The Lutheran Spokesman (October 1997)

In this issue:

Our Link To Luther Time For A Name Change? A Church Committed To The Word Reformation Vignettes Walk In Unity Bewitched? SMORGASBORD From a Wider Field Seminary Graduate Accepts Call 'A Good Beginning...' Announcements For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.



Outside Lutheran circles the name "Lutheran" has very little respect. The lack of respect is largely die to a lack of understanding. Because of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) some associate "Lutheran" with the tenets of liberal theology or social gospel. Therefore we are compelled to explain what it means to be Lutheran and what our connection is to the man whose name we incorporate into the identity of our church. The place was 16th century Germany. The man was a troubled monk, searching so desperately for peace and assurance. Luther spent years of his life trying to conform to the mandates of his church. Unfortunately he and the church of his day were trapped in the darkness of error. More than anything Luther wanted to be sure that he was saved, that he was truly right with God. So he turned to the only source of religion that he knew. He even tried to appease God by devoting his life to the work of a monk and a priest. But none of these efforts would quell the pangs of his conscience. At the end of each day he came face to face with the reality of his sin. And that sin only condemned him continually. In the midst of a desperate situation, the Lord was working a tremendous change, not only for Luther himself but also for many others who would follow in his steps. Luther's quest to become a priest and a theologian gave him the chance to do what most people of his day could not do. He had the chance to study the Bible in its unaltered form. The Bible showed him things that he never realized before. It showed him the real Jesus, the Savior who died for all of his sins. In the Bible he found the meaning of grace. Luther discovered, much to his delight, that God had given salvation to all people as a free gift. When the truth sank in, he finally found relief. To hear God's own testimony that all of Luther's sins were forgiven! T know that he was acceptable to God because of Christ! To know for sure that he would have eternal life by simply trusting in the work and merits of Jesus! God At Work We look back on history and see that God was quite active in the life and work of Martin Luther. When the message of salvation was mired in the darkness of human error and neglect, God unveiled the Gospel light for one man who in turn would bring that light to many others. Consequently the Lutheran Church was born--born out of necessity more than anything else. The Roman Church would not part from its error. The people were in desperate need of unconditional Gospel preaching. Luther and his followers would have to become their own separate fellowship of believers, dedicated to the cause of preaching, teaching, and defending the truth. From that struggle would come the forging of the Lutheran Confessions, the spread of Lutheranism to many other countries, and the planting of the Lutheran Church here in America. From Martin Luther we have received a spiritual heritage that is truly a blessing from God Himself. Though many years have passed we still agree with Luther's teaching because his confession conforms completely with the Word of God. We echo Luther's appreciation for the Gospel, because we too have received the same liberation that the Gospel brings. We take up Luther's cause of preaching, teaching, and contending for the truth, because the struggle is not yet over. Our link to Luther is more than the practice of using his name. It's the timeless link of "grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone." It's the precious connection of fellowship and unity. We are linked to Luther by the doctrine that he passed on to us. And through that doctrine we are linked forever to the same God who works mightily to bless all believers with the same grace, the same faith, and the same hope in Christ. -- Pastor Steven Sippert

Time For A Name Change?

Coca-Cola has done it. The U. S. Postal Service has too. Virtually every organization alters its logo, reformulates its product or changes its name from time to time in order to present a positive, up-to-date public image. What about us? Has the time come to "get over" the Reformation, leave Luther to the pages of history, and create a new image for our church? Evidence suggests that many think so. A Lutheran mega-church in our community omits "Lutheran" from its name and simply calls itself "Community Church of Joy." The largest Lutheran synod in the country, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has been meeting with the Episcopal Church, the Reformed Church in America, and others for the purpose of getting past historical differences in doctrine and establishing full communion between these churches. In addition, over the years criticism has been leveled at Luther for his strong language against the Jews, his inflexibility toward the views of others, and some of his politically incorrect personal opinions. So, does all this mean that it's time to paint over "Lutheran" on our church signs and go with something new? Not at all! The Lutheran name is far too precious to surrender! It's not that we worship the man, as some have charged. We know, and Luther himself freely admitted, that he was just like all of us--a sinful human being unworthy of God's loving notice. Luther made mistakes and said things he later regretted. Yet we cherish his name because of what it stands for. Luther's words fill thousands of pages in multiple volumes dealing with dozens of topics, but what he believed and taught was all based on three simple, God-revealed truths: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide. Three God-revealed Truths Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) is the truth that the Bible is the God-breathed Word from cover to cover. It stands alone as the ultimate authority and test for every belief and teaching. Recall Luther's courageous confession at the Diet of Worms: "Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything. . . . " Sola Gratia (Grace Alone) is the truth that we are saved from sin and death by God's grace alone, not by our own works and goodness or by any combinations of Christ plus our works. As Paul says: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). Sola Fide (Faith Alone) is the truth that all the blessings of Christ's redeeming work become our own by Spirit-created faith, not by our earning them or by anything else for which we could take the credit. In explaining the Third Article, Luther says: "I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. . . . " These three truths are the foundation of the Lutheran Church upon which we still build today. At a time in history when "Martin Luther" most commonly evokes thoughts of Martin Luther King, Jr., and when many of those churches which still claim the name Lutheran have long ago abandoned what it stands for, may we by God's grace stand firm. May our church signs still proclaim "Lutheran," and may our pulpits still proclaim the pure Gospel truths Luther held so dear! No change needed here! -- Pastor Michael Eichstadt
Reformation Message From Our CLC President --

A Church Committed To The Word

One who writes can be easily misunderstood, possibly because he wrote unclearly, or possibly because the reader misunderstood. A pastor understands that. So it is imperative that he make every effort to speak clearly, and that the hearer or reader make every effort to ascertain what is being said before judgments are passed. Critical to the effort of discerning what is meant by a writer is asking questions, not in a spirit of immediately suspecting the worst such as "How could you . . . ?" -- but rather in the spirit of furthering understanding and fellowship: "What did you mean when you said . . . ?" letting the Scripture be the final interpreter. Surely we would not accuse Martin Luther of being a mealy mouthed confessor who held his finger to the wind to see which way the wind was blowing before he spoke. Neither would we suggest that he was weak in his confession of what he believed, or that he was trying to find excuse for something less than faithfulness. Yet Luther was a realist. In 1540 Luther said in a sermon: "He who would have, and is in search of, a church in which no dissension and no difference exists among preachers, no insincerity against the First Table, and no outrage and wickedness against the Second Table, will never find his church" (What Luther Says, Vol. 1, #846, p. 288). The orthodox church committed to standing in the Word, and preaching the Word, does not present itself as a perfect church. It presents itself as a church in which Christ is the Master. It is committed to the Word. Its one and only intent and desire is to hold to the Word in its truth and purity. It does not look for ways to skirt the truth; it will not hold its finger to the wind in order to determine what it shall believe and what it shall teach. It feels a compulsion to teach all things whatsoever the Savior has commanded (Matthew 28:20). The orthodox church knows that the only proof of being true disciples indeed is continuing in the Word of the Lord -- that Word inspired and faithfully recorded by the holy writers under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It recognizes with Luther that, "The true treasure of the church is the holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God" (loc. cit. p. 276). But because it is in the world it must be a militant church. Contending for truth at times creates tension and dissension among preachers as well as congregations. We could wish it were different; we pray daily that it is, but realism understands that Satan is still in the world and will give us no peace night or day. Within the church disagreements arise over doctrine. It has never been different. Even the apostles had their disputes (Acts 15:6-21; Galatians 2:11). Disagreements are never agreeable! But neither need they be personal! But through mutual study of and bowing to the Word they can serve, under the Spirit, a blessed end, as happened in Jerusalem and Antioch. Furthermore they lend themselves to identify who the faithful are and who they are not (1 Corinthians 11:19). Shall we then foster disagreement or heresy so that the Spirit can do His work? God forbid! But let us recognize that in the church militant, made up of people of flesh and blood, they will arise. Why should we expect it will be different in 1997 than it was in the church of the apostles or in 1540? We will be careful to speak truth. As Christians in the church we are called to nothing less. At the same time we will recognize that there are different levels of understanding--yes, even among the clergy. That suggests we will be slow to accuse, making sure we understand what the other is saying, and/or making sure that we know and understand the issue, as well as what Scripture says on the point at issue. Until then we will ask questions and study the Word and consult with one another, recognizing also what the 1932 Brief Statement of the LC-MS says when it reminds us that the orthodox character of a church is determined "by the doctrine which is actually taught in its pulpits, in its theological seminaries, and in its publications . . ."; whereafter it declares: "A church does not forfeit its orthodox character through the casual intrusion of errors, provided these are combated and eventually removed by means of doctrinal discipline, Acts 20:30; 1 Timothy 1:3." He who is looking for a church where there is never doctrinal disagreement will have to start his own. He who is looking for a church where such disagreements are not addressed is looking for a church with which no orthodox Lutheran would want to be associated. So the orthodox church marches on. It fully expects pitfalls along the way. It is bold to confront the devil. It finds its joy in the blessed Gospel of reconciliation through which the Father has reconciled us unto Himself, and without which understanding, dissensions, and disagreements of any sort that arise can never be laid to rest. That is a greater tragedy than the disagreement itself, for an inability to overcome dissension may possibly betray, even if only momentarily, an ignorance both of the blessing as well as the power of the Gospel. Now then, if what has been written is unclear or you question what the writer meant, ask. -- Pastor Daniel Fleischer Sunday, October 27, 1996, the annual Reformation Heritage Festival service was held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Mankato, Minnesota. Most congregations of the Minnesota District of the CLC were represented at this special celebration of God's grace. Immanuel's pastors, P. D. Nolting (#'s 1, 3, 5) and L. D. Redlin (#'s 2 & 4), alternated as speakers focusing on different aspects of the Reformer's life. The five talks will be printed serially.

