B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #178
I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…
The Lord in His infinite wisdom called home Pastor Mani, age 45, through a heart attack. Mani had two legs that were crippled and walked with difficulty with a staff. This did not prevent him from preaching for five years in his village of Gurrapanaidu Kandriga. He had finished his instruction with us some years back and was a faithful attender of our monthly studies in the Sri Kalahasti Dist. of the BELC, India. Besides his wife and a married daughter he leaves a son 14 and a daughter 9.
(This is the doctrinal statement of the CLC)
(part 2 of 2)The CLC has not hesitated to put down in writing its teachings. This is common with the Lutheran Church as the Book of Concord shows. If we believe, then we state what we believe. In fellowship and separation it is no different than in any other teachings which we draw from the Word. The Word is clear and so should we be.
1. We believe, teach, and confess that complete doctrinal agreement is the Scriptural basis for church fellowship. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). (§ 4-7)
2. We further believe that the doctrine which the Church should teach and hold is restricted to the doctrine of the Bible. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). (§ 8-9)
3. We further believe that the Word of God (the Old and New Testaments) is inerrant, inviolable, and clear. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16); “ . . . the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35); “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’’ (Ps. 119:105). (§ 10-13 )
4. We believe that all aberrations from the doctrines of Scripture are condemned by God. “Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith” (Jer. 23:31), and “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. l:9). (§14-15)
5. We believe and teach that church fellowship is forbidden with all who deviate from the Word of God in their teachings. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). (§ 16-41)
6. We further believe that all manifestations of fellowship are forbidden with those who deviate from the Word of God in their teachings (Rom. 16:17b). (§ 42-45)
7. We further believe and teach that suspension of an established fellowship is to take place when it has been ascertained that a person or group is causing divisions and offenses through a false position in doctrine or practice (Rom. 16:17-18). (§ 46-48)
REJECTION OF FALSE DOCTRINE
1. We reject and condemn any limitations on the extent of the application of the Scriptural injunctions to separate from false churches and teachers. (§ 49)
a. We reject the teaching that the application is limited to non-Christian bodies. (§ 50)
b. We reject the teaching that the application is limited to those who deny the redemptive work of Christ. (§ 51)
c. We reject the teaching that the application is limited to those who err in fundamental doctrines. (§ 58-60)
d. We further reject the teaching that errorists and their followers are to be avoided only when they no longer listen to admonition, or that we are to remain in fellowship with errorists as long as we think there is hope that they might give up their errors. (§ 61-72)
e. Though the teaching Church is ever an admonishing Church, we reject the opinion that separation from errorists is dependent upon the course of admonition. (§ 73)
2. We also reject and condemn all limitations on the intensiveness of such divinely commanded separation from false churches and teachers.
a. We reject as false the teaching which would forbid only joint worship services with errorists. (§ 75-77)
b. We reject as spurious the distinction which is made between prayer fellowship and joint prayer, namely, that while the former is indeed forbidden with errorists, an occasional joint prayer would not be displeasing to God. (§ 78-80)
c. We also reject the teaching that fellowship with errorists is permitted if there be no complicity with the error itself, or that the errorist may be fellowshipped but not his error. (§ 82)
d. We also reject the teaching that one may practice outward or external fellowship with errorists, if one does not embrace the error in his heart. (§ 83-84)
e. We also reject the idea of protesting fellowships when they are used as license to practice fellowship with errorists. (§ 85-88)
f. Finally, we reject the plea of “cooperation in externals” when it is used as license for actual joint church work with errorists. (§ 81)
For a fellowship relationship to develop as we have seen in the past with our present sister churches several things must exist:
- The inquiring group should have no fellowship with other church bodies or be willing to break such based on non-agreement and the teaching of false doctrine in such a body,
- The group must agree with us on what we believe and teach as drawn from Scripture,as every Lutheran teaching must be a Bible teaching and every Bible teaching must be a Lutheran teaching,
- If and/or when there is correction in error advanced by us to them, they must be willing to bow to the Word and will of God as we will also when corrected,
- They must show a willingness to continue in the Word, and that we study and learn together(we cannot possibly cover all teachings in several days of discussion or even in numerous letters),(This whole idea of learning together is implicit in our brother to brother relationship with both learning.)
- There must be an integrity demonstrated in so far as we can see up to the point of our meetings, realizing that this is something that we watch for throughout our relationship and not just at the outset. We know there are many who see the USA as a cash cow. Some will try to deceive to receive. We hold to the moral and ethical code of Scripture and fully expect our brothers to also.
On October 31st it is time again to celebrate God’s blessings that He returned to His Church through the Reformation. But we celebrate more than that – His blessings continue to us who follow His Word.
- At the time of the Reformation M. Luther allowed the sacrament of the altar to be celebrated with bread and wine(body and blood in/under and with) being given to the communicants. And for those still weak and wanting only to receive the bread for a time as it was under the Roman Catholic church, there was patience to teach the people the truth that the Spirit would make them strong to eventually take both. Still today we exercise patience and do not lay down law to get people to conform. This blessing of knowing it is the Word/Spirit that will change people is manifest in how we deal with people today.
- Among both the pastors and the ordinary people in the pews there came to be a faithfulness and tenacity born of a Word- promoted faith. The Lutherans stood behind the Word with the kind of tenacity of a dog with a bone. Today still, we as Paul do not shrink “from declaring … the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:27. When we face the difficulties today of being small in numbers, we like Paul still, as a dog with a bone, do not let lose of the truth. Paul at Caesarea making his defense before Gov. Felix said, “…believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets.” Acts. 24:14 Luther said based upon God’s Word, Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. So we today don’t hesitate to give an account of the hope that is within us regardless of the audience or possible unfavorable reception. Our hope cannot falter as it is based on God’s abundant grace and blessing.
- God gave the Reformation the wonderful invention of the printing press and movable type of a Gutenberg so that the message of God’s grace in Christ might be heralded near and far. It is amazing that in a relatively short time the writings of Luther and others were dispatched throughout Europe and beyond. Today God has given us the internet and email to use as tools of outreach. Your reading this is a sign of its use. Your use of our website www.lutheranmissions.org is an indication of His work among us that we treasure the Word of life.
Our loving Lord does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His changeless will for us is grace, mercy and love. May we mirror Christ as we go about our daily affairs. May change and reform come about through the Word in people’s hearts as they learn of Him more and more from us.
A PASSAGE EXPLAINED
In some of the English translations of 1 Sam. 15:11, 35, 2 Sam. 24:16, Jer. 26:13, 19, Jonah 3:19, Amos 7:3, you will find the wording that the Lord ‘repented’. Our God is holy and without sin, Lev. 19:2, Mt. 5:48. He has nothing to be sorry for with regard to sin. The word used in the Hebrew indicates a sighing as when one breathes out in sorrow. With God when this word is used it means ‘pity’, ‘sadness over an outcome’, His heart moved by what He sees. The word used does not mean to turn from personal sin within. God knows what He is doing, and with this word it reminds us of His great feeling for man and His sorrow over man’s corruption depending on the context.