November 13, 2003

I Corinthians 16:9  For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

The CLC helps our sister churches overseas especially in the areas of outreach and training of pastors.  But our support can not go on forever.  We are also trying to help you, our brethren, to be self-sufficient.  We know the opportunities that can only be grasped with our financial help at this time, but as time passes we want to assist you our sister churches to be able to undertake these opportunities on your own.  Of course the congregations in each church body over time are to contribute to the work of the church body itself at large.  In the meantime we try to assist with projects that allow pastors to work and earn money as Paul did as a tentmaker in Thessalonica, Ephesus and Corinth.
Our support at this time is not limited because we do not love our brothers and sisters overseas.  Instead, one reason for our limited financial support is so that we do not make you dependent on us and then relying on us for a long period of time.  Dependency on us can generate an unwillingness to take the initiative on your own, which we do not want to happen. Our support is usually very specific and as recommended, goes from the missionary(ies) to the Mission Board and may or may not be accomplished.  The amounts we give or send are most often very specific for certain purposes.  If the money is not used for those purposes then there is a breakdown in our working together.  We specify projects because we do not want to breed a dependence on us.  Those projects we support are done with the goal of your self-support.  We all have a sinful flesh that would like others to do for us.  As faithful leaders in our churches, we must struggle against the sinful flesh in this regard. There is one Lutheran church in India that has been supported from the USA for one hundred  years.  This is obviously too long.
The goal for every sister church is to be self-sufficient in carrying on its outreach, training of pastors and all other work.
We certainly look forward to learning how our brethren are progressing in self-support. One example that we recently learned of was in the Congo with our brethren of the ELCC. They have a large tract of land owned by them from which they harvest lumber to sell or build churches with. In the future, they plan to plant crops such as maize on this cleared land.

Observe The Law Of Context – #13
Context is the total setting of a verse or paragraph.  One investigates the preceding and following verses.  One looks at the preceding and following paragraphs around the passage. One even considers the remote context of the book and historical setting.  One considers also the relationship of the book to other books and to the Testament.

Interpret the part in the light of the whole; and interpret the whole in the light of the part.  Never tear a passage out of its connection, its context.  What a word means in any  given sentence can only be determined by its immediate context in that sentence.

For instance some today have ripped words and passages from the context of I Corinthians 7 to teach that malicious desertion is also desertion of responsibilities.  That is a twisting of Scripture and not seeing the context clearly as a physical separation in that chapter.

For instance if we separate Phil. 2:12 from 2:13 we do a disservice to Scripture and have a misunderstanding.

Interpret Scripture In Harmony With Itself – #14
The Old Testament is to the New Testament as the mold is to the medallion.  They fit together as a hand in a glove.  The rites, symbols, prophecies of the Old Testament find their fulfillment in the New Testament.

To interpret the Bible in harmony with itself means that no passage should be interpreted contrary to clearly revealed doctrines of the Bible, or to put it another way, no interpretation is correct which contradicts a fundamental teaching of the Bible.  This is called the “rule of faith” or “the rule of Scripture.”

Scripture is complementary and not contradictory.  Consider I John 1:8-10, 3:9, 3:23, 3:10. And also Romans 8:38-39 with Heb. 6:4-6.

In Christ, Pastor D. Koenig