The Lutheran Spokesman (May 1995)

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                   *       May 1995      *
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                      THE GOOD SHEPHERD

                           Psalm 23
                       A Psalm of David

         "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
         He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
           He leadeth me beside the still waters."

In this issue

Your True Voice Keep Focused on the Life to Come Ascension Day Meditation Mother's Day Thoughts Genesis Chapter 24 What is Confirmation A New Professor And I Will Give You Rest Help the Spokesman Speak For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:27- 28)

Your True Voice

Confusion for the consumer is the order of the day when it comes to long distance telephone service. Gone are the days when Ma Bell was the only choice. Now, the competition between carriers has resulted in a hopeless jumble of calling plans and discounts. One major carrier has as its musical motto a claim to be "your true voice." A competitor airs ads that counter "it just doesn't ring true." The contradictory claims and complex offers make it seem impossible to decide who's right. Many people are convinced that the same situation prevails in matters of religion. There are so many different claims, so many contradictory schools of thought on the subject! the general public seems to have concluded that there can be no indisputable truth about God. After all -- one opinion is as good as another, isn't it? A few dollars a month in phone charges is nothing to get overly anxious about. There is not a great deal lost if we are confused about long distance carriers and we don't have the time or inclination to sort it all out. But when it comes to spiritual matters there is an issue at stake that is of far greater magnitude. The difference between truth and error with regard to God and salvation is the difference between eternal life and eternal damnation. It is true that one human opinion about religion is as good as another. Thank God that He has given us HIS OWN truth -- the one "opinion" before which all others must fall! He has given us a "true voice" that we can follow with complete trust and confidence. It is the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Our Lord said: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." Soothing Words In Jesus' day it was common for many shepherds to keep their flocks penned together at night for safety. In the morning each shepherd would come and separate his sheep from the others, simply by calling to them. Recognizing their master's voice, the sheep would follow him - and him only -- out to green pastors and still waters. When, by the Spirit's power, our ears are attuned to our Shepherd's voice alone, we know that He has given us eternal life! His Word in the Holy Scriptures comes through, loud and clear, even above the noisy din of this world's wickedness and idolatry. The true voice of the Good Shepherd tells us that if God were to give us what we deserve, we would suffer eternal punishment. But in soothing words of comfort, this voice assures us that all has been paid, that the Father's demands for justice were satisfied when the Shepherd gave His life for the sheep on Calvary's cross. There are also many false shepherds, imposters, who seek to imitate the master's voice and lead the sheep to slaughter instead of to life. That is why it is so important to hear our Savior's true voice daily, through personal Bible reading and study. That is why it is so important to gather together regularly for mutual support in following the voice of the good Shepherd. We are better able to discern the subtle nuances of the true voice of Jesus as we grow in our knowledge of the Bible. Do you plan to switch long distance carriers soon? If so, you may need to do a lot of homework before you can be sure you've found the best deal. When all is said and done, however, any one of the major services will probably do an adequate job. But when it comes to full forgiveness of sins and eternal life, there is only one choice: "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by my own" (Jn. 10:14). The Word of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is "YOUR TRUE VOICE" in the fullest sense! -- Pastor Bruce Naumann


