Our Hope Is In The Lord

As this article is being written the United States is in the final month of the campaign for the general elections that are to take place on November 7. By the time you read this, the elections may well be over and the contests decided--including the one for President of the United States.

No matter who wins, there will be some who will be pleased and others who will be disappointed. Those who are pleased at the results may look for great things from the new President. Those who are disappointed may be fearful of what the new President might do and how it might affect the country.

No one can predict with complete certainty how this election will turn out. But one thing is certain: things will not change greatly for the better because of it. No matter who is in office or no matter what program is passed into law, human nature will not improve. The world will remain the wicked world until the end of time. There will be no golden age as the result of political action.

This is not an opinion or observation, but the judgment of God revealed in His Word.

What the Scriptures say about the future of this present world does not inspire confidence in it or optimism concerning it. Jesus says that the world to which He will return for judgment will be like the godless ancient world that God destroyed with a flood in the days of Noah. It will be like the wicked cities that God destroyed with fire in the days of Lot (Luke 17:26-30).

Speaking by the Holy Spirit, Paul predicts "perilous times" for the world because of the natural sinfulness of the human heart. "Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:2-3).

The book of Revelation pictures Satan and the ungodly powers of the world as raging against God and against His children until the end.

Informed Citizens

The truth about the world, now and until the end, keeps us from pinning our hopes on this world.

It is so tempting to do that. We often hear people say something like this: "If only this nation would turn to God, then it would be a better place and life here would be better." Statements like this are true, as far as they go. If an entire nation were to turn to God, it would be a better place. But whole nations do not turn to God. Only individuals repent and are converted--one at a time. Lives, homes, and families are changed when the Holy Spirit brings people to faith in Jesus Christ.

But the world as a whole remains under the sway of the evil one. We are not to entertain high hopes for the future of this world, for it is under the divine sentence of destruction.

For high hopes the Lord directs us to the resurrection and eternal life. These are realistic hopes because they are based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. He has atoned for all sin, thus solving forever the problem of human guilt before God and alienation from Him. Jesus has risen from the dead, overcoming death and giving the promise of unending life to all who believe in Him. He has ascended into heaven, going ahead to prepare a place for His disciples, promising to come back personally to take them there. He has also promised to be with us and help us in every need until that day.

Until then politicians will come and go.

We as citizens of nations ought to do our duty as citizens by informed voting--maybe even by working in a campaign or running for office. But let us do so as those whose hopes for these things are limited, "for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Php. 3:20).

--Pastor John Klatt

Taking God For Granted

"Finding God on Flight 232" was the caption of an article that appeared in July of 1989. "232" was the ill-fated flight of a commercial aircraft that lost power from one engine, then had its hydraulic system fail at 37,000 feet. At that moment most of its passengers knew that a crash was inevitable.

That's when people found God on Flight 232. Survivors talked about reading the Bible, prayed, and clutched crosses in their trembling hands. They were keenly aware of the need for God's help as they circled the cornfields of Iowa.

One wonders, did they also find God once they had landed? When they escaped the horrible wreckage, did they also remember Him with a prayer of gratitude? One expects so. Yet, it is entirely possible that these same people could have forgotten about God moments after their dilemma had passed.

Few take God for granted in times of trouble; unfortunately, most take Him for granted when things are okay.

As Jesus passed through the area one day, no one had to remind a group of lepers that they should seek God's deliverance. Leprosy was a dreadful disease that slowly and painfully brought isolation, loneliness, and ultimately death. The lepers needed no prompting. No one had to tell them: "If Jesus ever comes through here, remember to ask Him for help." Very naturally they cried out: "Jesus, Master, have mercy upon us!"

Nor is it likely that we forget about God when life is freighted with problems. It's when life hums smoothly along, however, that feelings of self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction often set it.

Our Merciful God

Ten lepers were healed. One leper returned--a Samaritan at that! Jesus' question is a piercing one. It still hangs in the air after all these years: "Where are the nine?"

That makes you wonder: what does God do when people take Him for granted? Does He give them their leprosy back? Does He withdraw all blessings from them until they learn a few things about being thankful? No. It is not our thankfulness that determines His blessings.

The reason Jesus had come near to that leper colony was that He was headed for Jerusalem to suffer and die as our Substitute. We don't know the end of the story for the lepers--we do know the end of the story for Jesus.

