Your Sins Are Forgiven by Winfred Schaller Sr………………………p. 4
From A Wider Field by Egbert Schaller ………………………..……p. 10
1. A Choice That Doesn’t Exist
2. A Supporting Voice
To The Point! by John Parcher ……………………………………….p. 17
1. School Is In Session
2. Modern Inquisition
It is expected that old material from various sources will frequently appear in these pages. This, our second special issue (see the word of explanation in the first issue), consists exclusively of samples of such older material. To make a small contribution toward helping to keep such things in view will be a primary objective of the undersigned.
Staff of Always Abounding
R.E. Wehrwein, Derek Wehrwein, Shannon Steensma
Concerning the sermon beginning on the next page:
This is a selection from a large number of sermon manuscripts of Winfred Schaller Sr. and Winfred Schaller Jr. that, totally unexpectedly, came into our hands a couple of years ago, a number of which have already been compiled into two booklets through the combined efforts of the undersigned and Grace Congregation of New Ulm, Minn.: “Jesus Was Passing By” and “Beside Him There Is No Savior.” This manuscript is dated Oct. 7, 1945. Listed on the back are what presumably are other times and places of the preaching of this sermon. The last of the four is “Redemption Ev. Seattle, WA 1960.” W. Schaller Sr. died in 1959. From more than one source has come the plausible suggestion that this and other sermons of Winfred Sr. came to be used at the CLC’s Seattle congregation because he had a daughter and son-in-law who were among the founders of that congregation. RW
A sermon on Matthew 9:1-8
What an exciting series of events greets us in this text: a faith that tears open the roof of a house to have its way; a blinding ray of light from heaven that forgives sins; an insane and impossible opposition to the love of God, with anger and dishonesty, lies and blasphemy as evil companions; a crash of breaking laws of nature as the Son of Man reaches in to have His way – what an exciting hour!
And we, we are in the very midst of it. It simply cannot end and never will end until the last day dawns. This is our heritage and portion, that we should live constantly among such great events and happenings. For He has adopted us into His family, this Son of Man, and where’er He walks, we walk with Him to share His victories, to see His magnificent works. The sordid, commonplace life of earth becomes hallowed and surcharged with blessed delights. We walk with Him, under whose feet all enemies are held bound, with Him, who pours out into our hearts the Spirit of God, who leads us in all truth. This Spirit in the Word of God does work within our hearts and long ago has set our feet upon the way of peace, the straight and narrow way that leads so surely to the light above. With happiness and glad faith together with a deep repentance over our sins, we contemplate His love today and recall to our minds again what this text-event reveals to us:
The blessed walk in the Spirit
The forgiving Christ makes the way;
The way is filled with faith and love.
The very center and pulsing life of this story is the blessed Son of Man, of course, from whom does radiate the tremendous thing that is the truth and life to make the way. They bring a man in the misery of the terrible rheumatism that twists the limbs and racks with pain. A strange man it is, unknown to the Christ, a man whom He had likely never seen nor spoken to. Just another of the uncounted men born in sins and iniquity, incapable of any good, whose righteousnesses are as filthy rags. They lay him before the Savior’s feet and silently await what now would come to pass.
And lo, immediately it comes to pass, not what they possibly had expected, and yet the most tremendous thing that possibly could be. Without preamble, without admonition, without inquiry as to what the man thought or felt or wanted, behold, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Savior of the world, looks down upon Him, lifts Him out from among the hordes of sinful and condemned men in all the vast wide world, and declares unto Him: My son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Oh well could He add: Be of good cheer! Indeed why should he not be of good cheer, rejoice, and sing loudly in an abandon of gladness. The judge of heaven and earth steps into his life and with one bold stroke declares him holy and just, righteous and perfect, a saint among all the sinners. He opens the gates of heaven to him, strips away all doubtful questions – Will I be blessed when I die?, removes all barriers between him and the eternal God, and sets him on a road that knows no turning until the heavenly goal is reached. You are my holy, sainted child, in whom there is no guilt, for whom there is no punishment ever, against whom there is no complaint, who lives in righteousness and purity forever.
