The Lutheran Spokesman (June 1995)
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* L u t h e r a n *
* S P O K E S M A N *
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* June 1995 *
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I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST
"I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe
in Jesus Christ, my Lord, nor come to him.
But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me
with His gifts, sanctified and kept mt in the true faith.
In like manner as He calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies the
whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ
in the one true faith.
In which Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all sins
to me and all believers.
And will at the last day raise up me and all the dead, and give
unto me and all believers in Christ eternal life.
This is most certainly true."
-- Luther's explanation to the Third Article
In this issue
We Now Implore God The Holy Ghost
How Much Of The Holy Spirit?
New Creatures In Christ
Gems From Proverbs
Violence At Abortion Clinics
How Every Christian Serves His Country
Sickle Cell Anemia And Other "Good" Mutations Of Evolution
Vacation Bible School At North Port, Florida
Vacation Bible School At Ascension Lutheran Church, DuPont, WA
For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.
Or do we? How often do we use the word "implore" anymore? "Implore"
seems to fall into a category with ideas like "appeal", "beg",
"petition", -- all of which suggest that the implorer/appellant/
beggar/petitioner is empty, desolate, impotent.
Perhaps a more popular translation might be phrased: "We Currently
Requisition God..." As a society we're not very comfortable with
the idea of beggarliness. We favor terms like "empowerment", "leverage",
"human potential" -- anything that implies that we have some sort of
bargaining power that will win another's favor.
It's not surprising that this is the case in our convenience-oriented
society. Speed, ease, and efficiency are the key words for many. I
have friends who tend to think that anybody who's somebody must have
an e-mail address. If you don't have one -- if you don't even know
what e-mail is -- don't feel bad. The Holy Spirit doesn't have one
either. And He gets along just fine without it.
Beware Of Obstacles
But how well do we do without the Holy Spirit? The indwelling of the
Holy Spirit is the heart of true fellowship with God. The Corinthians
were told that, while His gifts are many, His primary gift is the
creation of true faith: "no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by
the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3). Conversely, He is described to the
Romans as "the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father"
(Rom. 8:15). In other words, He makes both input (knowledge of the
Lord) and output (the gift of prayer) possible for us.
Clearly then it is of interest to us to receive the Holy Spirit. But
that is where we must beware of obstacles to His coming -- obstacles
that are fundamental to human nature. The book of Acts gives us an
exmaple in the case of Simon (chapter 8:9-15).
Simon was known as "The Sorcerer" because he had astonished the people
of Samaria with his black arts. When Philip arrived in town, preaching
the gospel of the kingdom of God and verifying his testimony of Christ
with miracles and signs, Simon believed, and was even baptized.
But a little while later the apostles arrived and laid their hands on
the new believers in apostolic blessing. The Holy Spirit came on the
Samaritan church, evidently with some visible manifestation, perhaps
as on Pentecost.
At this point Simon's blacker instincts took control. He saw the power
of the Holy Spirit as an opportunity to increase his influence with
the people (and most likely the size of his bank account). He
approached the apostles, cash in hand, saying, "Give me this power also,
that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit."
The response could hardly be called a "polite refusal": "Your money
perish with you, because you thought the gift of God could be purchased
with money..." The case of Simon is a crass example, but in its finer
forms such a rejection from the Lord comes to all those who suppose
they either merit the graces of the Holy spirit, or desire them for
less than God-glorifying purposes.
Which brings us back to the question of praying for the Holy Spirit.
The word bitten in the original wording of Luther's hymn (TLH
231) means "ask", "beg", and yes, "implore". The coming and working
of the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the nature of the kingdom of
Grace -- a kingdom where spiritual beggars, appealing to God for mere
morsels of mercy, are stunned to find themselves heirs of the whole
The Holy Spirit is Christ's gift to all who come to this conviction
that we have nothing -- nothing but Christ, whose righteousness alone
justifies us before God. For that reason we often will want to test our
thoughts and goals for their true motives: a pastor, for instance, does
well to take a moment to consider whether he prepares his words to win
the admiration of his listeners, or to convict sinful hearts and edify
the penitent with the gospel. A church member will consider: does he
or she interact with fellow members with the mind of a helpless one
who has been helped by God, or are stubbornness or pettiness allowed
to quench the Spirit?