When a Hollywood actor was asked why he had married and divorced several times, he replied that he could not imagine spending his entire life with only one partner. How could he know that there was not someone else more interesting, more fun, or better suited to him? Behind the thoughts of this actor is the idea that this life and this world are all there is. All that matters is cramming as many experiences as possible into a limited amount of time. All concerns about hurting other people or offending God must be cast aside. Life is governed by the fear of missing out on something. This view of life is hardly new, yet is seems to be growing ever more common. People increasingly talk and live like agnostics who expect nothing -- and apparently fear nothing -- beyond the grave. This view of life and the world has made modern western man worse than a pagan idolator. The one who bows down before an idol of wood or stone is living in darkness, not knowing the true God. Since he doesn't have God's Word, his ideas of right and wrong may be faulty. But his belief in a god who will reward good and punish evil will often keep him from acting on his evil desires. His conduct is at least limited by fear. But the man who believes in no god and no afterlife is limited by nothing by force; he will do whatever he thinks he can get away with. He may well desert his wife, mistreat his child, cheat his neighbor, unhindered by fear. A Joyful Eternity Ahead! The risen and living Savior has freed us from a selfish and self-destructive life. By dying for our sins Jesus revealed the futility of trying to find happiness and satisfaction by fulfilling the desires of the flesh. He showed us that those things are works of death that end in death. By rising to life Jesus won for us eternal life. We don't have to spend our life scratching and clawing, trying to pack everything we can into the few years we have, for we have an eternity of perfect joy ahead of us. We don't have to take anything from anyone in order to have something good for ourselves; Christ has given us eternal life as a gift and in the Gospel offers it to everyone. Because of our focus on the life and world to come, we Christians are often accused of despising and neglecting this life and this world. Far from it. We are the only ones capable of fully appreciating and making the best use of our life here. We recognize that this life is crucial -- that it is a time of grace, given by God to repent and believe in His Son. We know that the time entrusted to us is a precious resource, to be used wisely to serve God who gives it. Though we know all of this, we must confess that the world still has its attraction for us. Because we have the flesh, the world looks like a place to stay rather than a place to pass through. But it only looks good when considered by itself. It can't stand comparison with the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us. So when this world looks good, and you are tempted to make it your home, compare it with what Jesus has promised -- a world without death, sorrow, or pain (Rev. 21:4). Now that's a place to stay. - Pastor John Klatt

An Ascension Meditation --

"While He blessed them .... He was parted from them" (Luke 24:51) When the Lord of the Church has called one of His believers home to Himself, and it remains for the faithful to commit the mortal remains to the ground, it happens sometimes that the survivors gather first in the cemetery. There they bury the body of their loved one, and then all go into the church for the funeral service. How similar to this ancient custom was the first Ascension Day! First the disciples took leave of their Lord, or rather He took leave of them, and then they went back and were continually in the temple worshiping, blessing God. Does that seem strange? It surely had not been the disciples' way forty-three days earlier, when Jesus left them by dying on the cross. That time they had returned from Calvary to cower fearfully behind closed doors. But this time, after losing their best friend, they are in the temple, blessing God continually! Why such joy? They could return to Jerusalem with such joy because Jesus had blessed them. Perhaps we might think, "If I could only have that blessing, then I could be full of joy too, even when I am alone!" But what sort of a blessing was it? We don't have the words of that Ascension Day blessing, but we do have many other blessings of the Lord recorded throughout the New Testament. There Jesus says, through the apostles, for example: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:7) "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love be multiplied." (Jude 2) The Content of Jesus' Blessing Grace...Mercy...Peace...Love -- one of these is a part of practically every blessing spoken in the New Testament, and all of these are the result of the Savior's work. It was the unearned GRACE or favor of God that was shown in sending His only Son to die for us. It was MERCY that saw our needs and moved to help, and still does, from day to day, for Jesus' sake. It was in the blood of Christ that we were cleansed from sin and hostility with God was ended: PEACE. And hereby know we the LOVE of God, that He sent His only Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Grace, mercy, peace, and love -- surely this was also the content of Jesus' blessing on that day. Paul wrote to the Romans: "Now the God of peace be WITH YOU all." Jesus said: "Lo, I am WITH YOU alway, even unto the end of the world." The disciples could return to Jerusalem without a visible Jesus, but with great joy, because even as Jesus had been parted from them, He had raised His hand in blessing. He could still bless them even when parted from them! We often trust our own eyes to tell us whether or not Christ is with us and able to bless us, don't we? But if we stand with the disciples on Ascension Day and see Jesus parted from u, but never stopping His blessing of us, then we too will be able to return to our tasks with great joy and comfort. The disciples had seen that not even the death and burial of their dear Lord had stood in the way of His blessing them with more than they were able to ask or think. They had seen, and so have we through their testimony, that "neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39). The disciples could return to a doomed Jerusalem with great joy because they know, and so do we, that though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us..... He's by our side upon the plain With His good gifts and Spirit. And take they our life, Goods, fame, child, and wife, Let these all be gone, They yet have nothing won; The Kingdom ours remaineth! -- Pastor Paul Schaller

