After reading the October issue the song “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” describes my feelings. All the articles are for everyday situations with commentary from LCMS clergy. Too bad the old readers aren’t re-interested in renewing.
I just finished reading the October 2012 issue of the Lutheran Witness. If your goal was to picture the LCMS as heartless, uncompromising, intolerant, legalistic, rejecting and arrogant, you succeeded. I find the entire issue embarrassing, to say the least.
Rev. Bruce Strade
Thank you for the helpful issue articles from the October 2012 Lutheran Witness. As a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at a Lutheran school, I have found that this question-based issue is and will be a great resource to share with my students as we tackle some of the issues of the day. The solid Lutheran answers to these questions are especially refreshing in a society that seems to shy away from the tough questions, and more importantly the tough answers, which were based solidly in God’s Word and our Lutheran doctrine. Keep up the great work.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
The pastoral response insisting that an adolescent boy should definitely attend church services despite his team’s Sunday championship soccer game (October issue) pretty much insures that the boy will drop out of church at his first opportunity. Give the lad a break. Why can’t his parents have their own family service on Saturday evening and then all go to celebrate his perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? There’s a difference between encouraging and forcing church attendance.
Last night I read the October issue of The Lutheran Witness, and I could not help but praise the Lord for the content. Here was the material that I have wanted to see in our church periodical for many years, clear biblical expositions of theological, doctrinal and life problems confronting clergy and laity in our Synod at this time. We need more of this clear, open [explanation] of Scripture in common English for all to see.
Paul E. Bremer
While Rev. Meissner gives a fine LCMS answer to the question of why a woman’s sister (not a member of an LCMS congregation) was not permitted to partake of Holy Communion at her LCMS congregation [October issue], the answer fails to recognize that the decision to commune a non-member is not so cut and dry. Membership in an LCMS congregation is not the only factor that determines if a person is of the same confession that we are and is, in fact, in unity with us. Many of my members have had children baptized, confirmed and married in the LCMS and yet now worship with their spouse in another church body. Should they be denied Holy Communion at an LCMS table when they come home to visit? To answer a hasty, by-the-book “yes” to that question seems to put a higher stress upon the visible unity of one’s denominational affiliation than on the invisible unity of one’s faith.
Rev. John C. Stennfeld
The October issue is the best issue yet. It had so much information and guidelines [for] so many young people who don’t know how to handle what is in our world today. I am so happy that the Witness addressed these issues. All the articles would make wonderful Bible studies.
The last issue of The Lutheran Witness certainly has created a stir and, unfortunately, division among LCMS Lutherans who have different views on the same Bible passages. Perhaps that was your intent. For justice and equity and to bring the controversy more into the open, I suggest that you have another issue in which progressive members of the LCMS could answer the same questions from their perspective.
Thank you for the October edition of the Lutheran Witness. I enjoyed reading the questions and answers instead of regular articles. The questions were some that I have had over the years, and I’m sure many other folks have had also. Please continue to put questions and answers in the Lutheran Witness.
The October issue of the Lutheran Witness is the most biased and one-sided issue of the official publication of the LCMS I have ever seen. Where is the “other side” of these practices, also biblically-based, for consideration of the readers? The impression given is that these answers to questions define who the LCMS is in practice, when recent conventions would indicate these answers represent about 51 percent or even 50 percent of the Synod, and a great number of pastors and congregations see things differently.
The October Witness can result in some serious damage to many people who do not find themselves in lockstep with these positions but are part of the LCMS. Now we pastors have to clean up the mess. Why not present a balanced approach that recognizes godly differences and yet emphasize that we are still one. Or are we still one?
Rev. Ty Miles
The recent October issue was simply the best issue I have ever seen. There is a fresh breeze blowing through the Missouri Synod: It is honesty. Finally, we’re addressing things and stopping the institutional mindset that wants to pretend as though everything is okay when it isn’t. Perhaps, the honesty and compassion shown by your magazine can be a model for all of the Synod. If so, we might become a bit less dysfunctional and inwardly turned.
Rev. David Petersen
Fort Wayne, Ind.
It was with great disappointment and sadness that I read the letter (Lutheran Witness October 2012) from a member of a Lutheran church that had refused communion to her sister, a professing Christian.
Tied to man-made rules that do not serve Christ’s commission to us as followers of the Word, intelligent people turn away, as I did. Professional spokesmen for our faith (pastors and synodical hierarchy) create, mandate and wrap rules and regulations around their minds and hearts. They seek a God so small that He can be manipulated to do what they consider right within the church.
Thank God, I am a member of an LCMS church that is vital, growing and welcomes people to the Lord’s Supper. Our churches should reach out to everyone seeking forgiveness, solace and hope as they search for a church family in which to grow and flourish in the Christian faith.
The article is timely (“Help My Unbelief”). We are weak, and our sins can get the best of us at times. But the great comfort to us is that from God’s point of view justification is always a courtroom act. We are pardoned even in the very act of sinning. We are no less pardoned in an act of sinning then we are right after speaking the Confession of Sins in the liturgy.
There is a word of caution, however. We dare never take any sin lightly. We cannot tempt God by supposing that we can sin anytime, anywhere. This view is meant to be a comfort in a weak moment of the Christian (which includes suicide) and not an outright license to sin.
Rev. David Luhrs
How will we ever have peace and unity in our country when Christians who believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior cannot commune together? And yes, LCMS does give the impression they are superior.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
If I were an NFL official, I would give the October Witness a 15-year penalty for “piling on.” Every snotty, hair-splitting policy and practice with which I have struggled in my 75 years as an LCMSer–all in the same issue! I can deal with one at a time, but all in one issue? What were you thinking?
I enjoyed reading the October issue of The Lutheran Witness, but I was jarred by one statement in the article, “Did God Actually Say?” by Pastor Reese.
Speaking of the vow confirmands make to live a life according to the Word of God, Pastor Reese wrote, “The new church member cheerfully sets out to live in faithful service to God.”
Although I’m certain that Pastor Reese meant to refer to the new communicant, his words are a denial of the truth that confirmands are already church members by virtue of their baptism.
Rev. Oscar Gerken
My initial skepticism at an issue filled with “onepagers” was quickly overcome when I discovered that these brief Q&A articles, like the Spirit’s similarly terse letters to the seven churches, each put forward a call to repentance and a call to Faithfulness–a call to hold fast and ever more firmly, in this tempestuous sea of cultural vicissitudes, to what our Lord has given, and thus to receive the crown of life–and gladness. From stem to stern, there is something here for each of us, to bring us again as whole people, religious and secular, to Jesus for forgiveness and renewal. And that is good. I deeply appreciate a Witness that challenges me and my flock in this way and turns us to the Scriptures and to the Lutheran Confessions for more, for life in the Word of Jesus.
Rev. Dr. John W. Sias
In the October issue, Sandra Ostapowich offers a truly strange reason for excluding women from the pastoral ministry. It sounds more like a rationale for male privilege than for servanthood. The reasoning is without a shred of basis in Scripture. For half a century as an ordained pastor I never felt, or heard another pastor say, we were “sacrificing” such a freedom or doing women a favor by relieving them of this pastoral responsibility. Perhaps it’s time for us to reconsider the exclusion of women from the pastoral ministry.
Rev. Arthur Simon
Great topics in the October issue. They were all about what God did for us: died for our sins. Great Gospel and good news. The authors should be thanked.
The October Lutheran Witness is one of the best I have read. We are lifelong Lutherans. We have to be reminded what our church teaches from time to time. We can also give this issue to our family and friends.