The Lutheran Spokesman (October 1996)

           A mighty fortress is our God
                     1483  -   1546
       450 years since the death of Martin Luther

In this issue:

A New Song Luther On The Reformation Reformation 1996 After the Death of Luther, Part 9 Editor's Smorgasbord Is Evolution A Theory, A Fact, Or A Law? Jacob's Move to Egypt Two New Congregations In Our Synod Family Announcements For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.



"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God" (Ps. 40:2-3). We've heard the tune before. We heard it from the Pharisee in the temple who boasted of himself before God. We heard it from the poet who bragged: "I am the captain of my soul, the master of my destiny." We heard it from a popular advice columnist who assured her 60,000,000 readers: "God will not deal harshly with you as long as you're nice and kind to others." Like a broken record we keep hearing it over and over again. It's the song of What must I DO to be saved? A New Song For The Middle Ages Loud and proud was heard that song during the Middle Ages. With a heavy emphasis on making satisfaction for one's own sins, Roman Catholicism held the people in a bondage of fear. The monk Martin Luther tried hard to dance to the church's tune. He beat and starved himself in an effort to drive sin from his soul and merit God's favor, but to no avail. Of his experience he would later write: "Life had become a living hell, so firmly sin possessed me." But one day while reading his Bible, Luther came across a passage in Habakkuk which read: ". . . the just shall live by his faith." It was then that Luther said that heaven itself was opened to him. The Spirit caused him to discover that salvation is a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ. With great relief, Luther, like David before him, could now say: "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth." Luther was whistling a different melody, one soon heard all across the land: Ninety-five theses pounded to the Castle Church in Wittenberg rang with the promise of liberty for all. Flyers and books, circulated throughout Europe, praised the blood and merits of Jesus as full payment for all sin. Salvation through Christ alone sweetly sounded in the hymns of Luther and the other reformers: "Salvation unto us has come by God's free grace and favor!" Now, true, the new song of the Gospel had been playing from the earliest moments of history, when God first promised Adam and Eve a Savior to crush the power of Satan. Yet its amazing message was new to the hearts and ears of most of the people living during the Middle Ages. Satan, through the antichrist Church of Rome, had managed to muffle its glad tidings so that they were barely audible in the days prior to the Reformation. A New Song For The Modern Ages In this modern age we see Satan working harder than ever to muffle the sound of God's gracious new song. As a pop hit from the sixties once said: "The beat goes on!" Satan's handiwork is seen in the "look inside yourself" doctrine of the self-esteem movement. It appears in the "I keep myself . . . morally straight" oath of the Scouts. We see it in churches which have abandoned Gospel truth for work-righteous based human psychology. It is shown in the TV evangelist who teaches his audience that they must cooperate with God in bringing about their salvation. "Have you made your decision for Christ?" In each case "the arrangement" might be slightly different, but it is always the same song of self-salvation. There remains today, as much as ever, a crying need for the pure, unconditioned song of "a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28). Today, as in every age, the sinner must be pointed entirely away from himself to Jesus' cross where full satisfaction for all sin has been accomplished! Only then can the unbeliever be lifted out of the mud and mire of damning sin. Only then can the believer maintain full confidence of his acceptance by God. Only then can the guilt be driven away and the accusing tongue of Satan be silenced. May our new song be the same song of Luther, of Paul, of David. For it is God's everlasting song of triumph for all through Christ. What music to the soul -- a new song to give us peace, joy -- to bring us safely into the new heavens and the new earth! --Pastor Michael Wilke

