A Declaration Of Independence

Nations come into being in many ways. There might be a military coup, a civil strife, treachery and heroes, or a host of other conflicts between the old order and the new.

Regardless of the manner that produces the rise or fall of a nation's government, the Lord reveals the simple truth about all nations and governments: "There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Rom. 13:1).

June of 1776 was a hive of activity for thirteen colonial states of Great Britain located on the continent of North America. Representatives from every state had been sent to Pennsylvania for the Second Continental Congress. On July 4, 1776 this Second Continental Congress adopted "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America." This document, which gave this nation its defining moment, is known by its more familiar title, "The Declaration of Independence."

The Declaration of Independence made the claim--astounding in any age--"that all men are created equal." It listed a number of grievances the states held against Great Britain's rule. The Declaration also expressed "certain unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It was signed by the representatives who pledged "to each our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." Some of its language was later adopted into the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. A brief summary of our nation's beginning document is enough to fill the heart with patriotism, stirring up images of parades, marching bands, fireworks, and Old Glory flying in the wind.

God's Word records a very different declaration of independence. Though God had created Adam and Eve perfectly, and they had received from God everything necessary to dwell before God in righteousness forever, our first parents declared their independence from God. They chose to follow a direction which only led away from their Maker and Provider.

A True Patriot

Mankind became truly equal in sin and death! No parades here. Sinful man was left with a spirit of rebellion against his Creator God! No mutual pledge of support to one another here. The history of fallen man overflows with broken hearts and shattered lives bent on a wild pursuit of ungodly pleasures or riches. We fly no flags for this kind of independence.

In contrast, we underwrite the Scripture in declaring our complete dependence on God for everything in this life and in the one to come. God's Son won our freedom from sin's curse that we might live before God in the righteousness of Christ Himself.

Believers in Jesus Christ ever look for ways to serve their Lord and Savior. They rejoice in the freedoms with which God has chosen to bless our great country. They know the true value of our nation's Declaration of Independence is God's creation of a free country in which we may serve our Savior-God freely and without hindrance. Instead of being thrown to the lions for confessing the name of Christ Jesus, we can count on our government to protect its citizens.

According to Webster's Dictionary a patriot is one who loves, supports, and defends his country with devotion. Should our devotion be limited to parades or fireworks on July 4th? What would happen to this great nation if its support and defense were neglected?

The Christian knows how to be a true patriot according to the Lord's will. The apostle Paul wrote: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

May the Lord continue to bless our nation and its leaders, and mercifully fill our hearts with all thanks to God that we might always cherish the freedoms we enjoy--by God's grace alone--in the United States of America!

--Pastor Rick Grams

Treasured Citizenship

I don't know if there is another holiday that calls forth the patriotic spirit in Americans like our Fourth of July celebrations. Again this year we have seen the parades, saluted our American flags, and blasted off tons of fireworks across our land. We know that we live in the best country in the world, "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

One thinks of the limited freedoms in other, even democratic, countries. Many live without the great liberties that we take for granted. Now think of the many people throughout the world who possess dual citizenship. They are Americans because of the nationality of one parent or because they were born here. But different circumstances have dictated that they must live in another far less prosperous, far less pleasant, far less liberated country than we do.

We should be led to thank God all the more for the blessings of our homeland with the great liberties we possess. These liberties make practicing our faith so much easier than in most other countries in the world. Add to that the blessing of our nation's prosperity, and we see how wondrously we are enabled, by the Lord's rich grace and blessing, to support the spread of the gospel with our prayers and offerings.

We should be so tremendously grateful for the privilege of this citizenship. We should be quick to thank God that we live in this land we love, and add the prayer: "God bless the USA!"

The Age Of Fulfillment

But we also ARE possessors of dual citizenship--not only that, but our America is the land with the lesser freedom and limited liberty. We possess the same blessed citizenship that the patriarchs possessed of whom it is written: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth. . . . But now they desire a better, that is, an heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (Heb. 11:13,16).

Living in the age of fulfillment, we are blessed to be among the beneficiaries of God's grace. By faith we understand that we "are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Eph. 2:19). What joy is ours in believing, as we lift our eyes to heaven: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body" (Php. 3:20-21).

