Dear friends in Christ,
We continue our survey of Church History from the book by Professor E.A.W. Krauss of our St. Louis seminary of a century ago.
This month we focus on the rich grace of God which blessed Walther’s work. Due to its brief overview, this month’s reading is a bit shorter than usual.
- [part 6] Dr. C. Ferd. W. Walther
God had given Walther an expansive sphere of activity to work in. So many from within the decayed German state churches sought counsel from him! He rejoiced wherever he found pure Lutheranism advancing! Through joy and sorrow he followed with great interest as the German Free Church moved into a healthy Lutheran direction! Wherever there was an occasion, he thanked God from his heart for all the blessings He had bestowed on our Missouri Synod! He greeted with joy when the Synod got a publishing house and as it yearly grew in size and significance! He rejoiced when he saw the zeal his precious Missouri Synod made in self-sacrifice for teaching institutions as they grew from the original, humble beginnings in Altenburg, Missouri. One institution after the other was founded: the secondary school in Ft. Wayne, the preparatory schools in Milwaukee, Concordia, New Orleans, New York, and the preaching seminary in St. Louis and Springfield [IL], the teaching seminary in Addison [IL].
In the year Walther died, no fewer than 919 students attended all these higher institutions of learning. How his eye gleamed when he could dedicate the magnificent St. Louis seminary building! From its very and most humble beginning in Altenberg, he saw the institution grow and transferred to St. Louis. Also on his heart were the Lutheran High School in St. Louis, which later changed its name to “Walther College”, the deaf institution in North Detroit and the various institutions of service within the synod (orphanages and hospitals).
But he especially thanked God that also other right believing synods—such as the Wisconsin, Minnesota Synod and others—had joined with the Missouri Synod in an agreement in the Synodical Conference. The struggle for pure teaching on the election by grace caused a split when the Ohio Synod again departed from the Synodical Conference but the brotherly relations with the majority of Norwegians remained intact.
So far Professor Krauss
REMEMBER OUR FIFTH SUNDAY DINNER AFTER SERVICE ON 29 SEPTEMBER, THE FEAST OF ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS. PLEASE BE SURE TO BRING A DISH TO SHARE AND JOIN US FOR A TIME OF FELLOWSHIP.
THOUGHTS FOR LABOR DAY
The Divine Service and Vocation: God’s holy people live an embattled existence in their various callings in the world. They are ever in need of comfort and refreshment. Therefore, the royal priesthood is constantly drawn back to the Divine Service to receive forgiveness of sins over and over again until the day when our baptism will be completed in the resurrection of the body and our earthly callings will be fulfilled in the eternal Sabbath of the heavenly kingdom…First things first. First God serves us with His gifts in word and sacrament. Then we serve God as we live in the freedom of the forgiveness of sins, attending to the neighbors that God has put into our world. It is the way of grace and works, faith and love, sacrament and sacrifice. The liturgy is the source of vocation as the gifts that God bestows now bear fruit in the callings of those who have been called out of darkness into light.
From: Vocation: Fruit of the Liturgy, John Pless
THE INTELLECTUAL’S CORNER
Are you tired of the doctor sending you to various “specialists”? That is nothing new! Russian author, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, writes about this already in the 19th century:
“Philosophy, indeed, when all my right side is numb and I am moaning and groaning. I've tried all the medical faculty: they can diagnose beautifully, they have the whole of your disease at their finger-tips, but they've no idea how to cure you. There was an enthusiastic little student here, ‘You may die,’ said he, ‘but you'll know perfectly what disease you are dying of!’ And then what a way they have sending people to specialists! ‘We only diagnose,’ they say, ‘but go to such-and-such a specialist, he'll cure you.’ The old doctor who used to cure all sorts of disease has completely disappeared, I assure you, now there are only specialists and they all advertise in the newspapers. If anything is wrong with your nose, they send you to Paris: there, they say, is a European specialist who cures noses. If you go to Paris, he'll look at your nose; I can only cure your right nostril, he'll tell you, for I don't cure the left nostril, that's not my specialty, but go to Vienna, there there's a specialist who will cure your left nostril. What are you to do? I fell back on popular remedies, a German doctor advised me to rub myself with honey and salt in the bath-house. Solely to get an extra bath I went, smeared myself all over and it did me no good at all. In despair I wrote to Count Mattei in Milan. He sent me a book and some drops, bless him, and, only fancy, Hoff's malt extract cured me! I bought it by accident, drank a bottle and a half of it, and I was ready to dance, it took it away completely.
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov - Special Edition (Kindle Locations 13088-13098). Kindle Edition.