Reformation Vignettes


"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'the just shall live by faith'" (Romans 1:16-17). 1996 is the 450th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther. We have gathered here to praise our gracious God and to remember His gift to the church in the person and work of Martin Luther. In this first devotion we consider God's gift of Luther As Reformer. While many reformers arose within the Christian church in the centuries leading up to the birth and life of Luther, there is an important difference to be noted between them and Luther. That difference is not that Luther ultimately proved successful in his reform efforts whereas they did not. Many historians focus on Luther's success and the reason for it. They speak of the great changes taking place at Luther's time in terms of politics, economics, social development, and technology, all of which certainly impacted the Lutheran Reformation. But this is not the difference of which I speak. I am speaking of this that Luther's reform focused on the corruption of doctrine as opposed to the corruption of morals within the Christian church. The Lutheran Reformation ultimately proved to be successful because the Lord used Martin Luther to restore to the church the truth that human beings are saved by God's grace alone by faith alone in Christ Jesus. He used Martin Luther to restore the Bible as the foundation and basis for all Christian teaching and life. God did this by reforming, first of all, the theology of Luther himself. Luther grew up a faithful member of the Roman Catholic Church. He understood that he had to believe in the one true God, but he was led to believe as well that his eternal salvation was dependent not upon that faith alone, but upon his ability to please and appease a righteous, holy God who hated sin and demanded perfection. The Holy Spirit led Luther through a study of the Bible to understand the "gospel"--the precious news that Jesus as our Savior has won our salvation for us and bestows upon us His righteousness, while removing our sins through His sacrificial death. This gospel became for Luther what Paul says it is: "The power of God to salvation to everyone who believes." Luther discovered the joy and freedom of realizing and embracing the righteousness of God as a free gift which justifies and bestows everlasting life. From a doctrinal system which taught "faith plus works," which leads to uncertainty and fear of judgment, Luther was led to--and was enabled by the Spirit to lead--the church back to a doctrinal system which teaches "faith alone through grace alone." This teaching brings joy and certainty to our hearts and then leads us to a joyous life of moral living. We do not "love Him because if we don't we will go to hell!" Rather, as John tells us: "We love Him because He first loved us!" (1 Jn. 4:19) We remember God's gift to the church and thank Him for Luther as reformer--the one who by grace restored the doctrinal truths of our salvation, and so leaves us certain of our eternal future and happy to serve our Lord and Savior here in this life, for the Spirit has led us to believe as did Luther, that "the just shall live by faith." "Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" -- Eph. 4:3

Walk In Unity

Paul's letter to the Ephesians celebrates the miracle of the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church consists of all those who believe in the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. This Church is known only to God because true faith is hidden in the hearts of people. Luther celebrates this wonder in his explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed: "In the same way He {the Holy Spirit} calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith." You were called by the Holy Spirit to be a part of this Body of Christ. The Apostle now urges you to walk (live a life) consistent with this high calling. All believers are joined together in the unity of the Spirit. This is a unity created by the Holy Spirit. The Church is a creation of God the Father who "chose us in Him {Christ} before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:4). God made us alive together with Christ: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). The mystery of this salvation is that both Jews and Gentiles are made one in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:14-16). The unity of the Spirit describes what we are as believers--one body in Christ, and what we have--one Spirit. This unity created by the Spirit is described in Ephesians 4:4-6: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." A Miracle Of Faith This unity is not produced by man's efforts or through outward organization. The emphasis today is on achieving organizational unity often at the cost of faithfulness to the Word of God. The unity we enjoy is not brought into existence or preserved by synodical resolutions, by liturgical customs, by external rules, or by loyalty to an organization. The unity produced by the Holy Spirit exists because, as believers, we are one body, and we are united in the one true faith. Our unity is a miracle of faith. God wants us then to live a life that reflects the reality of this unity "being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." We cannot bring this unity into existence, but we are to endeavor to retain or preserve this precious unity of the Spirit. The Greek indicates that we are to hurry or to hasten, that is, to be zealous or eager, to take pains in order to keep, guard, or preserve this unity of the Spirit. The Lord in this section explains how this unity of the Spirit is preserved. It is noteworthy that the attitudes of pride, arrogance, and impatience with others tears down the unity created by the Spirit. History shows that doctrinal questions are often made worse by egos, by remembered wrongs, or by a lack of patience with the weaknesses of others. Too often church controversies are exacerbated by a conflict of personalities and personal attacks. There is a very real danger in the midst of controversies to show little concern for the body of Christ and the unity of the Spirit. These wrong attitudes are excused as a contending for the truth. Sometimes even those who are right are right in such a way that harm is done to the body of Christ. These verses in Ephesians 4 call for a true denial of our sinful selves. We are to be clothed with the lowliness or humility of Christ who humbled Himself to the point of the cross. We are to be filled with a gentleness or meekness which gladly serves others. We are to be people who are long-suffering and who are not put off by the failures of others. And finally we are to bear with or put up with one another in love. It is the love of Christ that ties all these attributes together. It is the love of Christ that enables us to be diligent in seeking to preserve the unity of the Spirit. Care In Controversy Doctrinal unity is very important. Later in this chapter we are urged "to come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting" (Eph. 4:13-14). But doctrinal unity is not an end in itself. The purpose of this unity is that "speaking the truth in love, (we) may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ" (Eph. 4:15-16). We need to remember that preserving the unity produced by the Spirit involves lowliness, gentleness, long-suffering, and bearing with one another in love. These attitudes are to be found within us as fruits of the Spirit and not demanded of another. It is important to rejoice in the oneness we share in Christ's body, the Church. The Holy Spirit needs to give us the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5) which preserve this unity especially in times of controversy. August Pieper wrote in his foreword to Volume 10 of the Quartalschrift: "Dogmatic training perhaps makes one orthodox, but it also easily makes one orthodoxist, intolerant, quarrelsome, hateful, and easily causes division in the church . . . The study of Scripture makes the heart narrow to actual false doctrine and heresies, but broad toward various human expressions and presentations. It does not accuse of false doctrine unnecessarily; it teaches us to bear and suffer in love with the mistakes of the weak. It keeps the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." He concluded, "Through new immersion in the Scriptures, we can infuse the church with new vitality, new life, new youth." (The Wauwatosa Theology, Vol. I, pp. 117-118--emphasis mine) In these last days may the Holy Spirit give us humility and gentleness with patience that we may show tolerance for one another in love. We celebrate the unity of the Spirit in the miracle of the one, holy, Christian Church. (Quotes from the New American Standard Bible--NASB) -- Pastor John Schierenbeck
Studies In Galatians Chapter 3:1-14