And His story underscores one astounding fact: God's grace toward fallen mankind doesn't depend on our gratitude or anything else we might do. It depends entirely upon His love. For the very people who rejected Him Jesus willingly went to Calvary's cross. For those who never stop to thank Him and who so easily forget about Him, Jesus laid down His precious life. For His very enemies Jesus paid the ultimate price. Yes, Jesus paid for the sins of all ten lepers, for all 296 passengers aboard Flight 232, and for all of us.

Our gratitude is never the cause of God's love for us, but it is a result, isn't it? It is a precious fruit of saving faith that every Christian should cultivate.

The way to become more thankful? Only by realizing that God never takes us for granted but deals with each of us in love and mercy.

--Pastor James Albrecht

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good

(Ps. 34:8)

When we lived in Marquette, Michigan, the Apple Man would come with a truck load of apples to sell. He didn't try to convince us to buy some by TELLING us how fresh and good they were. He took an apple, snapped it in half with his hands and handed it to us to taste and see for ourselves. It was the crisp, juicy fruit with its sweet tart flavor that sold these apples.

So it is with Thanksgiving. Having a national day of thanksgiving cannot make us thankful. What it can do is remind us to look around and remember all the things we have to be thankful for. The only thing that can make us thankful is to taste and see for ourselves how good the Lord is. When we taste and see all the goodness of God, then God moves our hearts to true thankfulness and praise.

Taste and See the Lord's Deliverance

King David wrote Psalm 34 after God had delivered him from the hand of Abimelech. Even though David had planned his own escape from Abimelech by pretending to be a madman, he knew it was God who had delivered him. That experience filled David with praise and thanksgiving to God.

King David now calls upon us to join him, saying: "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good" (v. 8).

If we think that it is our own inner strength or determination that gets us through our various troubles, then we will not have true thankfulness. However, when we know that it is the Lord who graciously delivers us, then we taste and see the Lord's goodness and we will be filled with thanksgiving and praise to God.

Taste and See the Lord's Providence

King David reminds us that there is much more of the Lord's goodness to taste and see. He says: "There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing" (vv. 9-10).

Take time to enjoy all the variety of food, the riches, and pleasures we have in abundance, and remember that it all comes from God's gracious hand.

Remember also, as Jacob confessed: "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies" (Gen. 32:10).

If we feel we have earned or deserved something, we will not be very thankful for it. But when we realize, as Jacob did, that we do not deserve any of God's blessings, then our hearts will rejoice and be filled with thanksgiving that God has blessed us by His grace.

When we see our own unworthiness, we can taste and see the Lord's abundant goodness so much more clearly.

During this fortieth anniversary year of the CLC, we might well recall all the times the Lord has delivered us from the attacks of Satan and has blessed us in so many ways with His goodness. We have tasted the goodness of the Lord time and again. Let us give thanks to Him for his goodness.

Taste and See the Lord's Salvation

Being delivered from Abimelech must have caused King David to recall the much greater deliverance of God from sin and hell. He says: "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit" (v. 18).

When we come to God with a broken and contrite heart, confessing our sins, then we can truly taste and see the Lord's goodness in its greatest extent.

King David closes this psalm of praise with these words of promise: "The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned" (v. 22).

Yes, the goodness of the Lord is overwhelming. He has cleansed us of all sin and delivered us from death and hell. He has made us His own dear children and has become our Father.

When we taste and see this for ourselves, then we too will be filled with praise and thanksgiving and be compelled to join King David in saying: "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together" (vv. 1-3).

--Pastor David Reim

--The devotional reading for November 25, 1999 in the booklet prepared by Pastor Roland H. Gurgel, at the time pastor at Minnesota churches Faith Lutheran Church, Nicollet and Faith Lutheran Church, New Ulm. Pastor Gurgel now serves at Our Savior's, Jamestown, North Dakota.

We worship Thee, God of our fathers, we bless Thee; Thro' life's storm and tempest our Guide hast Thou been; When perils o'ertake us, escape Thou wilt make us, And with Thy help, O Lord, our battles we win. (Hymn 568:2 TLH)

'We worship Thee, God of our fathers . . . '

"Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool; For He is holy. Moses and Aaron were among His priests, and Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the LORD, and He answered them" (Psalm 98:5-6).

In our Bible Class here at Faith, we have been going through the history of the Lutheran Church from the time of Luther down to our own day.

It has been both interesting and sad to note that from the beginning there have been those in every generation who seek to unite with others who do not agree in all the doctrines of Scripture. From Melanchthon, who softened the Augsburg Confession, down to the years of World War I and II and in our own time, unification has been the thought and the idea driving many individuals. As a result many have sacrificed the Word for the sake of unity and then claim how wonderful it all is.