AN ANNIVERSARY DATE IN LUTHERAN HISTORY: 04 June 1536, Pope Paul III [left] issued a formal decree for a general council to be held in Mantua, Italy beginning 23 May 1537. Although Luther encouraged the Lutheran rulers to attend to confess the faith, they dragged their heels. In anticipation of this meeting, Luther was commissioned to prepare a statement of faith on what articles of faith we as Lutherans cannot give up. What Luther wrote became known as the Smalcald Articles, which are part of our Lutheran Confessions. So what’s the anniversary? On 23 September 1536 Pope Paul III made clear the purpose of the council was “the utter extirpation of the poisonous, pestilential Lutheran heresy.” The council, though, was never held.
The 15th Sunday after Trinity has the beautiful from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount telling us not to worry about our earthly needs but to trust in the Lord to provide them for us. Instead, we are to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. We will not be hearing that this year because we will hear of the angels on the Feast of St. Michael and all Angels. So that we do not miss this vital and comforting teaching, here is a devotion that drives home that point.
When the thought of tomorrow fills you with dread and makes you weary, you can put tomorrow where it belongs—in God’s caring hands. Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Matthew 6:34). Jesus was letting you know that you do not have to carry the burden of the future; He’s carrying that on His shoulders for you. You can focus on today, knowing God’s great mercy is new every morning and His faithfulness will not fail.
If the dread of another day wells up in your soul, God gives you His promise to sustain you. The ultimate future, God assures, is one where He will wipe every tear from your eyes and where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). That is what tomorrow holds. That’s why you can rest in God’s hope today.
Even Jeremiah said, “I called on Your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit; You heard my plea, ‘Do not close Your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on You; You said, ‘Do not fear!’” (Lamentations 3:55–57).
Today, don’t be afraid. Today is a day when God will walk with you and show you His faithful help, one step, one moment, and one breath at a time. Today you can collapse into God’s strong arms and let Him carry you. Today you can cry out to Him and know He hears you. Today, you don’t have to worry. Just breathe. Jesus will shoulder your heartbreak and bring you new mercies for every tomorrow.
Devotional reading is from Hope When Your Heart Breaks: Navigating Grief and Loss, page 160 © 2017 Michael W. Newman. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
ON 29 SEPTEMBER WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS
At death I know not whither I am to go; but my guides, the holy angels know it well. When I go to sleep, I say: God, my Lord and Father, I commit myself to You, as to the supreme Keeper. Let Your holy angels and keepers protect me, etc. At death I begin to tremble, for I feel my sin. But it is not right to tremble. I should learn confidently to believe at that time and to say: It is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways’ [Ps.91.11]. This promise excludes no way, whether you go out into the house or out of the house. Rather you have the strong assurance here that you shall surely be secure on all your ways. As good and reliable as your guard is when you go to bed or enter your home, so good and reliable your guard will be when you are to die. –Martin Luther
How should we give God thanks for the holy angels?
O gracious, merciful God, to You be praise, honor, and glory for all Your goodness and mercy that You, the almighty, merciful God, have shown me, a poor creature, especially in Your ordaining for me my own keeper and watchman to escort, lead, and govern me, and to defend and shield me from every evil. I confess that I am so weak and needy, and if there were a hundred thousand of me, I would still not be able to resist one devil. But now I discern indeed that, by the help and assistance of Your holy angels, I am able to resist all the gates of hell. To You be praise, honor, and glory forever because of this. Amen
[Johann Spangenberg, The Christian Year of Grace, CPH, 2014 pg. 447]
Lutheran Father Martin Chemnitz On The Holy Angels
And in order that the good angels may be with you, keep these statements of Scripture before you: (1) The angels are with us in the meetings of the church, 1 Cor. 11.10. (2) “When you prayed with tears and when you buried your dead, I [the angel] brought your prayers to the Lord,” Tobit 12.12; Rev. 8.3. (3) When through faith you are heir to eternal life, then an angel is sent to “minister” to you, Heb. 1.14. (4) When you live in the fear of the Lord, the angels of the Lord are “encamped” around you, Ps. 34.7. (5) As you go about your daily work, the angels carry you in their hands, Ps. 91.11. [Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, Vol 1., CPH 1989 pg. 178]
What does the Bible tell us about angels?
- And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 (ESV)
- For …God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 2 Peter 2:4 (ESV)
- …a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. Daniel 7:10 (ESV)
- And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, Luke 2:13 (ESV)
- Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! Psalm 103:20-21 (ESV)
- For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12 (ESV)
- Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14 (ESV)
Bible examples: One angel put to death 185, 000 of Sennacherib’s army [2 Kings 19.35]. Elisha and his servant were protected by the heavenly hosts [2 Kings 6. 15-17]. An angel sets Peter free [Acts 12. 5-11].