"Mother's Day" Thoughts --

"Do not forsake the law of your mother" Proverbs 6:20 Usually a mother has more influence upon the life of her child than anyone else. That is because it is the mother who is most involved with the early care and training of a child. That early training is critical. Scripture bears that out when it says: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). Since the mother's task is so important, the Lord has given her strong support by insisting that she be honored and heeded. The Fourth Commandment requires that she be honored along with the father. And the proverb counsels: "Do not forsake the law of your mother." But the "law of the mother" is not to be of her personal design or that of others. Many mothers (as well as fathers) have been taken "captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (Col. 2:8/NIV). That is a continuing disaster. We look about us in the world and see the results of children being misguided by parents and others. That is not new. Luther complained about it: "One fool rears another; as they have lived, so will their children live after them." (Large Catechism). God's Word is The Key! The world has produced many philosophies by which people try to lead their lives and to train their children. They wish to free themselves to do as they please. They want no absolutes -- no hard and fast rules. they practice situation ethics -- doing what they think best at the moment. They can always find some excuse for what they do, or else someone to blame. Then there is no guilt, no repentance -- and no help for the individual's greatest problem, sin. Leading children in the world's way is leading them to an eternal dead end. When God tells us to "train up a child," it is to be "in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). It begins with baptism. Then, at an early age, Bible stories with pictures can be used. Sunday School, the Catechism, and confirmation class follow. And all the while there is the example set by the God-fearing mother and father in church attendance and in daily life. When "the law of the mother" is drawn from God's Word, the child does well to heed and not forsake. Then the mother is training the child, not only for this life, but more importantly, for the life eternal. The proverb declares: "A woman who fears the Lord shall be praised" (Prov. 6:20). When the woman is also a mother, she should be especially praised -- for her faith and for her example to her family. May all of our mothers be thus praiseworthy. And may we all give them the praise and honor that God would have us give them. -- Pastor Keith Olmanson