How sad to think that human reason has stepped in so that the Word of our Lord being passed down from one generation to another means so little.

This truth ought to be a warning to us so that--as the years unfold and a love for the Word grows colder with each passing day--we do not become caught up in such thinking. Rather, let us pray that we might increase our resolve to stand firm on the Word of the Lord our God, sacrificing nothing. For it is the Word that our fathers have handed down to us and not their own thoughts or their own traditions.

As we gather together on Thanksgiving morning, we ought to reflect for a moment before or after the service that we are joining countless thousands of other believers on this day to give thanks and praise to God. It would also be good to consider that this God we worship is the same God that our fathers worshiped in their day. We ought to give thanks to God for such fathers who, in love and concern for us their children, desired to teach us the truth of the Word and nothing but the truth. Fathers not just in the human sense, but in the spiritual sense also. We would include such fathers of our own synod who have passed on like Pastors George Barthels, C. M. Gullerud, M. J. Witt, Leland Grams (to name a few). These too are our fathers in that in their conviction and dedication to the Word, they stood on the Word and worshiped God rather than men.

We could go back over the years and name any number of faithful fathers--of families and of congregations and synods--who stood on the Word and proclaimed the truth to their children. We should rightly go back to the apostles, Peter and James and John and Paul and Andrew; and to the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who faithfully delivered to us the Word of the Lord. We should number among our fathers the prophets of the Old Testament such as Amos, Micah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah, Samuel, David, and Moses--all of whom delivered and stood upon the Word of God.

Yet it is not these men, these individuals, that we worship. For from Adam to Barthels, Gullerud, Witt, and Grams to your pastor--one and all have pointed us their children not to themselves nor to the things of this world, but to God, the Father of us all. They pointed us to the promised Seed. They directed us to Jesus the Messiah. They turned our hearts and thoughts away from themselves and toward God, who is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. God, who has so richly blessed us. This God--this God of our fathers--is the God we worship and praise.

As you and I sit in church on Thanksgiving Day or on any Sunday, we join all believers to worship the God of these, our fathers--the only true God and Jesus Christ who is our Savior.

Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Now Thank We All our God

A Hymn of Worship and Praise

#36 in The Lutheran Hymnal

My parents used to have a couple of record albums of a comedy act called "The Bickersons." It was an early "sitcom" of a husband (John) and his wife (Blanche) "bickering" in various scenes of married life. One line I remember that was repeated by each of them during one episode: "You say it, but you won't do it. Do it NOW!"

"Do it now." What better words to keep in mind when it comes to thanking our Lord! Spending time in thanking God all too easily gets relegated to one special day a year (maybe Sunday mornings too?).

Often we are still like those ten lepers; no doubt they all FELT appreciative, but only one DID something about it and came back to thank Jesus.

Do it NOW. When is "now"? Isn't it whenever you have something to thank God for? And isn't that all the time?

This month's hymn has helped to that end in that it has been used for giving thanks on many occasions. According to The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, this hymn was originally published in 1636 in a booklet by Martin Rinckart.

It was intended to be used as a table prayer. But then on December 10, 1648 it was sung to celebrate the Peace of Westphalia, which marked the end of the Thirty Years War.

We use it at Thanksgiving time. But that is certainly not all.

All twenty-four hours of the day give us opportunity to thank God for the "wondrous things" He has done, including that He "hath blessed us . . . with countless gifts of love." We thank Him because we know He will "keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next."

Don't save your giving of thanks to God for later. Later may never come. Do it now! "NOW thank we all our God . . . !"

--Pastor Paul Krause

Biblical Perspectives On The End Times

Eighth in a series--


(Part I)

Popular Conception

In the popular endtime fiction of our day, "the great tribulation" is the name given to the seven-year period between the "rapture" of the Church and the beginning of the "millennium." More precisely, "the great tribulation" refers to the second three-and-a-half years of that period. It is believed that at the midpoint of the seven-year period the antichrist will break his covenant with the Jews and institute a reign of terror against all believers. It is this that will be "the great tribulation."

The Tribulation, The Great One

This form of the term occurs only once in the New Testament in a vision that the Apostle John saw: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!' And all the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.' Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, 'Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?' And I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' So he said to me, 'THESE ARE THE ONES WHO COME OUT OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes'" (Rev. 7:9-17).

A. John saw a great multitude, innumerable--an ecumenical multitude consisting of representatives from all nations, kindreds, peoples, and tongues. Note the fourfold ecumenical designation!

