BASIC Newsletter #258
Volume 12 Issue 3
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CLC Work in Myanmar
The government of Myanmar is far better now to deal with than five or six years ago. No bribes were paid this time. Conditions of travel are improving. For all this and more we thank our Lord who rules over all.
Pastor Charles Edwards and his National Lutheran Church in Myanmar has applied for fellowship with the CLC and there does not appear to be any hindrance to this. The CLC in Convention can act on this. I held two days of seminars for around 90 people each day on Subjects that dealt with our Lutheran teachings as drawn from the Bible. God-willing Pastor Edwards can begin classes with maybe a dozen interested individuals. Most of the people who attended were not members of his church. He has a congregation of 96 in Hlaing Tharyar area of Yangon. In addition to this he tries to maintain four to five preaching points.
We had four days of seminars with our brothers and sisters in the Church of the Lutheran Confession of Myanmar in Kalay. There were between 80-90 who attended each day as well as came for the nightly worship services. This is now the sixth year we have done this and as God wills plan to continue. The CLCM numbers about 5300 in Chin State. They are attempting to reach out to the Burmese beyond their own tribe people. Each year we also meet with the executive committee of men to see how we can further help. They have one preaching point for Burmese and have recently been contacted by some from the Zanniat tribe. Only the Lord knows how these will turn out.
-Missionary Dave Koenig
Southwind & the SDA Church (Pt.1)
Seventh Day Adventists
In January this year (2014) a man identifying himself simply as Southwind wrote an email which he sent to numerous email addresses. I assume that he got the email addresses from the lutheranmissions.org contact page. This man although he claims not to be a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA), nevertheless takes us for task because of some negative mentions on our website against the SDA. Over the next few issues of BASIC we will take a look at some of his claims and the claims of the SDA church.
The following is a list of the basic accusations which Southwind lays against us in his email.
1. He is outraged that we would dare say anything against the SDA.
2. He praises Ellen White as a true prophet from God.
3. He claims we are no longer true followers of Martin Luther.
4. He claims we have failed to keep the Sabbath.
His claims concerning Ellen White and the Sabbath we will consider in upcoming issues as we discuss the SDA church and their teachings.
Concerning the accusation that we are no longer followers of Martin Luther it would be an easy thing to compare the teachings of Martin Luther to our own and show that we do still teach and believe as Martin Luther did. Further if we were to compare the teachings of the SDA church with that of the reformers we would find that the SDA has far more in common with the Anabaptists then they do with Martin Luther. Martin Luther himself spoke severely against the Anabaptists. However, it doesn’t really matter if we are followers of Luther or not. The question is, are we followers of Christ? We will not therefore discuss whether our doctrines are in line with Luther but whether they are in line with Scripture.
We move on then to his main accusation that we speak against the SDA church, which he claims should be considered as our brothers.
Speaking against the SDA
We do not attempt to judge true faith
We maintain based on Scripture that there is no outward sign by which we can distinguish true believers from unbelievers. Faith is matter of the heart and God alone knows who is His. It should be noted that the SDA church does not believe this. They maintain that only those who worship on Saturday can enter the kingdom of God. This will be discussed more in a later issue.
1 Timothy 5:24; Matthew 7:22,23; Isaiah 29:13; 2 Timothy 2:19; Matthew 13:24-30
The Seventh Day Adventists do indeed in many ways appear to be devoted Christians. Their outward works seemingly show a zeal for Christ. Among other things they are extremely active and passionate in their mission work around the world. In some ways we may even acknowledge their works and consider them as an opportunity to examine our own Christian life and works.
We do acknowledge true Christians exist outside the CLC and undoubtedly within the SDA church
Although we cannot identify specific individuals as being a part or not a part of the kingdom of God, we can see marks where God is at work and acknowledge that here or there the power of God and the kingdom of God is present. Specifically wherever we see the Gospel preached we know that His Kingdom is at work. The SDA church emphasis salvation by grace alone, as well as faith alone and Scripture alone. Although some of their teachings show that their idea of salvation by grace alone is not really in step with Scripture, nevertheless they do often preach the Gospel, namely the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. Therefore we acknowledge that there are undoubtedly true Christians among them.
Isaiah 55:10,11; Rom 1:16,17; Matt 13:3ff
No matter how zealous we cannot ignore false teaching.
Despite their zeal in many areas including mission work, and despite the fact that we acknowledge that many of them may indeed be true Christians, nevertheless we will not ignore false teaching. Southwind claims that we should not speak against them because they are our brothers. The fact of the matter is that because they may indeed be our brothers we absolutely will not remain silent in those areas where they teach contrary to the Word of God. There are some who think that love means accepting people as they are and avoiding all conflicts. We believe that as Scripture teaches love for God, love for His Word and love for our brothers, it demands that we speak the truth of God’s Word and point out where others err in regard to God’s Word. Therefore we will continue to call attention to the errors of the SDA church as well as all false teachers.
Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3; Jude 1:23
Rom 16:17; 2 John 1:10;
1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:3
We will however attempt to do so in a loving way and in humility. Recognizing that it may be us who are wrong we continue to study God’s Word again and again lest we become the false prophets. Notice in the following passage that God requires of us both love and truth, not one or the other.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Eph 4:11-15 ESV)
-Missionary Matthew Ude