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

Genesis Chapter Twenty-four Two Wrongs Did Not A Birthright Make Jacob and Esau In Genesis 24 we are introduced to Isaac's twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Like Abraham's wife, Sarah, Isaac's wife, Rebekah, was barren for many years. Knowing the promised Savior was to come from his seed, Isaac pleaded with God to bless them with a child. His prayers were answered and Rebekah became pregnant. During her pregnancy Rebekah became concerned when she felt as if a struggle was taking place within her womb. She inquired of the Lord: "Why is this happening to me?" The Lord revealed to her that she had "two nations" within her. He also made known His will that the older child would serve the younger. Normally, in the society of that day, the older son had the position of privilege in the family. It was the firstborn who received a double share of the inheritance and became head of the clan. The day of the birth arrived. Esau, a hairy child with a reddish complexion, was born first. Jacob, meaning "heel- grabber," was born clasping Esau's heel. Each boy grew up and developed different interests and personalities. Esau was an outdoorsman, a skillful hunter. Jacob was a quiet man, preferring indoor work. Unfortunately each parent had a favorite child, for we re told that "Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob." Esau, who apparently still believed he possessed the promises and rights of the firstborn, demonstrated a callous disregard for them through his actions. Once being famished after a long hunt, Esau begged Jacob for some lentil stew. Jacob made Esau swear to sell him his birthright in exchange for a meal. Esau did so. Esau also put his spiritual welfare in jeopardy by marrying two heathen Hittite women who were "a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah." He seemed to attach no real value to the promises of God made to Abraham and Isaac. The Blessing In spite of God's clear command, Isaac still planned to bless Esau as his firstborn. He commanded Esau to go hunting and prepare a meal for him. Overhearing Isaac's plans, Rebekah told Jacob to kill two goats which she would prepare for Jacob to give to his father. To deceive Isaac, she also dressed Jacob in Esau's clothes and placed goatskin on his hands and neck. Isaac, being old and nearly blind, was confused b a person who felt like Esau but sounded like Jacob. After repeatedly lying to his father, Jacob gained his father's confidence and received the birthright and blessing. Shortly afterward, Esau returned from hunting and brought Isaac food, expecting to be blessed. Isaac trembled when it became clear to him how he had been deceived. Esau wept and pleaded for a blessing. Isaac would not bless him, but prophesied that his descendants would lead a rough life and live by the sword. Blinded by anger, Esau plotted vengeance against Jacob. Rebekah instructed Jacob to leave and stay with her relatives until is was safe to return. Lessons For Us This story teaches us several important lessons. First, we should learn from this account that God's will is done despite sinners who try to prevent it. Both Isaac and Esau were wrong in trying to prevent the clear will of God from being done. Isaac allowed his feelings toward his favorite son Esau to stand in the way of his carrying out God's will. Esau, who at one time despised his birthright, was willing later to accept it, despite his knowledge that it was not God's will that he receive it. How often do we, like Esau and Isaac, fight against the will of God for us? How often don't we feel we know better than God what is best for us? Help us, Lord to say and live: "Thy will be done." A second lesson we can learn from this account is that God's will is not accomplished through disobedience to His will. In other words, the end does not justify the means. Both Jacob and Rebekah were wrong in using deceit to obtain the birthright. Rebekah felt that she had to do something, even if it was wrong, in order for God's promise to be fulfilled. Jacob, too, felt he needed to "buy" a birthright that God had already promised him. He felt he needed to lie to his father so God's promise could come true. This lesson is especially relevant in today's world where "situation ethics" is so prevalent; where "right and wrong" is not determined according to the Ten Commandments, but according to the situation one is in at the time. Our God is all- powerful. He does not need or desire for us to sin to accomplish His will. So Isaac and Esau were wrong in fighting against God's will, and Rebekah and Jacob were wrong in feeling it necessary to sin to accomplish God's will. Two wrongs did not a birthright make. However, this account also provides hope to us sinners. We can see how we often commit the same sins as our spiritual forefathers. Despite their faults, the birthright and promise were passed on to Jacob, and through his descendants a Savior was born. This Savior died to atone for their sins and ours. Thanks be to our gracious God whose will is done in spite of us sinners. Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways To keep His statutes still! Oh, that my God would grant me grace To know and do His will! (TLH 416:1) -- Teacher Joseph Lau

What Is Confirmation?