B. Where did John see this multitude? "Before the throne and before the Lamb!" The word "throne" occurs seven times in the vision. The multitude and the heavenly beings are gathered before the throne, which is surrounded by angels and occupied by God with the Lamb in the midst of the throne. The scene takes place in heaven.

C. How is this multitude described? They are clothed with white robes which they have washed in the blood of the Lamb. They are carrying palm branches in their hands, symbolizing victory. They serve God day and night. They shall not hunger or thirst anymore. The sun shall not strike them, nor any heat. (Recall that the glory of God and the Lamb is the light in the New Jerusalem, 21:23.) The Lamb shepherds them, leading them unto living fountains of water. God wipes away all their tears.

D. What was this vast multitude doing? Praising God as the Author of salvation: "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

E. One factor of this glorious description demands special attention. The innumerable multitude is described as those COMING OUT OF THE TRIBULATION, THE GREAT ONE. The verb form in the Greek for "come" is a present participle. It has the force of naming a characteristic feature. It is an unusual form at this point. The KJV translates with a past verb form: "These are they which came out of great tribulation." The NIV and Beck versions translate with the perfect tenses: "have come," as does Luther: "die kommen sind." The NASB and NKJV translate most literally and correctly with the present tense: "who come." The entire innumerable multitude is described as COMING OUT OF THE TRIBULATION, THE GREAT ONE.

F. To what does "the tribulation, the great one" refer? The futurists and dispensationalists assert that "the tribulation, the great one" will occur during the three-and-a-half-year period before the Battle of Armageddon and the beginning of the millennium. It is the intensity of the alleged persecution during these three-and-a-half years that convinces some that this period of persecution is "the tribulation, the great one." Others, including this writer, believe that "the tribulation, the great one" is a composite term that lumps into one tribulation all the tribulations of all the saints of God from Abel to the last one before the coming of the Lord.

Great Tribulations

There are two other instances in the NT where the adjective "great" is used to describe tribulations. One of them occurs in the book of Revelation, in the letter to the church of Thyatira. The congregation is rebuked for tolerating the prophetess Jezebel, who refused to repent of her fornication. Because of that the Son of man who stood in the midst of the candlesticks (churches) threatened: "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into GREAT TRIBULATION, unless they repent of their deeds" (2:22). Here the "great tribulation" is the sickness of one individual and her followers.

The second instance is in the Olivet Discourse, where our Lord described the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem: "For then there will be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Mt. 24:21). These prophetic words came from the lips of Israel's Messiah. He knew what would happen some forty years later--that the Nation of Israel would commit national suicide and be utterly destroyed by the Romans. The futurists identify this tribulation, which is past history, with "the tribulation, the great one" which they believe to be future. Whenever past fulfillment of prophecy is ignored, any conjectured future fulfillment becomes nothing more than religious fiction. Here the "great tribulation" is the destruction of the Nation of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple by the Romans.

Tribulation Common to All Believers

For a child of God, tribulation is not at all unnatural, but very natural. It is to be expected as completely normal. The night before His death, our Lord prepared His disciples by assuring them: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33).

Thereafter our Lord lifted up His eyes and prayed His prayer known as the "high priestly" prayer. He knew that the world would vent its hatred upon His followers as it had upon Him. He prayed: "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one" (Jn. 17:15). There are some futurists who teach that the Lord will "rapture" the saints before the great tribulation. The Lord, of course, knew that this heresy would arise to mislead the saints, so He refuted it in His prayer. He did not ask His Father to take or "rapture" them out of the world but that He should protect them from the evil one. These words are part of that protection.

After the Apostle Paul had been stoned at Lystra and left for dead, he later returned to confirm his disciples in the faith, saying: "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). A reading of the book of Acts and Paul's autobiographical account in 2 Corinthians 11 reveal that he suffered tribulation, great tribulation, for the Gospel's sake throughout his ministry which came to a climax with his being beheaded. Shortly before his death the Apostle wrote young Timothy these sobering words: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12).

The Apostle John introduced himself to the seven churches as "your brother and companion in tribulation" (Rev. 1:9). How else? Tribulation must and does follow all those who take up the cross and follow after the Lord Jesus.

Great tribulation was threatened upon the Jezebel and her followers of the church in Thyatira. Great tribulation was also threatened upon the unbelieving Nation of the Jews. That tribulation began in AD 70 and will continue to the end of time. These tribulations were punishment for sins. What a contrast in the vision in Revelation 7. There all the saints in heaven are described as coming out of "THE TRIBULATION, THE GREAT ONE." That tribulation was not punishment inflicted upon the saints for their sins. All the saints "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The Lamb suffered tribulation. All those who follow Him will suffer tribulation. The sum total of all the tribulations of all the saints of God is "THE TRIBULATION, THE GREAT ONE"!