"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" (Gal. 3:1) When the King of Syria (Aram) wanted to capture Elisha, God's prophet in Israel, he sent enough Syrian soldiers to surround the town of Dothan, where they found the prophet. But Elisha prayed that the Lord would strike them with blindness, and when that happened, Elisha was able to lead the entire army into the Israelites' capital city, Samaria. When their eyes were opened again, the soldiers might well have felt a little foolish for having walked into a trap, and their foolishness might even have cost them their lives. But Elisha interceded for them, and they were treated well, fed, and sent away, perhaps to tell their king and their countrymen that they had been "bewitched" and blinded. They had not recognized their prey when he was right in front of them, and had come back empty-handed, but lucky to have hands at all! Time and again through history people have been on the brink of disaster. The foolish Galatian Christians were on the same brink. "Who has bewitched you?" Paul asked them. "Jesus Christ crucified was crucified before your very eyes." Yet they were trying to improve their standing with God by their observances: special ceremonies, special days, special months, special years. It was foolish for those who had seen Jesus crucified for their sins, and not for theirs only, but for the sins of the whole world. It was foolish, but not funny. They were being led into the enemy's stronghold. Depending on one's own works leads a) to Pharisaic pride which fails to look upon the wayward heart within, or b) to despair upon seeing the truth. On The Brink Some four hundred eighty years ago Martin Luther was struggling with the same danger. He had tried to stand before God with his outward observances, but knew the truth: that his heart was nowhere as happy with God as his ceremonies suggested. He was on the brink of destruction, despairing of any help to save him from the God who knew his heart. Then it happened. God's Word held Christ before his eyes, crucified for all sins, rising to declare him innocent by reason of forgiveness, at peace with God. When the Spirit's Word persuaded him to believe this, it was as though heaven was opened up before him. By faith he saw that he was Abraham's child in Christ, an heir of heaven, God's own. His ceremonies and observances, his prayers and vigils could not bring him any closer to his heavenly Father's arms, for he was in them already, trusting the Good News! "The just shall live by faith." Now, Luther was not only a monk and a priest, but also a teacher and Doctor of Theology who was called to teach the glorious truths of God's Word of grace. But when he began applying the Good News to some of the rituals and rules which had been erected in the name of Christ, he was in some hot water. He was finally brought before the emperor and rulers of the empire. That was 477 years ago next April. It appeared that his life was on the line when he was asked to take back his writings and the teachings that they contained. By Faith But having begun with the Spirit, Luther refused to go back again to relying on his Christian works for peace with God. He continued to proclaim that God's completed work in Christ on the cross was what reconciled the world to God, rather than God's work in us, which will not be finished until the resurrection. What a difference this makes! It brings a new joy, for example, at Christmas to see God's work--outside of us, in the manger--bringing God's peace to earth, and His good will to men. Likewise on the cross Christ died for us, whether we feel it or not. Here is something objective to believe, not dependent upon our feelings within. But the Word which declares this truth does work within us, persuading us to believe that God has also reconciled us to Himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Thus we receive God's gift and thus we sing: Let me never, Lord, forsake Thee, E'en tho' bitter pain and strife On my way shall overtake me; But may I thro' all my life Walk in fervent love to Thee, In all woes for comfort flee To Thy birth, Thy death, and passion Till I see Thy full salvation. Amen. (TLH 401:2) -- Prof. Paul Schaller



(From the Calvary Contender, April 15, 1997, quoting in turn the "Maranatha Baptist Watchman"): "Many who were once strong and vocal in their defense of personal and ecclesiastical separation have greatly mollified their stand. It appears that the notion is that some things that used to be wrong are not wrong any longer and some truths held dear and worth fighting for are not so important as they once were. The lines that were once clearly drawn are now smudged and barely legible. The voices that were once a trumpet sound are now hardly a whisper. A metamorphosis is taking place. Militance is being replaced with diplomacy. Values and priorities are changing. Militance which was once considered honorable and scriptural is now crude and uncouth. . . . While we are 'militant' and 'contending' for the truth, we are to do it in a right spirit and for the right purposes." Comment: See below.