For those of you who were confirmed in the Lutheran Church when you were children, or even when you were adults, that was one day of your life you will never forget! Beginnings The rite or ceremony of confirmation is as old as the Christian church itself. Going all the way back to the time of the first century believers, confirmation was part of the baptism ceremony. Whole families and entire groups of people were being brought into the church, not just children and babies but many adults. Their baptisms would be held on the evening before Easter. They would then be "confirmed" with holy water, prayers, the sign of the cross and the laying on of hands. On Easter morning these newly baptized and confirmed Christians would receive their first communion. As the Christian church grew and became more established throughout the Roman Empire and Europe, fewer adults were being baptized than children. Christian parents brought their babies to the Savior's waiting arms in this sacrament. With more infant baptisms, confirmation became a separate rite or ceremony. Sad to say, the idea gradually emerged that confirmation was a complement to baptism. By the Middle Ages confirmation was greatly desired because people thought it actually bestowed the Holy Spirit. Later confirmation was even considered necessary for salvation, and was made one of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther's Reformation When Luther reformed the church, he didn't change everything, but only those things which were contrary to God's Word and detracted from the Gospel. One thing he abolished was the Roman Catholic sacrament of confirmation. He called it "monkey business," "a fraud," and "humbug." The reason Luther did this was that confirmation did not meet the scriptural guidelines for a sacrament. What is it that makes something a sacrament? From your own days in confirmation class you remember that it had to be instituted by Christ. It has to have a visible means -- like the water in baptism, or the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper. It has to bestow the forgiveness of sins. Confirmation met none of these criteria. Yet Luther was vitally concerned about the instruction of the young in the basic truths of Scripture. So he wrote his Small Catechism, which we still use today as we teach our children the love of the Savior and the truths of the Bible. Originally this book was to be used by fathers in the home -- 16th century "home-schooling." With his catechism Luther wanted to make sure that Christian young people knew what their baptism was all about, and that they were properly prepared to receive the Lord's Supper. Wrong Ideas After Luther died, most Lutherans wanted nothing to do with confirmation. As far as they were concerned the very word itself was Roman Catholic! Yet a great need was recognized for the instruction of the young, especially regarding the Lord's Supper. So a new type of confirmation developed, though it was in no way uniform. There were actually six types of confirmation practiced from Norway to Finland to Germany to the New World. When it comes to confirmation today, the following must be rejected: any view that gives the impression that baptism is not complete in itself; any idea that the covenant God made with us in baptism needs to be renewed later in life; any idea which suggests that baptism does not produce the faith that brings one fully into the membership of the holy Christian Church; and any view that sees the laying on of hands as having some spiritual value. Our Practice Today So what does confirmation mean for us today? There are three essential elements: First, our children are instructed in the gospel of Christ and the truths of Holy Scripture by studying Luther's Small Catechism. They learn the great biblical truths of sin and Christ's salvation from sin. They learn how to live a God- pleasing Christian life in response to God's love. They are prepared to receive the Lord's Supper in a worthy manner. But this instruction is merely a complement to the ongoing instruction that should have been taking place all along in the home. It is a complement to what has been taught throughout the children's earlier years in Sunday School and Christian Day School. Secondly, our children profess their faith through the promises they make. In many of our churches we still have an examination of the confirmands in a service before confirmation itself. They sit in the front of the church and are questioned by the pastor. Sometimes the confirmands read a confession of faith that they have written. The confirmands then confess their faith before the altar, promising to remain faithful to their faithful Lord. The third element in confirmation today is that prayers are offered for them by their fellow believers. We pray that the Holy Spirit will keep our young people faithful to their faithful God and Savior till their dying day. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Confirmation should be a very special time for everyone. We pray that God would keep all of us faithful to Him and His Word until that day when we shall sing His praises together in heaven. -- Pastor Stephen Kurtzahn

