Synodical News

St. John's is a proud member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.  Here you can find the latest news from the Synod and Witness, Mercy, and Life Together.


Wednesday
Jul152015

LCMS denounces Planned Parenthood

LCMS denounces Planned Parenthood

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

2015-07-15_Not4SaleWe logged on to the Internet and Facebook yesterday only to be hit with a sickening story: undercover video footage seemingly implicating Planned Parenthood in the sale of the body parts of aborted children.

In the video, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, discusses how she adjusts abortion procedures to procure certain parts of a child’s body, even as she notes that “we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver.”

Listen long enough, if you can handle it, and you’ll hear her suggest that such items could eventually be listed on a Planned Parenthood “menu” for affiliate organizations to purchase for a price.

Keep reading...


Friday
Jun262015

Synod president responds to SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling

 
LCMS President Harrison says U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong on marriage ruling.

Harrison says U.S. Supreme Court
got it wrong on marriage ruling

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 Resources

Marriage Policy — Sample marriage policy for 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 ConferenceSex, Marriage and the Christian Vision | Aug. 12-13 in St. Louis

Supreme Court opinion

   

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If you have questions about this email or need assistance, please contact the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or infocenter@lcms.org

Thursday
Jun252015

Service opportunities abound throughout Synod

 
LCMS ministries, districts, congregations provide service opportunities.


Serving our neighbor —
compassionate care for others

LCMS ministries, districts, congregations provide service opportunities.In July, we recognize how Christ sets us free to love and to serve our neighbor.

+ When you contemplate Christ’s free gift of salvation and all the other gifts God bestows on us, it’s easy to feel overwhelming joy, gratitude and a desire to “pay it forward” to others.

+ This July, we celebrate all that God has blessed us with, and we rejoice in the opportunities He gives us to express our gratitude in service to our neighbor.

+ As Lutherans, we collectively and compassionately care for others. It’s in our nature to serve wherever we see the need, so that’s our theme for July — service.

+ Throughout the ministries of the LCMS, your district and local congregation, opportunities abound for joyful service throughout the year.

+ If you’d like to serve through your church, talk to your pastor. He’ll help you find a way to serve others in your congregation, in your local community or beyond.

To learn more, visit lcms.org/focus/service.




   

If you have questions about this email or need assistance, please contact the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or infocenter@lcms.org.

Tuesday
Jun232015

Twenty-one LCMS missionaries and their families begin orientation

 

Today, 21 new missionaries — along with their 44 spouses and children — began an intensive two-week orientation held by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in St. Louis to prepare for service in 13 countries around the globe.

That number represents continued successful recruitment efforts toward doubling the number of LCMS career missionaries on the field to 136 by 2016 — as called for by the 2013 Synod convention.

The missionaries — slated for East and West Africa, Latin America, Eurasia, Asia Pacific and Southern Asia — will serve in diverse roles, including as nurses, evangelists, deaconesses, theological educators and international-school chaplains.

“Missionaries are the people Christ has called to go out into all the world and speak the Gospel,” said the Rev. Dr. Edward Grimenstein, associate executive director for the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM). “These men, women and children have given up everything they know to do this. For us at the Office of International Mission, there is no higher priority than caring for those entrusted to us. They are the very means by which Christ spreads His salvation so people may believe and by believing have eternal life.”

In years past, missionary orientations have been held once each year. But in response to such a great need, the OIM decided last year to add more orientations to prepare missionaries more quickly to enter the field.

Missionary orientation is the first major step in a missionary assignment. It provides information, experiences and study materials that will help establish a solid foundation on which new missionaries build as they prepare for missionary service. It provides specific training for their ministry assignment and an introduction to the LCMS staff and structure that will support missionaries during their international deployment.

Because of the increasing number of missionaries now being sent abroad, the LCMS began offering missionary orientation twice a year this year — once in the winter and once in the summer, and the possibility of a third one in the fall.

A new addition to this summer’s orientation is the introduction of resources by Doxology, a Lutheran non-profit and Recognized Service Organization, that would meet the needs of those deploying to foreign fields and to give missionaries additional support and care. Also new to this orientation is special programming for women and accompanying spouses, with topics related to spiritual care, marriage and helping the families deal with transitions.

The orientation will culminate with a special “sending service” at 2 p.m. July 2, in the International Center chapel. The special Divine Service with Holy Communion, followed by a reception, is open to the public.

The LCMS has been involved in mission and outreach since 1851, when it established its first mission board and sent its first overseas missionary to India in 1895. Today, the LCMS trains, sends and supports called and appointed long-term and short-term missionaries throughout the United States and in various countries around the world, where there are mission stations, partner churches, schools and mission relationships. To find out more about the missionaries, or to support their efforts, download their prayer cards at lcms.org/prayercards.

For more information about LCMS missionary opportunities, visit lcms.org/missionaries or contact the Rev. Dan McMiller, email dan.mcmiller@lcms.org or call 314-996-1341.


Related video: The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, shares the history of LCMS missionary work and looks to the exciting future as LCMS missionaries continue to share the Gospel of Christ around the globe.

If you have questions about this email or need assistance, please contact the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or infocenter@lcms.org.

Tuesday
Mar312015

A Holy Week Message from President Matthew Harrison

Holy Week and Easter 2015

Dear Fellow Laborers in the Lord’s Vineyard,

The world must surely think we’ve lost our marbles when, in the liturgy for Good Friday, the words ring out: “We adore You, O Lord, and we praise and glorify Your resurrection. For behold, by the wood of the cross joy has come into all the world.”

How true! On that day of deepest darkness, humankind finally got its hands on God. We grabbed hold of God in the flesh, nailed Him to a tree and told Him to get out of our world and leave us “the hell” alone. To this day, our every sin still demands the same — to be left alone in hell. Not much cause for joy there.

Ah, but even more true, on that day of deepest darkness, our God was loving the world, loving you and me and all who fail Him again and again. He was loving us by giving His only Son into that horrid death so that our hate-filled, violent, rebellious race might be pardoned and given a life without end in His kingdom.

If you’ve been following along in the Treasury of Daily Prayer or with the Daily Lectionary, you know that we just read again the story of Joseph in Genesis. What light that whole story sheds on the events we’re about to celebrate when we see in Joseph a picture of our Lord! He was hated by his brothers, stripped, betrayed and sold, disowned and forgotten. And why? Precisely so that God could, through Joseph, bring great blessing to those wretched brothers, keeping them alive in famine, providing for their families. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Gen. 50:20).

As with Joseph, so with Jesus. Hence the miracle of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter! It’s true that we meant it for evil. But God Himself was at work through it all, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us as He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us. And come resurrection morn, He proclaims to all the world that its sins are forgiven, forgotten, gone! The resurrection cries out: “His sacrifice has been accepted — for you and for all. So rejoice!”

Yes, beloved, through the wood of the cross, joy truly has come into all the world: the joy of sins’ forgiveness, death’s defeat, love’s unconquerable triumph. The cross is our God saying: “You can’t make Me hate you! I love you and forgive you in the blood of My precious Son!”

I know how busy the days ahead are as you work to bring blessings to the people of God. But don’t forget to savor the joy of the cross yourself — to join the people of God in kneeling before the Crucified One who yet lives, who still is the master of working all things (including suffering and hardship) to bring blessing to His own, and who will surely appear again in glory.

To Him, to our Lord of joy, be all glory and honor! Remember me, please, in your prayers during these days, even as I remember you in mine!

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod