Wednesday, June 2, 2010

President's Report - Amen!

The following is an excerpt from WELS President Mark Schroeder’s recent Report to the Twelve Districts. HT to Rick at Light from Light.

“There is a growing sense that WELS has an increasing number of opportunities to articulate and present its identity as a confessional Lutheran church body, in contrast to the trends and decisions of other church bodies that bear the name ‘Lutheran.’ We have maintained our commitment to placing our confidence and trust in the Means of Grace as the only way that God-pleasing and genuine growth—both outward and inward—takes place in the church. Congregations are actively discussing the importance and relevance of worship and are working to plan and conduct their worship in ways that are biblically sound and Word-and-Sacrament focused…

With the world we live in changing so rapidly, there will be the temptation to alter our understanding of the very nature of the church and to adjust its message in order to be more ‘relevant.’ In the face of that temptation, we will need to articulate our conviction that law and gospel are always relevant to the lives of people, whether they are inside or outside of the church. We will need to emphasize that even though we live in a culture that does appear to be changing, the message of the Scriptures does not change in its ability to bring sinners to repentance and assure repentant sinners of their full forgiveness in Christ. In the face of trends in the Christian church today to adopt a theology of glory, we will need to maintain our commitment to a theology and practice that is centered on Christ crucified—the theology of the cross. We will continue to strive for a unified understanding of and approach to matters of Christian freedom and to develop a common understanding of how practices in the realm of freedom can and should be addressed…

All of these challenges can only be met as we gather at the foot of the cross, rejoice in the grace of God, and equip ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, the unchanging and powerful Word of God.”
We couldn’t agree more with President Schroeder’s message. Intrepid Lutherans was formed, not in opposition to Pres. Schroeder’s efforts, but in support of them. (Although we’ve probably caused him already more than a few headaches!)


Lisette Anne Lopez said...

These are great words. Words bring no relief to me, however. Who is truly acting and behaving? Who is monitoring WELS? From what I am reading and hearing, few.

Intrepid Lutherans said...

A little reminder to any who wish to comment: We aren't allowing any anonymous or pseudonymous comments, so please sign your (real) name! Thanks!

Benjamin Rusch said...

Pres. Schroeder hit the nail on the head. There is a great temptation to "tweak" our theology only to grab more attention and avert more eyes.

At a WELS school very close to me, I noticed posters with the words "He was raised; You are saved!". The Venerable Bede put it quite well: O Heu, Pro Dolor! I sighed and rolled my eyes at the bad exegesis plastered in front of me.

This one example really struck me that unity of faith is a commitment not to be taken lightly or seen for granted.

Mr. Benjamin Rusch
WELS Student

Unknown said...

Here in Iowa, the WELS congregations I have attended and my home church are "law and gospel" churches and not "church and changers". I have heard stories, but not seen the on the edge contemporary worship. Law and gospel in the liturgical setting is where I am comfortable.

Pastor Boehringer said...

"Could the theology of the cross be the litmus test of genuine Christianity today? The corrupt and the counterfeit push aside the whole concept of cross bearing in favor of a joy without it. Fake Christianity offers the Christian an imitation of Christ's glory in heaven, not of his humiliation on earth. The phony and the artificial church turns worship into a spiritual happy hour devoid of repentance, with cheap absolution, with no thought of taking God seriously in either the law or the gospel. And people love it."

qtd. Prof. Dan Deutschlander, The Theology of the Cross, NPH, page vii

If you haven't read this book yet, this summer might be the perfect time to do so.

AP said...

I would like to second Pastor Boehringer's suggestion to read Prof. Deutschlander's "The Theology of the Cross." I read it last summer and could not put it down. It is an excellent exposition of this crucial doctrine, and it is also very accessible. I would also suggest reading Robert Koester's, "Law and Gospel," which explains the theological issues that come with the Church Growth Movemement. It is another excellent volume in Northwestern Publishing House's Impact Series.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

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