“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,” St. Paul says to the Corinthians. And indeed, pure folly it is. Who would believe that a dead man hanging on a cross redeems the world? And it seems even more outrageous when you learn that He’s not only a man, but also God incarnate. If He died on a cross, what kind of God is He?
Indeed, it might be folly to those who are perishing, “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). With faith in Christ, we can see the folly of the previous paragraph. We do not build our faith on the wisdom of the world, but on the foolishness of God, for His foolishness is beyond our wisdom.
So what do we preach? We preach “Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23). The church has proclaimed this message for the last 2,000 years and will continue to do so until Christ returns.
This summer, the LCMS will again gather in convention to discuss and perform the work of the church. Delegates will elect officers and give the Synod marching orders for the next three years. This issue of The Lutheran Witness will give you a preview of some interesting resolutions, nominations and information for the convention. Most importantly, it shares the central theme of the convention: “We Preach Christ Crucified.”
This theme remains central to the work of the convention. Opposition to the Gospel has always plagued the church; Jesus promised that it would. But, it also seems to wax and wane. As opposition to the Gospel seems to be increasing, now is the time to refocus on the solid foundations of our faith. As we watch the wave rising, as we see the culture subsuming Christian teaching underneath a tidal wave of wickedness, we watch from the vantage point of the solid rock, the unmovable fortress against which the wave will crash and fall.
For Christ has not built His church on the shifting sands of popular opinion or worldly wisdom, but upon the preaching of Christ crucified — a message of folly to many, but of salvation to us who are called.
This summer, as the LCMS in convention discusses matters related to the Concordia University System, the declaration of fellowship with other church bodies around the globe, the business of clarifying and refining ways of providing pastors to serve LCMS congregations, or any number of other pressing issues, we do so only under the banner of Christ crucified. May that guide and direct all we do and say.
In Christ Crucified,
Roy S. Askins
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness