; b) "Happiness is a Choice" -- 
      Pastor James Naumann

Conference Chaplain -- Pastor Peter Reim
Conference Speaker -- Pastor David Fuerstenau

--Pastor Michael Schierenbeck, Secretary


In accord with our usage and order, John Ude, who was called by Grace congregation of Fridley, Minnesota to be its pastor, was installed on June 14, 1998.

--Pastor Paul F. Nolting

In accord with our usage and order, I commissioned David Koenig as the CLC Missionary to Nigeria and India at Peace Thru Christ Lutheran Church, Middleton, Wis. on June 7, 1998. The speaker for the service was Pastor Paul Tiefel. Pastor Gordon Radtke, Pastor John Johannes, Pastor David Baker, and Paul Gurgel assisted.

--Pastor Bruce Naumann

In accord with our usage and order, John Hein, who was called by Berea Lutheran Church of Sioux Falls, S.Dak. to be its pastor, was installed on June 21, 1998. The speaker for the service was Pastor Daniel Fleischer. Pastor Paul Fleischer and Missionary David Koenig assisted.

--Pastor Andrew Schaller

In accord with our usage and order Todd Ohlmann, who was called by Faith Lutheran Church, Ballwin, Mo. to be its pastor, was ordained and installed on June 28, 1998. Pastor Jerome Barthels and student David Povolny assisted.

--Prof. Em. John Lau

In accord with our usage and order, George Dummann, who was called by Grace congregation of Valentine, Nebr. to be its pastor, was ordained and installed on June 7,1998 by Pastor Michael Roehl, assisted by Pastors N. Greve, J. M. Johannes, D. Maas, P. Reim, A. Schaller, M. Schierenbeck, S. Sippert, T. Wheaton, M. Wilke, and Pastor-elect T. Ohlmann.

--Pastor Michael Roehl

In accord with our usage and order, Steven Sippert, who was called by Our Savior's congregation of Jamestown, N.Dak., to be its pastor, was installed on June 28, 1998 by Pastor Michael Roehl, assisted by Pastor Emeritus Keith Olmanson.

--Pastor Michael Roehl

Change Of Address

Missionary David Koenig can be contacted through this stateside address:

  3310 Northbrook Drive, Apt. 3
  Middleton, WI 53562
  Phone (608-831-1343)

Correction: Our Corpus Christi congregation -- Resurrection Lutheran, Pastor Daniel Fleischer -- was misidentified in last month's issue.