For far too long, it seemed that the only news ever printed regarding Lutheran mission work was either 'sanitized' or predominantly concerned with 'innovations' and (purely) 'social outreach', rather than glorifying that which alone should be glorified: the overwhelming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to convert the young and old men and women of every nation.
For instance, we have received press releases announcing the 'call' of several 'mission mentors' to "meet regularly to share ideas and support one another in ministry, [and to] lead sessions on developing mission strategies, mission values and mission vision." Mission 'values'? Mission 'vision'? The pastor who instructed me in the Christian faith was one of the LCMS' pioneer missionaries to the Philippines; as I recall, his mission 'strategy' was to 'vision' (er, 'see', that is) the people there as lost sinners (like himself) for whom the Savior died (as, also, for himself), so that the most 'valuable' things he had were those people and that Gospel. His first Confirmation class found a head-hunting chief learning Luther's Small Catechism. Does something seem askew today?
On another front, while good money was wasted on an attempt to put together an 'African-American' hymnal (with the ever-so-orthodox ELCA...) that many LCMS blacks never wanted in the first place, only to have LCMS black 'leaders' create an uproar when our doctrinal reviewers found several theologically unacceptable hymns--at the same time, one LCMS district 'official' was saying that a certain organization and its director were only about "running around and raising money," while the fact was that said organization was really about spending money...to print the Book of Concord...in Russian...for the first time...ever...plus many other books in many other languages.
How come we didn't hear about that work through 'official' channels? How come we still might not, even though that organization has now been granted 'Recognized Service Organization' status by the LCMS? How come we rarely hear anything about our military chaplains, much less from them? Ditto, campus ministry? Ditto, inner city ministry? Why do we never hear about the most rapidly growing congregation in the Kansas District, the church in Lawrence that practices Closed Communion and uses The Lutheran Hymnal?
It's high time that the people who give to missionary endeavors hear what their offerings produce--or, at least, what they can produce when directed toward Confessional Lutheran missionaries and mission societies, those who take man's need and the Gospel's supply seriously enough to not look only for immediate or numerical gains, but, rather, seek to establish from the outset the firm and only foundation: that of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Chief Cornerstone.
That is the type of reports that our news service will bring to you, contributed by Confessional Lutherans who are serving as the Lord's servants in the various settings in which needy sinners can be found: Eastern Europe, South America, American Indian reservations, military installations, America's 'inner-cities'...and even such assumed 'Christian' places as England, Germany and rural America.
Moreover, these reports will be from those engaged in these endeavors themselves, words spoken 'from the field' and 'from the heart'. Pastors and professors will report as time allows, as will the directors and support staff of various mission organizations--not packaged 'promo' fund raising letters, but the news of the challenges before our missionaries and the things that the Gospel is accomplishing...including the imprisonment and persecution of those who preach it.
If this sort of reporting is of value to you, please subscribe to this service by simply sending ANY note to: CLiMB-on@CAT41.org
The crucified and risen Savior continue to grant you His mercy and grace,
Rev. Eric J. Stefanski, 13 April 1999
The CLiMB e-letter brings you unedited, uncut reports directly from the mission field--South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, Asia, inner-city or rural America, college campuses, military installations and battle sites around the world, and more. It is our contention that those who truly hold to the Book of Concord as the pure exposition of Holy Scripture and the true confession of the Christian faith are also the most zealous supporters of the preaching of the Gospel in every corner of the world and, as such, ought to be kept thoroughly informed of how those endeavors are faring and shown how they may be rightly carried out without the destruction of orthodox doctrine and practice that some within the pale of Lutheranism now advocate.
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