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By Adriane Heins
In a landmark 5-4 ruling June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry in any state in America, even in states where same-sex marriage currently is not recognized.
“Today was a tragedy in the history of Western and world civilization,” LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said soon after the ruling. “Five justices cannot rewrite all of history, much less can they redefine what God has defined.”
Speaking to the future, he said, “We will continue to be faithful to the institution of marriage as conceived by our founders. If those who wrote the Fourteenth Amendment could have known that it would be misused for this purpose, they would be absolutely shocked and horrified. Truth does not change. God’s Word does not change.”
As for the LCMS, Harrison noted, “We will continue to be faithful to God’s institution of marriage and natural law, and we will also be compassionate to people who are damaged by this misdirection.”
Harrison also released a letter to the church today, noting that “We respect the divinely given dignity of all people, no matter their sexual preference. We recognize that, under the exacting and demanding laws of God, we are indeed sinners in thought, word and deed, just as are all (Rom. 3:9ff.). We confess that the ‘blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sins’ (1 John 1:7).”
In his letter, Harrison also encouraged LCMS Lutherans to “continue to reach out to those who continue to be harmed by the ethic of radical sexual freedom, detached from God’s blessing of marriage.”
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:1–7).
A one-person majority of the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong – again. Some 40 years ago, a similarly activist court legalized the killing of children in the womb. That decision has to date left a wake of some 55 million Americans dead. Today, the Court has imposed same-sex marriage upon the whole nation in a similar fashion. Five justices cannot determine natural or divine law. Now shall come the time of testing for Christians faithful to the Scriptures and the divine institution of marriage (Matthew 19:3–6), and indeed, a time of testing much more intense than what followed Roe v. Wade.
Like Roe v. Wade, this decision will be followed by a rash of lawsuits. Through coercive litigation, governments and popular culture continue to make the central post-modern value of sexual freedom override “the free exercise of religion” enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
The ramifications of this decision are seismic. Proponents will seek to drive Christians and Christian institutions out of education at all levels; they will press laws to force faithful Christian institutions and individuals to violate consciences in work practices and myriad other ways. We will have much more to say about this.
During some of the darkest days of Germany, a faithful Lutheran presciently described how governments lose their claim to legitimate authority according to Romans 13.
The Caesar cult in its manifold forms, the deification of the state, is one great form of the defection from the [true] idea of the state. There are also other possibilities of such defection. The government can forget and neglect its tasks. When it no longer distinguishes between right and wrong, when its courts are no longer governed by the strict desire for justice, but by special interests, when government no longer has the courage to exercise its law, fails to exercise its duties, undermines its own legal order, when it weakens through its family law parental authority and the estate of marriage, then it ceases to be governing authority.
Raising such a question can lead to heavy conflicts of conscience. But it is fundamentally conceivable, and it has time and again become reality in history, that a governing authority has ceased to be governing authority. In such a case there may indeed exist a submission to a superior power. But the duty of obedience against this power no longer exists. [Hermann Sasse, “What Is the State?”(1932)]
As faithful Christians, we shall continue to be obedient to just laws. We affirm the human rights of all individuals and the inherent and equal value of all people. We respect the divinely given dignity of all people, no matter their sexual preference. We recognize that, under the exacting and demanding laws of God, we are indeed sinners in thought, word and deed, just as are all (Romans 3:9ff.). We confess that the “blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sins” (1 John 1:7). We confess that God’s divine law of marriage and the entire Ten Commandments apply to all, and that so also the life-giving sacrifice of Christ on the cross is for all. It is a “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
However, even as we struggle as a church to come to a unified response to this blatant rejection of the entire history of humankind and its practice of marriage, “We shall obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state. We will resist its imposition of falsehood upon us, even as we continue to reach out to those who continue to be harmed by the ethic of radical sexual freedom, detached from God’s blessing of marriage. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians, churches and people of good will who are resolute on this issue.
God help us. Amen.
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
- Marriage Policy — Sample marriage policy for LCMS congregations and sample provisions limiting the use of church property to marriages that are consistent with LCMS beliefs.
- “Why Marriage Matters” — A Bible Study by the Rev. Timothy Pauls
- Biblical Understanding — Resources that provide a biblical understanding of God’s gift of marriage between a man and a woman
- Case for Marriage — Help for making the case for marriage when talking with those who disagree
- Know a College Student? — Share a letter of encouragement regarding marriage from the Rev. Marcus Zill, director of LCMS U
- Concordia Publishing House — Resources on marriage
- Doxology Conference — Sex, Marriage and the Christian Vision | Aug. 12-13 in St. Louis
- Supreme Court opinion
Ash Wednesday Divine Service, Wed. March 1, 7:00 pm (Imposition of Ashes prior)
Midweek Lenten Service, Wednesdays, 7:00 pm (Supper at 5:30 pm)
Maundy Thursday Divine Service, 7:00 pm
Good Friday Tenebré Service, 7:00 pm
Easter Sunrise Service, Sunday 6:30 am
Easter Breakfast, 7:30 am
Easter Festival Divine Service, Sunday 9:30 am
(Holy Communion offered at all Divine Services)
Missions to Northern Asia
Rev. Dr. Daniel Jastram
Theological Education Facilitator for the LCMS
Christ Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 -- 7:00 pm
Rev. Dr. Daniel and Dr. Joan Jastram serve the Lord as career missionaries through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in northern Asia, based in Tokyo, Japan. In this role, Daniel helps develop and implement a strategic mission plan for this area. He coordinates theological education opportunities and also supervises and evaluates theological educators throughout northern Asia. When needed, Daniel teaches courses at Japan Lutheran Theological Seminary, Tokyo.
Daniel was born in Shibata, Japan, and raised overseas in an LCMS missionary family. His childhood congregation was Shibata Lutheran Church, Japan. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and both a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Before serving in Asia, he was a professor of theology at Concordia University, St. Paul, St. Paul, Minn., and Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon. He also served as sole pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church, Forest Lake, Minn. In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, hiking and bookbinding.
Joan was born in Mitchell, S.D., where her childhood congregation was Zion Lutheran Church. She received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. She received her Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Twin Cities, Minn. Before her missionary service in Asia, Joan worked as a clinical psychologist and plans to continue in this capacity. Joan enjoys reading, hiking and cooking in her free time.
Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, Evangelist for Lutheran Heritage Foundation
Christ Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD
Sunday, October 4, 2015
9:30 am Divine Service Preacher
10:45 am Bible Class Leader
12:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm LHF Presentation
Don’t miss this opportunity!
For more than 30 years, Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz has boldly proclaimed the Gospel in pulpits, in print and over the airwaves. Across the United States and around the world, his voice rings strong and clear, focusing his listeners on the message of salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
A former LCMS vice president, Rev. Schulz is now called to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF), an organization dedicated to translating, publishing and distributing confessional Lutheran materials around the world. Rev. Schulz has spent a great deal of time overseas, doing the work of an evangelist – one who presents the Gospel of Christ primarily to the unsaved in words that the man of the street can understand.
His journeys have taken him into countries where people suffer for their faith. Under the Soviet Union’s Communist government, Christians were persecuted: pastors were imprisoned and executed; church buildings, Bibles and other Christian printed materials were destroyed. Without the printed Word to sustain and grow their faith, the Christian confession seemed all but dead.
Rev. Schulz was the first person from the LCMS to enter the former Soviet Union, traveling throughout Russia and Siberia. Along the way, he found opportunities to tell the people about Jesus Christ, and he alerted Rev. Robert Rahn, LHF executive director, to the need for printed Christian materials. To help provide pastors to teach the people, Rev. Schulz started a program to bring Russian men to study at LCMS seminaries in the United States.
For more than a decade, he has also maintained contact with and assisted underground Christian churches in China and Cuba by helping develop ways to distribute Christian materials in those countries. Rev. Schulz continues to proclaim the Gospel in the United States and more than a dozen other countries by writing and editing the highly-acclaimed Good News Journal. Good News is a popularly-written magazine that introduces new Christians to the foundations of the Lutheran faith: Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. Rev. Schulz’ ability to simply but powerfully explain Scripture also strengthens life-long Lutherans’ faith and understanding.
Come hear Rev. Schulz’ inspiring accounts of God’s church persevering and growing under the most adverse circumstances. Come hear how you can take part in this “second Reformation,” putting into the hands of new Christians the books that will help form the foundation of their faith.
Our web site was offline for a little over 12 hours yesterday and today (7-19 and 7-20-2015) (entirely the fault of the webmaster).
Big thank you to the customer support guys / gals at our hosting company, KVC Hosting, for getting the site back up and running!
The Voters Assembly of Christ Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD, adopted the following overture at its regular meeting of January 13, 2013. The overture was submitted to the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for adoption at the convention being held July 20-25 in St. Louis. The overture is printed on pages 178 and 179 of the 2013 Convention Workbook.
To Memorialize the Synod to Reaffirm the Doctrine of the Office of the Holy Ministry and Rescind 1989 Res. 3-05B
Whereas, Our Lord Jesus Christ has granted to His church the gift of the office of the holy ministry (John 20:21-23, Eph. 4:11, Matt. 28:19-20); and
Whereas, Christ has declared to those who have been placed into this office by Him, “He who hears you hears Me” (Luke 10:16); and
Whereas, our Lutheran Confessions make it abundantly clear that those who have been placed into this office stand in the stead and by the command of Christ so that as it is Christ Himself Who through the office pronounces absolution to His people, baptizes them, distributes His body and blood to them in the Holy Supper and preaches to and teaches them through the voice of the called minister (SC V 27, AC V; XIV; XXV; Ap XIII 12; VII 28; XIV 1; XII 39-41; AC XXVIII 8-9; Ap. XXVIII 19); and
Whereas, the 1989 Synod in convention (Res. 3-05B) at Wichita, Kansas, allowed for lay people to preach and administer Sacraments publicly in LCMS congregations at worship, though this is contrary to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, as stated above; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Synod reaffirm the doctrine of the office of the holy ministry; and be it further
Resolved, That the Synod reaffirm the confessions’ position that, according to ecclesiastical order and its functions, “no one should publicly teach in the church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called” (AC XIV). In upholding this position, we guard against confusion the uniqueness of this office its functions with the identity and responsibilities of the priesthood of all believers; and be it further
Resolved, That the Synod through her district Presidents, district Vice Presidents, and circuit counselors assist the congregations of the Synod in upholding this doctrine of Christ; and be it further
Resolved, That the Synod promote and instruct her congregations, educational institutions and agencies in this essential confessional doctrine concerning the office of the holy ministry; and be it further
Resolved, That the Synod rescind 1989 resolution 3-05B; and be it further
Resolved, That the Synod reaffirm 1995 resolution 3-07A (Rescinded at the 2001 convention); and be it finally
Resolved, That the Synod no longer authorize its districts to place into the ministry of the word and sacrament men who are not regularly called according to AC XIV.
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