Luther On The Reformation

Innumberable volumes and articles ahve beenw ritten about Luther and the Reformation. We quote here some comments from the Reformer himself, giving his own impression of the Lord's work that had brought the true light of the Gospel back to the church. The numbers following these quotations indicate paragraph numbers from the topical collection of Luther's writings entitled What Luther Says, copyright 1959 by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri. When the Word of God first arose, twelve or fifteen years ago, people diligently listened to it, and everybody was glad that "good works" were no longer to plague them. They said: God be praised that we now have water to drink. For them we were thirsty, and the doctrine tasted fine; we drank of it and found it a precious teaching. But now we are sated; we are tired of the drink and are surfeited with it, so that our Lord God must depart and let us die of thirst; for He remains only with those who feel their misery. But there are few who know this. The majority turn the Gospel into liberty for the flesh. (3817) Oh, with how great an effort and exertion, also with proof from Holy Scripture, did I barely succeed in justifying before my own con- science that I, a lone man, dared rise against the pope, consider him the Antichrist, the bishops his apostles, the schools of higher learning his houses of ill fame! How often my heart struggled, rebuked me, and threw up to me their one and strongest argument: You alone are wise? Can it be that all the others are erring and have been erring for so long a time? What if you are erring and leading into error so manypeople, all of whom will be eternally damned? Such questions continued until Christ strengthened me and settled me by His own certain Word so that my hear no longer struggles but confronts these arguments of the papists as a rock-bound shore confronts the waves and laughs at their threatening and storming. (3576) I do not like it that folk call our doctrine and people "Lutheran" and that I must suffer them to disgrace God's Word with my name in this shameful manner. Nevertheless, they shall let this Luther, the "Lutheran" doctrine and people, remain and come to honor. . . . I am not asking anyone to believe me, but I am asking men to believe the plain words of God. (4412, 4413) This message is not a novel invention of ours but the very ancient, approved teaching of the apostles brought to light again. Neither have we invented a new Baptism, Sacrament of the Altar, Lord's Prayer, and Creed; nor do we desire to know or to have anything new in Chrstendom. We only contend for, and hold to, the ancient: that which Christ and the apostles have left behind them and have given to us. But this we did do. Since we found all of this obscured by the pope with human doctrine, aye, decked out in dust and spider webs and all sorts of vermin, and flung and trodden into the mud besides, we have by God's grace brought it out again, have cleansed it of the mess, wiped off the dust, brushed it, and brought it to the light of day. Accordingly it shines again in purity, and everybody may see what Gospel, Baptism, Sacrament of the Altar, keys, prayer, and everything that Christ has given us really is and how it should be used for our salvation. (3771)
A Message From Our CLC President --

Reformation 1996

In 1529, the year that Martin Luther prepared the Small and Large Catechisms, he wrote the classic Reformation hymn A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Luther wrote: Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us . . . There are no new tricks in the devil's arsenal. He needs none. He stays with the tried and the true. "Has God said . . . ?" By that question he introduces false doctrine into the world and into the church. "You shall not surely die." By that bald-faced lie the devil succeeds in creating indifference in sinful man who thinks that he shall live forever, or at very least that he need not be responsible for his actions. "Your eyes shall be opened, and you will be like God . . ." So the devil creates conflict between man and God; man thinks that God is not treating him fairly, or that somehow he knows at least as much as God, if not more. The reaction of Adam and Eve to the presence of God in the garden changed. They lied! "I was afraid because I was naked . . . ." Their sin was not their fault. "The woman whom you gave to be with me . . . ." "The serpent deceived me . . . ." It is not our fault. It's yours. So how are we different? "The problem in my family is not my fault . . . The problems in the church are not my fault. . . . I am not responsible for the evil in the world. I am a victim, not a perpetrator." Dear reader, look at yourself in the mirror. The face you see in the mirror of the Law is yours. The roaring lion you see behind you is not after another. He is after you! Nevertheless, we are bold to sing: We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not overpower us. This world's prince may still Scowl fierce as he will . . . Those words of this treasured hymn can be sung confidently and with meaning by such as have faced the reality of personal sin, who then have been drawn to Christ to find mercy. Yes, the face you see in the Gospel is that of your Savior. The battle is no less strenuous for such as see His face (it may be even more so), but the outcome is assured. The scowl of the evil one, so menacing to us in the weakness of our flesh, turns into the scowl of apprehension and frustration for he knows what we know when we believe the Word. Christ Jesus was manifested "that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 Jn. 3:8). Therefore: He can harm us none, He's judged; the deed is done; One little Word can fell him. If we would continue in the confidence of victory over the devil, we will joyfully heed the Word of God. For the Word alerts us to the wiles of the evil one; it minces no words about our sinful condition. The Word shows us the Savior who has by His grace taken our sin on Himself, acquiring for us the forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation. And while we wait for the ultimate fulfillment of the Father's gracious promise, the Word is our contnuing shield and weapon against the foe. This Reformation season will be meaningful if we remember that it was really about nothing other than the Word and its restoration to the central focus of the church. For without the Word of God, nothing else could have been in focus. In the words of another hymn of Luther: "Preserve Thy Word, O Savior, to us this latter day . . . ." --Pastor Daniel Fleischer
After the Death of Luther -- How the Formula Of Concord Was Forged Part Nine

