Monday, December 1, 2008

What Must We Do?

Quoting C.F.W. Walther, from Pastor John Moe's essay "What Makes a Christian?: A Look at the Great Commission."

When our synod, the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, thirty-six years ago met for the first time in the God-blessed city of Chicago, it was a small, despised little band of only twelve poor congregations. The church which in this country still called itself evangelical-Lutheran lay in utter ruin. The teaching of our church was unknown territory for it. The small number of preachers who still knew something about it and wanted to stick to it were considered people with limited mental capacities, and the hope was that they would soon die out. The Lutheran Confessions were hardly known even by name anymore, and they were considered documents of earlier unenlightened times, now long obsolete. Instead of Luther's doctrine in the church that called itself Lutheran, the teaching of Zwingli and obvious rationalism was in vogue, coupled with fanatic methods of conversion. ... To want to transplant the Old Lutheran church, which submitted to every letter of the Word of God, to this land of untamed love for liberty seemed in real fact to be a completely hopeless, worse than foolish undertaking. But far from letting itself be made to falter, our synod did not ask: What must we do to become large and numerous? But it only asked: What must we do to be found faithful before the Lord of the church ? Our synod knew that success was not in its hands. Success is therefore left to God. (C.F.W. Walther, CJ, 15:3, p.226-7)

1 comment:

Josh said...

Reading this makes me wonder just how much "progress" we've made in 150+ years as a synod. Having just gotten back into parish life, this word from Walther is a good reminder of what we are all called to do in our vocations: be faithful to what God has given us. Thanks for digging this one up, Scott.