Almost we do not wonder that the scribes and learned men among the visitors there mutter under their breath: This man blasphemeth. Almost we can understand that they are angry and upset and think evil things of this Son of Man. Almost, but not quite. For we have seen and heard too much to have any doubt. This Son of Man, oh yes He can, He may say it with absolute conviction and authority. That is His just due, His proud glory, the fruits of bitter toil and the spoils of the greatest battle. ‘’Twas not an idle word that He had come to seek and save the lost. Nor was it an idle boast that He had come to bear the monstrous load of guilt, the gruesome mass of punishment that lay upon a cursed world. Nor had it been an idle promise that He, just He alone, would break with strong and mighty arms the barrier that lay between man and God. Fully conscious that the Father had placed it all into His hands, and fully sure that in the end His victory would be complete, He boldly and with authority declares it to this son of men, this cursed and wretched outcast from the mercies of God: For you, just for you, it is true: Thy sins are no more, nor punishment nor judgment, nor any evil thing. This day I adopt thee into the household of the blessed and set thee on the road that leads to life.
The Spirit of the living God does this day cry into our hearts: This is most certainly true! Oh do not let your evil sinful flesh becloud it for your eyes or take it from you. For truth to tell we are a wretched lot and often do not see the glory of the word He calls to us: So walk in the Spirit on the way that I have made. Of all the insane acts of man, this will stand out as surpassing insanity that men do ever quarrel with this sublime revelation. In our text the men, instead of reaching forth their hands and crying: O Lord, tell us the same, include us also in the warmth of Thy grace, do horribly blaspheme and lie and grieve the Holy Spirit who had come among them. They doubt the Savior’s word, they think within their hearts: He should at first find out how bad this man really is and should demand of Him that He do penance and make good for all his wrongs. He should find out whether this one wretched fellow really deserves to have his sins forgiven. With evil jealousy and mocking doubt they look upon the Master.
Oh pray the Lord that He may guard and keep our hearts against such evil wisdom of our hearts. This day again He invites us into the adoption of sons, this day again He reassures our hearts that He has made a clear way, a sure way, on which our feet may walk. This day again He does declare to our sinful, evil, doubting, wretched hearts: Fear not, thy sins be forgiven thee. Indeed it was finished 2000 years ago, yes even finished when He first spoke the words: I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and the Seed shall come and crush thy evil head, thou wicked serpent. ‘’Twas finished then, and in our time He takes us gently into the circle of His love and boldly declares it unto us: You are my saints, my dearly beloved, whose every guilt is taken away forever.
Grieve not the Spirit of God, the apostle cries. Of all things that our evil hearts can devise, this is outstandingly the most wicked thing, that we should presume to doubt His grace and mercy. On this road of a clear conscience in Christ, of a deep recognition of that mercy which so undeservedly has made us heirs of heaven, of a humble dependence on Him and His righteousness alone, He bids us walk through life. Our crippled souls He does make whole and straight so that we confidently may walk as those who are persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, principalities, powers, nor height nor depth, nor any creature, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ our Lord. In such simple childlike truth, oh come to His table and know with fullest confidence and clear vision: Today it is happening to me again: He speaks in sure judgment over me: My son, My daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee.
That, that is the way of the Spirit, and lo, it is filled with faith and love.
See how beautifully it is portrayed in our text. The neighbors and acquaintances of the man who was so sick take up his burden with and for him. They hear that Jesus has come near and promptly drop their daily work and occupation to bring those two together. They carry him upon his bed, no mean and little task, where every move they made would tear him with added pain and misery, carry him a long, long way, where every step must have seemed a mile. The disappointment when they got there must have been keen, for Mark writes that the crowds were so great they could not get into the house at all or get anywhere near to Jesus. But lo, it truly is the way of faith and love. The difficulty was but there to be overcome. Above all this friend would have to come within the helping arm of Jesus Christ. And so they climb upon the roof of the house, take off the layers deep of thatching, lift off the large amounts of straw, until at last they have an opening wide enough to let the bed down with ropes, so that at last they have him lying just at the Savior’s feet. They do not speak a word to Him, who was to help. It was enough that they had placed him there; the next move – oh how surely they knew – the next move would indubitably be the Lord’s.
