September 1, 2004

I Cor. 16:9  ‘for a wide door for effective work has opened to me,  and there
are many adversaries.’

As you our overseas brethren know, we stress reaching out above all to those
not in the faith.  Think of Paul’s work of three successive mission trips that
went ever farther afield.  In Rom. 15:20 and 2 Cor. 10:16 we see also Paul’s
and the Word’s stress in going to those not yet reached in fields beyond our
work now.  Paul had a goal to reach even Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea.
As we reach out we base what we teach and do on the solid basis of Scripture
and look also for examples from historic Lutheran theological practices.

We are in a worldwide struggle and contention of the truth of God against all
kinds of errors which are spread by the devil both without and within the
Christian church.  It is the kingdom of light against the kingdom of darkness.
Jesus has stated clearly that those who are not with Him are against Him.  There
is no middle ground, only movement toward the Christ or away from Him.  We
labor to convert the opponents of Christ.  We seek conversion of our enemies.
Think of how Saul the persecutor of the Christ became Paul the proclaimer of
the Christ.  Read I Cor. 9:19-23 to remember how we seek to do all to win those
outside the faith.

This requires us to think outside the ‘box’, so to speak.  It is not hard to do
things always the same way and not try new approaches. “That is the way we did it,
so that is the way we will do it,” is an example of this limited thinking.  We
can use new methods to bring the same clear Word of God that does not change.
We must think of those not of our group as ones for whom Christ also died and
desires under His gracious rule.  It is so often a matter of us going beyond our
‘comfort zone’, which means to sacrifice, to labor as Paul did.  This approach
is expensive in time, money, effort and even lives.  Paul sets the tone though
when he says, ‘I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.’ I Cor. 12:5

Some examples of the stress of reaching out to those not in the faith follow.  In
Togo there are still many animists worshipping their ancestors spirits, so that
there we seek to reach them.  In the north of Nigeria the Muslims are massed.
We seek to send our first missionary to the north, having been trained for five
years.  Tanzania has the Masai tribe of whom only one in ten is a Christian.
Because of this rather unevangelized tribe, we are trying to reach them.  In
India we seek to establish congregations gathering about the Word in villages
where above all there is no other Christian church.  Our desire is for the
conversion of Hindu and Muslim and it is more than a desire as we reach out.

While we reach out, we do not neglect to teach the whole counsel of God going from
house to house reaching man, woman and child.  This we learn is our approach from
Paul’s report in Acts 20:19-20.  In true Bible and Lutheran practice we see
growth in knowledge and faith among the converted.  Jesus tells us that His
disciples “continue in the Word”. Jn 8:31-32  Our approach is not superficial,
but seeks depth of knowledge in the Word and of faith in Jesus.  To this end we
assist you our brethren in Bible distribution.  So far in India we have purchased
900 Bibles in Tamil and Telegu.  As all of you know, we have been working to see
that the Lutheran catechism, ‘the little Bible’, is in the hands and minds and
hearts of your pastors and then out to your people.  We have printed and will
continue to print these excellent tools in the language of each of your groups.

As at Pentecost, each heard in his own language the wonderful works of God, so
we want that for all your people also.  Acts 2:11  And we want your people to be
able to read the Word on their own as the faithful Berean learners did.  We also
are working with you to use the gifts you have to translate the catechism and
other materials so your pastors and people may be taught the Word in its truth
and purity to feed them properly.

For your people to be taught well, we need the pastors to learn well.  This has
been a chief goal.  We pray that all of your pastors study on their own in depth.
And we assist you when the missionary or other volunteers are present to help
teach your pastors.  In many areas we have monthly meetings where our pastors
study.  This should be an ongoing activity until our dying day.  We can always
learn more in the Word.  The Word is like a stream a child can wade in and like
a river an elephant can swim in.  Ongoing pastoral training and improvement will
show among the people as time passes.  We seek also to provide as many materials
as possible for your pastors to study on their own also.

All of our activity centers on the Christ, our Lord.  As the whole of Scripture
centers in Him, so do our lives and our work.  2 Cor. 1:20  Our life is hid with
Christ. Gal. 2:20 His great victory on Calvary is the focus of our labor now.
It is finished. Jn. 19:30  The whole work of salvation, of being punished for our
sin that we might live forever is done in Christ.  The empty tomb is the reminder
that the living Christ is ours.  I Cor. 15:14

In the Word is the Christ. By His Word we have our path lighted to see clearly
how and where to go.  God bless your work in Him, for Him and through Him.

A new district will be formed in the BELC with 12 pastors and 585 members.
Meetings were held in Vaniyambadi since last November and these have so far
indicated agreement with us on Scripture.  New meetings have just started in the
large city of Chennai (pop. 6+ million).  Twenty-one pastors came to
investigate our teachings.  Pray that many will agree and join with us to reach
out.  Phil. 2:2

In Him,  Pastor Koenig