Introducing A New Professor

In a special service, held just prior to ILC's annual Christmas concert on December 16, 1994, the Rev. John K. Pfeiffer was installed as Professor of Theology and Social Studies at Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary, Eau Claire, Wis. The service was conducted by the Rev. Michael Sydow, Secretary of the Board of Regents. Pastor Sydow's address was titled: "You Are on the Road Crew for God's Highway." Prof. Pfeiffer was one of seven children born to Pastor David and Adele (nee Gullerud) Pfeiffer. Born near Boyd, Minn., he spent most of his childhood in the small southwestern Minnesota town of Cottonwood. He moved with his family to Arlington, Mass. (suburb of Boston) when he was 13. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1958 and attended Massachusetts State University for one year, majoring in "Wild Life Management" (preparation for his new occupation?) before the Lord let him to follow his father, grandfather, and two uncles into the ministry. He enrolled at ILC while it was still located in Mankato, Minn. and was involved in the preparation of, and move to, the new campus in Eau Claire. It was there that he met his future wife, Barbara, daughter of Pastor and Mrs. L. W. Schierenbeck. He graduated from the Seminary Department in 1967, but did not receive an assignment at that time. He served as campus caretaker until July, when he accepted the call to serve as Assistant Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Mankato. In June 1968 he was united in marriage with Barbara, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Austin, Minn. Little did they know that they would return some 16 years later as pastor and wife. He and Barbara made their home in Mankato for one year, during which she filled in on a part-time emergency basis at Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and he completed his second year there as Assistant Pastor. In June 1969 they moved to Valentine, Neb. where they served Grace of Valentine and Immanuel of Thedford for the next 4 1/2 years. It was there that they were blessed with the birth of their oldest daughter, Sara, who is now completing her final year of the elementary education program at ILC. In January 1974 they moved to Hales Corners, Wis. (suburb of Milwaukee) where they served Messiah congregation for 10 1/2 years. During this time the family grew with the blessed additions of Nathan (now a senior at ILC High School), Rachel (a sophomore), and David (a 7th grader at Messiah Lutheran Grade School in Eau Claire). In July 1984 they found themselves returning to Austin, where they served St. Paul's Lutheran Church and Christian Day School until November 1994, when the Lord let Pastor Pfeiffer to accept the call to joint he faculty of Immanuel Lutheran College. There he will be teaching seminary classes in Old Testament studies, college classes in Hebrew and Social Studies, and high school classes in Religion. A part of the Pfeiffers' hearts has been left in all of the congregations which they have been privileged to serve during the past 27 1/2 years. The special bond that forms between a pastor and his congregations is one of the unique blessings of the pastoral ministry that the entire family will miss! Thanks be to God, that elastic bond of fellowship is firmly intact and still stretches over all those miles and all those years and now has grown to include the students, faculty, and staff of ILC, as well as the members of Messiah Lutheran congregation in Eau Claire. After eight years of sending their children AWAY for the most important benefits of a Christian education, John and Barbara now have welcomed them back into their on-campus home and enjoy the best of both worlds. In looking at the Lord's guiding hand in the life of this new professor and his family, it is interesting to note how He has worked out their lives so that things seem to be ending up where they all began! -- ILC News Item

"...And I Will Give You Rest"

The perfect and eternal rest the Savior promises to all His believers (see Matt. 11:28-30) received the focus of attention at the funeral of Karl Brandle on Tuesday, February 21, 1995. The funeral service was conducted by Pastor Mark Bernthal whom Karl had so ably assisted for many years as assistant pastor at Gethsemane, Saginaw, Michigan. Karl J. Brandle was born in Saginaw on February 20, 1933. He was also baptized and confirmed there, his confirmation verse being the comforting words of the Savior: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." The Lord led Karl to deepen his understanding of the Christian faith by attendance at Michigan Lutheran Seminary (high school) in Saginaw, and Northwestern College in Watertown, Wis. In 1958 he was graduated from the Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis., and the same year (June 21) he was united in holy wedlock with Margaret Larsen. Karl proclaimed publicly the perfect and eternal rest that is in Jesus during his years in the ministry. His first pastorate was at Lake City, Minn. In obedience to the Word of God he was moved to leave his former fellowship and join the Church of the Lutheran Confession. After several months of secular employment he was called to St. Paul's of Winner. So. Dak. in May 1962. In 1967 he and his family moved to Saginaw and joined Gethsemane Lutheran Church. He twice served the congregation as its vacancy pastor. Since 1984 he had owned and operated a printing business in Saginaw. Karl was received into the perfect rest that Jesus gives on Friday, February 17, at the age of 61 years. Left to mourn his passing, yet also to rejoice in his salvation, are his wife Margaret; his daughters and their spouses, Kathy and Dan Barthels (Saginaw, Mich.), Susan and Gary Meyer, and Sara and Michael Schierenbeck (Eau Claire, Wis.); two sons, David Brandle, and Michael Brandle and his fiance Kathryn Peterson of Eau Claire. There are eleven grandchildren. One son, Timothy, preceded his father in death. "We give thanks to our Lord for His many blessings showed upon our brother in Christ during his earthly journey. We also thank our Lord for the glorious rest and peace that Karl now enjoys in his heavenly home..." (Gethsemane Church bulletin). -- Pastor Paul Fleischer

From the Editor's Desk --


IT'S RENEWAL TIME! The Lutheran Spokesman is printed in just one language, but it speaks both near and far. The monthly fun is just short of 2500 copies. Thirty-four states and seven foreign countries (Finland, Nigeria, Australia, Denmark, West Germany, Canada, Japan) are included among the addresses to which this magazine is mailed each month. Most issues mailed to foreign addresses, and a few in the states, are sent "gratis" -- that is, free -- such as to synodical leaders and religious (mostly Lutheran) college and seminary libraries. In a few cases another publication is received in return. The CLC's theological quarterly, the Journal of Theology, has this exchange arrangement with more addresses than does the Spokesman. Due to this exchange our Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in Eau Claire is the recipient of a variety of religious publications. So that the editor and the CLC President can help the Spokesman speak they each receive a few extra gratis copies each month. So do our college and high school in Eau Claire and the Lutheran high school in Mankato. We are happy to supply gratis copies, but we do want, and need, subscriptions! Help the Spokesman speak by subscribing for yourself and someone else! Have you or your congregation considered placing the Lutheran Spokesman for public exposure in such places as your local libraries, medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes? We do it in Sleepy Eye. We go back each month to leave the new issue and pick up the old. Lately the old has been missing occasionally. We are happy for that. Was someone's heart touched, perhaps, by a Gospel article they read? (It is a good idea to stamp your church's or pastor's name to the copies left here and there. The reader might like to make contact). Reading Without Blushing In the last few months we have received notes of appreciation. From a teacher: "In our house, as always, we read the Spokesman from cover to cover in one sitting. Our only problem is who gets it first, my wife or I. We thought the (last one) was special..." From a lay-person; "...I want to tell you that I admire the format of the Spokesman. I think it is a very satisfactory monthly magazine for a church body. When more money is available, many unnecessary things are done. I am trying to say that a magazine with this format would be sufficient for .... (other Lutheran synods are names)..." From a pastor who recently joined the synod by colloquy: "For some time I have told people that the Spokesman is the only Lutheran magazine I can read without blushing." And again: "I have thought for years it was the best Lutheran periodical." We know such opinions are highly subjective. We and our staff have no illusions about our editorial or journalistic capabilities. No doubt there are ways our magazine could be enhanced format-wise, though appearance is not a high priority with us. In fact, though "experts" suggest that blank space is attractive to the reader, we purposely try to get as much ink as possible on the 16 monthly pages. Besides using pictures and highlighted sentences as page-breakers, our over-riding concern has been and remains the content of the magazine. We want to print articles which are true to the Bible passage on the covers of the earliest Spokesman volumes: "The Scripture cannot be broken" (Jn. 10:35). On occasion we have received constructive criticism too, Very seldom, however, regarding content. That suggests to us that most of our readers receive benefit -- scriptural and spiritual edification -- from our modest monthly offering. When the Lutheran Spokesman speaks, we hope our readers hear the Scriptures speak. We will not need to blush so long as we achieve that goal. Spokesman on Audio Tape While talking about the Spokesman speaking, let us mention again its availability on audio-tape. Pastor Walter Schaller of St. Lukes's Lemmon, So. Dak. undertook this monthly task for the sake of a visually impaired member. He has graciously volunteered to commit himself to this time- consuming project monthly for any subscribers beyond his local congregation. Another use has been found for the monthly audio-tapes. Pastor Schaller tells us that some busy folk have ordered them for "easy listening" in the car on the way to work or on vacation. Good idea. Another way to help the Spokesman speak! Consider subscribing to the monthly audio-tape for yourself or someone else. The new buy still very reasonable rate is $10.00 for each audio-tape annual subscription. Order directly from Pastor Walter Schaller, 100 4th St. W., Lemmon, SD 57638/ -- Pastor Paul Fleischer