Faith and love, like beautiful companions they lead the way, they make the road delightful. But then, why should they not? The action of the Lord is swift and sudden. He saw their faith, the evangelists write. Oh He saw: Here are some members of My everlasting family, My very own and dearly beloved. We all belong together, they for Me and I for them, and there can be no doubt what He will do. Stronger and stronger must their faith, their love, become. They must not have believed and loved in vain. Although He well might have stopped after having forgiven all his sins and made him sure of heaven, He needs for their sake and for ours must go on and make it perfect. He even troubles to make it perfectly plain when speaking to His foes, so that His believers might have fullest delight and joy. Just that you may know that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins, just that you may see and touch it, that faith and love are from the heavens, a gift of the Spirit, I will do the utmost to show you, so that your faith and love may abound. He turns to the one in pain and agony and confidently tells him: Arise, take up thy bed and walk. Oh see, it operates to utmost perfection. The purified and sainted one does indeed have perfect faith and trust. Where formerly he would have groaned and said: I can’t, I have too much pain to move, he now does instantly raise up his tortured body and firmly starts to rise. It works; of course it work, for Jesus Christ the Lord has spoken. The pain, the weakness, and the crippled limbs are gone. With great efficiency he rolls up the mattress, places it upon his shoulders, and walks away. He knows, oh he knows so well, that he will walk right on in perfect safety and in the warmth of the Savior’s love until the eternal gates of the last home would open up for him to enter in.
Yes, that is great and good, and never will we be able to thank Him enough that He has taken us and placed us into the charmed circle of this faith and love and gently leads us on. The ugly, sordid, shameful opposite that shows itself among the others in the text, that is also in our hearts and would like to spoil and soil our life and take the gladness from it. Just see how ugly it really is. Rather than rejoice and take also for themselves the boon of forgiveness and holiness, they consider not the soul of their fellow-sinner, but grumble and complain that Jesus blasphemes. They lie about Him and call Him that which they really are themselves. An ugly anger fills their hearts and a vain jealousy of His great power and love. Such would not have moved a finger to help this fellow-sinner. They were interested only in themselves. And worst of all, they grieve the Holy Spirit and resist Him with might and main, refuse to believe what they hear, refuse to believe what they see. Oh how entirely evil is not our sinful heart.
With prayerful hearts we beseech Him that He would help us not to spoil the gladness of faith and love that He has planted among us on the way that we should go. Instead of ever doubting Him for His forgiveness of sins and that it is our only hope, may He grant us to cling to it with singleness of heart. The perfect trust in Him, it is the keenest delight of walking in the Spirit. Yes, trusting Him to do the utterly impossible and confidently looking to Him in all adversity, that is our joyful portion, and the Spirit of the living God would make it so within us. And with that walks the love and fellowship we have with each other. Instead of doubting that our fellow-members have such faith and love, we should as these within our story take it for granted that all our fellows in the service of the Lord do have the same faith and love we have. Confidently can we speak to each other and lead each other always back to Jesus Christ, the Lord, with whom all things are well. In sickness and adversity of our fellow-Christians, we can confidently go to them and together with them strengthen each other in the knowledge: Lo, He, the Lord, is right here with us, let’s place it before Him so that He may take care of it, the great trouble in which we are.
‘’Tis true, it often happens that we seemingly cannot get to Him. Worse things than a crowd of people stand in between. The ugly crowd of our doubting, sinful thoughts stand like a mob between us and our hopes. What can words help, they cry? Why believe when He lets such terrible things happen, does so cruelly treat us? What can the Holy Sacrament help, when there is so much great distress? And if I believe it, my fellow-Christian will not anyway, and it is vain to try and bring the Christ to him. Yes, they are very sordid evil things, these thoughts, and would fain keep us strangers to our faith and love. But see, the Spirit is strong and great through the Word. He drives us on to tear away the layers of doubt, the evils of unkind thoughts about each other, the separating thoughts that grieve the Spirit of God. You have it so easy and so sure, He calls to us. Just speak My words to them and tell them that I forgive their sins, that I heal all their distress, and that whoever comes to Me, I will not cast out. With My power as the Spirit I shall be there and give them faith and trust. Oh we believe, dear Lord; help Thou our unbelief. As they who have been bidden to the feast we come this day to Thy table, brush aside all evil, lying, sinful thoughts, and cling firmly to Thy Word: Thy sins are forgiven thee, walk in the Spirit. In faith and love we’ll serve Thee and each other until we reach the end of the road. Amen.