Just as we are reminded of the price that was paid for the freedom we enjoy in America, so we are led by the Spirit to understand and appreciate that a far greater price was paid for the freedom found in Christ.

The glorious liberty from sin and death that awaits us in heaven came at the price of the "holy, precious blood, and the innocent sufferings and death" (Second Article) of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we are blessed to spend our temporal lives glorifying God in this rich and free land of America, but we are far more richly blessed with the greater eternal citizenship in heaven with its unsurpassed glory and the everlasting freedom to serve our God and praise His glorious name.

--Pastor Theodore Barthels


The Bible says: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..."

Theistic evolution says: "In the beginning God created the Big Bang."

In spite of what the Bible clearly says, just how God created has been the subject of much debate over the years. On the one hand, the Bible says that God created everything in six ordinary days using nothing but His Word. On the other hand, theistic evolution says that God started the universe going and let everything develop through evolution. According to this false teaching each "day" in the Creation account represents a few million--or even a billion--years.

What one believes about how God created speaks volumes about one's attitude toward Scripture and the power of God.

Christians who disregard God's Word and prefer to believe that God created via evolution would like to have it both ways. They say that they can believe in God the Creator, but that because of the "overwhelming scientific evidence" regarding evolution, they feel that one is forced to believe that God must have created by way of evolution. They go on to say that it's only creation and that it doesn't impact their faith in Christ their Savior.

But how can it not impact faith? In order to believe that God created via evolution, one must toss out or distort at least the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. If one begins to pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe, while ignoring or throwing out other parts, then the whole Book becomes suspect (What's true and what's not? Is any of it true?).

The Bible says that God created all things using only His Word in six twenty-four hour days. "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible" (Heb. 11:3).

The Bible says that Jesus is my Savior, who has taken away all of my sins and has won for me and all people God's forgiveness and life eternal, for we have been "reconciled with God through the death of His Son" (Rom. 5:10). The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, has washed away all of our sins (1 Jn. 1:7).

God's Word Is Truth

How do we know this? God says so in His Word. There is no other way for me to know other than from the Word of God. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). Apart from God's Word it is not possible for me to know and trust in Jesus as my Savior from sin.

What does evolution have to do with justification? Apart from the fact that it excuses man of responsibility for his sins, and therefore removes any need for God's forgiveness, evolution impacts our faith in our Savior at its source.

If I don't believe that God's account of creation is accurate, how can I be sure that what God says about the forgiveness of my sins is accurate? If it might not be true, how can I have complete trust in Christ as my Savior? As we learned in Confirmation class: "If part of the Bible is not true, then the rest of it might not be true too."

The scriptural account of creation is important for our salvation because it speaks to the certainty of our faith. All of the Bible is the Word of God, verbally inspired by God the Holy Spirit--word for word and without error--for "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:21).

Therefore we can be and should be certain that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" just as God presents His eyewitness account in Genesis. Because all of God's Word is true and accurate we can also be certain that God did send His Son Jesus to suffer and die in our place to pay for our sins. And we can believe without doubt that our sins are forgiven.

We can believe all of this without doubt because God says so in His Word and, as the Bible teaches: "the Scripture cannot be broken" (Jn. 10:35).

--Pastor Joel Fleischer

From the Newsletter of Messiah Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, Wisconsin--


And what do you think?

What bothers me is that I must be a veritable nincompoop! I can't open my mouth, but that someone is saying to me: "Who are you that I should listen to you?" Here I stand and nobody seems to know me. You too, dear reader, may have had that same experience. For the discussion has to do with morality. Imagine that such a creature should exist! And imagine that the voice of this dragon should be heard out of my own mouth. And is it not this cloud of smoke and fire that makes me a nincompoop? For everyone is asking me: "WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT'S RIGHT OR WRONG?" And being the fool that I am, I look inward and ask: "Well, who am I, really, to tell someone else what's right or wrong?"

I have heard it said, as an excuse for not entering into a discussion of morality: "Who am I to tell you what's right or wrong?" And you, O reader, have heard it too. We hope that you have, rather, proved to be such an unwelcome nincompoop. But why, oh why, should there be those who see red and snort: "I can't be what I want? I can't live as it suits me? I am surrounded by all these rules and regulations, laws of right living and ethics of proper conduct? I don't want it! I won't have it! And who are you, anyway, to tell me what's right or wrong?"

