Thursday, July 26, 2012

God No Longer Necessary Atheism on the Roll

God No Longer Necessary
Atheism on the Roll
Christian News, July 30, 2012

“Atheism on the March” the lead story of the April 23, 2012 Christian News taken from the March-April 2012 Religion Watch – “A Newsletter Monitoring Contemporary Religion” reported on what was billed as the “largest secular gathering in human history”. It was the “Reason Rally” held on March 24 in Washington, D.C.  The rally was organized by 20 atheist and humanist organizations.

The Reason Rally had several thousand more attendees than the “Godless March on Washington” in 2002. CN published a photo of Richard Dawkins, the doyen of the “new atheism,” who was the main speaker.

The July 16 Newsweek and July 23 TIME published articles which show that atheism continues on the roll in America.

“The Godless Particle – Science posits a new story of our creation” in the July 16 Newsweek (reprinted on p. 9) says that “The  God particle” brings science closer to dispensing with the need of any supernatural shenanigans all the way back to the beginning of the universe – and perhaps even before the beginning, if there was a before.”  Newsweek’s article concludes:

“IF THESE bold, some would say arrogant, notions derive support from the remarkable results at the Large Hadron Collider, they may reinforce two potentially uncomfortable possibilities; first, that many features of our universe, including our existence, may be accidental consequences of conditions associated with the universe’s birth; and second, that creating ‘stuff’ from ‘no stuff’ seems to be no problem at all–everything we see could have emerged as a purposeless quantum burp in space or perhaps a quantum burp of space itself. Humans, with their remarkable tools and their remarkable brains, may have just taken a giant step toward replacing metaphysical speculation with empirically verifiable knowledge. The Higgs particle is now arguably more relevant than God.”

The July 3 TIME has a 2-page photo of “The Cathedral of Science.” It says: “The elusive Higgs boson is at last found – and the universe gets a little less mysterious.”

TIME says:
“If physicists didn’t sound so smart, you’d swear they were making half this stuff up. The universe began with a big bang called, well, the Big Bang. It’s filled with wormholes and superstrings, dark matter and galactic bubbles, and assembled from little specks of stuff called fermions and leptons, top quarks and charm quarks, all of it glued together by, yes, gluons—and if you claim you understand a bit of it, you’re probably lying too.

“That’s the trouble with particle physics: it exists on a plane that the brain doesn’t visit–or at least most brains don’t—and wholly defies our intuitive sense of order and reason, of cause and effect, of the very upness and downness of up and down. So we throw up our hands and turn it over to the scientists, and maybe every few years we read a Stephen Hawking book just to keep up appearances.

“But when something really big happens, all that can change. As the Internet buzzed with the news that a wonderfully named God particle had been found, as the term Higgsteria was trending on Twitter, as scientists around the world opened champagne, the non-physics speaking joined in, high-fiving about a thing called a boson and cheering that the standard model had, in the nick of TIME, been saved. Now quick, what’s the standard model?

“There was an odd and merry disconnect between how little most people truly understood the breaking news from the physics world and the celebratory reaction that nonetheless followed it. SALK VACCINE WORKS! we get. MAN LANDS ON MOON! we get. Understanding reports that a team of scientists working for the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) had proved the existence of a particle called the Higgs boson—physics’ white whale since it was first postulated in 1964—is a far harder hill to climb.

“But the climb is worth it, for the discovery of the Higgs boson helps explain nothing less than why our existence is possible. The particle—named for Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who was one of the small team of researchers who developed the idea—is the very reason any mass at all exists in the universe.

Energy is easy. But energy and matter are like steam and ice, two different states of the same thing. If you can’t ping energetic particles with something—the Higgs boson, we’ve now proved—then planets, suns, galaxies, nebulae, moons, comets, dogs and people don’t exist. A cold and soulless cosmos may not care either way, but we very much do.

“‘We are nothing but quarks and electrons and a lot of empty space,’ says physicist Fabiola Gianotti, who headed one of the two experimental teams at CERN that nailed down the discovery using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a $10 billion particle accelerator that crashes protons into one another at 99.9999991% of the speed of light.”

“The boson found in the deep tunnels at CERN goes to the very essence of everything. And in a manner as primal as the particles themselves, we seemed to grasp that. Despite our fleeting attention span, we stopped for a moment to contemplate something far, far bigger than ourselves. And when that happened, faith and physics—which don’t often shake hands—shared an embrace.”
“God is dead to many younger Americans,” an article on page 1 of the July 16, 2012 Christian News reprinted from the Washington TIMES noted: “The younger generation is becoming Godless – Increasing numbers of Americans under the age of 30 are skeptical about the existence of God. This will have profound repercussion upon our society, fostering moral disintegration and the eventual death of our Judeo-Christian civilization. Traditional America is dying. In its place, a new liberal barbarism is being born.”

A Pew Poll found that 31% of respondents of those born after 1980 say they doubt whether God exists. America is following the road paved by anti-Christian Europeans. “God is dead, God remains dead, and we have killed him,” said the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsch. The Washington TIMEs says: “It has taken America longer, but secularism is now crashing upon our shores. We are fated to walk in Europe’s footsteps.”

“The Tragedy of the Dumb Church” in the Christian Post (CN, July 16, 2012) says few churches are presenting their members, particularly youth with solid historic facts and sound Christian doctrine. The Christian Post said:

“Much of the Church today is dumb. Don’t misunderstand me, I mean no disrespect when I use the term ‘dumb’. What I mean is that the Church is dumb in that they aren’t well educated in what they believe, fail miserably in fulfilling 1 Peter 3:15 that says all Christians should be prepared to give a reason for why they believe, and are woefully unable to handle any challenge to Christianity that comes from unbelievers or the cults.”

The Age of the Dumb Church
Dr. R. C. Sproul has said many TIMES that he believes we are living in the most unintellectual period in the history of Western civilization. Over 30 years ago, former Lebanese ambassador to the United States, Charles Malik, said the following in his speech at the dedication of the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, Illinois: “I must be frank with you: the greatest danger confronting American evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. The mind in its greatest and deepest reaches is not cared for enough.

“Such statements made by Sproul, Malik, and others were not always heard in the Church. The fact is, the Church dominated intellectual thought and discourse for hundreds of years, producing such thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Edwards, and others. Such men had their opponents (the Church always will), but their detractors never ridiculed their brainpower because the Churchman’s intellectual prowess left no room for it.”

During the last 50 years CN has reviewed hundreds of books which defend historic Christianity. CN has sold many of them. Reprinted in this issue from the August 19, 1974 Christian News is CN’s review of Charles Malik’s “The Wonder of Being”. (p. 10)

As atheism is on the roll, both youth and adults should be told about the Creation Research Society. Its leading founder, Dr. Walter Lammerts is known as “The Father of Scientific Rose Breeding.” He spoke at Trinity, New Haven, not long before the Creation Research Society was formed. He expressed a high regard for Christian News because it defended the Scriptural doctrine of creation and was willing to publish articles vs. evolution.  When the Creation Research Society was formed, hardly any official or unofficial publication in Lutheranism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy promoted it. CN has often reprinted the statement of faith of this group of Christian men of science. It is in CN’s Baal or God published in 1965. 

The CRS has over 600 voting members (graduate degree in science).
The recently published Spring 2012 Creation Research Quarterly, (Vol. 48, No. 4) again has the CRS’s Statement. It is reprinted on p. 10 from the latest CRS Quarterly. As far as CN is aware, the organized conservatives and anti-Walther hypo-euros in the LCMS who want CN to close have not promoted the Creation Research Society or its Statement of Faith. They seldom mention any of the hundreds of books CN has promoted opposing atheism and defending historic Christianity and the Scriptural doctrine of Creation. The CN editor is considered an un-Lutheran fundamentalist by the tunnel vision hyper-euros with their emphasis on chancel prancing and smells and bells. All true Lutherans should now be vigorously opposing the nonsense about God featured in the July 16, 2012 Newsweek and July 23, 2012 TIME. How many of them will even mention these articles? Will the bloggers who read few books and publications as they sit at their computer hour after hour have anything to say or will they continue taking cheap shots vs. CN as John the Steadfast blogger “Dan” did with his “Tushie Kissing” nonsense about the CN editor and Jack Cascione (CN, July 23, 2012, p. 1).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Multiculturalism's Presence in Divine Worship: Challenge or Threat?

Multiculturalism's Presence in Divine Worship: Challenge or Threat?
by Alvin Schmidt
Christian News, July 23, 2012
Vol 50, No. 30
There is a ubiquitous, invasive socio-political phenomenon in our midst. We hear or see its effects virtually every day. People think it’s chic and trendy. Its name sounds suave and sophisticated. It is multiculturalism. Yet countless people do not know what this phenomenon is really all about. All too many think it means learning about other cultures. Even worse, many uninformed Christians think it means bringing Christ to other cultures. •Sorry, that is not multiculturalism! Because so many do not understand what multiculturalism really is, they are unwittingly aiding its apostles to advance their agenda on all levels of society, including the Church.

Multiculturalism, as I state in the very beginning of my recent book. The Menace of Multiculturalism: Trojan Horse in America, is a leftist political ideology. It sees all cultures, their mores and institutions, as essentially equal. No culture is considered superior or inferior to any other. Cultures are merely different. Criticism of other cultures, especially non-Western cultures, is labeled "insensitive" or "bigoted." Any criticism is politically incorrect. There is, however, one major exception. The Euro-American culture with its many Christian underpinnings is not only criticized but condemned, commonly accused of racism, sexism, and classism.

I use the term "Euro-American culture" to refer to those components of American culture that are derived from the beliefs and practices of England and, to some degree, of Northern Europe and adapted to American needs. Briefly, these beliefs are as follows: God created human beings and the world; human behavior is to be judged as right or wrong, moral or immoral, in the light of the Ten Commandments of the Bible; objective knowledge is attainable; the rights, freedoms, responsibilities, and dignity of individuals take precedence over those of groups, people are governed by rule of law that is enacted democratically; every man and women is equal before the law; every accused individual is innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial where he or she can face the accuser; people have the right not only to succeed but also to fail economically; and a free society that provides equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcome.

Multiculturalism has its roots in cultural relativism, the concept which says each culture is to be judged relative to its own standards, and not from outside the culture. This radical concept can be traced to the German philosopher and court preacher, Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744¬-1803).

Cultural relativism gave rise to the idea that not just culture, but that the moral behaviors of another culture were culturally relative too, and thus not to be judged by people of another culture from the outside. After World War II this concept, often couched in the words of "truth is relative," was taught and imbibed by millions of Americans in schools and colleges across the nation. Soon this notion expanded from not judging some culture from the outside to not judging personal behavior within a given culture. This belief has now filtered down to the average man and woman in America so that if one says sexual relations outside of marriage, homosexual behavior, and other forms of immoral acts are morally wrong, he is called an "insensitive bigot.”

Cultural relativism gave rise to postmodernism, an ideology that says the attainment of objective truth is impossible; no truth or idea is transcendent; all ideas or truths are socially constructed; they are only true if they benefit the powerless or those whom white Euro-Americans have "oppressed," and the facts of history are unimportant. Briefly put, multiculturalism is the marriage of cultural relativism and postmodernism. As my friend Dinesh D'Souza says, multiculturalism "represents a denial of all Western claims to truth."1

Multiculturalism is compelling a high school choir director in New Mexico, as happened this past December, to eliminate a number of Christmas carols from a 90-minute Christmas concert and to replace them with music from other religions and cultural backgrounds. It is forcing the choir director to call the program "A Winter Concert" instead of "A Christmas Concert." It is taking the name of Jesus out of the song "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," as the choir director, under pressure, asked the students to do. It is adding the Islamic crescent to the White House Christmas tree, as happened this year. It is a leftist ideology that hates Christianity. That is multiculturalism!

Multiculturalism Invades Christian Worship
Given the pervasiveness of cultural/moral relativity in our society, it did not take long for this Zeitgeist to find its way into the life of the church. Multiculturalism has invaded the institutional church on many levels, but I shall only focus on its presence in the context of worship.

Making the Bible Politically Correct
One way that multiculturalism has entered the worship life of many American Christians has been by making the Bible politically correct. The latter is the ancillary arm of multiculturalism. More than one Bible translation in recent years has been drastically altered. In 1994 The New Testament of the Inclusive Language Bible appeared. This "translation" spurns "God the Father," a common biblical expression, by rendering it as "Parent" or "heavenly Parent." Where Jesus says "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30), this version of the New Testament has: "I and my heavenly Parent are one." The Lord’s Prayer now reads: "Our Parent, who is in heaven."

Another Bible, The Oxford Annotated Bible (RSV, 1991), although not as radical as the Inclusive Language Bible, also shows its multiculturalist sympathies by having eliminated the masculine pronouns and other masculine references in countless instances. The words "Sinful men" in Luke 24:7 have been changed to "sinners." "Every man serves the good wine" in John 2:10 now reads: "Everyone serves the good wine." Where the word "brethren" appears, this version says "brethren and sisters." But even more damaging is its neutering of the Holy Spirit. For instance, the familiar words "When the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things . . .." now read: "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything . . . . " The pronoun "he" may no longer refer to the Holy Spirit.

Making Hymns Politically Correct
In 1995 the United Church of Christ (UCC) published The New Century Hymnal in which multiculturalism invaded virtually every one of its hymns. Here are only a few examples. The familiar words of "Son of God, loves pure light," in Silent Night have become "Child of God, loves pure light." The hymn Beautiful Savior is now called "Beautiful Jesus," apparently the word "Savior" is offensive to subcultural groups who do not believe that Christ is the savior. The fourth stanza's words, "Lord of the nations, Son of God and Son of Man," have been tossed into the dust bin. This hymn has been so severely mangled that there is very little resemblance to Joseph Seiss' translation. The words "A mighty Fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon," in Luther's majestic hymn, now read: "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing." Gone are the words "A trusty shield and weapon." "The Kingdom ours remaineth" is now "God's realm is ours forever." And one can guess what happened to the words: "And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife." They became "Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also." The United Methodist Hymnal of 1989 also uses these same words in this latter instance. The UCC hymnal also found Martin Rinckart's Now Thank We All Our God to be out of tune with political correctness. His words "All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given" were changed to "All praise and thanks to God our Maker now be given." The word "Father" has been expunged. Similarly, "The Son and Him who reigns" now reads "To Christ and Spirit too." Masculine names or pronouns referring to God had to go.

It is quite obvious that the revisionists applied the standards of radical feminism, a principal ingredient in multiculturalism. "Lord of the nations" and "kingdom" evidently smacked too much of male chauvinism. So did the words "Son of God and Son of man." And the words "a trusty shield and weapon" are too reminiscent of war.

In 1993, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) took its tum in embracing multiculturalism. It side stepped the biblical foundations of the historic Lutheran liturgy by introducing an American Indian "smudging" ritual as part of its worship activities at the Kansas City convention. This rite used smoldering sweet grass, sage, and cedar, an alleged American Indian version of incense. A feminist clergy preached on "inclusiveness" by castigating the Euro-American whites in the ELCA for being too inclusive; they are afraid of "losing [their] denominational and ethnic identity," she said.2

Worship in the WELS
The spirit of multiculturalism has also entered the worship life of the WELS. In 1992, this conservative synod published its new hymnal, Christian Worship. It contains more than one instance of multiculturalism, primarily in the context of political correctness. For instance, it changed the Nicene Creed to say that God in the incarnation became "fully human." To be sure, this translation can be justified on the basis of what the original says in the Greek, including the Latin (homo factus), and the German (Mensch). Following the Lutheran Book of Worship, the WELS also tampered with the Nicene Creed's words "for us men" by replacing them with "for us."

These changes provoke the question: Why did these revisions occur now? Obviously, it was not the Greek, the Latin, or the German that prompted these changes, or they would have been made long ago. Even if one puts the best construction on these changes, one can only conclude that it was the Zeitgeist of multiculturalism that prompted these changes. Any other conclusion, I think, would be naive.

When I began to examine the WELS hymnal, I also found other changes. Some of its hymns have been as badly mutilated as those in the UCC's hymnal. Neither the UCC nor WELS was burdened with an inferiority complex. Both apparently believed that they could improve Luther's A Mighty Fortress, and neither liked the words "And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife.” The UCC revision at least retained some family linkage, whereas the WELS rendition is totally devoid of any family reference. It reads: "With his good gifts and Spirit. And do what they will –Hate, steal, hurt, or kill." Parenthetically, I might note that the new (1994) German hymnal of the Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirchen in Bayern und Thuringen leaves Luther's original words of A Mighty Fortress completely intact, apparently recognizing, unlike their American counterparts, that they could not improve on Luther's rendition.

Worship in the LCMS
Not all is well in the LCMS. In trying to appeal to various subcultural groups in our society, who are highly influenced by multiculturalist propaganda, thousands of congregations in the LCMS are having the historic, Lutheran liturgy to go the way of the American buffalo.

Increasingly, one finds more and more congregations that are no longer using the liturgies in the Lutheran Hymnal or Lutheran Worship in their divine services. Everything is printed out in a bulletin, ranging from 8 to 10 pages. Thanks to the word processor and the photocopying machine! As one looks at these printed orders, it becomes exceedingly difficult to know whether one is in a Presbyterian, Methodist, or even in a Baptist church. Sometimes one wonders whether some Lutheran enemy has exhumed Samuel Schmucker, and brought him into our midst..

Creative Worship Materials. One of the primary instruments that is aiding and abetting pastors and congregations to Schmuckerize the Lutheran church services is the publication known as Creative Worship, furnished by Concordia Publishing House. It comes in printed form as well as on computer diskettes, available for $40 per series; one series covers roughly one¬ fourth of the church year.

Creative Worship materials commonly deprive parishioners (who, in most instances, still call themselves Lutheran) of learning, singing, and remembering the Gloria Patria, the Kyrie, the Gloria in Excelsis, and the Sanctus, all firmly grounded in Scripture. There is more. These materials also deprive worshipers of learning and singing the historic Order of Vespers with its beautiful The Magnificat; they no longer have worshipers sing the Order of Matins with its Te Deum or the Benedictus. Centuries of Christ-centered, biblically based liturgical components are torched in favor of word-processor generated varieties, conveying the message that today' s pastors not only can improve the historic liturgy, but that they can do so 52 times a year, not to mention the services in Advent and Lent.

Creative Worship materials cannot be understood without taking into account the spirit of multiculturalism that so widely pervades our society. Let’s remember that multiculturalism asserts that all cultures and their practices are essentially equal, and that the values of all groups are to be honored, especially those having non-Western origins. From here it is a small step to say that all forms of worship are equal too, and so it is quite appropriate to supplant the historic liturgies which reportedly have strong Western origins. Moreover, some in the LCMS are saying that we need to become "a multicultural church." Thus the Creative Worship orders often not only omit the Gloria Patri, the Kyrie, the Gloria in Excelsis, etc., but frequently contain no confession and absolution of sins, and at times the Apostles' or Nicene Creed is omitted too. The confession of sins that are commonly printed omit the biblical teaching of original sin by merely mentioning sins as activities but say nothing about sin as a condition; that is, the reason why people sin. Gone is the historic Lutheran confession of "I a poor, miserable sinner." Omitting the latter is very compatible with those cultural or subcultural groups who admit that people do on occasion sin, but who do not believe that people are born sinful.

This past summer, for the ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Creative Worship suggested that the song “They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love" be sung during communion distribution. This song is from the song book All God's People Sing (1992). The fact that this song has absolutely no relevance to the Lord's Supper whatsoever, or any Gospel content or motivation, does not seem to matter.

Speaking of the book All God's People Sing, on page 4 we are told that this book "can be used in almost any setting in which Christians gather.”3 This must mean that it is also appropriate for regular divine services too. So then, let us see what kind of songs this book offers God's people. Given that the book was published in 1992, ten years after Lutheran Worship appeared, it is not surprising to see it reflect shades of multiculturalism. For instance, one number is the Civil Rights song of the 1960s, "We Shall Overcome," a song that is indeed correct politically but completely devoid of any Christian content. In its foreword, the book speaks about "African-Americans," a current politically correct term, used by the song book's editors in spite of what some polls showed at the time of book's publication, namely, that the vast majority of American blacks do not want to be called African-Americans. It is a designation that qualifies their American identity. Nevertheless, it is a term that the liberal, leftist media have been foisting on the American public ever since Ramona Edelin, a radical black leader, launched this multiculturalist term in New Orleans, three years before the book All God's People Sing appeared. It is disappointing to see how soon a committee of the LCMS, without exercising any critical acumen, echoed this highly divisive multiculturalist term.

Not only does Creative Worship frequently reflect multiculturalist elements, but its name reflects a major theological problem. Its name should have raised a mental red flag right from its inception. Why? Because it implies that people are the principal performers Sunday morning, and that it is they who are the creative ones in God's sanctuary. It conveys an anthropocentric, rather than a theocentric, concept of worship. Such a laudatory view of what people do in the pew is at great odds with historic Lutheran theology. It contradicts the Lutheran concept of Gottesdienst.

Finally, let me say that calling human praise and the adoration of God "creative" comes perilously close to some aspects of Gnosticism that the early Church had to condemn. One of the marks of Gnosticism is its emphasis on being spiritually creative. Describing the Gnostics, Irenaeus said that "every one of them generates something new every day, according to his own ability.'''' Similarly, Elaine Pagels, the modem analyst of Gnosticism, writes: "Like circles of artists today, gnostics considered original creative invention to be the mark of anyone who becomes spiritually alive. Each one, like students of a painter or writer, [was] expected to express his own perception by revising and transforming what he was taught.”5

Let us not think that Gnosticism is an ancient heresy that only vexed the early Christians. By no means! Recently (1992), Harold Bloom in his book, American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian, showed how Gnosticism pervades American denominations. The same year, Peter Jones, in his book The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back declared that Gnosticism is reestablishing itself in American religion in New Ageism and radical feminism. To these, I would add multiculturalism because it promotes all sorts of isms that are incompatible with orthodox Christianity. In short, the wide use and acceptance of Creative Worship materials, with emphasis on making worship 'creative" and in its borrowing specific multiculturalistic elements (noted earlier), is not an innocuous adiaphoron, as many in the LCMS seem to think.

A Black Lutheran Hymnal. Another example of multiculturalism's presence in LCMS worship is its forthcoming hymnal for black Lutherans. Given that no hymns or other parts of this forthcoming hymnal have been released, I am not able to cite any specifics of how this hymnal accommodates itself to multiculturalism. But one does not need any. The very fact that the synod approved the production of such a hymnal is a major capitulation to multiculturalism.

That hymnal will not bring black and white Lutherans together. It will separate blacks from whites and whites from blacks, similar to what black college yearbooks and black dormitories are doing on university campuses today. Publishing a black Lutheran hymnal is an unwitting example of neo-racism, so rampant in multiculturalism. How sad that Galatians 3:28 was not remembered when this request was made and honored!

A black hymnal is also in conflict with the words of Martin Luther King, who once pleaded: "Let us not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character." It would have been much more God-pleasing if the synod in response to the request for a black hymnal would have paraphrased King and said: "Let us not judge our present hymnals by the color of those who wrote "them but by the content of their theology." That would truly have been "inclusive," to use a favorite buzzword of multiculturalism. But instead the synod fell prey to the divisive, tribalistic ideology of multiculturalism. It not only forgot Galatians 3 :28 but also St. Paul' s admonition to the Romans: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2). And Paul further adds: "[W]e being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another' (Romans 12:5). A black hymnal is completely incongruous with St. Paul's words.

Lutheran Diffidence
To see liberal Protestant denominations capitulating to multiculturalism is not too surprising, because once sola Scriptura and salus Christus have been compromised, as they have been in many of these groups, it's not too inconsistent for them accept the premises of multiculturalism. But what is one to say about the LCMS which officially still professes sola Scriptura and salus Christus!

To understand the LCMS's meandering into the quagmire of multiculturalism, there is undoubtedly more than one reason. For instance, there is the silent but powerful influence of the culture at large, which today is increasingly accommodating itself to multiculturalism. There is, however, another variable that has in recent years operated in LCMS circles, one that is making it easier for multiculturalism to be invading the synod. It is the variable of Lutheran diffidence, the lack of Lutheran self-confidence. This affliction, I believe, sheds considerable light on how and why multiculturalism has entered synod's worship life as well as some of its other activities. While Lutheran diffidence is not confined to Missouri Synod Lutherans, I shall only focus on it today.