The Crypto-Calvinists Self-destruct

After Luther's death in 1546 Melanchthon's followers, with his help, conspired to replace Luther's doctrine with Calvin's, at Wittenberg, Leipzig, and across Germany. Their stealth book, Exegesis Perspicua, revealed their dishonesty and allegiance to Calvin. Elector August, a faithful Lutheran who had been deceived by the Crypto-Calvinists, was angered and humiliated. The Crypto-Calvinists added to their fame as liars in 1574, when a Calvinist devotional book was delivered to the wrong person. The sly letter enclosed with the book, from Melanchthon's son-in-law, suggested that Elector August be converted through his wife Anna. August ordered an investigation, which revealed even more intrigue. The Crypto- Calvinists were thrown into prison. August took on a leadership role in restoring genuine Lutheran doctrine. Martin Chemnitz, Jacob Andreae, and Nicholas Selnecker were made trusted advisors to August. Articles VII (Of the Holy Supper) and VIII (Of the Person of Christ) refute the errors of the Crypto-Calvinists. One statement is: "On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but, as the angel {Gabriel} testifies, such a man as is truly the Son of the most high God, who showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, inasmuch as He was born of a virgin, with her virginity inviolate. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and nevertheless remained a virgin" (Article VIII, Triglotta, p. 1023). As horrible as the Crypto-Calvinist reign appeared at the time, their excesses and sudden collapse provided a God-given way to unite Lutherans in a common confession. At the Colloquy of Worms in 1557, the Lutherans were divided, thanks to Melanchthon, and the Romanists refused to negotiate with them. Many unity efforts failed, until Jacob Andreae published his Six Christian Sermons in 1573. Andreae's sermons, the collapse of the Crypto-Calvinists, and Martin Chemnitz's leadership all combined to generate movement toward the Formula of Concord. The Formula of Concord required the cooperation of Andreae, Chemnitz, Selnecker, David Chytraeus, Musculus, and Cornerus. Most people could not abide Andreae, but he was crucial in getting the work started and completed. Chemnitz was the dominant theologian, but the others all contributed significant insights to the Formula, which was signed in 1577. The Book of Concord, which includes the Ecumenical Creeds, the Augsburg Confession, the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, was completed in 1580. --Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



Appreciative heirs watch for significant dates in the life of Dr. Martin Luther, thus to seize the opportunity another anniversary affords to highlight God's working in his life. By now most Lutherans are aware that this is the 450th anniversary of Luther's death. It was February 18, 1546 when he died, falling asleep confidently in the faith in Christ Jesus he had so boldly professed. To mark this anniversary cities around Germany which are in one way or another associated with Luther are taking part in "Luther Year 1996." Most religious periodicals are noting the anniversary as well. How about the Spokesman? We have been marking it coincidently and indirectly with the very informative series of articles by Pastor Gregory Jackson called: "After the Death of Luther -- How the Formula Of Concord Was Forged." Every Reformation season we give thanks for Luther's life -- that God used him as an instrument for reforming the church. Seldom do we mark his death, and even more seldom, I'm afraid, do we pay attention to the very crucial events which were, in effect, ushered in by his death. What happened not long after he died he had, in fact, prophesied: "This doctrine," Luther said, "will be obscured again after my death." The doctrine of which he spoke was the doctrine by which the church stands or falls -- the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without the works of the Law. As Pastor Jackson's articles bring out, Luther proved to be a prophet indeed. Soon after Luther's death one doctrinal controversy after another arose. These controversies were eventually settled one by one over a period of some 30 years, only after much back and forth wrangling and debate, by the Formula of Concord of 1577. This confession as well as the rest of our Lutheran Confessions, including Luther's Catechisms, were published in the Book of Concord of 1580. In all this there are many lessons for us. One is that, while good men -- staunch confessors of His Truth -- die, God continues to protect His Church, raising up other faithful to carry the torch of light and truth and life. It has been suggested that Pastor Jackson's informative series of articles about how and why the Formula of Concord was written be compiled in pamphlet form. We have reason to believe that this will be done in due time.