As Christians, having that wonderful Book in our possession, we are fully aware of what is going on. And because of the Book, we know how to stand our ground. We know what to say, however unwelcome. For the Devil is truly abroad in the land. And he has successfully used the weapons at his disposal. Near the top is the teaching of organic evolution. Truly a nifty weapon in evil hands. For if I am convinced that I am but an animal--if I am convinced that I have no soul with which to enter an afterlife--if I am convinced that I have no more responsibility to mankind than a lion has to an antelope--if I am convinced that I do not have to give answer to a high Being (called GOD)--then who should care what I do or say or think? As with the animal, my own survival comes first. As with the animal, I am number one. The only "right conduct" is that which pleases me. "And who are you, anyway, to tell me what's right or wrong?" One lion does not tell another lion: "Naughty! Naughty!"

If you have ever said, "It's a jungle out there," you have reason to consider yourself right. It is a jungle. A wilderness of immorality. A humanity overgrown with corruption. A confused mass of wrong ideas, empty philosophies, wrecked lives; persons with no conscience, ruthless beyond what we expect of wild animals. To such you and I are simpletons, fools with our heads in the sand and our ideas no better than that of a nincompoop. "Who are you to tell me what's right or wrong?"

First of all, we had better be right when we do speak. We are the fools if we do not know God's Word as we should. Even the simpleton (nincompoop) armed with God's Word is wiser than the king. Be encouraged to know God's Word, the sword of the Spirit. When you know whereof you speak, then speak. For there IS a right; there IS a wrong. Our God tells us both. And when we speak, let us speak for God. There are those who condemn the teaching of Divine Creation in six days. Indeed, think through the Ten Commandments, and there are many who would condemn, many times over, the contents of each one. You know such people; so do I.

The bottom line is finally this: Don't be discouraged! After all, we are not alone. And the words we use are not ours. The power we employ is not of our manufacture. It seems to be a losing battle. And day after day, we may seem to lose this skirmish and that confrontation. But we do not lose the war! Know the right. Perform it yourself. Pass it on to your children. Be patient. Be persistent. Be clear. Be firm. Be God's messenger.

"Who are you to tell me what's right or wrong?"

"I am just the right person to do so because I am Christ's."

--Jonathan P. Schaller


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

Second Samuel, Chapters Eleven and Twelve

David's Fall and Repentance

Lust, adultery, deceit, murder, and scandal are words that could be torn from the headlines of most any newspaper today. What kind of individual do you expect to read about in these sordid tales? Low brows to be sure--only immoral characters of ill repute with which we surely would not associate--would be found in such situations.

But a man of God and one described as "a man after God's own heart"? Unthinkable!

God gives us clear pictures of our spiritual forefathers with all the warts, so we may see ourselves more clearly. May God the Holy Spirit grant us such vision.

"In the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle"--where was David? David was king of Israel and his nation was at war. He should have been leading his troops into battle. Instead, he was found to be lounging about the palace. A careless wandering of body, mind, and eye led to his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.

When was the last time you fell for your "pet" sin? Was it when you were struggling with a complicated problem at work? Or while in the middle of some other task or occupation? Chances are it wasn't. We know the Lord has given us marvelous minds and bodies which are able to accomplish wonderful things when applied in a proper manner. We also know that if left to idleness these bodies and minds of ours can be horribly wicked as well. God intended for us to remain busy in this world, both in work and play. When we schedule our time and "watch and pray," we'll have fewer idle moments which Satan would so eagerly fill.

David had lusted after Bathsheba, thus breaking the sixth commandment. He then committed adultery and began his downward spiral.

The memories of passion turned to panic as David heard from Bathsheba's lips: "I am with child." How David's mind must have reeled. How was he ever going to escape scandal? After lies, trickery, and deceit had failed to extricate him from his guilt and sin, David's tangled web led to murder.

All the while, of course, the Lord waited with the only true escape untried by David: confession and absolution.

Wanted: A Contrite Heart

The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to show that David still had a sense of justice even if he couldn't apply it to his own life. David correctly responded to Nathan's parable: "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die . . . because he had no pity!"