--Pastor Paul F. Nolting


(The Scriptural Requirement for the Practice of Church Fellowship)


The Wisconsin Synod's Confession--What Is It?

by Joel N. Krafft

From the editor: 

The following Review first appeared in the CLC's Journal of Theology,
June 2000, p. 55f. It is our feeling that our lay-people as well as our 
clergy should be made aware of the existence of this booklet which is so 
rich in original source material. 
We appreciate the review in all aspects; our fond hope, however, is that 
the reviewer is dead wrong when he remarks that "so few will take the time 
to read it, and . . . almost no one today seems to care."

Mr. Krafft, whose address and phone are given below, offers the book 
(about fifty 81/2X11 pages) for $5.00 plus postage.

The following is from the introduction to the booklet and helps to explain its intended purpose.

"As a former member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) who has family members and friends who are still members of the WELS, I am compelled to write this, my confession, as a witness and obligation to those who publicly accept WELS doctrine by virtue of their membership in that Synod...

"It is not my intention to twist or distort the historical record or doctrinal statements in any way. It would be the height of dishonesty to present an issue for anyone's consideration using lies and half-truths or not to include pertinent facts which illuminate the situation. Having said that, I will also admit that the volume of material concerning the doctrinal controversy which led to the breakup of the Synodical Conference (SC) is large, and I will make no attempt to comment on all of it. The issue can be clearly delineated for honest, Christian consideration without being exhaustive."

Herein lies what I believe to be the strength of this work by Joel Krafft. When Mr. Krafft left the WELS a little under a decade ago, he did so for all the right reasons. Nor was his decision made frivolously or with little consideration. He carefully documented all of the pertinent statements and documents that define the positions of WELS and the CLC, compared them with the Scriptures, and made his decision accordingly. He has now taken all of that material, distilled and organized it, and presents it in this booklet. He does so not as much as an attempt to justify his actions as to give a witness to those who remain in WELS. From an opening note to the reader he writes:

"Enclosed you will find a work that comes from the bottom of my heart....It deals with a matter which is very dear to me and which should be of the greatest concern to you also. It concerns the future of the Church and the very salvation of souls. I have made every attempt to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and hope that you will prayerfully read and consider what is presented."

While it is most encouraging to see such devotion to the Word on the part of a Christian layman, and such zeal, honesty, and perseverance in searching out the truth, it is also very discouraging to predict that so many pastors and laymen alike will demonstrate disinterest in this work and the Scriptures on which it is based.

Several factors make this work a valuable addition to any library. The first is the careful, thorough, and forthright nature of the research that went into it. Mr. Krafft not only makes reference to all of the pertinant comments prepared before, during, and after the break-up of the Synodical Conference, he quotes them verbatim. Those references that are too long to be quoted meaningfully in the body of the booklet are quoted in full as appendices (including WELS Floor Committee Reports and Convention actions from 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1961, and the 1959 memorial "A Call for Decision").

Secondly, Mr. Krafft's motivation is thoroughly evangelical in nature. His motivation is love for our Lord Jesus and an appreciation for the danger posed by all false doctrine to the souls subjected to it. Some works of this kind can read more like a list of past grievances and a venting of pent-up frustration rather than a loving, gospel-motivated witness of love. This booklet certainly qualifies under the latter.

Finally, it becomes immediately clear to the reader that the evidence and testimony conveyed through this booklet are presented in a spirit of loving humility by the author. The final effect is a compelling and irrefutable indictment of the WELS false doctrine that has perpetuated the separation of the CLC from the Wisconsin Synod. The tragedy is that so few will take the time to read it, and that almost no one today seems to care.

Joel Krafft works as an airline pilot for American Airlines. He and his wife Janet live in Pilot Point, Texas and are members of St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dallas. Those interested in copies of his booklet are invited to contact the author directly. His address is 19929 Dane Road, Pilot Point, TX 76258. Phone: (940) 365-3130. E-Mail: JKrafft1@aol.com.

--Pastor Michael Roehl, Reviewer

Historical Markings

Where Have We Been?

Where Are We Going?

(Editor's note: The following excerpt reveals that literally "from the beginning" the new synod--yet in its earliest formative stage--placed the matter of missions on the front burner. The selection appeared in the essay under the heading: Activities Of The Interim Conference.)