At roughly the same time as Simon's attempt to play "Let's Make A Deal"
for the Holy Spirit, there was another man, astonished, waiting,
blinded by a heavenly light. Saul had reason to be afraid, since
until now he had violently opposed the doctrine of Jesus as the Christ.
He had once considered himself a Pharisee's Pharisee; now he was the
poorest of the poor. He could only pray that the Lord be merciful to
There was a knock at the door. A man was led into Saul's room. He
came with only words, and a gift: "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who
appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may
receive your sight and be fulled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:17).
Shine in our heart, O most precious Light,
That we Jesus Christ may know aright,
Clinging to our Savior, whose blood has brought us
Who again to our homeland hath bro't us.
Lord, have mercy! (TLH 231:2)
Those readers who never experience difficulty in initiating a
discussion about our Savior with strangers sitting next to them on
the plane, or with unbelievers working at their side or even sharing
their home may skip this item and go on the the next. This article
is intended for those who, like the writer, ever need more help in
their daily life of sanctification, and especially in becoming more
effective in witnessing to others.
What is our problem? Scripture strongly suggests that a major part
of the difficulty may be that we do not have enough of the Holy
Spirit. Some may protest this, pointing out that they were baptized
in infancy, and that in the Sacrament the Holy Spirit worked faith
in Jesus as their Savior, and that they have the assurance of
Scripture that the same Spirit has been living withing their bodies
since that time, sustaining and strengthening their faith through
both the Word and Sacrament. How then can it be suggested that they
may not have enough of God's Spirit?
How Much Of The Spirit Do We Need?
Consider the case of the disciples of Jesus. They too had been
baptized. The Holy Spirit had worked faith in their hearts, and
dwelt within the temple of their bodies. When Christ asked their
opinion as to who He was, the Spirit moved Peter to make the glorious
confession: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" He was
ready to take the sword to physically defend His Savior from His
But was he ready to witness to Christ in the face of the icy blast of
the world's histile unbelief? A servant girl, probably a slave, was
enough to unnerve Peter completely in the courtyard of the high priest
by observing: "You also were with Jesus, the Galilean." What an
opportunity was presented to Peter for witnessing! Yet, though he
had received three years of the best possible seminary training under
pressure Peter was capable of nothing more than an abject denial of
even knowing who Christ was.
When the faith and zeal of the eleven was eventually revived by their
resurrected Lord's bodily appearances before them, they took renewed
interest in the things pertaining to His kingdom. The Lord
commissioned them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to
every creature. They may have thought they were ready to begin
spreading the good news of the resurrection immediately, but the
Lord knew they were still not fully equipped to make that witness,
"He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the
promise of the Father". Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus told
them what they needed to wait for: "You shall receive power when the
Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in
Jersulam, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth"
Now look at the new Peter, after he had been filled with the
Holy Spirit! When hauled before the authorities and ordered "not to
speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus" Peter and John answered
them: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you
rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of
what we have seen and heard".
How Much Of The Spirit Do We Have?
Only to the perfect, sinless Man, Jesus, has God given the Spirit
without measure (Jn. 3:34). To others, the Spirit is given by
measure. The Old Testament has many references telling how the
"Spirit of God came upon" Gideon, Samson, David and others when
God empowered them to perform some special service for Him. In
the New Testament we are told that on Pentecost all of the believers
in Jerusalem "were filled with the Holy Spirit", suggesting
that they were given as much of the Spirit as they could contain.
All of God's people today also receive the Holy Spirit, but in
Do you need more of the Holy Spirit to empower you to carry on a
more active role in wetnessing to your Savior? The amount of the
Holy Spirit available to you in any area of your sancified life is
not fixed. You can obtain more of the Spirit. God wants
you to have more. Jesus said: "If you then, though you are evil, know
how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your
Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Notice that the Lord is not here making this promise to people who are
still unconverted. Since such do not pray to the Father through
Jesus, they cannot even pray successfully. He is promising this to
those who already believe in Christ and have the Spirit,
assuring them that He wants them to have more and will give them
more when they ask for this important blessing.
How Can We Get More Of The Holy Spirit?
The key to receiving more of this best of all gifts is an open line
of communication between us and the Holy Spirit. We have this
when we spend much time speaking to Him in prayer and also
regularly permit Him to speak to us though His Work in our
public worship and in our private study of the Scriptures.
When our prayer for a larger measure of the Spirit is graciously
answered, our hunger for even more of that essential blessing will
move us to keep coming back with requests for ever greater portions.
Coveting is not always wrong. "Covet earnestly the best gifts!"
Paul exhorts us (1 Cor. 12:31). When we covet a greater measure
of the Holy Spirit, we are pleading for more of the source of all
How Much Of The Holy Spirit Do We Want?
We don't really need to worry about being too greedy in our prayers
for more of the Spirit. Why not? Because our sinful flesh would
sooner have us get the seven-year itch than have us get more of the
Spirit. Our flesh wants us to forget about praying for more
of the Holy Spirit. It wants us to think that we already have a
great plenty of Gods's Spirit. "For the sinful nature desires what
is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the
sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do
not do what you want" (Gal. 5:17).
So then, "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). And let the prayer
for a larger measure of the Spirit be among your most urgent
requests. Then you will have the boldness to rise to the occasion
when the Lord leads someone to sit next to you on the plane that
desperately needs the testimony you are equipped to give.
And about your unspiritual coworker. Have you ever thought about
this, that because of your close relationship with him and because
of his respect for you and your way of life he may be more ready to
listen to a witness about Christ from you than from anyone else?
"... How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask Him!"
-- Pastor Norbert Reim
Studies in Second Corinthians
The Paradox Of The Gospel Ministry
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence
of the power may be of God and not of us. (We are) hard pressed on
every side, yet not crushed; (we are) perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always
carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life
of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are
always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus
also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working
in us, but life in you" (2 Cor. 4:7-12).
In the Old Testament God whittled the army of Gideon down from 33,000
to 300 men. The reason God did this is so that Israel would not
boast of itself or in its military might. This battle belonged to
the Lord. In chapter one the apostle Paul spoke of Jesus and the
cross as foolishness and a stumbling block. Paul also spoke of
those whom God called to be His own: "But God has chosen the
foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has
chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things
which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things
which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to
bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in
His presence" (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
Jars Of Clay
The paradox of the Gospel ministry is that this glorious treasure of
the Gospel is contained in jars of clay. The contrast between the
gospel of Christ and the person of those who preach Christ could not
be any more emphatic. One reason that God chose us to serve as
ministers of the Gospel is so that the empasis would always be on
Christ and the power of God.
God chose real sinners with real weaknesses to be ambassadors for
Christ. The lowliness of the Gospel ministry is obvious. In an
age which stresses style over substance and equates numbers and
growth with success, our ministry stands out as one of lowliness
As believers and a church body we are jars of clay. The box that
contains the diamond is unimportant. Often treasures were kept
in the most common of carriers (clay pots) so that thieves would
not be alerted to the real value of the treasure. You are a
fragile container for the treasure of the Gospel. Every true
Christian should be autely aware of his personal sinfulness and
unworthiness. The believer stands in his personal corner and
without lifting up his eyes cries out, "Lord, be merciful to me,
the sinner." Every child of God confesses his personal sinfulness
and his sins of commision and omission to God. God has chosen
forgiven sinners to proclaim the forgiveness of sins. Only a
forgiven sinner could convey the joy of the gospel in word and in
his personal life.
Every pastor because of his human weakness and fragileness is a
jar of clay. Sometimes our own perceived inabilities cause us to
despair and wonder. A young pastor is at first surprised when in
marriage counseling, people do not seem to do what he clearly tells
them to do. Membership losses within a congregation can cause
a period of painful self-examination. I am convinced that when
things are going well within a congregation, a pastor gets too much
credit; and when things go badly, a pastor receives a disproportionate
share of the blame. Each of us needs to recognize our own areas
of weakness, whether it is in preaching clearly or whether it is
a difficulty in getting along with people. Some of us have
physical weaknesses that cause us problems in the ministry.
Glory In The Lord
Paul describes the jar of clay that is our ministry: we are hard
pressed on every side, crushed, preplexed, persecuted, struck
down. All of this is so that the attention of lost sinners is
not directed toward us but is always centered on Jesus Christ.
It would be a depressing contradiction to center people's attention
on our religious experience and life, as the evangelical movement
does. The Lutheran pastor is not a super-star that attracts
people to the gospel. All of this is for the purposes of
showing that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from
us. We add nothing to the power of the gospel. If anyone in the
ministry glories, let him glory in the Lord.