We believe: Angels are spirit beings who were created holy. Some angels rebelled against God. They are the devils or demons. The good angels are many and powerful. They serve God and help us.
Pray: O God, the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, Ruler of all things, before You stand thousands and thousands, and ten thousand angels and archangels. Sanctify, O Lord, our souls and bodies and spirits. Search our consciences, and cast out of us all that is contrary to Your holy will. And grant us to call upon You, our holy God and Father who is in heaven. Amen. [Liturgy of St. James, c. fourth century]
From: The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism, pg. 188, CPH, 2004
What does the Bible tell us about the evil angels?
- And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” Mark 5:9 (ESV)
- For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV
- And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. Mark 4:15 (ESV)
- You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (ESV)
- Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV)
Bible examples: The serpent led Eve into sin [Gn. 3. 1-5]. Satan sought the destruction of Job [Job 2]. The tempter tried to mislead Jesus [Mt. 4. 1-11]
We believe: The evil angels are also many and powerful. They hate God and seek to destroy everything that is good, especially faith in Christ.
Pray: Worthy of glory from every mouth, and of thanksgiving from all tongues, and of adoration and exaltation from all creatures is the adorable and glorious name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who created the world through His grace, and its inhabitants through His mercy. Amen.
From: The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism, pg. 189, CPH, 2004
FROM OUR SYNOD’S STEWARDSHIP DEPARTMENT:
What is a steward? Most people will say a steward is a manager.
That is correct, but it is only half right. A steward is indeed a manager, but he is a manager of what does not belong to him. Someone else is the owner, and the steward manages the owner’s property on the owner’s behalf.
We are God’s stewards. Our stewardship is that God has made us managers of what belongs to Him:
“For we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim. 6:7)
Everything that we have and everything that we are comes from God’s fatherly divine goodness and mercy. God is the owner.
This is not only because He created all things; He is also the redeemer. He has redeemed – that is, purchased – and won all things. Therefore, it all belongs to Him.
We are simply managers of everything in this world. Like Joseph in Egypt, we are put in charge of managing what belongs to God. What a privilege.
Think about that for a minute. The all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise God has asked us to manage his possessions on His behalf here on earth.
And by doing this, He invites us to take part in the allocation of His good gifts. He wants us to give our input and advise Him in where His gifts are to be used. What a privilege indeed.
But what a responsibility!
“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48b).
We are not the owners. And while He puts us as managers, we are still to do with His property what He wants done with it. That means we need to know what He desires and wills for His property.
How do we know this? How can we know the will and mind of God?
We find the will of God in the Bible. There God tells us what His will is for all of His gifts. He tells us how we are to spend our time and use our talents and treasures. He instructs us in the use of our minds, bodies, and souls.
There is nothing we have that doesn’t belong to Him.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).
God informs us of the big picture, the overarching policy, of how we as His stewards – managers and custodians – are to manage His property.
And that is stewardship. It is simply doing what God wants us to do with what He has given us.
As St. Paul said,
“Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Rom. 6:13).
So, let’s dive into God’s Word, and listen to what He desires from His stewards.
From the LCMS Foundation: Balancing Priorities
In economic thought, the ‘opportunity cost’ of making decisions connects to planned benefits received. This is different than giving up something for preferences we choose. God tells us through the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows that will he also reap.”
When people make determinations related to use of time, allocation of money or development of ability, they typically match choices with the driving motivations of behavior. Balancing priorities is not only driven by personal characteristics, but by the importance placed on desired outcomes.
It’s true that hardwired personality traits that make up psychological and social tendencies, paired with parental influence, along with Spiritual guidance, determine most of the inclinations that motivate us on how we approach life’s decisions. Today, options are available for unprecedented selection.
Beyond mere psychology, we understand our battle with our sinful flesh, recognizing our need to repent of inappropriate allocations. Only God’s grace in Christ can sort through the chaos of our poor decisions. We replace harmony with our Father for temptations to be like God, which brings disharmony. This reality is most obvious in how we often fail to keep God as first among earthly priorities and how life’s priorities blur our vision of our Father’s. We fail to balance decisions in faithfulness to the Giver of all good things.
Grace has forgiven our failures through the cross, and Christ’s Spirit comforts and empowers us to realign priorities to reflect the primary purpose of life; to honor God first and share His kingdom on earth.
You can reflect this balance in your last will and testament, estate trusts or beneficiary designations. Including a witness to faith and support for the Lord’s work in these plans, we validate our priority’s balance to honor God, who Created, Redeemed and Sustains our lives, even as we desire to bless our children and our children’s children.
Contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-863-4427 to learn how a trusted charitable guide can encourage you to plan and direct your passion to give to loved ones and cherished ministries so others might know that the rejuvenation is your hope.
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