One would think that Lutheran diffidence should have started in the 1920s, soon after the United States fought those terrible "Huns," as Germans during World War I were called, and that American Lutherans (most of whom were Germans) would then have developed a lack of self-confidence amongst their English speaking Protestant neighbors. No, World War I with all its anti-German prejudice and discrimination did not create much diffidence in the LCMS. It didn't even bring it about with World War II, when the country fought the Germans once more. To the contrary, the LCMS, shortly after World War II, portrayed a large measure of self-confidence rather than the lack of it. This is even apparent statistically.

From 1953 to 1970 (the zenith year in synod's membership) the LCMS membership increased from 1,850,100 to 2,877,291 members, an increase of 55.5 percent in less than 20 years. The number of congregations grew from 5,031 to 6,083, a 21 percent increase. In one of its best years, from 1955 to 1956, the synod opened 2.46 new congregations each week.6 No mean accomplishment! And, we must not overlook a very significant fact: All of the synod' s parishes used page 5 or 15 of The Lutheran Hymnal in its divine services. There were no Creative Worship materials, and contrary to what its users are saying today, the historic Lutheran liturgy was no deterrent to statistical church growth, as is often asserted today.

Then came the mid-1970s and 1980s, the decades that harvested what the radical 1960s had sown in our nation: its anti-Viet Nam and anti-American protests on campuses, its draft dodgers, its flower children (hippies); its expression of "do your own thing;" its cliché of "make love not war;" its slogan of "destroy the system;" and its love of leftist politics. Millions were affected and infected. All too many Americans began to despise their nation's past beliefs, values, and practices. The leftist propaganda that said America was evil was sheepishly accepted. The problems of racism, sexism, and poverty were the fault of white Euro-Americans. White guilt was born. The stage was set for multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism gained a foothold in the United States by its citizens losing their cultural consensus, their self-confidence in their nation's past accomplishments and blessings. This national milieu did not leave the members of the LCMS untouched. Its members, similar to the country as a whole, lost faith in synod's one-time consensus and confidence. They not only were white, but they were also German, and they were a liturgical church in a predominantly non-liturgical, Protestant America. Many LCMS congregations let the Lutheran liturgy become stigmatized, and in the parlance of multiculturalism saw it as "offending" those of non-white, non-German origins. Solution? Drop the historic Lutheran liturgies. That will make the LCMS more attractive to non-Lutherans, to sub-cultural minorities, and to others of non-liturgical backgrounds.

More and more LCMS pastors began stimatizing the historic Lutheran liturgies, not knowing, as Shelby Steele has shown, that when a group lets itself, or its behavior, become stimatized, it gives power to others to control it.7 The others in this instance are those who have never known, or cared to know, what the traditional Christian liturgy does in the life of Lutheran worshipers.

Watered-down Catechesis
Lutheran diffidence, or lack of self-confidence, is not only evident in the disemboweling of the historic liturgies, but also in its catechesis. Pastors seem to be embarrassed to call adult confirmation classes by that name. So they call it an "adult information class" or some other non-descript name. Even the words of an "adult instruction class" are seen as inducing discomfort in people who are interested in joining the LCMS. Moreover, when an adult class is assembled, all too many pastors are afraid to use Luther's Small Catechism. Somehow the Catechism is seen as suitable only for seventh and eighth graders. Apparently, they are too young to be offended by Luther's name, so conspicuously visible on the cover of that classic book of Christian doctrine. Thus, the LCMS has more and more congregations where growing numbers of its members, who joined as adults, have never seen Luther's Small Catechism, much less studied or memorized it. They have been brought into the church with watered-down catechesis. Almost any book of instruction with biblical topics is preferred to Luther's Small Catechism. Thus more and more members commonly do not know the Third Commandment from the Seventh, or the Eighth from the Second. And never mind asking them what the Three Articles or the Seven Petitions are. Chances are that they have never heard of them, much less know what they teach.

All of this is bad and sad enough, but non-Lutheran adults are also taken into communicant membership with extremely brief periods of instruction. At best, instruction consists of 10 to 12 week sessions, with one hour per week.-Frequently one hears that many pastors grant communicant membership to adults with only two or three hours of so-called "information" sessions. Can anyone find such brief catechumen periods in the early Church?! Is it any wonder that these new members go out the back door as fast as they enter the front! Is it any wonder that the present LCMS membership is more than a quarter million below what it was in 1970!

The watered-down catechesis also means that members are not being taught what Lutherans mean by "worship," namely, that when we join our fellow believers on Sunday morning, God is serving us in Word and Sacrament. It is His service. It is a Gottesdienst. He is the subject, and we are the objects of His service. This Lutheran understanding of worship, so prominent during the Reformation, seems to be foreign to most Lutherans today, including all too many Lutheran pastors. The Reformed, Calvinistic culture in our country sees worship as man at the center of what transpires Sunday morning, and this concept of worship is what all too many LCMS Lutherans reflect today as well. Thus we need a revitalized catechesis so our members would once again understand that worship is not primarily a human activity, but one in which we merely respond in thanksgiving to His mercy and grace.

When pastors try to justify using non-historical, improvised forms of worship because their parishioners do not understand the liturgies in TLH or LW, one must ask: whose fault is that? All too many members of synod' congregations have never really been catechized concerning what the Gloria Patri, the Kyrie, the Gloria in Excelsis, and other components of the liturgy mean and contribute to the Christian's worship life. They also have, in most instances, never heard the liturgy's components explained in sermons. (On a personal note, permit me to say that a couple of years ago I preached on the different pafts of the liturgy. I received numerous comments of appreciation, even weeks later. In fact, many pointedly asked why they have never heard pastors preach on the liturgy before.) Thus I urge all of you fellow pastors, along with preaching and teaching the six chief parts of the Catechism, to teach your parishioners what the different parts of the historic Lutheran liturgy mean in a divine service, a Gottesdienst. On one Sunday preach on the Gloria Patria, on another expound on the Kyrie, and on still another Sunday extol the meaning of the Gloria in Excelesis, and so on, just as you preach on a biblical text.

Misuse of Adiaphoron
Pastors who use improvised orders of worship instead of the traditional Lutheran liturgies of TLH or LW are quick to invoke the Lutheran principle of adiaphoron, that great Lutheran escape hatch. It is a nice way to disguise Lutheran diffidence. They also like to cite Article VII of the Augsburg Confession (AC) to justify their liturgical deviations. This article says: "It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that ceremonies, instituted by men, should be observed uniformly in all places." By merely citing Article VII of the AC, they ignore the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say), and that story lies is found in Article VII of the Apology, where Melanchthon upon saying "we believe that the true unity of the church is not harmed by differences in rites instituted by men," immediately adds that it is good when "rites are observed for the sake of tranquility." And then in the next sentence he further states: "[I]n our churches we willingly observe the order of the Mass, the Lord's day, and the other more important feast days. With a very thankful spirit we cherish the useful and ancient ordinances, especially when they contain a discipline that serves to educate and instruct the people and the inexperienced." The latter words of this sentence, which say the ancient ordinances serve to "educate and instruct . . . the inexperienced," shows that Article VII of the AC may not rightfully be used to defend the maverick orders of worship that are increasingly found in the LCMS today. If Article VII means anything, it tells us that improvised forms of worship are especially inappropriate for those who are new to the Lutheran Church, "neophytes," as St. Paul calls them. Moreover, pastors who try to justify their liturgical deviancy need to remember that they have a solemn obligation, first and foremost, to serve the "household of faith," as the Epistle to the Galatians admonishes us.

Ignoring Luther's Warnings
Lutheran diffidence, so evident in the improvised "liturgies," has in part been reinforced by all too many pastors not remembering, or choosing not to heed, Luther's warnings. He gave no aid or comfort to liturgical deviants. In his discussion of why he wrote Die Deutsche Messe (1526), he forcefully states that he did so primarily to stop the "fickle and fastidious spirits who rush in like unclean swine without faith or reason, and who delight in novelty and tire of it as quickly, when it is worn off.8 Frank Senn says that with these words Luther "warned against those liturgical renewalists who felt obliged to produce a new order of worship when the people had forgotten to use the old one.”9

In the introduction to his Small Catechism, Luther told the clergy that innovations and variety do not nourish Christ's people. Said he: "the preacher should take the utmost care to avoid changes or variations in the text and wording of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments, etc. On the contrary, he should adopt one form, adhere to it, and use it repeatedly year after year." And he added: "They [the people] are easily confused if a teacher employs one form now and another form--perhaps with the intention of making improvements--later on.”10

Why are these common-sense warnings of Luther being ignored by so many of our synod's pastors? There undoubtedly is more than one reason, but one that certainly is present is the influence of multiculturalism. Pastors who are spuming the traditional Lutheran liturgy by churning out a new liturgy every Sunday may not consciously identify with multiculturalism, but in wanting to have all cultural and subcultural groups hear the Gospel they have come to believe that they must make the Gospel appeal to all cultures, forgetting that there is a day-and-night difference between taking the Gospel to all cultures and appealing to all cultures. In the former, the Gospel invariably affects and changes many aspects of the culture, whereas in the latter instance the culture affects and changes the Gospel.

Concluding Remarks
I do not think there many informed Christians who would deny that our American society is coming unglued. One only needs to note the increasing acceptance and prevalence of the immoral behavior: partial-birth abortions, widespread pre-marital cohabitation, increasing rates of illegitimate births, and homosexuality seen as a valid form of expressing human love to see that this is true. And in this contagious milieu of multiculturalism we also see the historic, traditional becoming unglued as well. Our society has lost consensus on virtually everything. The only consensus is that it is no longer necessary to have any consensus. A similar attitude is being adopted by many of our synod's pastors and congregations. Relative to worship, and increasingly with reference to other practices too, the only consensus is that we' need no consensus. Thus multiculturalism's presence in our worship life is not a challenge but a major threat to the faith once delivered to the Saints. In continuing to study multiculturalism, I believe that it is the biggest threat the Church has faced since its early existence, not only because of its intrinsic nature and ideology, but because all too many within the Church's leadership are not willing, or not informed enough, to "convince the gainsayers" (Titus 1 :9). May our gracious triune God intercede in behalf of His elect.

1. Dinesh D'Souza, The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society (New York: Free Press, 1995), p. 344.

2."Religious Scapegoats," Forum Letter (October 7, 1993), p. 3.

3. All God's People Sing (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1992), p. 4.

4.Irenaeus Against Heresies, in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981), vol. I, p. 343.

5. Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (New York: Vintage Books, 1981), p. 22.

6. Membership statistics are cited from the Statistical Yearbook (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953-1996).

7. Shelby Steele, "Wrestling with Stigma," (Convention Paper Presented at the National Association of Scholars, New Orleans, December, 1997).

8. Martin Luther, "An Order of Mass and Communion for the Church at Wittenberg," Luther's Works, trans. Paul Zeller Strodach, revised by Ulrich S. Leupold (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965), vol. 53, p. 19.

9. Frank Senn, Christian Worship and Its Cultural Setting (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), pp. 15-16.

10. Martin Luther, "Preface," Small Catechism, ed. Theodore G. Tappert (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959), 338.
Alvin J. Schmidt
Presented at Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, Indiana
January 22, 1998

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Bible is not silent about contraception

Challenging Luther on Birth Control

Harrison and Other Protestant Leaders are Dead Wrong
The Bible is not silent about contraception

The June 29, 2012 St. Louis Review of the Archdiocese of St. Louis has a photo of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod President testifying with other religious leaders at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Harrison said the LCMS never opposed birth control. While Christian News commended Harrison for most of his testimony in Washington, CN said the evidence clearly shows that the LCMS along with almost all Protestants and Roman Catholics opposed Birth Control until 1930. The February 27, 2012 CN noted that the Bible, Luther, and the LCMS, until recent years, condemned birth control.

The April 2012 Church State says: “According to the Guttmacher Institute, 98 percent of women who engage in sexual activity will use at least one antifungal form of birth control at some point in their lives.”

CN’s “A Handbook of Christian Matrimony” has a major section on birth control. This is one of the CN publications the LCMS bureaucracy ignores. CN quoted what Luther says in his commentary on Genesis 38-8-10 about the Onan incident. In 1988 CN published a series of articles by Charles Provan on the Bible’s view of birth control. They were later published by Chalcedon in a book. When CN asked Provan how churchmen and theologians who support birth control responded to his “The Bible and Birth Control”, he said “They don’t, they simply get mad.”

Today Lutheran leaders refuse to show where CN’s “A Handbook of Christian Matrimony” is in error. What CN says about birth control is just one more reason for the bureaucrats to say the CN editor is “an impenitent sinner on the road to hell.”

Father Brian Harrison of St. Mary of Victories Chapel writes in the June 29, 2012 St. Lois Review in an article titled Is the Bible silent about contraception?:

An editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (April 18) sharply criticized our bishops' opposition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring insurers pay for contraception; sterilization and abortifacients. It claimed, among other things, that "contraception is no­where in the Bible."

This claim actually echoes a widespread view among modern Scripture scholars, many of whom now roll their eyes dismissively at the preceding bimillennial consensus of Jewish and Christian commentators that Genesis 38: 9-10 expresses a severely negative judgment against unnatural birth control. In recent years, however, this classical reading of the passage has been making a quiet comeback –and for sound exegetical reasons.

According to the ancient oriental "levirate marriage" custom, endorsed by the law of Moses at a time when polygamy was not forbidden, a man was expected to marry his deceased brother's wife if she was still childless at her husband's death; and the first-born son of this union would then be regarded as a legal descendant of the dead man. Now, in Genesis 38 we read the following incident. The patriarch Judah's son Er, husband of Tamar and brother of Onan, died without offspring. Therefore:

"Judah said to Onan, 'Unite with your brother's widow, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother's line.' Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother's widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother. What he did greatly offended the Lord; and the Lord took his life" (vv. 7-10, New American Bible translation).

What Onan did, of course, was the oldest and crudest form of birth control known to humanity. Now, at a time when contraception was becoming socially, legally and religiously ever more acceptable in Western culture, and fears of overpopulation ever more acute, many exegetes in the last half-century have maintained that the biblical author presents God as being offended only by Onan's selfish attitude in denying offspring to his brother, and not by the unnatural method he used in doing so.

Now, the classical Jewish commentators –who can scarcely be accused of ignorance regarding Hebrew language, customs, law and biblical literary genres–certainly saw in this passage of Scripture a condemnation of unnatural intercourse as such. And their interpretation, backed up by nearly two millennia of Christian tradition, is undoubtedly the natural, common sense one.

It is confirmed by further biblical evidence. According to the revisionist view, noncompliance with the levirate custom is, as such, depicted by the Genesis author as being such a heinous offense against God as to be worthy of death. But this view is inconsistent with what was laid down in the Law of Moses as a penalty for simple noncompliance with the said custom, for example, a man's outright refusal to marry his brother's widow. In that situation, the man was penalized only by a relatively mild public humiliation: the childless widow, in the presence of the town elders, was authorized to remove her uncooperative brother­in-law's sandal and spit in his face. He was then supposed to receive an uncomplimentary nickname –"the Unshod" (Deuteronomy 25: 8-10). But since he nonetheless became the sole owner of his deceased brother's house and goods, it is evident that his offence was not considered a serious or criminal one –much less one deserving of death.

Moreover, if Onan's simple unwillingness to give legal offspring to his deceased brother was seen as his only offence, it seems extremely unlikely that the inspired author would have spelt out the crass physical details of his contraceptive act (cf. v. 9). The delicacy and modesty of devout ancient Hebrews in referring to morally upright sexual activity helps us to see this.

We may conclude that while the Genesis author no doubt saw Onan's noncompliance with the levirate custom as something reprehensible, the critical difference between his case and the more common one contemplated in Deuteronomy –the difference that led God to punish Onan by death rather than by a transitory moment of shame –was precisely his unnatural acts of life-suppressing lust. For further biblical arguments supporting this conclusion, see my longer article, "The Sin of Onan Revisited" (Living Tradition, No. 67, Nov. 1996), accessible online at ltJlt67.html.

Father Harrison is chaplain of St. Mary of Victories Chapel in St. Louis.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bischoff at Dedication of Christian News Office

Bischoff at Dedication of Christian News Office
"Christian News Stopped LCMS From Joining ELCA"
Christian News, July 9, 2012

Ed. Another in a series of articles CN has been publishing during CN’s 50th Anniversary

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod would most likely now be part of the liberal Evangelical Luth-eran Church in America had it not been for Christian News, Rev. William Bischoff said at the dedication of the new office and research center of Christian News in rural New Haven, Missouri on Sunday, June 9, 1991. Ever since it began in 1962, Christian News has promoted a realignment of Lutherans. The editor often said that the liberal minority within the LCMS should join the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church (now ELCA) and the conservatives within the liberal LCA and ALC should join the LCMS. The editor has now been suggesting that the charismatics within the LCMS join the pro-charismatic American Association of Lutheran Churches.

The dedicatory speaker added:
"Were it not for CHRISTIAN NEWS, Jack Preus would never have been elected President of the Missouri Synod. Were it not for Christian News the professors who were teaching false doctrine at our seminary in St. Louis would never have been removed. Were it not for Christian News men like Robert Preus and Karl Barth would never have been called to build the doctrinally sound seminaries that have been such a blessing to our synod. Were it not for Christian News we would not have the hundreds of our orthodox and confessional Lutheran pastors our seminaries have produced since 1974."