Our ministry and its weakness constantly focus the attention of
the people on Jesus and the power of His cross. It is a blessed
comfort to realize that whatever good is accomplished in our
ministry is accomplished by the power of the gospel of Jesus
Christ. This needs to be realized by every pastor and then
communicated to those who hear the message we proclaim. The
message of the gospel is more important that the person of the
We need to emphasize the preaching of Christ and His cross in our
ministry. The paradox of the Gospel is that God has given us this
glorious treasure of forgiveness and life in jars of clay.
Therefore we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
"We have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are
sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from
ourselves, but our suffiency is from God" (2 Cor. 3:4-5).
Preserve this ministry
While harvest-days are keeping;
And since the fields are white
And hands are few for reaping,
Send workers forth, O Lord,
The sheaves to gather in
That not a soul be lost
Which Thou art come to win.
-- Pastor John Schierenbeck
"Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor"
There is much mocking of sin these days. It is the subject of jokes
for stand-up comedians. Sins are spoken of as things thoroughly
delightful, as though the greatest pleasures in life are to be found
in those things that God has forbidden. New names are found for old
sins to make them sound less evil, or even good.
Those who treat sin in such ways are indeed fools, for they deceive
themselves about the nature of sin and its consequences. They act
as though sin were nothing when it is an offense against God which
He will surely judge.
But our proverb says even more than this. The Hebrew word here
translated "sin" is used most often of an offering or sacrifice for
sin. Whoever makes light of sin also makes light of offerings made
to God to atone for sin, especially the offering of Christ who gave
Himself to God as an offering for our sins when He suffered and died
on the cross.
If sin is nothing -- a laughing matter -- then the sacrifice of
Christ is unnecessary, something to be treated with scorn. And
whoever mocks at Christ's sacrifice is, more than anyone, worthy to
be called a fool, for he treats with contempt the only source of
deliverance from death and damnation.
The opposite of a fool, according to our proverb, is an upright person.
And the word "upright" must be understood in the context of Scripture.
An upright person is not just a person who leads an outwardly upright
life, who is a law-abiding citizen or a good neighbor. An upright
person is one who is upright in the sight of God, not just in the
opinion of his neighbors.
There is only one way to be truly upright and that is to be justified
by faith in Jesus Christ.
Among the upright "there is favor". The upright -- those who are
justified before God by faith in His Son -- have God's own favor
resting on them. God is pleased with them, not because they are
naturally better than others, but because they have been cleansed of
all their sins by the precious blood of Christ. The upright enjoy
God's favor and need never fear that He is angry with them or that
He will punish them. In all their life they can be confident that
He will deal with them in love.
The modern way to deal with sin is to downgrade it. People try to
deal with their guilt before God by belittling their own sins. But
those who do so only insule God by denying the rightness and holiness
of His law, and they make a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ, made
to atone for sin.
It is a temptation for all of us to try to deal with our sins this way,
to try to excuse our faults rather than confess them. May we rather
confess the fullness and greatness of our guilt and trust in Christ,
so that the favor of God may rest on us.
-- Pastor John Klatt
A word of clarification perhaps needs to be given regarding violence,
and even murder, at abortion clinics by pro-life activists. No, we
are not for it!
In "The Diary of a Fetus" in our January issue we used what some might
call inflammatory rhetoric when we quoted Revelation 21:8 which says:
"But ... murders ... shall have their part in the lake which burns with
fire and brimstone, which is the second death." We do indeed
believe that those who perform abortions, and/or consent to them,
are guilty of murder and stand in need of repentance. There can
be no other conclusion for those who believe, as we do, that life
as a creation of God begins at conception. However, the warning of
the eternal fate of murderers applies also to those who claim to have
a justifiable reason to commit it.
Some segments of the pro-life movement are now rationalizing violence
and even murder at abortion clinics claiming that they are involved
in a "war" to save the unborn. We disagree with the convoluted
logic which would condone violence and murder in the name of the
Creator-God. In a "just war" killing is, of course permissible on
the part of Christians in the armed services. But to claim abortion
clinics are battle sites in a "just war" won't wash for those who
recognize that, whether we agree with the law or not, abortion has
been made legal in America.
In other words, it is not for us to "play God". We desire to
educate people as to the serious nature and consequences of the
abortion-act, but in doing this we are not suggesting that God
would have us take the law into our own hands in His defense.
"Vengeance is mine, and recompense" says the Lord through Moses
(Deut. 32:35). This principle of divine retribution is repeated
at least twice in the New Testament (see Romans 10:19, Hebrews 12:30).
