The Office of Holy Ministry

This is a great quote regarding the Office of Holy Ministry from C.F.W. Walther, first president of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

O, glorious office! No matter how sick a person may be in his soul, the Gospel can heal him. No matter how deeply a person has fallen into the corruption of sin, the Gospel can pull him out. No matter how troubled, frightened, and afflicted a person may be, the Gospel can comfort him. Whatever the condition a person finds himself, even if he is convinced that he must perish because of it, the preachers can confidently oppose him, saying: “No, as certainly as God lives, He does not want the death of any sinner. You shall not perish; instead, you shall be saved. Turn to Jesus who can evermore save all who come to God through Him.” And if one who lies near death calls out: “God, what have I done? Woe to me! Not it is too late! I am lost!” the preachers should call to him: “No, no, it is not too late! Commit your departing soul to Jesus. You too shall still be with Him in paradise today.” O, glorious, high office, too high for the angels! May we always hold it in high regard, not looking at the person who bears it and despising his weakness, but looking instead at the Institutor of this office and His exuberant goodness. Let us turn to Him in faith so we can experience the blessings of which the preachers have spoken and, through them, be gathered together one day into the barns of heaven as a completely ripe sheaf.

It is comforting to know that no matter how I mess things up as a pastor, a person’s salvation does not depend on me, the man, but rather the office to which I hold. It is and always must be solely the Gospel that is put forward and never the man. Man is sinful; the Word of God is without sin. Man can err; the Word of God is without error. Let us not focus on the man in the office, but rather what it is that the man preaches; that is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(Quoted from God Grant It, p. 679-680)

Support and Love, Patience and Wisdom

The following is a quote from the Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe from 1979. I find it very appropriate even today.

Our primary calling as theologians is to interpret reality for ourselves and for our people. In our day, we behold the tragic paradox of secular man seeking something more solid than the phony, penultimate, pleasure trips, of either the gross or more refined variety, that are constantly held before us as the only route worth traveling…and, in their seeking, find no one to speak to them of that which is solid and real. The saints whom you serve will at times overwhelm you with their support and love. The sinners whom you serve will at times send you scampering to the throne of grace for more patience and wisdom than your flesh can muster. And yet, on this latter point, I can forthrightly say that for all their frailties you will find your flock a joy to serve. I was simply not prepared for all that closeness which is forged between Pastor and people as they seek to live a real life in the midst of a phony world. Frankly, it’s great! And if these tasks do not plant the seeds of joy and happiness in our service, then we have ourselves drifted from that which is real.

Concordia Theological Quarterly 75, p. 367-368

A Divine Call

Trinity Lutheran, Gillette, WyomingFor the last 6 years, I have served as Assistant Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Gillette, Wyoming. In April, the Senior Pastor received and accepted a Call to another congregation within the District. From mid-April until now, we have been operating with a single pastor. During these last few months, we have looked at and evaluated our needs to see if we wanted to call a second pastor or remain a single-pastor congregation. On August 7, it was decided to be a single-pastor congregation. A special Voter’s Meeting was set up for August 21 to determine who the congregation wanted to extend that Call to.

On the evening of August 21, I received and accepted the Call to serve as Sole Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Gillette, Wyoming, where I have been serving the last 6 years. I am privileged to continue God’s work in this place and minister to His people that He has entrusted to me.

A Surreal Moment

Tonight marked a surreal night for us. We had over Pastor Firminhac and family for our “last supper” before they leave for Torrington. Sunday was his last Sunday at Trinity. Following services, a farewell potluck reception was held in his honor. It was a record turnout to say the least. Tables and chairs had to be brought up multiple times because of the lack of seating.

We spent two hours together enjoying each others company. Wesley got to play with their three kids one last time and Bryce had no shortage of people to hold him.

Over the last almost six years, the one thing I regret the most is not doing this more often. It’s not a usual thing to have two pastors in a church, so having this kind of fellowship is a true blessing.

As they prepare to leave Gillette either tomorrow or Thursday, we wish them God’s safety on their travels and blessings as he begins his ministry as the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran in Torrington.

Warrior Monk

Warrior MonkI just finished the book Warrior Monk by Raymond Keating. The book centers around a man by the name of Stephen Grant, a former CIA agent turned Lutheran pastor. He is the pastor of St. Mary’s Lutheran Church in Long Island. The current pope, Augustine I, is promoting a radical initiative, “A Public Mission of Mere Christianity.” It is truly a radical initiative – so radical that it has numerous people, groups and organizations coming out of the woodworks to protest. There are talks of assassinations, there are murders, there are conspiracies. At the heart of all this is Pr. Stephen Grant. His church experiences a major tragedy and is reeling from what has happened.  Pastor Grant is asked to assist with security for the pope. A Lutheran working for/with the pope? Yup, it happens! Is Grant a pastor and theologian or is he CIA agent for hire? Read it to find out for yourself!

Interesting Thoughts

  • I think it’s funny that a Lutheran church would be named St. Mary’s; I’m not 100% sure, but I’m going out on a limb here and saying that there is no St. Mary’s Lutheran Church in The LCMS.
  • The president of The LCMS is Harrison Piepkorn. The actual current president of The LCMS is Matthew Harrison. Piepkorn is probably in reference to Arthur Carl Piepkorn.

Great quote about the Missouri Synod

From its inception on April 26, 1847, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod has emphasized the importance of linking together doctrine, practice, and mission. While this is an obvious, almost simplistic point, to confuse this issue will lead one to misunderstand the life of the Synod. Doctrine abstracted from life and unapplied in mission is merely an intellectual enterprise. Practice without a doctrinal and missional basis can degenerate into accommodation. Mission without doctrinal substance can lose the focus of the Gospel of Christ and lack practical impact. But bring doctrine, practice and mission together, and remarkable things can happen. Practicing substantive doctrine in mission can result in extraordinary unity and growth. (Emphasis added)

Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast, Jr.

(Forward, At Home in the House of My Fathers)