I Cor. 16:9  ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
July 15, 2009
CLC Mission Helpers to India
The CLC Mission Helpers arrived safely in India yesterday.  They will be working with both the BELC and the CLCI for the next two weeks.  They are
Peter Evensen
Dorena Wiechmann
Katie Wiechmann
Pastor Frank Gantt
Stephen Eichstadt
Mike Naumann
Josh Ohlmann
Jackie Schwersinske
Johanna Reim
Carly Meyer
Pastor Todd Ohlmann leads the group.
Missionary Matthew Ude is also with the group.
We pray that they will have a joyful experience telling the people about our Lord Jesus.

Distinctly Lutheran (5)

We are distinctly Lutheran as set off from other Christian denominations. In this study we have briefly considered the ways in which we are truly ‘Lutheran’. Above all we should remember that we are Evangelical Lutheran. First and foremost we are evangelical in the true meaning of that word – Gospel Preaching. This means we are Christian. We then distinguish ourselves further from other Christians by calling ourselves ‘Lutheran’ due to the Lutheran Reformation out of which our church was born. Then we further distinguish ourselves from other Lutherans by calling ourselves the CLC or by any other of the names of our sister churches.

Always we have to guard against the danger that we will take pride in being Lutheran. Our pride is in the Christ and His Gospel. Rom. 1:16 We say that every Bible teaching is a Lutheran teaching, and every Lutheran teaching is a Bible teaching. As we teach the Word of God in its truth and purity, satan has set a variety of traps for us. Some of these we look at briefly.

· Meanspiritedness or Haughtiness – Because we teach the Word without addition or deletion, due to our proud sinful flesh we can easily look down our noses at other Christians. Jesus taught against this hypocrisy when He attacked Phariseeism. Haughtiness is incompatible with the humility of Christ.

· Negativism – Spending so much time pointing out the errors we have to combat we can easily become very negative. And this can be conveyed to others as they hear us. We must state clearly what we stand for above all, and then point up where we differ from other Christians.

· Shallowness – In viewing our churches as we fellowship together we can become shortsighted and not see how God is working through all Christians.

· Lack of Mission Zeal – As we combat errors, it is easy to consume our time in this to the disadvantage of reaching out. We can also get so protective that we fail to see how we should be going to the unconverted.

· Conveying to Others Wrong Ideas – Some could think that we consider there is no salvation outside of our church. But the fact is there is no salvation outside the Christian church, and we are only part of it. As we work among ourselves, we can give the idea that other churches and denominations have nothing for us to learn. This is of course false. We can learn a great deal from others. God’s Spirit works through the Word wherever He wills.

· Failure to Expose and Correct our own Shortcomings – This so easily comes with pride. We are sinners saved by the grace of God and need the law to show us our sin as well as any.

· Rigidity in Practice or Rigorism – In not learning from others we can become rather bound by our own practices. But where Scripture does not speak the Lord gives us freedom to do according to our sanctified wisdom or common sense.

May God preserve us from the devil’s traps. Having gone through the several parts of this study on being Distincly Lutheran, may God grant us the wisdom to maintain our teachings and practices in accordance with His Word. And may our joy be made complete as we follow Him.

(Incorrect or Scripturally Unsupported Teaching)
Holds only to limited atonement. God’s action of reconciling sinners to Himself, through the merits of Christ,is offered only to the predestined: atonement effective only in the “Elect.”
(Correct, Scripturally Supposed Teaching)
According to Scripture, Christ died for all men (I John 2:2).  God’s act of acquitting sinners is not like a lottery or contest in which only a very few can be winners.  “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29, see also 2 Cor. 5:19; Col. 1:20, Hebr. 2:9).
(Incorrect or Scripturally Unsupported Teaching)
Bases many of its teachings on writings other than the Bible.  Does not stress that the primary purpose of the work of Christ was to bring sinners acquittal of their guilt and pardon from all penalties.  Stresses that the goal of Christ’s incarnation and redemption is human “deification.”  Does not view sinners as totally depraved by sin (Rom. 3:23) or saved through faith alone.
(Correct, Scripturally Supported Teaching)
Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).  The Bible teaches man is totally corrupt and without hope:  “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God”  (Rom 8:8; see also Eph. 2:1).  Scripture says sinners are justified by divine grace alone received through God’s gift of faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9).
POPULAR EVANGELICALISM  (Now  predominant non-denominational movement in the U.S., and missionizing in the former USSR)
(Incorrect or Scripturally Unsupported Teaching)
Has a tendency to emphasize justification as brought about “on account of” the presence of the faith God sees in the life of an individual or because a person is in a “living relationship to Christ.”  This is a dangerous subjectivism that undermines the glory that belongs to Christ alone, as well as leads the struggling believer into spiritual uncertainty (Gal. 3:3: 5:1;
Rom. 4:20-21).
(Correct, Scripturally Supported Teaching)
Justification is a fact and not just a mere possibility.  All that needs to be done for our salvation has been done by Christ (John 17:4).  “It is finished” (John 19:30).  God has pronounced all sinners justified because of Christ (2 Cor. 5:19).  His imputed righteousness, rather than our faith, brought justification to us (Luke 18:13-14).
(Incorrect or Scripturally Unsupported Teaching)
Uses writings in addition to the Bible.  Rejects the Biblical truth that justification is through faith alone. Denies that a person can be sure of being perfectly acquitted of all sins.  Teaches that divine grace simply starts the sinner on a drawn out process toward salvation.  Salvation may come at the end of that long road of “spiritual development.”  God will lend the aid of His grace, but sinners must also contribute something.
(Correct, Scripturally Supported Teaching)
Our justification is already a perfectly accomplished reality that doesn’t need to be “sought for” or supplemented by our inadequate works or faith.  Because Christ has lived the perfect life for us, and has “imputed” all His merits to our account, we are certain we have been saved (2 Tim. 1:9,12).
Only due to the graciousness and mercy of His heart, God has accepted the merits of His Son for the justifying of the sinner.  It comes to them as the gift of a new perfect status, “justified!”  To them is credited Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor.5:21) and the release from sin’s debt, guilt, and corresponding penalties (Rom. 4:7-8).  From God’s perspective all that needs to be done to open heaven to sinners has been done (2 Cor. 5:19).  With such peace with God also comes to forgiven sinners the inner peace of the certainty of salvation.  All sinners are invited into heaven’s open door through faith (2 Cor. 5:20; Rom. 5:1-2).
Pastor Koenig
Attachment of Symbols 23