Almighty God can and will defend His own honor when, and as, He sees
fit. He sent judgment on the fallen world with the Noahic flood, and
on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone. He
met the challenge to His honor, for example, with Pharaoh in Egypt,
and Nebuchadnezzer in Babylon.
Our hearts hurt for every child who is an abortion victim. We heard
an updated figure in the last month to the effect that abortions
nationwide are down from the daily average of 4,400 to "only" 2,500.
The reason given for this down-turn is that "the message of pro-lifers
is getting through".
This is bittersweet news. We dare not allow this good news to
desensitize our consciences to the evil that is the murder of even
one unborn child. Within the legal boundaries open to us, we must
not desist from speaking out in behalf of those who cannot speak
for themselves (see Prov. 31:8-9).
-- Pastor Paul Fleischer
From June 1965: How Every Christian Serves His Country
When Christians get to feel the world's hostility -- the "hatred"
that Jesus said should not amaze us -- they are often tempted to
withdraw. The urge is to colonize; to seek out your own with whom
to work and among whom to live.
Perhaps, but it is not the Savior's way. When He said GO He scattered
His people like seed on the vast acre of the world. There is no
Bible directive for a Geneva plan, or church controlled state, as John
Calvin sought to establish. Nor is there in Scripture an "Amana" plan
for a religious colony. We are to be in the world, while not of it.
This is, of course, a harder way. But it is the only way in which our
society can be preserved during its time of grace ... by the salt-like,
preserving character of the believers within it.
Should a Christian seek a position of influence in government, business,
the arts, and the professions? Will the world have him? The
surprise answer is Yes! Fact is, the world is often quick
to appreciate the value of the gifts with which the Spirit enriches
the children of God. In one midwestern town the business and
professional men regularly gave priority interviews to the graduates
of a local Lutheran high school, even though this school was not as
well equipped or as completely staffed as others in the community.
You know why. The qualities of honesty, diligence, loyalty, and
unselfishness all mean a great deal to any employer. You may not
be sought after because of your faith in Christ, but you may very
well be wanted for your natural and spiritual gifts.
The president of a substantial Wisconsin business firm was asked
whether he found it hard to hold his position without being a member
of one of the lodges which are supposed to hold the keys to power
positions. His answer was, "If you have what the world wants, you
are in. If you don't, even the lodge grip wouldn't get you very
Egypt had no love for Joseph's God, but it wanted what Joseph had,
and it prospered throught his Spirit-given abilities. There is no
hint that Nebuchadnezzar or Darius of Persia ever bowed their knees
to Daniel's God, but both were pleased to entrust their most vital
governmental powers to this great Jewish statesman.
Should a Christian seek office in government? It will not be easy
for him to maintain his Christian integrity (as Daniel found out),
but this is no valid reason for withdrawing from opportunity. The
world needs the services of God's children for survival. And it
needs this service on every level in every department.
The world as our Lord speaks of it is so large, while we are
so small and so few. Can we possibly be of substantial influence in
it? Remember, it takes but a little salt to flavor and preserve the
bulk of a ham; it takes but a small source of light to overcome the
darkness of a room. Let us be what we are. What the effect will
be is not our concern. Only do not let us hide our convictions, no
matter how high or exposed our position might be.
The experience of Abraham's nephew Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah offers
a vivid illustration. Peter tells us that Lot was vexed in his
soul, day after day, by what he saw. Since he "sat in the gate" of
Sodom, we may assume that he was active in local politics, for this
expression was used for what we would call the city council. At the
time of the angels' visit, he sought desperately to restrain the
townspeople, whom he called his brethren, from committing the vice
of "sodomy" and so became the victim of their taunts and fury.
Did Lot accomplish anything for these twin cities of vice? His
disgust and his rebukes did not change anything, to be sure. And
we are not told that he was able to sponsor any legislation to
curb the delinquency. We know from Genesis, however, that those
cities would have been spared the frightful judgment of fire and
brimstone if there had been only ten people like Lot living
there! (Gen. 18:32) So we may know that any Christian
citizen may serve his country in at least two ways. The fact of
his being there, for one thing, is enormously important.
And being there as a person who is obviously vexed in his soul by
the evil around him ... this may also help. The sins of our
times must be reproved by God's people, for the world as such makes
light of them. To whatever extent the world may then be restrained
from course outburst of sin by such witness, to that extent the world
is also granted a continuation of its time for repentance.
Quite a service to perform, is it not?
Let us be busy in thus serving our nation wherever we may live
or work. Take courage from the prayer of Jesus, whose Savior-heart
is filled with concern for His people as they fulfull their dangerous
mission "out there". "I pray not that thou shouldst take them out
of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil"
-- Rollin A. Reim
The marvelous ability of all living things to reproduce themselves
after their kind is one of the most distinctive properties of life.
This reproductive ability depends in part on a vast collection of
precise genetic instructions, called genes (about 100,000 in humans),
that reside in every cell of each living organism. It is believed
that these genes provide the instructions necessary for not only the
assembly and function of each cell, but also for all the organs and
even the entire body! A complete set of these instructions is
stored in the chromosomes, inside the nucleus of the cell.
The survival of every living species depends on its ability to pass
on its precious genetic instructions, from generation to generation,
without significant alteration. First, all of the genetic
instructions must be precisely duplicated and passed on by the germ
cells to enable the birth of each new individual. Then, from the
very first cell of a new individual (a fertilized egg), the genetic
instructions must be accurately duplicated for the subsequent
production of every cell that makes up the whole organism -- about
30 trillion cells (of several hundred different kinds) in the case
of our own body! This process must continue throughout life in
order to support growth and repair, as well as to replace cells
that are continually dying. The red blood cells of our body, for
example, are being produced at the rate of about two million per
second, to replace older cells which ary dying at the same rate!
If a species is to survive, the frequent duplication of its
genetic instructions must occur with great precision. There are,
in fact, several error-checking mechanisms in living cells that
help to ensure the accuracy of their gene duplication. But even
if copy errors are avoided, errors can still occure when the cell
is not dividing or reproducing. We call such errors that creep
into the genetic instructions of a cell mutations. There
are several kinds of chemicals, viruses, and radiations that are
known to cause mutations. Ultraviolet light from the sun, for
example can cause mutations in our skin, resulting in a benign form
of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. Cancer is so closely
associated with mutations that the terms carcinogenic
(cancer-causing) and mutagenic (mutation-causing) are
essentially synonymous. Nonetheless, evolutionists insist that
some mutations are beneficial and lead to the gradual improvement
of a species!
Chance mutations amount to random changes in the highly complex
and integrated genetic instructions of the cell. Such changes
would be no more likely to improve a living cell (or organism)
than would a random interchange of connections in a television
be likely to improve the picture. Although some mutations have
no noticeable effect, many are harmful and even fatal. Mutations
are so harmful, in fact, that the very survival of all living
organisms (from bacteria to man) depends on a complex biochemical
mechanism in each cell that identifies mutations as they occur --
and repars them! This marvelous mutation repair mechanism
involves an integrated sequence of special enzymes that actually
cut out the erroneous (mutant) parts of each gene, and then splice
in correct patches. The whold field of "genetic engineering" is
based on the discovery, and use, of these naturally occuring
"cutting" and "splicing" enzymes.
The importance of mutation repair to human life can be appreciated
by examining what happens when it doesn't work properly. There is
a human desease called xeroderma pigmentosum, which results from
a single defect (itself a mutation) in the complex mutation repair
process. This is a hereditary disease, in which the skin and other
tissues react in a hypersensitive way to any form of radiant energy.
When people suffering from this disorder are exposed to sunlight or
x-rays, for example, they develop progressive degenerative changes
(more mutations) which lead to cancer, including the often fatal
Regrettably, some mutations manage to escape even the normally
functioning repair process, and these accumulate throughout life.
Some scientists have proposed that aging and death are the result
of such unrepaired mutations. It is hard to imagine that anyone
could find something good to say about unrepaired mutations --
except evolutionists. Evolutionists, you see, believe that
mutations (and even death itself) are absolutely essential for the
chance evolution of all living organisms, including man! The
reason for this, as evolutionist Theodocious Dobzhansky points out,
is that "the process of mutation is the only know source of the
new materials of genetic variability, and hence evolution (American
Scientist 45:385)." Thus evolutionist Carl Sagan could say in
his book, The Cosmic Connection, "we (humans) are the products
of a long series of biological accidents".
Are biological accidents (mutations) up to the task that evolutionists
claim for them? Are there any known examples of unquestionably
"beneficial" mutations? Ironically, the primary textbook example of
a "good" mutation is one that cause the disease sickle cell anemia!