Referring to the publicity Christian News has given to "the shameful removal of Dr. Robert Preus from his office as President of our Fort Wayne seminary, and the slanderous attacks against him," Pastor Bischoff continued: "Here is a man with three earned doctorates. A man recognized throughout the world as one of the leading confessional and orthodox Lutheran theologians of the 20th century. The man who after the 1974 walkout at our St. Louis seminary assembled the best confessional Lutheran theologians in the Missouri Synod to staff our Fort Wayne seminary and drill our students in the Bible, Luther, and the Lutheran Confessions, and yet now forced out of office and under personal attack because of his faithfulness to God's Word. Were it not for Christian News we wouldn't know Valparaiso University has given official recognition to GAY LA, the resident gay-lesbian association located on its campus . . . If it were not for Christian News Dr. Beck's American Translation of the Bible would never have been printed. If it were not for Christian News, GOD'S WORD TO THE NATIONS, the monumental new translation of the Bible, that, God willing, will be the most accurate and popular translation of the Bible since the King James Version of 1611, would never be published." Pastor Bischoff is on the doctrinal committee for GOD'S WORD TO THE NATIONS. He attended a recent meeting of GOD'S WORD TO THE NATIONS in St. Louis where Dr. Phillip Giessler, the chief executive officer of GOD'S WORD TO THE NATIONS, said that if it had not been for the editor of Christian News and the editor's wife there would have been no GOD'S WORD TO THE NATIONS BIBLE SOCIETY. Pastor Bischoff concluded: "As we dedicate this new building to the glory of God and the defense of God's truth, may this be and ever remain our battle cry: TO THE LAW AND TO THE TESTIMONY. IF THEY SPEAK NOT ACCORDING TO THIS WORD, IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRUTH IN THEM. FOR TO THIS MAN WILL I LOOK, EVEN TO HIM WHO IS POOR, AND OF A CONTRITE SPIRIT, AND TREMBLETH AT MY WORD!' Christian News, July 9, 2012

"If ever our synod loses sight of this truth, it will be good for nothing but to be cast away as insipid salt that has lost its savor and has no value but to be trodden under foot and discarded. From such a fate may God deliver us. May God bless our Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod and may God's Word and Lutheran doctrine pure to all eternity endure." Bischoff has been the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Bridgeton, Missouri for some 25 years. He and the editor of CN entered Concordia Prep, Bronxville, New York together in 1947 when they began studying for the ministry. They were roommates at Concordia College, Bronxville and at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. His entire sermon at the dedication is in this issue of CN. Rite of Dedication The dedication service began with the singing of "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty." Rev. David Hilgert, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Washington, Missouri, was the liturgist. He read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 since "we preach Christ Crucified" is the theme of Christian News. The words are on the outside of the new building. A large Luther rose (patterned after those on page one of each issue of CN) will soon be placed on the building. Following the scripture lesson, the congregation sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God", "Christ, Thou Art the Sure Foundation," and confessed the Apostles Creed. Pastor Hilgert led the rite of dedication:

"We now dedicate the office and research center of Christian News to the honor and glory of the Holy Trinity, to God the Father, who created the world and all men, to God the Son, who suffered, died and rose again for all men, and to God the Holy Ghost who brings men to a saving faith in the only and true God."

The congregation prayed: "Blessed Holy Trinity, the only true and saving God, we ask your blessing upon this building and the work of Christian News. Protect those who work here. Keep them always faithful to your Holy Word, the Bible. May Your saving truth go forth from this place all over America and to many foreign nations. Use the work of Christian News to proclaim the saving message of your precious Gospel to lost sinners. May Christian News be an effective instrument to provide Christians with information they need to face the present crisis in all of Christendom. Use it to help preserve the principles of liberty and freedom upon which our nation is founded. Give those who write for Christian News true wisdom so that they may be able to expose and fight the sins of unbelief and skepticism in our churches. Extend thy blessing upon the new projects of Christian News, the publication of Bible Stories in Pictures and books on the important issues of our day. Almighty God, if it be your will and the work of Christian News continues into future generations; grant that those who continue to work here will always remain faithful to your written Word, the Holy Scriptures. We ask this all in the name of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for the sins of all men and promises that all who believe and trust in Him will rise from the dead and live with Him forever in heaven. All else we bring to you in the prayer you have taught us to pray: Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed by Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen."

The service, which was held under a grove of pine trees next to a small lake close to the new Christian News building, concluded with the singing of "Beautiful Savior." Comments by the Editor The editor of Christian News in his words of welcome thanked those who had made the new building and the publication of Christian News possible He gave special recognition to his wife, Grace, a graduate of Concordia College, St. Paul and Valparaiso University, and noted that some 15 years ago she was with him on the same spot where the service was being held planting hundreds of pine, walnut and oak seedlings on a cold wet day. The seedlings were now large trees which shaded the entire area and covered the ground of the outdoor chapel with a rug of soft white pine needles. During the entire service a Canada goose remained on her nest on a small island close to where the service was held. The editor mentioned that Timothy Otten, CN’s managing editor, was now primarily responsible for taking care of the grounds around the new CN building. In former years the other children mowed around and mulched the trees. Hillerman Nursery in Washington, Missouri, gave Christian News 500 flower plants the week before the dedication. The flowers now surround the building. When the editor explained the significance of the full color Luther rose which will be placed on the new building he noted that Luther had a great love for flowers, trees, and gardening. He added, in jest, that he sent Timothy to Washington University to learn how to cut grass and take care of plants and flowers. He said he really appreciated his son-in-law because "he showed me that he was not afraid of work when we were cutting and burning brush at Camp Trinity next to the new CN building. I like young men who can work."

When explaining why it was important for Christian News to continue, the editor said that both conservative and liberal churches need more independent papers which are not controlled by any hierarchy or bureaucracy. He noted that when he was invited to speak on "Why Christian News" to a group of editors and publishers at Concordia Publishing House in 1977 he told the editors that few editors of official publications ever take issue with a denomination's officialdom, liberalism taught in denominational seminaries, the new morality and homosexuality now widely tolerated, evolution, historical criticism, etc. The CN editor concluded his speech at Concordia Publishing House in 1977:

"WHY Christian News? If you Lutheran journalists on the staffs of official Lutheran publications continue to support abortion or remain silent about this tremendous sin, then Lutherans surely need an independent publication which warns that abortion is sinful and which exposes the fact that thousands of unborn infants are being killed in 'Lutheran' hospitals.'' Since then the LCMS's Lutheran Witness has taken a stand against abortion.

The editor commented on the future of Christian News and noted that Timothy, who designed the new building, put everything on one floor so "they could get at least another 20 years out of the old man." The editor mentioned plans to print Bible Stories in Pictures in various languages and inexpensive paperback books on some of the vital issues of the day. He emphasized that CN had really nothing new to offer, no theories which the editor fabricated. "Our primary message is Christ crucified, the Christ of the Bible, and justification by faith in Him alone," he said.

A tour of the new building followed the service. (The tour guide is reprinted here). Mrs. Miriam (Otten) Hill was in charge of the noon meal and refreshments following the service. Christian News, June 17, 1991