We give God thanks for the confessions contained in the Book of Concord. Let us be reminded to give thanks for another confession of our church body. Earlier this year our confessional document, Concerning Church Fellowship (CCF), officially adopted by the CLC in 1961, was reprinted in an independent Lutheran journal of theology -- Logia. A Logia footnote explains, in part: "The breakup of the Synodical conference revolved around many issues, but finally at stake was the doctrine of fellowship and church relations. We print this confessional statement here because we believe that it is the last and most thorough articulation of the doctrine of church fellowship as it was confessed in the Synodical Conference. . . ." There is considerable history behind the forging of any confession of faith. It would be well to acquaint ourselves -- or reacquaint, as the case may be -- on what was involved in the forging of CCF. Below we draw from essays on CLC history by Pastor M. J. Witt (1970) and Prof. C. M. Gullerud (1978). The idea for the confession was born before the CLC existed -- by a small group at a Free Conference in Lyons, Nebraska. "From the very start," explained Prof. Gullerud, "it has been evident that this was not the product of hasty and ill-conceived composition but rather a document thoroughly Scriptural which grew out from the life of a small, tried, and tested fellowship of believers at a time when such a confession was sorely needed." Let's trace the forging: Free Conference at Lyons, Nebr. (Oct. 1957) -- "At this meeting it was mutually agreed that there was a need for an Article to be drawn up on the doctrine of Church fellowship. (It had been noted that the 16th century Lutheran confessions did not treat the subject at any length -- ED.) This was the initial move toward the framing of the document later to be known by the title: 'Concerning Church Fellowship.' ... " "All who were interested in contributing to this study were invited to participate freely ..." Free Conference at Cheyenne, Wyo. (May, 1958) -- "The first draft of the essay on church fellowhsip was thoroughly reviewed and examined in the light of Scripture. Certain changes were proposed and received ..." Meeting at Spokane, Wash. (Aug. 1958) -- "After more polishing the document on fellowship was again read and then accepted as to its essence." It was reported that "special attention was given to the false doctrines to be rejected." Interim Conference at Mankato, Minn. (Jan. 1959) -- "The minutes of this conference indicate that a lively and fruitful discussion was carried on in connection with . . ." the document on fellowship. Interim Conference at Red Wing, Minn. (Aug. 1959) -- "It was a happy moment when some who had made far-reaching protests and charges concerning our confession Concerning Church Fellowship found that the discussion and study at this conference revealed the obstacles to be misunderstandings. . . ." Interim Conference at Mankato, Minn. (Jan. 1960) -- "The editing committee chosen to edit Concerning Church Fellowship reported, and assignment was made for the writing of a preamble to it." Constituting Convention at Watertown, S.Dak. (Aug. 1960) and recessed to Sleepy Eye, Minn. (Jan. 1961) -- "The minutes (of the Watertown meeting) show that the essay Concerning Church Fellowship was adopted unanimously as a confessional statement of the conference. . . ." Those who trace this history are surely inclined to agree with Prof. Gullerud's summary: "Upon examining the records, reports, and minutes of the above-cited conferences and meetings one is impressed with the careful and conscientious deliberations on the part of the participants as they, under God, were moving toward the establishment of a sound and Scripture-grounded church body which might serve as a truly united fellowship-assembly dedicated to the Lord's work in the widening field of activity which the Spirit of God was opening in those formative years." As a CLC member, do you have a copy of the 45-page pamphlet Concerning Church Fellowship? More importantly, are you familiar with its contents? Ask your pastor, or write to the Spokesman editor, if you would like to order a copy. It is available, for a nominal price, in the tract racks of most of our churches and/or through the CLC Bookhouse in Eau Claire. May our Lutheran confessions -- each of which was painstakingly forged and molded by our fathers, be more than dust catchers in our tract racks and on our desks and end tables. Based as they are on the time- less Word of God, all of them have an urgent message to the current generation. The need spoken of in Lyons, Nebraska for a confessional statement on church fellowship has hardly decreased 40 years later. If we would remain a confessional church body in the polluted sea of doctrinal compromise, unionism, and ecumenicalism all around us, we need to be acquainted with -- and pray to practice in accord with -- the contents of Concerning Church Fellowship.


To answer the question posed in last month's issue: It was a Church of Christ (Reformed and Calvinistic) which advertised itself on an outdoor sign with the statement: "God allows our choosing of Him to be His choosing of us." We hear a lot about "choices" today, also in the realm of the spiritual. In that connection consider these quotes: ". . .The Holy Scriptures ascribe conversion, faith in Christ, regeneration, renewal, and all that belong to their efficacious beginning and completion, not to the human powers of the natural free will, neither entirely, nor half, nor in any, even the least or most inconsiderable part, but in solidum, that is, entirely, solely, to the divine working and the Holy Ghost. . . ." (Concordia Triglotta, T.D. II. Free Will, p. 891) "It is also taught among us that man possesses some measure of freedom of the will which enables him to live an outwardly honorable life and to make choices among the things that reason comprehends. But without the grace, help, and activity of the Holy Spirit man is not capable of making himself acceptable to God, of fearing God and believing in God with his whole heart, or of expelling inborn evil lusts from his heart. This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, who is given through the Word of God, for Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:14, 'Natural man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God.'" (Augsburg Confession, Art. XVIII, Freedom of the Will) Compare the above statement to what is said in As we sing in the hymn: Lord, 'tis not that I did choose Thee; That, I know, could never be; For this heart would still refuse Thee Had Thy grace not chosen me. (cf. TLH #37, Stz 1)

Evolution A Theory, A Fact, Or A Law?