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A word of introduction Some years ago, circumstances permitted R.E. Wehrwein us to compile into 26 booklets a variety of —————- Pastor/Professor Egbert Schaller’s papers, articles, chapel talks, and sermons that had been produced over a period of decades and published in a number of church periodicals and elsewhere. Subsequently, we have been overjoyed to see five books (so far) of Schaller’s sermons produced by his son-in-law, Prof. em. Paul Koch.* It appears we may now finally be able to begin fulfilling another dream: republishing the articles that Schaller wrote for The Northwestern Lutheran of the Wisconsin Synod in the 1950s, most of them under the heading, “From a Wider Field.” We are most grateful for the kind permission that Northwestern Publishing House of the Wisconsin Synod has given to us to reprint this material. The gratitude we feel for being able to present in the early pages of this new publication a pair of articles by Prof. Schaller, and for also being able, God-willing, to provide our readers more of the same in future issues, is immeasurable. Thanks be to God.
We begin with an article that treats a topic of great importance. It is the “From a Wider Field” column of the Sept. 1, 1957, issue of The Northwestern Lutheran, labeled “1957 Convention Issue” on the front.
It so happens that in a collection of copies of manuscripts that Pastor Schaller submitted to the NL that we were fortunate enough to acquire 15-20 years ago (with permission to use), there is another article that approaches the same issue by using the testimony of a writer in Christianity Today.
*Orders may be directed to Paul R. Koch, 3425 Morgan Ave., Eau Claire, WI 54701-7023; 715-835-5083; email@example.com. The foreword to Vol. 5, dated spring of 2007 and signed by Paul and Anne (Schaller) Koch, contains this note: “We thank Jonathan Schaller for his assistance in editing and publishing this volume.”
We accordingly reproduce that as well, in the belief both that it would be a disservice to the reader, considering from whose pen it came, to withhold it or even defer its publication, and that the surpassing importance of the issue treated warrants it. Pending re-examination of all Schaller’s NL material for the 10 years in question, it is our guess that this particular article was not published. There is no date on the manuscript.
1. A Choice That Doesn’t Exist
As you well know, this is being written at the convention of the Joint Synod at New Ulm. It has to be written here because there is no other time or opportunity for a letter in these very busy days. Fortunately, you are not looking to me for an ac¬count of the day-by-day develop¬ments taking place as our church occupies itself with the matters that mean so much to all of us who love her and seek her welfare. Since others are appointed for the duty of reporting, I can limit myself to an observation or two.
Throughout the first four days and until the moment of this writing, the subject of our missions has domi¬nated the time of the convention. This may be somewhat in excess of the fair share of attention due to that phase of our work; yet it is only normal that synod’s concern with mission work should express itself in many resolutions and many speeches.
Well, we have had them. And it struck me that sometimes the speeches and exhortations may have given rise to a wrong impression in the minds of delegates. I refer to those addresses which pictured mis¬sion work almost exclusively as the task of winning souls for Christ, of bringing the Gospel to those who have it not and know it not. We were admonished not to overempha¬size other concerns and interests which we have as a church, but to remember that our one overriding calling is to save souls. This is in-deed true; but saving souls is a task that includes the entire ministry of the Holy Ghost in the work of sancti¬fication. As important as it is that the Lord through us calls men and enlightens them by the truth, it is no less important that He use us to sanctify and keep the converted hearts in the one true faith. As pri¬mary as is our charge to make dis¬ciples of all nations, it should not be separated, even in our thinking, from the assignment of “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
As is the case with so many other things such as charity, mission work in the true and full sense of the word begins at home. And I don’t mean that in the sense of “Home Missions,” but in the sense that we shall actually have nothing to bring to the heathen which can serve for the salvation of their souls unless we have and preserve for ourselves the pure Gospel and all the teach¬ings of God’s Word. If we do not continue to teach ourselves and re¬tain for ourselves the confession of the truth, rejecting all error and building bulwarks against it, we shall lose our qualification for being mis¬sionaries.
