Saturday, July 16, 2016

Proud to call him my friend. . .

It has been my privilege to have come to know many folks who have been leaders of our church and to have counted as acquaintance and friend some of those who will be the leaders of our church as she moves into the future.  One of those leaders who will undoubtedly guard our heritage and guide our future is our newly elected Secretary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Rev. Dr. John Wollenburg Sias.

John is notable for many things but what will well serve him and our church body is his thorough knowledge of the constitution and bylaws by which we in the Synod have chosen to be governed and his interest, curiosity, and grasp of the history of our church and, in particular, the way we have understood that constitution and its bylaws.  His background as an engineer will serve him well as he brings his knowledge to bear upon the challenges and issues facing our church now and in the future.

I am proud to serve with him.  I rejoice that our church in convention has chosen to put their confidence into his leadership.  I believe he will be a worthy successor to one of the finest leaders in our church in more than a generation, the Rev. Ray Hartwig, and be a wise and faithful servant of Christ in this office.  It is with great joy that I call him a friend.  May the Lord grant to him to Heidi a smooth transition, a wonderful new home in St. Louis, and a rich and grace filled future.

What has so impressed me at this convention of the LCMS are the many young pastors who are at their first convention of Synod, who are well spoken, who are serious minded people, and who are passionate for the future of our church body.  John is representative of this new generation of leaders and he and those of his caliber give me great confidence in the ability of our church body to address the problems facing us with strong character, strong faith, and strong commitment to be faithful no matter how hard this is and will be.  He knows, and I believe this new generation of leaders also knows, that there can be no success without faithfulness to what we believe, confess, and teach and that the only success the Lord cares about is this faithfulness.  I pray for them even as we all look to them to help us to articulate the faith to the world around us in ways that are passionate, thoroughly orthodox, and pastoral.

If we will:
  • faithfully witness to the cross and empty tomb
  • act with integrity and compassion in our pastoral care of the baptized as well as those not yet of the kingdom
  • keep our focus upon the means of grace as the one and only means through which God delivers to us the gifts of His grace, and 
  • catechize with urgency and confidence
God will accomplish His purpose and His kingdom will come according to His own good, gracious, and perfect will -- no matter if the structures of this organization survive or not!

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