This mutation of blood hemoglobin is considered "good" because people
who have it (and survive it!) are more resistant to the disease
malaria. The symptoms of this "good" mutation include: acute
attacks of abdominal and joint pain, ulcers on the legs, defective
red blood cells, and severe anemia -- often leading to death. One
can only imagine what the "bad" mutations are like! No wonder that
H. J. Mueller, who won the Nobel prize for his work on mutations, said:
"It is entirely in line with the accidental nature of mutations that
extensive tests have agreed in showing the vast majority of them
detrimental to the organism in its job of suviving and reproducing --
good ones are so rare we consider them all bad" (Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists 11:331Genetics and the Origin
of Species, Dobzhansky admits that mutations arising both in the
labratory and in the natural populations typically produce deterior-
ation, disease, and monstrosities. He even concedes that "such changes,
it would seem, can hardly serve as evolutionary building blocks." Yet
in his book Mankind Evolving, Dobzhansky insists that, "This
is not inconsistent with the recognition that useful mutations did
occur in the evolutionary line which produced man, for otherwise,
obviously, mankind would not be here". Such child-like and un-
questioning faith is not found in all Christendom. Think about, it,
chance mutations or intelligent design -- which explanation of the
orgin of the incredible complexity of life requires greater faith?
-- Dr. David N. Menton
This year was the first ever VBS at the Church of the Lutheran
Confession in North Port, Florida. The teachers were Judy Stewart,
Guilda Mitchell, Dorothy Garcia, and Pastor Stewart.
Our congregation is made up largely of retired folks, some of whom
were a bit unsure about starting a VBS program. Would it be an
effective outreach and worth the effort? Would it be too expensive?
Would we be overwhelmed with children and be unable to handle them?
Shouldn't we limit enrollment to 20 or 25 before we begin? Yet even
with all these questions, the vote was unanimous to begin.
All the fears and doubts were unfounded, of course. The Lord sent
the children, the helpers, and the funds to cover the costs of lessons
and crafts. And He sent the Holy Spirit and joy for our hearts. And
what a joy it was to teach Christ and Him crucified in lessons, songs,
crafts, and games!
We have made a beginning. Our only disappointment was that some of the
families who planned to attend were away on vacation or were otherwise
unable to participate. So we pray that the VBS of the Summer of '95
will show their bright and shining faces in our picture of the joy of
learning about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
-- Pastor Karl Stewart
One of the most rewarding and encouraging means of mission outreach
conducted last year by our mission church, Ascension Lutheran, was
their Vacation Bible School. Since the Community Center, which is
used for worship, also functions as City Hall on the weekdays, there
were no facilities available for a VBS. Plans were made to conduct the
school in the village park, and prayers were made that the weather
would allow this type of endeavor. The Lord blessed western Washington
with beautiful August weather during the week and each day there were
10-13 children in attendance.
Little Rock, Arkansas
A CLC member in Little Rock, Arkansas would like to know of other CLC
members in that area. For more information please contact Pastor
Joel Fleischer, 811 South First Street, Lamar, CO 81052
CLC Members in the Amarillo, Texas area, or their pastors, are
encouraged to contact Pastor Joel Fleischer, 811 South First Street,
Lamar, CO 81052. Regular pastoral visits are being made to the
Minnesota Delegate Conference
Date: Sunday, June 11, 1995
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Faith Lutheran Church, Nicollet, Minnesota
* Coordinating Council Reports
* "The Benefit of Continuting to Convey the Founding Principles
of our Church Body" -- Pastor W. Mielke
* "Reasons Underlying the Incorporation of Congregations"
-- Loren Borgwardt
-- Rick R. Grams, Secretary
Applications for Colloquy
Craig Owings, a member of Ascension in DuPont, Washington, has applied
for colloquy, desiring to enter the teaching ministry of the CLC.
Please send correspondence to the President by June 19, 1995.
-- Daniel Fleischer, President
Roland H. Gurgel has applied for colloquy for the purpose of entering
the mininstry of the CLC. Any correspondence regarding this request
should be in the hands of the President by June 19.
-- Daniel Fleischer, President
David Lundin, a member of St. Matthew's in Dallas, Texas, has applied
for colloquy, desiring to enter the teaching ministry of the CLC.
Please send correspondence to the President by June 19, 1995.
-- Daniel Fleischer, President