No sober Christian among us would therefore wish to offer the suggestion that we de-emphasize our present ef¬forts in contending for the truth once delivered unto the saints in order that we might give more attention and devote more energy to our pri¬mary duty of saving souls. For that would present us with a choice that does not exist, and suggests a dis¬tinction which is as foolish as it is misleading. Great are the joys that flood in upon us when we behold men coming out of darkness to the light of our Gospel. Such joys would turn to ashes if, while we are busy sending out missionaries, our church at home were through our neglect or indifference to become riddled by a spirit of sectarianism and unionism.
As I am closing this brief com¬munication, there is a debate on the floor as to the advisability of creat¬ing the office of executive secretary for missions. It is an interesting point, and an important one, so long as we remember that no form of mission administration whatever can meet the needs if the church which administers the work left its founda¬tions and were disrupted by doctrinal confusion. That in these latter days spiritual corruption is an imminent threat to our beloved synod, no dis¬cerning Christian among us will deny.
My first and most ardent prayer in these days is not for missions in the restricted sense, but in behalf of the purity of doctrine among us; for open hearts at home as well as for open doors abroad. It is signifi¬cant for me that the First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Thy Name,” comes before the Second Petition: “Thy Kingdom Come.” I am mindful of the light shed upon our ministry by the vital and very specific command which our Savior addressed to one of His earliest mis¬sionaries and Gospel heralds. It was not only: Go seek the lost. It was not merely: “I will make you fishers of men.” It said to Peter: “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren”; and again: “Feed my sheep. Feed my lambs.” The synod does the Master’s work wisely when it gives as much attention to the preservation of the faith we have as it does to the awakening of faith in men who have it not.
Yours in His service, E.S.
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2. A Supporting Voice
William K. Harrison, who had a long career as a member of our armed forces and held the rank of General when he retired from the Service, is at present active in welfare work. From his pen comes an article recently published in the magazine Christianity Today.
As I was reading it, a certain portion appeared to me worth passing along; not only because the thoughts are well expressed but especially because there is strength in hearing them set forth by someone outside our confessional fellowship. Mr. Harrison writes:
“It is doubtful if ever in the history of the Church those born anew into the kingdom of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have received so many visible, tangible blessings as have we in the United States. We have freedom to worship and to propagate the faith. In view of the historic hostility of the world toward that faith, this is no small blessing. We take our religious freedom for granted, but in many places believers must suffer for the name of Christ, some even dying a martyr’s death. Even in our own country many would deny us religious freedom if they had the power. Further, no other people have had so much material wealth and strength as have United States citizens, and Christians certainly possess their share. If we Christians in the United States really wanted to do those good works which God has ordained for us, we certainly could not say that He has failed to provide the means and the opportunity. Neither should we forget that ‘unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required’ [Luke 12:48].
“An accounting appears necessary. There are four areas of recognized Christian activity which can enlighten us as to the failings of the Church today. These are: the defense of the faith, our local church life, foreign and home missions, help for the needy.”
This sane and objective presentation merits earnest consideration by all Christians, most particularly by those to whom by God’s unmerited grace the truth in its purity has been committed.
Though Mr. Harrison’s chosen work lies in the field of charity, this has not prevented him from placing the tasks of the Church in their proper order. And it is to be noted that, in listing the “areas of recognized Christian activity,” he gives first place to “the defense of the faith.” Not only does he rank this activity ahead of “foreign and home missions,” but two steps ahead of it, giving second place to “local church life.” No matter from what source it comes to us, we do well to respect and heed such correct orientation especially in an age when the militant Church is in danger of being deceived into mismanaging its vital affairs.
We have from time to time been encouraged not to become so preoccupied with our struggle against doctrinal error and for the preservation of the truth that we have no time or energy left for mission work and expansion. Such admonition is indeed in place, especially in view of our blessings and opportunities as Mr. Harrison has outlined them. But other voices are also heard in the church at large which seek to label as fanaticism all contending for the truth. They say: Preach the Gospel; don’t fight over it. Do mission work and you won’t have any time for these little squabbles over unimportant doctrinal differences!
It is therefore pleasing to be able to show that men also who are outside our own communion possess the necessary good judgment to realize that it is the primary duty of Christ’s Church, also in a land of great mission opportunities, to meet every attack launched against the truth, and to maintain the confessional purity of the local church. Anyone who would disdainfully close his ears against the sound of the battle with heresy or doctrinal indifference thereby demonstrates that he is not qualified to do mission work. For that we preach the Gospel is no more important than the kind of Gospel that we preach. If therefore we are to set up a priority rating for the various tasks committed to the Church, the duty of “holding fast the faithful Word” has an undeniable claim to first place.
It is equally profitable to repeat here what Mr. Harrison says, in part, on the subject of fighting the cause of doctrine. He writes in words of warning:
“Too often we act as though we were defending the faith because it is ours rather than because it is the truth of God. Regardless of the reason we accept certain things as true; once they are so accepted, they become a real element of our being. Then when such beliefs are attacked, our personal pride is involved and it becomes most difficult to remain objective in our thinking. God’s truth is true because it is His, not ours. But if our ego becomes involved, then we use pride’s weapons and bitterness rather than conviction results. Even real believers in disputing among themselves about their differing interpretations of Scripture become enemies, thus by their words and actions giving the enemies of Christ an excuse for denying the reality of the new life in Christ.”
The forthright counsel of these words is needed also among us, Mr. Editor. It is deplorable, but true, that in contending for the truth the Old Adam may sometimes intrude his personal interests and set Christians to fighting for their pride rather than for the truth. What a pity if we contend against men rather than against lies, or if we seek to promote our own position rather than God’s.
Yet in this we ought each to judge himself and not one another. For it would be equally destructive and a part of Satan’s raging against the truth if those who vigorously contend for the faith were to be discredited by others with the accusation that they are simply contentious or are seeking a personal advantage. Such heart-judgments would be an indictment against the heart that utters them, and their effect could only be injurious to the Gospel itself. We will do well to remember that “bitterness rather than conviction results,” not only from the use of
“pride’s weapons,” but also from pride’s stubborn resistance to the truth.
It is the Gospel, after all, which you and I and every Christian seeks to protect against violation. That cause is the holiest on earth, and the most threatened. If, as the Savior has said [Mt. 12:37], “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned,” it is self-evident that the measure of judgment will be the effect that our words have had upon the purity and therefore the effectiveness of the precious Gospel among us. Not necessarily the sharp words, but the “idle words,” the self-serving words that obstruct or obscure the cause of the truth and its great salvation, will rise up against men on that Day. It behooves us all, therefore, to be extremely careful of the Old Adam’s efforts to tamper with our speech.
I hear that a certain business concern paid good money to have somebody investigate what happens to paper clips. The study revealed that thousands of them are bent straight and used as pipe cleaners or to wire objects together, a few are swallowed by babies, and only a small percentage of them ever actually get to serve the purpose for which they were made.
Let it not be that way with the uncounted words that are written and uttered in the cause of the truth. May our every word spoken in behalf of the blessed Gospel truly prosper its cause, lest the Lord have reason to ask us as He inquired of Job: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” [38:2]
* * * * * * * *
School Is in Session
Dr. Jay Adams describes a familiar scene in every parish. John and Mary have come to the pastor for counseling, but not really, for they have their minds already made up. Both are professing Christians, have no biblical grounds for divorce, but will prove they have come to the point of “irreconcilable differences.”
In pouring out their story of mutually inflicted wounds, they do not have to exaggerate. Things have really been bad. Finally, John says, “So you see, pastor, our marriage is finished. I haven’t loved her for years. There’s nothing left to build on.” Mary concurs, “I was too young when 1 married, and after all he’s done to me, if I never see him again in my life, it will be too soon.”
They sit back and wait for the pastor’s reply, which is, “Well, if you don’t love each other, 1 guess there is only one thing left to do.” “Here it comes,” they’re thinking. “He agrees there’s nothing left for us to do but divorce.” But no, the pastor continues on, “The only thing left for you to do is … learn how to love each other.”
Nobody expects this. “Learn to love? What is that supposed to mean? You can’t command feelings of love.” Of course you can’t. But love is not primarily a “feeling.” Love is a decision you make. It is a deliberate act of the will, a commitment to the other’s well-being.
In the Bible God commands us to love: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God … Thou shalt love thy neighbor … Husbands, love your wives …”
In the 1990s, we collected quite a few of the articles by WELS pastor, John Parcher, that were appearing in Christian News. We were subsequently able, despite his great modesty, to secure Pastor Parcher’s kind permission to reprint some of them in a 20-page booklet, “To the Point.” (In the correspondence I was privileged to enjoy with him at that time, he reported: “The articles are merely reprints of our Sunday bulletins. A retired Missouri Synod pastor started mailing them to New Haven years ago, and the process just continued.”) Beginning with the two you now have before you, we look forward to reprinting more of those articles in these pages. Pastor Parcher wrote regularly for The Northwestern Lutheran during most of the 1970s. RW
Emotions, like joy or anger, are not subject to com¬mand. But God commands us to love, and you can obey a command, regardless of your “feelings.” People who have journeyed many years together say, “It’s not automatic.”
You learn how to love, learning many times from your mistakes. It’s hard for folks who have been largely unloved in life; who have experienced the opposite of love: neglect, abuse, and violence. But we can all learn, from the love story of Scripture, the example of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit whose first gift to us is “love.”
Quit learning and you quit being a “disciple.” The word means “learner,” one who is and remains a student in the school of the Savior.
A junior high student out in Idaho placed a fascinating entry in the local science fair. He urged people to sign a petition to strictly control or eliminate the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide,” and he cited these reasons:
It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting. It is a major component in acid rain. Accidental inhalation can kill you. It can cause severe burns in a gaseous state. It contributes to erosion. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes. It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
The boy asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew the chemical was water. The title of his prize-winning entry was, “How Gullible Are We?” The answer is pretty obvious.
To justify their own jobs, these alarmists prey upon our fears, in the guise of helping us. CCC Church estate planners ask the sacrilegious question: “What if you have to face your financial future alone?” Answer: Contact my office.
Writing in a Lutheran magazine for parents, a “family therapist” poses the questions: Does your child fail to pay close attention to details? Not seem to listen when spoken to? Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained effort? Does the child fidget or squirm? Have difficulty waiting turn? Blurt out answers without thinking? Is easily distracted? Not follow through on instructions? A sane parent would know that’s the nature of children. But no, take the child to the office for drug therapy and psychoanalysis.
Have we disciples of Christ been browbeaten into submission by those who say: “You don’t mean to say, do you, that Jesus is the answer to a family problem? That’s the realm of the social workers. You don’t really believe the uplifting power of the Holy Spirit can help with depression? That’s a job for the shrinks. You don’t naively trust that God can and will take care of you, do you? You need the security of vast financial reserves.”
When we say, “Oh, no, of course not!”, then we have become faithless men and women, victims of the fearmongers, unbelieving the sure word: “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” [Joshua 1:9]
St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
56937 220th St., East County Road 46
Austin, MN 55912
Worship Service at 10:00 am, adult Bible Class at 9:00 am
Pastor Randy Fossum
Church Phone 507-433-6709
Home Phone 507-373-8942
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
1121 S. Jefferson St.
New Ulm, MN 56073
Pastor R.E. Wehrwein
St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
112 9th Ave. N
Onalaska, Wis. 54650
Worship Service and Bible Class at 10:30 am each Sunday
Pastor Robert Dommer
St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
219 Oak St.
Stoddard, Wis. 54658
Worship Service and Bible Class at 8:30 am each Sunday
Pastor Robert Dommer