How easy it is for us to see the sin and taint on others while downplaying our own misdeeds. David knew justice; he knew God's law; he was just having trouble applying them to his own life.

Don't we often find ourselves explaining our sinful behavior? While other people have no excuse for the terrible things they do, we have our reasons: I was too tired to resist temptation; it was a weak moment; I had a few too many; it won't happen again; it's only for recreation; only when the kids aren't around; it's not as bad as what others do.

God does not want our excuses! He wants a broken and contrite heart.

"You are the man! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord to do evil in His sight?" There was no way out now. David was caught, and the sin, shame, and guilt brought him to his knees before his Lord.

Has the Lord sent a Nathan to you lately? How do we respond when a fellow Christian does his duty and points out our sins? Do we fall back on our excuses and attack the messenger, or do we humbly accept the chastisement of our God?

Only after David had admitted his sin was he able to hear the blessed message from the lips of God's prophet: "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die." What sweet comfort these words bring to the hearts of repentant children of God! Jesus tells us we need not carry our sin or guilt any longer, for He has borne our sin in His very body upon the cross. He died in our place. We shall not die!

However, David also received bad news from Nathan. "However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."

Our sins may not be without earthly consequences. We know the Lord chastens whom He loves. David also received his chastisement as from a loving and gracious God.

May we remember to turn daily in true heart-felt repentance to our loving Savior. If there are consequences for our sins, may the Lord help us to bear them patiently, knowing full well that the guilt and punishment for our sin has been fully paid by Him.

Moreover, may we pray with David through the Holy Spirit: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You" (Ps. 51:10-13).

--Teacher David Bernthal

Parables Of The Master

Luke 16:1-13

The Parable Of The Unjust Steward

To retell Jesus' parable in a modern setting: "A wealthy businessman had an administrator whom he had hired to manage his financial affairs. Through poor decision-making the administrator had 'managed' to squander some of the businessman's financial empire.

"About to be called to account and soon fired, he came up with an ingenious plan. While still possessing the authority, he would reduce the debt load of some of his boss's creditors, thereby securing a 'debt of gratitude' that would serve his interests in the future. When the wealthy businessman discovered this, he had to commend his administrator for his shrewdness.

"While his actions were dishonest, they were surely within his jurisdiction."

Jesus' application: "The sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light" (v. 8).

People who live only for themselves and for the here-and-now are often more zealous and resourceful in achieving their earthly and material goals than are God's people in the pursuit of their far more important spiritual and eternal goals.

It is the unbelievers' zeal and resourcefulness (not their goals or methods) which the Savior encourages us to emulate. Consider the varying creative and effective ways your money can be invested for you today--all to fit your unique situation and to maximize your financial security. In good stewardship, you Christians can and should utilize these financial "tools"--so long as your "portfolio" remains in perspective and it does not detract from your God-given stewardship responsibilities in life.

Heavenly Investment

Compare the world's selfish this-life goals with the Christian's spiritual and eternal-life goals, and then ask yourself: "Which are more worthy of my heart and soul, my commitment and zeal, my time and energy, my gifts and resources?"

Surely the things of God are of immeasurably more value and durability: the faith and salvation of souls. Even the very things many children of this world live and die for--"Mammon" (money and the things it can buy)--can become our "friends" (v. 9). They can be put in perspective and to good use in the Lord's Kingdom. They can become a heavenly investment that takes on far greater and more lasting value than anything money can buy: ongoing Word and Sacrament faith-nurturing ministries in our CLC congregations, students being given a Christian education life-foundation at ILC, and souls plucked from eternal death through our mission ministries.

Our Savior's final words leave no room for indecision or compromise: "No servant can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve God and Mammon" (v. 13). One of them will be your god; one of them will win your heart; one of them will control your life. Either one or the other, but not both.

Perhaps, more often than we realize or care to admit, we find ourselves standing before the altars of both God and Mammon.

Lord, forgive us for our sometimes divided hearts, our sinful attachment to the things of this world. For Jesus' sake, forgive us and strengthen our faith. By Your grace, help us to become dedicated, resourceful servants of our Heavenly Master. May we in faith invest all we are and everything we have been freely given in Your eternal "securities" that can be neither devalued nor destroyed.

