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

1 comment:

  1. Just a comment on the comment that CN kept the LCMS out of ELCA. I think it's open to debate as to how far the LCMS really is away from ELCA. True, there have been and are some movements away from ELCA, such as in the military chaplaincy, and anti-ELCA rhetoric flies from time to time, but the LCMS and ELCA are still working together in a lot of areas. In the so-called "Lutheran Malaria Initiative," strongly supported by LCMS President Matt Harrison and numerous LCMS districts, the LCMS and ELCA are working together along with the United Nations Foundation. There are lots of other joint LCMS-ELCA entities, such as Lutheran World Relief. LCMS and ELCA work together in the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau. LCMS-ELCA had joint worship in New York City with Dave Benke involved (since Matt Harrison became LCMS president) and there was little if any protest from anyone in the LCMS. On the one hand LCMS seems quite distant from ELCA but on the other hand there's still a lot of joint stuff going on. Although Matt Harrison and Jerry Kieschnick are quite different in a lot of ways, it's not just a Harrison v. Kieschnick issue either. Matt Harrison has strongly supported dialogue with the NALC which observers on all sides have said is little different from the ELCA on historical criticism, evolution, etc.--little difference except on the ordination of practicing homosexuals and even that is shaky. If distance from the ELCA is the criterion, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations is arguably farther away from the ELCA than the LCMS is. The AFLC separated from the churches which eventually formed ELCA as a matter of spiritual conviction over 50 years ago.

    To God alone the glory,

    David Becker