From the very beginning the Interim Conference brethren recognized the fact that it would be highly inappropriate to center all their energies upon the combating of errors that were currently causing divisions and offences. To leave the cause of missions to those who were defending and propagating error, however seemingly small, would be an abdication of responsibility on the part of those who were contending for the truth once delivered to the saints. The Lord expects, and rightly so, that His children who bow in submission to His Word of Truth in all its parts, should be active in the proclamation of the Gospel wherever the call may lead them. Therefore it was that steps were taken at an early date to activate the work of missions according to the Lord's leading. Already at the December 1957 meeting at Mankato, a modest program of mission work was initiated. . . .

. . . That the cause of missions in the Interim Conference was alive and well is evidenced from the report of the meeting held at Mankato, Minnesota January 13-15, 1959, which brings the information that gifts were being received for the Japanese Lutheran Mission, for the mission in Winter Haven, Florida, and for the fund being gathered to provide a furlough for the missionary in Japan.

. . . The minutes of the recessed convention held at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, January 24-26, 1961 included a report of the mission committee as well as a report of the correspondent designated to keep in touch with the Japanese mission. . . .The treasurer's report shows that the receipts for the third quarter of 1960 totaled $5,856.79 and that receipts for the fourth quarter totaled $9,218.75. Allocations for these two quarters were made to the following: Berea Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN; Redemption Lutheran Church, Seattle, WA; Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Opportunity, WA; St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Denver, CO; Immanuel Lutheran Church, Winter Haven, FL; Messiah Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI; Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Phoenix, AZ; Redeemer Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, WY; Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Monroe, MI; Confessional Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, WI; North Platte, NB; Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary, Mankato, MN; Japan Lutheran Mission. Thirty-six congregations were listed as contributing.

-- From 'A HISTORY OF THE CLC' (Prof. C. M. Gullerud, 1978)

Celebration at Bethel Lutheran Church, Morris, Minnesota--

Fifty Years In The Public Ministry

This past summer marked fifty years in our Lord's service for Pastor Elton A. Hallauer, pastor of Bethel Ev. Lutheran Church, Morris, and Peace Ev. Lutheran Church, Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. A special service celebrating the anniversary was held on June 18, 2000 at the church in Morris. Retired Pastor Paul F. Nolting officiated at the service with a dinner and program held afterwards at the Morris Senior Citizens Center.

Elton Hallauer was born on a farm near Hazel, South Dakota on April 20, 1924. His elementary education was completed in a one-room rural school near his home. He was confirmed on July 26, 1938 at Emanuel Lutheran Church, Grover, South Dakota.

From the fall of 1938 until his graduation in the spring of 1942, Pastor Hallauer attended high school at Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. In the fall of 1943 he entered Concordia Junior College in Milwaukee, Wis. Due to an accelerated course system during the war years by which students studying for the ministry were expected to attend classes full-time, he was graduated from this school in January 1945. He completed his last two college years at Northwestern College, Watertown, Wis., graduating in June 1947.

Pastor Hallauer received his seminary training at Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Seminary, Thiensville (now Mequon), Wis., graduating in June 1950. On July 23 he was ordained and installed as pastor of Courtland and Zion Ev. Lutheran Churches of Courtland and Brighton Township, rural New Ulm. In March 1955 he accepted the call to St. John's Ev. Lutheran Church of Hancock, Minn. where he served until June 5, 1960, when his call was terminated due to doctrinal differences between him and the Wisconsin Synod.

When several of his former members asked him to continue to serve them, Bethel Ev. Lutheran Church was formed, and he was installed as pastor by the Rev. H. C. Duehlmeier. Soon thereafter several families in Parkers Prairie, Minn., who had separated from the local Missouri Synod congregation, formed Peace Ev. Lutheran Church and requested that Pastor Hallauer serve them also.

Pastor Hallauer has served the Lord in various capacities within the Church of the Lutheran Confession. From 1978-84 he was chairman of the Board of Regents for the synod's school, Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wis. He has served as chairman of the Minnesota Pastoral Conference since 1984. From 1986 to the present, he has helped spread the Word as Assistant Editor of the Journal of Theology. He filled the office of Vice President of the CLC from 1990-2000.

On June 17, 1950 Elton Hallauer was married to Doris Just in Milwaukee. Their fiftieth wedding anniversary was also celebrated this past summer with family members. The Lord has blessed their fifty years of marriage with seven daughters (all of whom graduated from Immanuel Lutheran High School in Eau Claire) and sixteen grandchildren.

Pastor Hallauer continues to serve both Bethel and Peace congregations today.

(Adapted from the June 18, 2000 anniversary service bulletin.)

(The following information is drawn from an address delivered at a retirement dinner for the celebrant--by his eldest son, Pastor Paul Naumann--at Redemption Lutheran Church, Lynnwood, Washington on May 28. The son's comments are in quotation marks. -- Ed.)

Pastor Bertram Naumann Retires

Bertram Justus Naumann was born on June 19, 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was baptized in that city by his father, the Rev. Paul George Naumann. He received his entire education in church-sponsored schools.

" . . . Bert's father suffered a stroke and was called to his eternal rest in May of 1941. A few months later the nation was at war. In order to support the family, they moved to New Ulm, Minnesota where his mother was employed as a housemother at a girls' dormitory, Hillcrest Hall. Bert attended St. Paul's Lutheran school and graduated and was confirmed in June of 1944. He attended Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, graduating in 1949. He enrolled at Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin for one year. He graduated from Concordia Lutheran Junior College in Milwaukee the following year."

While still in Milwaukee, Bert was tutored in Hebrew and Greek by then Pastor Heinrich Vogel. After attending college and seminary at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota for a time (where he met his bride-to-be, Alice Dahle), he served an internship in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin under Pastor Karl Otto. He graduated from Wisconsin Synod Seminary in Mequon in May 1957, and became married in Emmons, Iowa on June 15th. God blessed this marital union with seven children (four of whom are currently pastors in the CLC--ed.).

" . . . The early years of Bert's ministry were tumultuous ones in the history of the Lutheran Synodical Conference. False doctrine had entered the conservative Lutheran church; the teachings concerning the inspiration of Scripture and the origins of the universe were being corrupted and challenged in Lutheran schools, colleges, and seminaries; and many resultant loose practices regarding the doctrine of church fellowship threatened the unity that had once existed."

After graduation from Mequon, Pastor Naumann was called to serve two congregations in Michigan's Upper Pennisula, one in Marquette and a second in neighboring Green Garden. During his ministry the two congregations suspended fellowship from the Wisconsin Synod for doctrinal reasons. "A number of other congregations around the US had taken the same action, and Bert began attending meetings of the group then known as the Interim Conference--later in 1960 adopting its present name, the Church of the Lutheran Confession."

Other congregations served by Pastor Naumann were Messiah of Milwaukee (1969-1973), vacancies in Cambridge and Madison, Wisconsin, a mission group in Chicago, and the congregation in Seattle, Washington (Redemption of Lynnwood, from 1973-2000).

Son Paul reports: " . . . Over his twenty-seven years at Redemption (my father) has proclaimed the saving Gospel in something over 1600 worship services. During his tenure here he authored an adult instruction course which has found wide use in our fellowship. He has provided leadership in the outreach efforts of Redemption Lutheran Church, spreading the proclamation of the Gospel to many places beyond the environs of Alderwood Manor. Three of these now have established churches . . Ketchikan, Alaska; Vernon, British Columbia; and Tacoma, Washington. . . . The Word which has gone forth from the Lord's mouth in this place has certainly not returned to Him void. According to His gracious promise, it has accomplished that which He pleased and prospered in the thing whereto He sent it."

After a few more personals, a son's address on the occasion of his father's retirement ended with these words:

" . . . On behalf of a grateful family, a grateful congregation, and a grateful synod, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant.' God bless you in your retirement."

On June 11, 2000 Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mankato, Minnesota celebrated Mr. Gene Schreyer's teaching ministry in its Lutheran High School. The following information comes by adaptation from the celebration folder. -- Editor

Gene Schreyer Retires

Gene was born to Roman and Irma Schreyer on January 6, 1938 in New Ulm, Minnesota. He attended Lutheran elementary school until the family moved to Mankato, where he continued his education at Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and Bethany Lutheran High School.

His post-secondary education took place at Bethany Junior College, Immanuel Lutheran College (Mankato), and Mankato State College. In 1960 Gene graduated from ILC with a pre-theological degree and from MSC with a B.A. in social studies. He continued his education at Immanuel Lutheran Seminary (graduated in 1963) and Mankato State College (secondary education degree in 1969).

In 1963 Mr. Schreyer accepted a call from Immanuel Lutheran Church to begin a congregational high school in Mankato, when the CLC relocated Immanuel Lutheran High School, College, and Seminary to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Gene and Principal Clifford Kuehne opened the school in the fall of 1963. When Principal Kuehne accepted a call to serve as pastor at St. John's of Okabena in 1970, Gene was appointed to the principalship, a position he held for twenty-six years.