    Many spend their lives in fretting
    Over trifles and in getting
    Things that have no solid ground.
    I shall strive to win a treasure
    That will bring me lasting pleasure
    And that now is seldom found. (TLH 425:3)

--Pastor David Schierenbeck

Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

God Bless Our Native Land

A Prayer for the Nation

#577 in The Lutheran Hymnal

It's an election year! As you know, that means during the whole year (and more!) leading up to November the airwaves and various media will be filled with debates, politicking, arm-twisting, and not a little dirt-digging, mud-slinging, and name-calling. The unfortunate result of the political hype is that we can often get tired of it all. We can get disenchanted. We are often turned off with all the money and the corruption that seem to go hand in hand with modern-day politics.

And on top of that, we often see the promises made by our leaders remaining unfulfilled. Or we see the top elected officials of our country getting involved in morally compromising situations. We see that many in our country don't seem to care.

Where does it all lead you? To despair? To worry? Why not to prayer?

As we celebrate our nation's birth this month, why not storm the gates of heaven with words like those of our hymn? "God bless our native land! . . . For her our prayer shall rise To God above the skies. . . ."

God has given us a country in which we are free to worship the one true God and to share His Good News of salvation. There is no question that God would be quick to shower our land with blessings so that His kingdom would continue to come through us both here and around the globe!

So no matter who wins the election, for His Gospel's sake may we pray that God would continue to be "ever nigh, Guarding with watchful eye"--and save our country by His great might!

--Pastor Paul Krause

Historical Markings

Where Have We Been?

Where Are We Going?

. . . When Immanuel congregation in 1959 took up the matter of Christian higher education and gave its blessing to the beginning of a high school, college, and seminary, the North Chapel was put back into use. The owners offered it to Immanuel Lutheran College Board of Control for school use, rent-free. Considerable work had to be done to put it into school shape. Members of the congregation gave their evenings and weekends to partition the inside, plaster walls, etc., so that it was ready for use in September.

At the May 25, 1959 special meeting of Immanuel Congregation, the voters not only gave their blessing to this effort, the use of their name, Immanuel, set up a Board of Control, but they adopted a slate of candidates from which that board could call its first teachers. . . . Tuitions were set at $75 per semester. The members of that first Board of Control were A. Affolter, W. Affolter, W. Briggs, E. Busse, W. Doring, M. Garbrecht, A. Hanel, D. Hoffmann, W. Klammer, C. Kuehne, E. Neubert, R. Rehm, R. Schreyer, A. Timm, A. Weigt. Advisory members: G. Radtke, E. Reim, R. Dommer. Many of these men had served on the fact-finding committee that met for the first time on April 22, 1959. The four men who held title to the North Chapel were: A. Affolter, W. Affolter, W. Klammer, and E. Neubert.

The Lord moved the hearts and hands of these men and of many other people to begin this school, and the Lord filled those hands with material blessings beyond the actual needs. He did this so that His Word would be upheld in its purity and His name be glorified among us.

When the Board of Control called Edmund Reim as Dean of the seminary, Robert Dommer as Principal of the high school, and Mrs. Adelgunde Schaller to teach, the faculty was deemed complete. Only the seminary and the high school were to be initiated in the new school. But these preliminary efforts soon changed so that with an expanded faculty the school was involved in teaching college subjects, and students were obtaining some of their courses at Mankato State College.

--From "OUR ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL TO THE LORD" (Pastor Egbert Albrecht, 1984)

Fortieth Anniversary Historical Vignettes

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

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

Dateline: Middleton, Wisconsin


It has been a blessing to have so long a comfort with the CLC. When an organization is not so large, it is not as difficult to hew to Scripture. This is in contrast with larger bodies where diverging views may be promulgated, and as a result some unscriptural positions become official, and thus difficult or impossible later to admit as being of human error.

Looking back personally, it was a privilege to assist the first editor in designing the cover for the Lutheran Spokesman which was used for some six years. Tear-off type fonts at my office in Cheyenne were used, and ever since I have valued "THE SCRIPTURE CANNOT BE BROKEN" (John 10:35).

My other early act was at the CLC organizing meeting at Watertown, South Dakota to provide the proposal that there be an elected organizer and "presider" for conventions. The office of president should not be burdened with so many details.

