Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality

Preamble

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” — Psalm 100:3

Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life. Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.

This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?

We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it — particularly as male and female. Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To him alone, every person owes glad-hearted thanksgiving, heart-felt praise, and total allegiance. This is the path not only of glorifying God, but of knowing ourselves. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are, for he made us for himself. And we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.

We believe that God’s design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good. God’s good plan provides us with the greatest freedom. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it in overflowing measure. He is for us and not against us. Therefore, in the hope of serving Christ’s church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.

To read the Fourteen Articles (i.e. Statements), visit: Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality.

Posted in Family, Fathers, Gender Identity, Homosexuality, Human Sexuality, Sexual Ethics, Transgender | Comments Off on Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality

“Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World” — A New Book to be Released by Concordia Publishing House

The Concordia Publishing House blog released the following information about a new book that will be released on October 10.

Burnt-out believers and spiritual secularists have given up any hope that an engaging and meaningful spirituality can be found in a single Christian denomination. So rather than attending worship at a local church, they attend to their spiritual needs elsewhere. Instead of being fed by a single denomination, they feast upon a smorgasbord of spiritual beliefs. And while these disaffected believers have not rejected the existence of God or the need for meaningful spirituality, they have strongly rejected whatever it is they think the church today has to offer.

To counter this trend, churches across America are constantly updating their culture to accord with the culture outside the church. But is this the best framework for recovering authentic Christian spirituality?

Authentic Christianity offers another idea—that the Lutheran tradition embodies a framework of Christianity that uniquely addresses the postmodern condition. It does so not by being “emergent” or by making up a new approach to church or to the Christian life. Rather, it does so in an unexpected way: by being confessional, sacramental, and vocational.

This book is a collaboration between an academic of the Boomer generation and a young Millennial pastor. Coming from two very different places—different generations, different vocations, different entries into Lutheranism—authors Gene Veith and Trevor Sutton offer their unique perspectives on how Lutheran theology engages contemporary life.

Authentic Christianity will be available for purchase October 10. To learn more about the book, visit: Authentic Christianity.

Posted in Concordia Publishing House, Confessional Lutheranism, Discipleship, Lutheran, Lutheran Missiology, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Sacramental, Secularism, Vocation | Comments Off on “Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World” — A New Book to be Released by Concordia Publishing House

“Two Branches of One Tree: The Fellowship of Confession and Mission” by Martin Franzmann

The following article is posted on Concordia Theology.

The following op piece from one of our former professors could have been written yesterday. It was written in 1952. It seems like the either/or that we so often experience in our synodical fellowship today has been with us for a very long while. But Martin Franzmann has put his finger on the tragic result: our infighting has made us theomachoi–fighters against God. If our church is declining, it shouldn’t be a mystery. But let us listen once again to the inestimable Franzmann:

“DER BAUM IST NICHT DICK SONDERN GRUEN”

Professor Kinder coined this phrase to characterize a phenomenon common in present-day theology: the setting up of false alternatives. One is reminded of it when one surveys the thinking and feeling on the question of church fellowship within our Synod and within the Synodical Conference. We are in danger, it would seem, of making two trees of what God intended to be two branches of one tree. Two points of view, the confessional and exclusive emphasis, on the one hand, and the witness and outreach emphasis, on the other, tend to absolutize themselves; and two things, both good and holy and altogether laudable in themselves, are in danger of becoming exclusive and antithetical opposites, and each is therefore in danger of becoming a one-sided caricature of itself.

The confessional and exclusive outlook or emphasis operates by preference with passages like Romans 16: 17ff. and 2 John 9-11 and has in it an uncompromising zeal for the glory of God and the truth of His Word. It emphasizes the severity and the inescapability of the either/or which loyalty to the One Lord and His Word involves. It therefore emphasizes the authority and the infallibility of the Word. It is conscious, too, of the weight of history, of the burden which the past imposes on the present; it reminds us that history is with us and upon us and that we cannot shuffle it off by saying so, that we are all of us since Adam born into a given situation with which we must deal. That is the health and strength of this emphasis, and the Church should be everlastingly grateful to the voices that sound the confessional note for us, in season and out.

But a thing that is good is not necessarily in itself complete. Romans 16:17 ff. and 2 John 9-11 are not the whole of Scripture on fellowship; and we must in charity warn our brethren against incompleteness and one-sidedness; they dare not, for their own health’s sake and for the sake of the health of the Church, continue to bite on iron until they lose all taste for honey and the honeycomb. They dare not, in their emphasis on the authority of the Word, unconsciously grow distrustful of the power and efficacy of that Word; it overcomes and has its victories still in the twentieth century as well as in the sixteenth or the nineteenth. They dare not, in their zeal to learn history’s lessons and to be guided and instructed by history, let themselves be hag-ridden by history until they lapse into a mood not far removed from fatalism, a temper that is likely to confuse rigidity with strength and is inclined to see in the oversimple answer the only and honest answer. (St. Paul, for instance, found it necessary to give a long and rather complicated answer to the question, ” May a Christian eat meat offered to idols? “). Such is the strength, and the weakness, of the confessional exclusive emphasis.