For reasons which soon become obvious, the following quote is often repeated in orthodox, conservative circles. The authenticity of the good words generally attributed to Dr. Martin Luther has been questioned. We are therefore happy to pass along the information that the words are indeed Luther's. One of our pastors, in surfing a Missouri Synod internet site, found that the Luther-quote source is "Weimar Ausgabe Briefwechsel 3, 81f." "If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point." Comment: Interesting, isn't it, to consider these words of the dear Doctor alongside the "Say It Isn't So" quote above? May God in His mercy spare us from becoming victims of the metamorphosis taking place.


There are a few "perks" which come with being editor. One is being placed on unsolicited mailing lists including, at times, those of book publishers. Earlier this year we were favored with a new book from Providence House Publishers titled "Martin Luther's Friends" by Noel C. LeRoque. Sorry we don't have the price. It's a 256-page soft-cover, with chapters devoted to Luther Himself and then, respectively, to John von Staupitz, Philipp Melanchthon, John Bugenhagen, Justus Jonas, Nicholas von Amsdorf, George Spalatin, Frederick the Wise, and Katherine von Bora. In his introduction the author explains that it is not his intention to "write another history of the Reformation, leaving that for the experts." But inasmuch as close acquaintances often play an important behind-the-scenes role in the life of any noteable person, and since Luther's friends often are given short schrift in connection with Reformation history, the author's approach is to "(put) Luther's friends into the center of events, and (move) them out of the shadow of the great Reformer." Doubtless Luther's best friend--whom he once said he would not trade for all of Venice--was his "my Lord Katie", beloved wife Katherine. Next closest may have been Philipp Melanchthon: "Martin was thirty-four when he posted the Ninety-five Theses on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg; Philipp was just twenty. In spite of the difference in age, there was a mutual attraction, with the older man treating the younger not only as an equal, but as his superior in ability and potential. From the outset they talked together; wrote letters to each other when they were apart; debated with each other; supported each other in every conflict, even though they didn't agree at every point; were concerned about each others' families; and spent leisure time together. In all these ways they were close, if not 'closer than brothers.' One who understands this has a better chance of understanding Martin Luther." (Martin Luther's Friends, p. 91). Even as last year Lutheranism marked the 450th anniversary of Luther's death, this year it is noting the 500th anniversary of Melanchthon's birth (Feb. 14, 1497). For all of Melanchthon's positive traits and gifts which were indeed appreciated by Luther ("He stood with Luther at Leipzig and Marburg and Augsburg"), Reformation historians are quick to point out that Melanchthon had a glaring weakness--an urgent desire to compromise with the Roman camp in certain areas of doctrine. For example, orthodox Lutheran churches take care to endorse the original and Unaltered Augsburg Confession Melanchthon was largely responsible for writing, rather than an altered version later set forth by him. The Spokesman is noting this Melanchthon anniversary by reprinting a 1956 article from The Northwestern Lutheran. Written by Egbert Schaller, a former pastor and professor in our CLC, the article expands on the dangerous path upon which Melanchthon sought to lead the new Lutheran church. At the same time the article makes some applications to our own day. The writings of Prof. Edmund Reim and Prof. Egbert Schaller, together with those of Prof. C.M. Gullerud, filled many pages of the early editions of the CLC theological journal, the Journal of Theology. In a previous issue it was mentioned that Reim was "our theologian." Egbert Schaller is another former teacher and colleague in ministry whom we esteem worthy of the title. Prof. Schaller died July 29, 1971, with funeral services at Messiah, Eau Claire, Rev. L. W. Schierenbeck conducting. In the Spokesman article reporting Schaller's passing, Prof. Gullerud wrote: "Professor Schaller was one of God's gifts to the Church and the seed that God permitted him to sow in his life-time will sprout and grow in many places. He served the Church at large not only as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Theology, but also as chairman of the Board of Doctrine and an essayist at synodical conventions. His service will be remembered with gratitude in our midst." Previous to becoming a CLC founding father, Schaller, as Reim, did considerable writing for Wisconsin Synod periodicals. From a Wider Field was a featured series of highly edifying "letters to the editor" which appeared in The Northwestern Lutheran prior to the formation of the CLC.