Through the years Mr. Schreyer taught a variety of classes--primarily in the social studies, English, and German areas. He has also taught courses in art, religion, and music appreciation. In addition--as anyone associated with Immanuel is aware--Mr. Schreyer was largely responsible for establishing what has become known as the Immanuel Banquet Tradition, often writing and directing the banquet "plays" himself.

Gene married Grace Meyer in 1987. Their marriage has been blessed with three children: Juliana (age 12), Brent (10), and Christiana (8). Mr. Schreyer suffered a herniated disk in October 1999, and a subsequent re-injury led him to resign his call at Immanuel (though Gene hopes to continue to teach on a part-time basis--ed.).

"Throughout his life Gene has pointed to the hand of the Lord guiding and blessing him abundantly. In the same way our church and school have been guided and blessed by Mr. Schreyer through these past thirty-seven years. May the Lord bless Gene and his family, as he has been such a blessing to the ministry of our congregation." (Celebration folder)

Our September issue introduced Pastor David Povolny (and family) to our readers. Below we introduce our second Spring 2000 Seminary graduate. We thank Pastor Gurath for the biographical information.

Meet Pastor Matthew Gurath

Matthew James Gurath was born on June 19, 1975 in Fond du Lac, Wis. to David and Carol Gurath. Throughout all the years of grade school, he was blessed with a Christian education at Luther Memorial School in Fond du Lac. From early on he was guided and directed by many fine Christian role models.

Gerhardt Mueller and Teri Karnitz were the only two teachers he ever had throughout his elementary education. They made a great impact on his life, teaching him the importance of a Christ-centered education. That impact carried him through high school and college when he graduated from Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire in 1997.

All this led him to enter the seminary in the fall of 1997. Throughout his secondary education years he was blessed to have a steady job at Menard's Distribution Center. The Student Aid Fund was also a very helpful blessing which carried him through the school years.

While in the seminary Matt vicared under Pastors Rollin Reim and Michael Sprengeler out in the San Francisco Bay area in 1998. He also vicared under Pastor John Ude at Grace of Fridley, Minnesota in 1999.

"What a rewarding thing it was," comments Pastor Gurath, "to receive a Christ-based education through all the years" of his life. He adds: "There were many pastors, teachers, and friends that lent support to enter the ministry." The Lord led Matt to put all his energy to good use in serving His Church.

At the end of his last year at the seminary, Matt was assigned and accepted the divine call to serve as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Coloma, Michigan.

The ordination and installation service took place on June 4, 2000. Pastor Todd Ohlmann conducted the service, and many area pastors and laymembers were present at the installation.

Pastor Gurath is engaged to be married to Priscilla Walters in the summer of 2001 at Berea Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

May the Lord bless His servant and the congregation He has appointed him to serve.



In accord with our usage and order, Arthur Schulz, who was called by Peace with God congregation of Onalaska, Wisconsin to be its pastor, was installed on September 24, 2000. Prof. Michael Sydow assisted in the installation.

--Pastor Paul Tiefel

In accord with our usage and order, John Hein, who was called by Redemption Lutheran congregation of Lynnwood (Seattle), Washington to be its pastor, was installed on September 24, 2000. Assisting in the installation were Terrel Kesterson, Robert List, and Arvid Gullerud.

--Pastor Paul Naumann

In accord with our usage and order, Daniel Roehl, who was called by Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church of Mankato, Minn. to serve as Teacher in its school, was installed on August 27, 2000.

--Pastor Paul D. Nolting

Time Of Services

Sunday services at Peace with God congregation, Onalaska, Wis. now begin at 8:30 a.m. The location is the Omni-Center at 255 Riders Club Road.

Sunday services at Trinity Lutheran Church, Millston, Wis. begin at 11:00 a.m.

--Pastor Arthur Schulz

Change Of Address

  Pastor Thomas Schuetze
  19251 Preston Rd., #1319
  Dallas, TX 75252
  (972) 267-0738
  Office Phone and e-mail address unchanged

Editor's Whoops! -- In the caption for the "Picturing the Past" photo, p. 12, September issue, we were in error. "Mrs." should be deleted before the name of Ruth Schaller.

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation

The Lutheran Spokesman, with a current circulation of 2,450 and a total distribution of 2,600, is owned and managed by the Church of the Lutheran Confession of 201 Princess Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78410-1615.