Or, None Of The Above?

I have heard many Christians say that evolution doesn't concern them because, after all, it's "only a theory." Presumably they think that the word "theory" means about the same thing as a "pipe dream." But the term theory, at least as it applies to experimental science, has a much nobler meaning than that. A scientific theory is a careful attempt to explain certain observable facts of nature by means of experiments. Since many Christians have concluded that evolution is incompatible with the Biblical account of creation, we would do well to investigate if evolution is a fact or a theory -- or perhaps neither. There is a widespread misconception that good theories grow up to be facts and that the really good ones finally become laws. But these three categories of scientific description are neither directly related nor mutually exclusive. It often occurs that a single natural phenomenon can be described in terms of a theory, a fact, and a law -- all at the same time! Consider the well-known phenomenon of gravity. First, there is a fact of gravity. While we cannot actually see gravitational force itself, we do observe the effects of this force every time we drop something. There is also a theory of gravity that addresses the question of how this force we call gravity really works. While we don't know how gravity works, there are theories that attempt to explain it. Finally there is the well-known law of gravity. This law, first formulated by Isaac Newton, a Bible-believing Christian and creationist, is a mathematical equation that shows a relationship between mass, distance, and gravitational force. So, in summary, a scientific fact is an observable natural occurrence; a scientific theory is an attempt to explain how a natural occurrence works; and a scientific law is a mathematical description of a natural occurrence. Science itself is the whole process of making careful observations of certain facts of nature and then constructing and testing theories that seek to explain those facts. Scientists call these attempts to test their theories experiments. Experimental science, better known as empirical science, is the kind of science that is responsible for the marvelous technological achievements that make our life easier. One has only to consider what it would be like to endure surgery without anesthesia to appreciate the contributions of empirical science to our lives. The most important requirement of empirical science is that any object or phenomenon we wish to study must first be observable. While we may assume the existence of events not witnessed by human observers, such events are not suited to study by empirical science. Secondly, the event we wish to study should be repeatable. Unique and unrepeatable events, such as the Babylonian Empire, are the subject of history, not empirical science. Finally, any theory we might propose as an explanation for an observable and repeatable event must be testable: we must be able to conceive of an experiment that could refute our theory if it were wrong. If one were to propose an explanation for an event in such a way that one could conceive of any way to test or refute it, it wouldn't be a theory at all, but rather a belief. Beliefs, of course, are not necessarily wrong, they just aren't well suited to study by empirical science. What then shall we say of evolution? First, evolutionists tell us that major evolutionary changes happen far too slowly, or too rarely, to be observable in the lifetime of human observers. The offspring of most living organisms, for example, are said to remain largely unchanged for tens of thousands, or even millions, of years. Second, even when evolutionary changes do occur, evolutionist Theodocious Dobzhansky tells us they are by nature "unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible." Dobzhansky concludes that the "applicability of the experimental method to the study of such unique historical processes is severely restricted." Finally, evolutionist Paul Ehrlich concedes that the theory of evolution "cannot be refuted by any possible observations" and thus is "outside of empirical science." Still, the occurrence of evolution is widely believed by the scientific community to be a "fact" and those who dare to doubt it are not endured gladly. The Encyclopedia Britannica confidently assures us that "we are not in the least doubt as to the fact of evolution." In his textbook Evolution, J. Savage says "we do not need a listing of the evidences to demonstrate the fact of evolution any more than we need to demonstrate the existence of mountain ranges." In another textbook, Outlines of General Zoology, H. Newman arrogantly declares that evolution has no rival as an explanation for the origin of everything "except the outworn and completely refuted one of special creation, now retained only by the ignorant, the dogmatic, and the prejudicial." What exactly is the "observable fact" of evolution? First you should be aware that evolutionists recognize two types of "evolution" -- microevolution, which is observable, and macroevolution, which isn't. So called "microevolution" is a process of limited variation among the individuals of a given species that produces the sort of variety we observe among dogs. Macroevolution, on the other hand, is a hypothetical process of unlimited variation that evolutionists believe transforms one kind of living organism into a fundamentally different kind of living organism into a fundamentally different kind such as the transformation of reptiles into birds or apes into people. Obviously, no one has ever observed anything remotely like this transformation. The very name "microevolution" is intended to imply that it is this kind of variation that accumulates to produce macroevolution, though a growing number of evolutionists admit there is no evidence to support this. Thus, an observable phenomenon is extrapolated into an unobservable phenomenon for which there is no evidence, and then the latter is declared to be a "fact" on the strength of the former. It is this kind of limitless extrapolation that comprises much of the argument of evolution. In conclusion, macroevolution is not observable, repeatable, or refutable and thus does not qualify as either a scientific fact or theory. Evolution must be accepted with faith by its believers, many of whom deny the existence, or at least the power, of the Creator. Similarly, the Biblical account of creation is not observable, repeatable, or refutable by man. Special creation is accepted with faith by those who believe that the Bible is the revelation of an omnipotent and omniscient Creator whose Word is more reliable than the speculations of men. Both evolution and creation, however, can be compared for their compatibility with what we do observe of the facts of nature. In the months ahead, we will see that creation by intelligent design is a vastly more reasonable explanation for the origin of the complexity we see in living things than is evolution by mere chance and the intrinsic properties of matter. -- Dr. David N. Menton