May our Lord continue to bring a unity of spirit to the CLC! And may we prayerfully receive and preserve it!

Due to space constraints, printed here are excerpts only, allowing the reader to "catch the flavor" of the President's address at the ILC Commencement service on May 20, 2000.

Thoughts From A Commencement Address

The text used by Prof. John Pfeiffer was Ecclesiastes 9:10-12:

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all."


. . . How many of us have seen this happen, either in our own lives or in the lives of others? A man may have the best skills, the highest knowledge, the greatest opportunities, and yet for any number of reasons his plans do not come to fruition. The swiftest runner trips or gets a cramp and loses the race; the strongest army is tricked by a weaker force and defeated in battle; the wisest man suffers a stroke, which disables his ability to communicate his wisdom; just when a man becomes the best typewriter repairman, someone invents the personal computer.

We hear about people getting doctor's degrees, but the only job they can find is pushing a broom somewhere. It can happen to anyone. From an earthly point of view, it seems like time and change overtake them all. -- It's no wonder that some people turn to drugs and alcohol, become criminals or street people.

What does all this mean for you? Should you despair of setting specific goals for your future? . . . Graduates, it was an unbelievably complex series of events that resulted in your personal salvation and brought you to this commencement. Likewise, you are personally involved in an intricate plan that will result in the salvation of someone else . . . perhaps many other souls.

If you believe this, then you will also understand why the Spirit says: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." The "whatever" is that activity which the Lord places in your pathway. Apply yourself completely to it. Apply all the gifts which God gave you: the body, the mind, the talents, everything.

Summer job - more education - permanent employment - preaching or teaching ministry - whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, knowing that you are doing what God wants you to do at that moment.

If you are in a race, run hard. If you don't win, so what? This may be just the training ground for a much more difficult race, one which you will win because you have learned to always run hard.

It all comes back to faith--faith in the God who made you, redeemed you, and sanctifies you. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32) He does not abandon you to accidents and blind luck. By your sins you made your lives empty and useless. By His atonement, Christ made your lives full and useful for His purpose.

Your education at ILC has prepared you for such a life.

  o In the physical sciences you saw God's patterns of orderliness 
    in nature, so you know what to expect when you apply your 

  o In the social sciences you saw God's patterns of rule in this 
    world, so that you know that all things are controlled for the 
    welfare of God's people.

  o In the languages you saw the patterns of speech which God has 
    ordained, so that you are able to communicate the good news of 

  o In the fine and applied arts you saw God's patterns of beauty, 
    intended to bring joy to the lives of His people, even when things 
    seem to be going badly.

  o In religion you saw God's pattern of salvation and how God brought     everything together in Christ Jesus, including you.

We have done what we can. Now go forth and as long as you are yet alive, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." And when there is nothing more for you to do with your abilities, you will hear the voice of God saying: "Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of your Lord" (Mt. 25:21).

Commencement At Immanuel Lutheran College

May 20, 2000

President John Pfeiffer's commencement address (entitled "With All Your Might," based on Ecclesiastes 9:10; see page of this issue) struck the keynote for the entire repertoire of our school's closing events.

On Friday's "Class Day" the usual awards were bestowed on those who had done their mightiest in sports, extra-curriculars, and academics.

Then the students turned their hands to a video skit reflecting their love and admiration for retiring Prof. Clifford Kuehne. It was well done. Nor did the gratuitous "Kuehne marching/whistling Band" (a gang of armless billboards) flinch from using "all your might" in their loosely coordinated stomping ballet. It was hilarious!

The event's spring concert marched forward vigorously with student band renditions: though lacking a bass instrument for the concert, the Strings ensemble was undaunted. And the student choirs topped the evening's emotional and spiritual banquet "with hearts and hands and voices."

Saturday morning, clear and mild, saw the grand procession continue. With unabashed vigor we joined in the unfamiliar Trinity processional hymn: "Dear Heav'nly Father, God of Love."

President Pfeiffer took in hand the Word of God, and we were held captive. The graduates fell in confidently to receive their diplomas (two seminary graduates, five college grads, and twenty-five high school seniors).