The other, the witness and outreach emphasis, is also marked by a holy sense of responsibility; it hears the Lord’s words: “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me!”; it lives in fear of hiding that one talent which is death to hide, of becoming the light under a bushel and the salt turned saltless. Over against the Word it shows a glad and confident trust in the power and efficacy of God’s Word and in the continuity of the Spirit’s working: it looks toward the one new man as the goal and intention of the Lord of the Church at work in the Church through His Spirit. Over against history it emphasizes the ongoing character of history, the fact that no situation in history is forever static; each new day in history is, for it, a new opportunity for the Church, which the past cannot completely overshadow or destroy. Such is its strength, and a healthy Church will thank God for those who sound this note.

To read the rest of Franzmann’s article, click on: Two Branches.

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), Concordia Seminary, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Church - Canada Central District, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Lutheran Church -- Canada East District, Lutheran Missiology, Missiology, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Word of God | Comments Off on “Two Branches of One Tree: The Fellowship of Confession and Mission” by Martin Franzmann

“The Fatal Flaw of Planning” by Rev. Scott Gress

Rev. Scott Gress provides some thoughts on how congregational leadership teams can avoid fatal flaws related to congregational planning. He writes,

As fall is just around the corner, there are a number of things that are coming into focus for those who lead churches: fall programing. There is Sunday School that may need to start up in late August or Early September (assuming you have children in your congregation). That means recruiting and training teachers, promoting the classes to parents and children, organizing rally day and so on. You may be planning a special emphasis for the fall such as a stewardship, a new Bible class or ramping up those same old activities like you always have every fall. Perhaps there is a Fall festival, or something special for the 500th anniversary of the reformation. If you have a parochial school there is a lot going on with budgets and staff, preparing classrooms, ordering curriculum and so on. Many of the summer vacations are coming to an end and now is the time to get busy.

What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing really. That is if nothing has really changed in your church and community compared to last year.

But perhaps you are wanting to do some really serious planning at your church. You’ve noticed that your worship attendance has dropped off a bit. You’ve seen fewer children in Sunday school. Your offerings have not risen in the last five years. In fact they have gone down slightly. Many haven’t even noticed yet some of your faithful leaders have begun to meet with the pastor and are starting to ask some hard questions about what’s going on. You’re quietly asking each other in the meeting questions about marketing the church, contemporary worship, hospitality events and concerts and things that will attract newcomers to your property. It’s a bit scary.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Nothing really. That is if it is correct to assume what you are assuming.

To read the rest of Scott’s article, click on: Avoiding Fatal Planning Flaws.

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com.

Posted in Church revitalization | Comments Off on “The Fatal Flaw of Planning” by Rev. Scott Gress

Concordia Lutheran Mission Society Supports Mission and Ministry in Ukraine

In a recent news release, Concordia Lutheran Mission Society reported:

This summer one of our board members, Pastor Roland Syens, had the opportunity to visit our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. What a blessing to be able to have his first hand insights and share them with you!

While Pastor Roland was visiting our various mission sites, the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine had its yearly congregational camp June 19-24. The convention-like camp was held at a Christian camp on the Black Sea near the town of Koblova in the Nikolaev Region. Those of you who follow the various CLMS projects in Ukraine will recognize the name Nikolaev, as this is the area that Missionary Navrotskyy was called to after completing his training at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. (See Project 1719)

60 – 80 Christians were expected to attend the camp but God had different plans, as the final registration was 142 participants! The theme was Relationships: Vertical and Horizontal and how those relationships are possible only through the Cross of Christ and His sacrifice for our sin giving us forgiveness, salvation and life eternal. Pastor Roland Syens not only visited the camp but was also invited to be the main speaker.

Pastor Syens was Lutheran Church-Canada’s missionary to Ukraine from 1993 to 2005 and now serves as Assistant Pastor at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario.

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), Concordia Lutheran Mission Society, Lutheran Church - Canada Central District, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Lutheran Church -- Canada East District, Lutheran Church of Ukraine, Missionary, World Missions | Comments Off on Concordia Lutheran Mission Society Supports Mission and Ministry in Ukraine

Assisted suicide legalization defeated in the US in 2017

Mr. Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, reports in a recent article:

With nearly every state assisted suicide legislative attempt complete, initial data from a research study by Dr. Jacqueline H. Abernathy at Tarleton State University finds a staggering increase in the number of attempts to legalize assisted suicide in U.S. over the past year, in spite of an overwhelming failure rate associated with such legislation: fewer than one percent of all assisted suicide bills become law.

The analysis, to be presented at the 2017 National Euthanasia Symposium in Toronto on October 28, included all bills introduced in 36 states and the District of Columbia since 1994. Of the 231 total bills, nearly one-fifth (43 bills) were introduced just this year in 26 states and all attempts failed. This increase in the number of attempts to legalize assisted suicide is notable due to the fact that such bills have greater than a 99 percent failure rate. Only three have been signed into law in the last 23 years. In spite of the volume of bills introduced this past year, 100 percent of these attempts failed while Alabama tightened their assisted suicide statute.

To continue reading this article, click on: Assisted Suicide Defeated.

Posted in Assisted suicide, End of Life Issues, Euthanasia, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Physician Assisted Suicide | Comments Off on Assisted suicide legalization defeated in the US in 2017

Canadian Lutheran World Relief Sunday — Materials Available Online

The CLWR Sunday 2017 theme is “Our Common Humanity”, which highlights our commonality as God’s children as we seek out ways we can work towards a world where people live in justice, peace and dignity.

This year, Rev. Ted Giese, lead pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Regina, Saskatchewan, created the CLWR Sunday worship resources for Lutheran Church–Canada congregations. These include scripture passages (from the
English Standard Version of the Bible [ESV] unless otherwise indicated) and music
selections. The resources are offered for your use at any time during the year.

The material also includes “Suggested Activities” that can be used in a congregational or group setting.

Download the LCC Worship Resource.

Note: The Administrator for “Go!” is a member of the CLWR Board of Directors.

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), Canadian Lutheran World Relief, CLWR, Lutheran Church - Canada Central District, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Lutheran Church -- Canada East District, Social Ministry, World Missions | Comments Off on Canadian Lutheran World Relief Sunday — Materials Available Online

An increasingly diverse linguistic landscape: Highlights from the 2016 Census

Statistics Canada has released its study of the diverse linguistic landscape in Canada.  The study found that, “Linguistic diversity is on the rise in Canada. Close to 7.6 million Canadians reported speaking a language other than English or French at home in 2016, an increase of almost 1 million (+14.5%) people over 2011. Moreover, the proportion of the Canadian population who speak more than one language at home rose from 17.5% in 2011 to 19.4% in 2016.”

Other keys findings in the study include:

  • In this context of increasing linguistic diversity, English and French remain the languages of convergence and integration into Canadian society: 93.4% of Canadians speak English or French at least on a regular basis at home.
  • Similarly, 21.8% of Canadians reported speaking an “other” language at home in 2016, compared with 20.0% in 2011.
  • Over 7.3 million people reported speaking an immigrant language at home. The main immigrant languages spoken at home by Canadians in 2016 were Mandarin (641,100 people), Cantonese (594,705 people), Punjabi (568,375 people), Spanish (553,495 people), Tagalog (Pilipino) (525,375 people) and Arabic (514,200 people).
  • Ontario accounted for nearly half (49.5%) of Canadians whose mother tongue or language spoken at home was an immigrant language in 2016, down slightly from 2011 (50.9% for mother tongue and 51.2% for language spoken at home).
  • Tagalog (Pilipino) is the main immigrant language spoken at home in the Prairie provinces. From 2011 to 2016, Tagalog (Pilipino) increased 123.1% in Saskatchewan, 68.3% in Alberta and 42.3% in Manitoba.
  • In numbers, Punjabi was the main immigrant language spoken at home in British Columbia (222,720 people) in 2016, up 10.9% from 2011, followed closely by Mandarin (202,625 people) and Cantonese (200,280 people).
Posted in Canada, Canadian Population, Stats Canada | Comments Off on An increasingly diverse linguistic landscape: Highlights from the 2016 Census

World Lutheran Deaf Outreach is Heading to Latvia

Rev. Dr. John Reinke is on his way to Latvia! He will be working to help train others who want to share Jesus with deaf people in Europe.

Please keep Pastor Reinke in your prayers.

To learn more about World Lutheran Deaf Outreach, visit: WLDO.

Posted in Deaf Outreach, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, World Missions | Comments Off on World Lutheran Deaf Outreach is Heading to Latvia

Online Mission Trip 2018: Cambodia — It’s Time to Register!

Lutheran Hour Ministries is excited to announce that the southeast Asian nation of Cambodia is the destination of its seventh annual international Online Mission Trip. The “trip” to Cambodia will be available to Lutheran schools across North America beginning January 22-26, 2018.  This experience is perfect for many different audiences. You can use the online Mission Trip content yourself and share it with other groups such as friends, home schools, people in your church and anyone else.

When your school registers for Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Online Mission Trip, students will:

  • Get to know LHM staff and volunteers in an overseas community and see how they work to share the Good News with people throughout their country;
  • Be immersed in a new culture and learn fascinating facts of day-to-day life while seeing the importance of relationship-building and holistic outreach in the spread of the Gospel;
  • Learn how their involvement through prayer and their designated chapel offerings can help “make disciples of all nations!”

Make plans to “journey” to Cambodia with its unique culture, fascinating history, amazing wildlife, and exciting ways to share Jesus. More information about the mission trip to Cambodia, including registration information for Lutheran schools, is available at: Cambodia.

Posted in Cambodia, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Lutheran Laymen's League, Lutheran Missiology, Lutheran schools, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary, World Missions | Comments Off on Online Mission Trip 2018: Cambodia — It’s Time to Register!