From a Wider Field

by Egbert Schaller 'The Northwestern Lutheran' -- September 30, 1956 Dear Editor: We are entering the month of the Reformation anniversary. You won't mind a little journey into history? Almost from the very beginnings of Lutheranism the Church has known what it means to be plagued by a powerful spirit of unionism which in theological circles has come to be called Melanchthonianism, or Philippism, after the man who, in many respects, was the second in command in the ranks of the Lutheran Reformation. Do you recall that, largely because of the influence of Philip Melanchthon, there was a time after Luther's death when the Church in Germany, together with that in Holland, France, and England, was almost turned from Luther's doctrine to that of Calvinism? Melanchthon is favorably remembered as Luther's colaborer in the critical days of the Reformation. His special knowledge of languages was a tower of strength for Luther. But it must be remembered that Melanchthon was by training not a theologian. Luther's need of him brought him to a theological professorship at Wittenberg; but as early as 1525 Melanchthon desired to give up the post to return to his real field of the humanistic sciences. Luther would not give him up. Said the Reformer: "I was born for warring with factious spirits and devils. For this reason my books are stormy and warlike. . . . But Magister Philip proceeds quietly and with a clean hand. . . . " His skill was responsible for the precious document of the Lutheran Church known as the Augsburg Confession. As the saying went: "What Martin boldly began, this Philip finely spun and gave it the proper form." But Melanchthon's peaceful disposition and his skill of expression were all too soon employed in tactics which undermined the foundations of the Reformation. Although the error of Zwingli and his followers in their teaching regarding the Lord's Supper had become clearly evident at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529, Melanchthon never fully approved of Luther's position. In 1540, Melanchthon took to hand the Augsburg Confession, that glorious fruit of his own pen which by then was the cherished possession of the Lutheran Church, and falsified it. He published it in a new edition in which he removed from Article X the two expressions "truely present" and "reject those who teach otherwise." In their place he printed the following statement: "Concerning the Supper of the Lord they (the churches of the Reformation) teach that with the bread and wine there are presented to those who eat, the body and blood of Christ in the Supper of the Lord." It is noteworthy that this change was not printed in the German, but only in the Latin edition, so that the man in the pew was not aware of any alteration until much later. Moreover, the skillful wording could lead many to think that no change had been made in the sense. But Melanchthon had surrendered Scriptural doctrine by offering in place of the real presence of Christ's body in the Sacrament a general presence of Christ in the Sacrament such as Calvin was willing to acknowledge. Both the Lutheran and the Reformed view would be read into the new expression. Melanchthon on his part rejected the doctrine that the body and blood of Christ are orally received by all who partake of the Sacrament. The new form of the Augsburg Confession, which is known as "The Variata," included other changes also. As early as 1535 Melanchthon had quietly forsaken Luther's teaching in such things as free will and conversion; and this change was likewise reflected in the Variata of 1540. Although in time the Variata was discredited and rejected by true Lutherans, who returned to the original Confession as their own, the influence of Melanchthon's compromise was such that under its cover quiet, effective propaganda was made among Lutherans for Calvin's doctrine of the Holy Supper. It came to the point where Lutherans generally were no longer even aware of the fact that the Reformed Church of Calvin opposed the doctrine of the Real Presence. It is at points like this that the lessons of the past ought to begin bearing fruit for our good. I am not trying to offer you unasked a recital of history, however interesting the subject may be. I am trying to make it plain that now, as then, a compromising confessional document is not dead, even after it has been set aside, until the spirit which brought it forth is recognized and repudiated by the Church and those are exposed who foster it. The man who sounded the alarm in Germany was the prominent Pastor Joachim Westphal of Hamburg. In a widely distributed pamphlet he uncovered the existing difference between Calvin and Luther in the doctrine of the Lord's Supper. It is typical that Westphal was at once publicly abused by unionistic theologians, not for his defense of Luther's doctrine, but for drawing attention to the differences which the unionists had so earnestly kept hidden in a false peace. Now it became apparent how absolutely necessary it was to insist upon it that all Lutherans subscribe to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and reject the Altered version. Elector Frederick III, for example, had already introduced the Heidelberg (Reformed) Catechism in his realm; and when the controversy arose, he protested that he had never studied Calvin, but as a good Lutheran subscribed to the Augsburg (Variata) Confession. During this struggle against unionism, Melanchthon's conduct is worth recording. When his friend, Pastor Hardenberg of Bremen, who opposed Westphal, wrote him for directions, Melanchthon answered: "I beg of you, dissimulate much (conceal the facts)!" When Frederick III asked Melanchthon for his written opinion, the former great teacher replied: "To answer is not difficult, but dangerous." Unionism had done its damage. The Church was divided. The Bremen area officially went over to the Reformed camp, led by Frederick III, who had in ignorance adopted Heidelberg but could not, of course, reverse himself without losing face, and who was armed with the approval of Melanchthon. The true Lutherans--those who were left--united under the confession that had been drafted by the Synod of Stuttgart in 1559, and which defined the Tenth Article of the Augsburg Confession. If our Church cherishes its heritage of the Reformation, it must come to realize that the scenes of 400 years ago are being reenacted in our midst during this generation, under different names, with different personalities and emphases. Confessions and synodical resolutions appear which, in their character if not in their origin, are modern Variatas and spearheads of the present attack of unionism which forces every Lutheran worthy of the name into warfare against new phrases and innovations of church practice that so easily conceal ancient and destructive errors. Either we win this battle by genuine adherence to the Word and allegiance to the tried and true historic confessions of our Church or we melt away into the modern stream of Protestantism.