Then for the Board of Regents, Rev. Vance Fossum presented a memorial plaque, a money gift, and a hearty tribute to retiree Prof. Kuehne. Prof. Kuehne responded with a short address that left many of us with a lump in the throat. The text is printed on p. of this issue for the benefit of those who could not attend--or wish to hear it again.

As I saw it from my mid-section seat, this set of closing events at ILC rates five stars, for one and all participated mightily with hearts and hands and voices. Amen!

--Paul R. Koch, Reporter

Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, Hidewood Township, South Dakota--

100 Years Of God's Grace


In the 1870's and 1880's a number of German Lutheran families came to settle in Hidewood Township in Deuel County, South Dakota. There was no established Lutheran Church in the township. The families first called a Norwegian Lutheran minister in the area to serve them in emergencies. A short time later what was then known as the Minnesota District of the Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States sent a missionary (Boettcher) to Deuel County. Worship services were conducted in private homes and district schoolhouses.

Thus began the history of God's grace at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hidewood Township. In those first years a number of missionaries served Zion (Johl, Luebbert, Hupfer, Schoemperlen, Albrecht). In 1898 under the guidance of a Pastor named Mlotkowski the small group obtained a charter and organized themselves into a congregation. In March 1899 a two-acre site was obtained for a church and a cemetery. The first church was completed and dedicated to the LORD on July 2.

Until 1935 various pastors (John, Adascheck, Ehlert, Kollander, Vollmers, Lehmann) served the congregation. There was a steady growth in membership despite difficulties connected with the Great Depression. In 1936 Pastor Egbert Schaller--a son of Professor John Schaller and the great great uncle of current Pastor Andrew Schaller--accepted Zion's call. Between 1940 and 1957 another five pastors (Kettenacker, Lange, Steffenhagen, Reede, Gieschen) served the Lord and Zion.

A pivotal time in the congregation's history was soon to occur. Early in 1959 Pastor Albert Sippert and a number of families separated themselves from the Wisconsin Synod for doctrinal reasons. Shortly after the split Zion was led to join in fellowship with the newly formed Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Watertown.

Since 1960 Zion and Trinity have shared a pastor. The first pastor under this arrangement was Pastor Chris Albrecht. When the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) was officially formed in 1960, both Zion and Trinity became charter members of the new synod.

Besides Pastor Albrecht, CLC pastors who have served Zion include Daniel Fleischer, Vernon Greve, Paul Gurgel, Michael Thom, Elton Hartmann, and currently--since 1997--Andrew Schaller.

In an afternoon service on October 17, 1999, Zion celebrated its 100th year. Former pastors Daniel Fleischer and Paul Gurgel preached the Word.

In the words of Pastor Andrew Schaller: "This brief history is interesting, but more importantly it shows how the Lord Jesus Christ has surely provided this congregation with faithful pastors for 100 years. . . . May God grant us His grace that we remain faithful to the truth in the next 100 years."

(Drawn together from historical material submitted to the Spokesman--Ed.)



In accord with our usage and order, recent Seminary graduate, Matthew Gurath, who was called as pastor to Faith Lutheran Church of Coloma, Mich., was ordained and installed on June 4, 2000. Pastors David Baker, Mark Bernthal, Timothy Holland, David Schaller, Walter Schaller, and Prof. Roland Gurgel assisted.

--Pastor Todd Ohlmann

Change Of Address

    Bertram and Alice Naumann
    9320 58th Ave. Ct. E.
    Puyallup, WA 98371
    Phone (253) 864-7983

Expression Of Gratitude

The members of our ILC and CLC families surely made my retirement a memorable one. I shall long remember the student performance and presentations on Class Day, the reception after the choir concert, the presentation and retirement purse at the commencement exercises, and the many good wishes, cards, and gifts received from my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was all rather overwhelming, and I thank you for these expressions of Christian love.

And yet, when all is said and done, Christian pastors and teachers must confess: "We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10). It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who is carrying out His kingdom work among us, through His Word and Holy Spirit. Whenever He is able to use us as instruments in His hands, our thanksgiving and praise must ultimately redound to His glory!

I am thankful for the opportunity which the Lord graciously gave me, through your call, to share His Gospel with the students of Immanuel Lutheran College for these many years. May He continue to bless our school in the years to come, for the sake of His precious, saving Name!

Clifford Kuehne