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

Genesis Chapters Forty-five Through Fifty

Jacob's Move To Egypt

Jacob had had a hard life. The flight from his brother, the deception of his uncle Laban, the loss of his beloved Rachel in childbirth, evil reports about the behavior of his elder sons, and the supposed death of his favorite son, Joseph, all must have weighed heavily on the old man. As he looked back on his life Jacob may have wondered what he might have done differently to have kept his older boys in line. He had taught his sons of the love and might of their Savior-God, and yet the only son which had seemed interested in following in his father's footsteps was gone. Little did Jacob realize how the training of that son was going to affect him, his family, and in essence all of God's people. Even More Problems But for now Jacob had even more problems. Two years of famine had been gnawing away at the family resources. The only place food was available was: Egypt. There his sons had to deal with a particularly suspicious and harsh Egyptian prince. Joseph, Jacob's long lost son, was that Egyptian prince. After twenty odd years Joseph now saw the fulfillment of his dreams. Here were his brothers groveling at his feet. Now he had the opportunity to exact his revenge! But we see that Joseph's thoughts were of his father as he anxiously asked: "Is your--really, "our"--father yet alive?" How then could he do harm to his father by harming his brothers? Joseph's revenge was that he showed his brothers pity when they had showed none. He showered kindness, mercy, and brotherly love when they had spewed hatred, bitterness, and cruel jealousy. Joseph was able to treat his brothers in such a Christian fashion not just out of love for his father, but out of love for his father's God whom he had been taught to serve. After revealing himself to his brethren and assuring them of his forgiveness, Joseph's next move was to ask them to bring their father down to Egypt as quickly as possible. Joseph couldn't wait to see his father again and he couldn't wait to share with his father and brothers the abundance the Lord had provided him. The brothers brought the news to Jacob -- Joseph is alive! He wants us to move to Egypt! Jacob couldn't believe his ears, yet his eyes beheld the riches and the carts sent by his son to carry him to this far off land. The tables were now turned for Jacob. All of those hard years of laboring for the Lord in order to provide for his family, and now a son would be able to provide for him. Joseph not only showered the riches of Egypt on his father and brothers, but he provided the best of the land as well, settling his family in the fertile land of Goshen. Two God-fearing Examples Joseph's love for his father went beyond the superficial things of this world. He was not at all embarrassed by his own humble beginnings nor those of his father. Quite to the contrary, Joseph presented his aged, weather-worn, limping, blue-collar laborer father to mighty Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh's response: any family of Joseph is a friend of Egypt. He then allowed the sons of Jacob to inhabit the verdant pastures of Goshen. Jacob's love for his Lord and Savior prompted him to raise his sons in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Not all was smooth sailing. Not all of the sons took readily to the instruction of their father. Yet Jacob remained a God-fearing example to his sons throughout his life. An earthly reward Jacob received for this service is proclaimed in these verses: "Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. Yes, may you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel!" (Ps. 128:4,6) To be sure Jacob had seen the children of his sons living with him in the land of Canaan, but now his eyes even beheld the two sons of his beloved Joseph as well. How faithful and generous our God is, even in these temporal matters! Throughout his life Joseph had shown himself to be a true Christian. His concern for the spiritual well-being of his brothers, his willingness to suffer evil for the Lord's good, his readiness to forgive, and his eagerness to provide for his aged father are all proofs of his love for his God. We read in Exodus 10:12: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you." Even though this commandment was given to God's people many years after the death of Joseph, we can still see the blessings God bestows on the faithful. Not only did Joseph enjoy a long and prosperous life in the land of Egypt, but he also received a double inheritance from his father. For while there is no tribe of Joseph listed among the Israelites, each of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were given that blessing. May we use the examples of Jacob and Joseph, so whether we be father or son, mother or daughter, we each do our duty as to the Lord. --Teacher David Bernthal