Seminary Graduate Accepts Call

James Justus Naumann was born on April 25, 1969 to Rev. Bertram and Alice Naumann in Waukesha, Wisconsin. In 1973 Pastor Bertram Naumann was led by the Holy Spirit to accept the call as pastor of Redemption Ev. Lutheran in Lynnwood, Washington, and the family moved that summer. James followed the footsteps of his six older brothers and sisters in attending Immanuel Lutheran High School, Eau Claire, Wis. He was graduated in 1987. Between high school and college he served honorably in both the United States Army Reserve and the Washington National Guard. He graduated from Immanuel College in 1994 and from Immanuel Seminary in 1994. James married Sheila Theneman of Sleepy Eye, Minn. on June 22, 1996. Sheila is a graduate of Immanuel High School and an Associate of Arts graduate of Immanuel College. She received certification as a medical office specialist from Chippewa Valley Technical College in December of 1996. This last April the Call Committee on graduates of the CLC was led by the Holy Spirit to extend to Jim the call to serve as pastor of Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lamar, Colorado. We praise the Lord of the Church for His grace in selecting men to bear His message of Christ crucified to a dying world. Pastor James Naumann was installed on June 29 by his father. Pastor Delwyn Maas of Golden, Colorado preached on Psalm 8:1-4 with the theme: "God's Kingdom is Extended and Its Enemies Defeated By Servants He Has Called and Filled with Zeal for the Task." May the Lord continue to fill all His servants with zeal for their task. (Upon request of the Spokesman, Pastor Naumann -- who was our sole Seminary graduate last Spring -- passed along this biographical information. We thank him, and pray God's blessings upon him and the congregation he serves. -- Editor)

'A Good Beginning . . . '

From my viewpoint in the back row (again), I was pleased to hear how quickly the milling crowd shelved its social skills when school President John Pfeiffer invited our attention to the opening service at Immanuel Lutheran College (ILC), which included the installation for the new professor, Paul Sullivan. It was a good beginning. Good for the students because they have received another gift of God bearing His blessings for their growth at ILC; good for Prof. Sullivan, for the Lord thus enables him to reenter a service career in the public gospel minstry. Born into the Christian home of John and Madeleine Sullivan, educated at a variety of schools (parochial and public, US and overseas), Paul found that his interests led him to study art at UW Milwaukee and UW Madison from 1963-1965; he then was led to pre-theological studies, attending Northwestern College at Watertown, Wis. graduating in 1968 with a BA degree. Military service in the US and Vietnam (1968-1970) broadened his life experiences before he resumed his theological studies at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis. from which he graduated with the Master of Divinity degree in 1974. From 1974-1989 Prof. Sullivan served as pastor of Lutheran parishes in Grafton, Wis., Bethel Park, Pa., and Two Rivers, Wis. When he and his family severed fellowship with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod for confessional reasons (1989), the Lord provided new beginnings again: employment at Dayco Eastman (1989-1997), and the Sullivan family of Manitowoc, Wis. became members of Luther Memorial in Fond du Lac, Wis. October 11, 1974 marked another of the good beginnings in Paul's life when he married Jan Balko who had been serving as parochial school teacher in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They have been blessed with five children: Rachel, former ILC student now at UW-Eau Claire; Hannah, former ILC student now at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, Wis.; Daniel, currently a freshman at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio; Tabitha, a senior at Immanuel Lutheran High School (ILC-HS); and Elizabeth, a junior at ILC-HS. They have all had the good beginning of homeschooling for many, if not most, of their pre-college years. Getting back to Prof. Sullivan's good beginning at ILC --his courses include the high school subjects of sophomore English and junior religion; in college, freshman composition, sophomore survey of literature, and church history. When interviewed, the new professor declined to elevate any one of these courses above others, saying that they're all his favorites. May He Who has begun a good work in them continue to bless both our students and professors unto the good ending He has in store through His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus. -- Paul R. Koch


Change Of Address Rev. Roland H. Gurgel 22 North State Street New Ulm, MN 56072 Phone (507) 354-4534 Pastor Walter V. Schaller 517 Bayberry Pointe Dr. NW, Apt. C Grand Rapids, MI 49544 Phone (616) 791-7552 e-mail: Appointment Pastor Michael Eichstadt has been appointed to the Board of Missions to replace Pastor Walter V. Schaller who resigned upon his acceptance of his call as Missionary At Large. -- Daniel Fleischer, President Installations In accord with our usage and order, Mrs. Ann Libby, who was called by Messiah Lutheran congregation of Eau Claire, Wisconsin to be teacher of grades 5-6 in its school, was installed on August 10, 1997. -- Pastor Paul Tiefel In accord with our usage and order, Roland H. Gurgel, who was called by Faith Lutheran congregation of Nicollet, Minn. to be its pastor, was installed in a 9:00 a.m. service on August 24, 1997. -- Paul R. Gurgel In accord with our usage and order, Roland H. Gurgel, who was called by Faith Lutheran congregation of New Ulm, Minn. to be its pastor, was installed in a 1:00 p.m. service on August 24, 1997. Assisting in the installation were his father, Roland A. Gurgel, and Pastors Rick Grams and Paul Fleischer. -- Paul R. Gurgel In accord with our usage and order, Andrew Schaller, who was called by Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hidewood Township, S.Dak. to be its pastor, was installed by his father, the undersigned, on August 30, 1997. Pastor James Shrader conducted the service and preached the sermon. -- Pastor Walter Schaller In accord with our usage and order, Andrew Schaller, who was called by Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Watertown, S.Dak. to be its pastor, was installed by his father, the undersigned, on August 31, 1997. Assisting were Pastors Elton Hallauer, John H. Johannes, Michael Roehl, and John M. Johannes, who preached the sermon. -- Pastor Walter Schaller In our September Issue... 1) The author of the article on Galatians 2:11-21 was Pastor Peter Reim. 2) Word were missing from the withdrawal statement on pp. 15-16. We reprint it here in its entirety: Rev. Leroy Dux and Mt. Zion of Detroit have left the CLC. Pator Mark Bohde has left the CLC. Rev. Egbert Albrecht and St. Luke's of Stoddard and St. Mark's of Onalaska have left the CLC. The former brethren have disagreed with the substance of the on-going study on self-esteem. (Daniel Fleischer, President) Correction And Update Acts 12:24 -- "The Word of God grew and multiplied." Previously we had reported that the CLCI had 12,000 members in 1995. That was the number of baptisms performed up to that time. Here are some updated figures. In 1987 the CLCI (India) had approximately 2,300 members, whereas in 1994 there were 5,984 in 37 congregations or preaching stations. The latter figure includes about 400 being served in a distant tribal grouping (work started in 1967). In 1984 the BELC (India) had approximately 200 members. In 1997 there are 512 in 9 congregations or preaching stations in the Kerala Area, and 1,646 in 28 congregations or preaching stations in the Uthukottai Area. In 1997 there are 849 members in 13 congregations or preaching stations in the NCLC (Nigeria). In 1989 the number was 659 members. (Editor's note: these figures submitted by Pastor David Koenig. Thanks be to God who is blessing the work in these foreign fields!) Pacific Coast Pastoral Conference Redemption Lutheran Church Seattle, Washington October 7-9, 1997 Program: 1. Old Testament Exegesis: Continuation, Hosea 6:1ff -- Pastor Paul Naumann 2. New Testament Exegesis: Continuation, 2 Thessalonians 1:1ff -- Pastor Robert List 3. Isagogics (essayists choice) -- Pastor Horst Gutsche 4. A Thorough Survey of Modern Birth Control Methods -- Pastor Michael Eichstadt 5. Counseling A Christian Isolated From the Congregation -- Pastor Paul Krause 6. A Popular Critique of the Millennium in Tract Form -- Pastor Rollin Reim 7. The Pastor's Stewardship of His Time and Energy -- Pastor Bertram Naumann 8. Review of the new ELS Hymnal -- Pastor Paul Krause 9. Book Review: Contemporary Religious Thought -- Pastor Arvid Gullerud Chaplain: Pastor David Naumann Speaker: Pastor Michael Sprengeler -- Michael Sprengeler, Secretary Minnesota Pastoral Conference Grace Lutheran Church Fridley, Minnesota October 28-29, 1997 Agenda: * Old Testament Exegesis of Malachi 3:6-12 -- Pastor Vance Fossum * New Testament Exegesis of Ephesians 5:22-33 -- Pastor John Hein * Homiletical Study of 1 Peter 2:2-10 -- Pastor Theodore Barthels * How does Luther use the word "fear" in his explanations of the commandments? -- Pastor Paul Fleischer * Good order and Christian love in dealing with matters of concern within a fellowship -- Pastor Elton Hallauer * Martin Luther: From excommunicated priest to evangelical pastor --themes from his writings 1521-1524 -- Pastor Paul D. Nolting * A Study of Veterans' Organizations -- Pastor Walter Schaller -- Rick R. Grams, Secretary Spokesman On Tape Pastor Walter Schaller's trip to India on behalf of the Board of Misisons, along with his moving to Grand Rapids, MI (as CLC Exploratory Missionary) has resulted in some delays and difficulties in getting the July and August issues of the Spokesman-On-Tape in the mail. If you know of someone who gets these audio versions of the Lutheran Spokesman who has not received their copy of the July or the August issues, please contract Pastor Schaller (address above). West Michigan Services Grand Rapids Area Rock of Ages Ev. Lutheran Church Sundays, 9:00 a.m. Cook Fellowship Hall 1905 Baldwin St. Jenison, MI Cadillac Area Our Saviour Ev. Lutheran Church Sundays, 1:30 p.m. Cadillac Sands Motel M-115 at M-55 Cadillac, MI