Two New Congregations In Our Synod Family

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church Golden, Colorado

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church is located just west of Denver in Golden, Colorado--settled in a valley between two table mesas on the east and the foothills of the Rockies on the west. The congregation was formed in 1993, resulting in a merger of St. Luke of Denver and St. James of Golden. Both of these congregations were formed in the early 1940's. Orval Krei was the first pastor of St. James, followed by Victor Schultz and then Herold Schulz. When St. Luke was established, Victor Tiefel was pastor. He faithfully shepherded the congregation for several decades, and at age 84 he is still serving as associate pastor in the newly formed congregation. After World War II, St. James congregation purchased one of the chapels at Camp Hale in the Colorado Rockies, where soldiers trained for winter and alpine warfare. This was utilized in building the church where the congregation is presently worshiping in Golden. We say "presently" worshiping, because the congregation just sold the church property in July. As we are looking for a site and building a new place of worship, we have an arrangement to use our former church building for Sunday worship services, Lenten services, etc. at no charge for two years. The current pastor of St. Paul's is Delwyn Maas. Pastor Maas was born and raised in the Denver area, growing up in St. Luke's congregation. He graduated from Immanuel Lutheran High School and Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire. In 1980 he graduated from Colorado Lutheran Seminary in Denver. He and his wife Jody have three children: David (15), Timothy (11), and Heidi (8). The congregations which merged into St. Paul's have weathered many controversies over the years, not unlike many other confessional Lutheran congregations. Through those experiences the Holy Spirit granted the increase of faith and knowledge by compelling us to fervently study His Word. He has instilled within us a love for His Word so that we cherish it as a "pearl of great price." Our one abiding goal has been faithfulness to God's Word. This path has not always been an easy one. Truly, it has been sprinkled with many tears. As difficult as it was to endure such events, the Lord of the Church never failed to sustain and prosper our congregation. He has now created a blessed union between us and the Church of the Lutheran Confession, with whom we share the goal of faithfulness to God's Word. We count this fellowship as precious indeed! "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 Jn. 1:7). As we prepare for the next phase in the history of our congregation (new location, new building, new fellowship), we pray for the Lord to bestow His blessings on our sister congregations, and we ask them also to keep us in their prayers as we undertaken the tasks ahead of us.

St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church Colorado Springs, Colorado

Below the snow-capped visage of Pikes Peak lies the city of Colorado Springs, population 306,000. Here you can visit such places as NORAD, the Air Force Academy, and the training facility for the U.S. Olympic team. Colorado Springs is known as a very conservative community and there are many churches and religious organizations. For example, the headquarters for Focus on the Family is located here. Among all these high-profiled localities, you can also find St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church. Here a congregation of faithful Lutherans gather together every Sunday afternoon at 3:30 for worship services. Like many confessional Lutheran congregations, St. Matthew's was born of controversy. having departed from WELS, their congregtiion had been independent for several years. In the early 1990's a division arose within the congregation. The question was: "Does the authority to receive or remove members from the congregation reside with the congregation or solely with the pastor?" The pastor maintained that he had unilateral authority in this area. Many in the congregation disagreed, citing Matthew 18:17 and other passages to demonstrate that this responsibility and authority belong to the body and not to any individual. The ensuing separation resulted in the formation of St. Matthew's in 1991. Delwyn Maas has served as the pastor of this congregation since its inception. From his home in Golden it is about 80 miles to St. Matthew's. At the Convention last June, Pastor Maas spoke for St. Paul of Golden and St. Matthew of Colorado Springs when he said: "We rejoice that the Holy Spirit has created a scripturally based and therefore God-pleasing agreement between us." After the Convention St. Matthew voted to apply for membership in the Church of the Lutheran Confession. The Lord has truly blessed our congregation through His precious Word, and we trust that He will enrich us further through the fellowship which He has created between us and the CLC. Editor's Note: It was at our request that Pastor Delwyn Maas submitted this information to introduce our readers to the congregations he is serving. We thank him. We implore the Lord to bless the work he and St. Paul and St. Matthew congregations are doing.


West Central Pastoral Conference Date: September 17-19, 1996 Place: Berea Ev. Lutheran Church, Sioux falls, SD Agenda: 1) Old Testament Exegesis: Psalm 128 -- Pastor Jay Hartmann 2) New Testament Exegesis: Romans 6:15-23 -- Pastor Peter Reim 3) Isagogical Study of Hebrews -- Pastor Norman Greve 4) Review and discussion: Walther's Law And Gospel -- Pastor Frank Gantt 5) Study of the "Promise Keepers" -- Pastor James Shrader 6) How To Minister to the Sick and Dying -- Pastor Paul Larsen 7) To Spank Or Not To Spank -- Pastor Michael Roehl 8) Homiletics: A Review of the Importance and the Basics of the Sermon Outline -- Pastor Joel Fleischer 9) Book Reviews: Pastoral Theology by Walther -- Pastor Walter Schaller; Getting Into the Book of Concord by Preus -- Pastor David Fuerstenau Conference Chaplain: Pastor Michael Schierenbeck Conference Speaker: Pastor John Johannes --Pastor Steven Sippert, Secretary Minnesota Pastoral Conference Date: October 29-30, 1996 beginning at 10:00 a.m. Host: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Austin, Minn. Chaplain: Pastor Theodore Barthels Agenda: * OT Exegesis of Malachi 3:6-16 -- Pastor Vance Fossum * NT Exegesis of Jude 16ff - Pastor Rick Grams * Homiletical Study of Revelation 14:6-7 -- Pastor David Schierenbeck * Pastors As Spiritual Physicians -- Pastor Stephen Kurtzahn * Various ways of encouraging our congregations to study Christian stewardship -- Pastor em. Keith Olmanson * Overview of the Smalcald Articles and its Preface -- Pastor L. D. Redlin * Luther's "Bondage of the Will" - Review and Application for Today -- Pastor Gregory L. Jackson -- Pastor Rick Grams, Secretary Pacific Coast Pastoral Conference Trinity Lutheran Church Spokane, Washington October 8-10, 1996 Assignments: * Old Testament Exegesis: continuation of Hosea at chapter 5:12 -- Pastor Paul Naumann * New Testament Exegesis: continuation of 1 Thessalonians at chapter 5:12 -- Pastor Michael Sprengeler * Isagogical study of 2 Thessalonians -- Pastor David Naumann * Christian Giving: Encouraging Discipline Without Legalism -- Pastor Michael Eichstadt * Emotions in the Christian's Life and Faith -- Pastor Robert List * Paul's Use of the Word "law" in Romans/Galatians -- Pastor Bertram Naumann * A Popular Presentation of the Fellowship Question Chaplain -- Pastor Arvid Gullerud Speaker -- Pastor Paul Krause --Pastor Michael Sprengeler, Secretary Addresses Pastor Delwyn Maas 401 20th Street Golden, CO 80401 Phone (303) 278-7216 Pastor Victor Tiefel 4311 Osceola Street Denver, CO 80212 Phone (303) 433-9333 Pastor Bruce Naumann N1521 State Rd. 73 Markesan, WI 53946 Phone (414) 398-2778 Installations In accord with our usage and order, Ruth Eserhut, who was called by Messiah Lutheran congregation of Hales Corners, Wis. to be the lower grade teacher in its Christian Day School, was installed on August 11, 1996. --Pastor John Ude In accord with our usage and order, Bruce Naumann, who was called by Faith Lutheran congregation of Markesan, Wis. to be its pastor was installed on August 25, 1996. --Pastor em. Keith Olmanson CLC Teachers' Conference Grace Lutheran Church Valentine, Nebraska October 16-18, 1996 List Of Essays: * Evaluation of Schools -- Douglas Libby * The Importance of Arts in Our Curriculum -- Lane Fischer * Attitudes Toward Public Schools -- James Lau * Devotions For Teachers -- Seth Schaller * Humanism in Public School Texts vs. Decision Theology in A Beka Texts -- Theodore Quade * Handwriting Textbook Review -- Barbara Hulke and Deborah Johannes * Title Fives -- Alvin Sieg, Leif Olmanson, Carolyn Gerbitz, Marion Fitschen, Marlys Gerth (Note: Title Fives is a brief presentation of new ideas for an area of the curriculum) --Submitted by Karl Olmanson Joint Reformation Service The Minnesota conference of the CLC invites area congregations to attend a joint Reformation service to be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mankato, Minnesota on October 27, 1996 beginning at 4:00 p.m. --Pastor Rick Grams, Secretary Coordinating Council The Coordinating Council will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, October 23 & 24, at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wis. The first session begins at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. --Daniel Fleischer, President