Archive for August, 2012
A Lutheran Witness from September 2011 greeted Dr. Mike Rodewald, LCMS Africa Regional Director, entered his room at the Uhuru Highway Lutheran Hotel and Conference Center in Moshi, Tanzania. Dr. Rodewald was so excited to see the Lutheran Witness in his room that he shouted, “Al, come and see, the Lutheran Witness is in my room!” I came to see him holding a Lutheran Witness. He then said people will probably think we planted it, but no it is true, it was here. We can only speculate how it came to Tanzania, but it is nice to know, the Lutheran Witness has even reached the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi, Tanzania.
The view of Kilimanjaro from my room at the Uhuru Road Lutheran Hotel and Conference Center.
– Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations on 13 August 2012 from Moshi, Tanzania.
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This evening we – Dr. Collver, Dr. Rodewald, Rev. Trump — had the opportunity to visit with Archbishop Obare at his home in Nairobi, Kenya. As a gift, we were able to present Archbishop Obare with a copy of Kitabu Cha Mwafaka, that is, the Book of Concord in Swahili.
Although Archbishop Obare was aware of the Book of Concord project in Swahili, this is the first time he had seen it. The Book of Concord was translated into Swahili by Lutheran Heritage Foundation. The ELCK’s seminary hopes to make use of the Swahili Book of Concord in the future.
The Augsburg Confession in Swahili.
– Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations on 12 August 2012.
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Last evening I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, from Helsinki, Finland, via Amsterdam. This morning, the LCMS mission team that lives in East Africa gathered for worship at the Uhuru Highway Lutheran Cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK).
Although the Uhuru Highway Cathedral was dedicated in 2005, the congregation has been in this location since 1980.
The cathedral is on the campus of Luther Plaza, which serves as the headquarters of the ELCK and as office space for paying tenants.
Before the service, Archbishop Walter Obare met with Drs. Albert Collver and Mike Rodewald. Archbishop Obare stated that it was extremely important for the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) to uphold the teachings of the Scriptures and to promote the Lutheran Confessions worldwide. He said the LCMS’ witness to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions is particularly encouraging for churches like the ELCK.
Dr. Mike Rodewald, Rev. Fred Reinhardt, Dr. Collver talk about French speaking West Africa before the service. Although Rev. Fred Reinhardt lives within walking distance of the Uhuru Highway Cathedral, he primarily works in West Africa among French speakers.
Rev. Isaiah Obare is one of the pastors at Uhuru Highway Cathedral. He led the service. Dr. Collver preached on John 6:35-51, which is the Gospel reading for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost. Dr. Collver paraphrasing Martin Luther noted how strange it must been for the crowd to have seen Jesus say, “I am the bread from heaven,” when in his own poverty Jesus appeared to need hand outs for himself. It seemed impossible for Jesus to feed anyone — To be the bread from heaven — let alone to give them eternal life. Martin Luther said, “Jesus Himself speaks of His poverty in Matt. 8:20: ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ But in spite of this He can answer: ‘I am the bread,’ declaring here that He would teach, satisfy, feed, and preserve the entire world, prevent its death by starvation, and give it life. Though He Himself does not have a crust of bread to eat, He offers to become physician and helper to others.”
The choir sang during the service.
The service at the Uhuru Highway Cathedral followed Lutheran Service Book (LSB) for its International English Service.
After the service the LCMS missionaries who live in East Africa gathered for a group shot.
Rev. Shauen Trump with his children and wife Krista, Dr. Mike Rodewald (LCMS Africa Regional Director), Dr. Albert Collver (LCMS Director of Church Relations), Rev. Fred Reinhardt.
Rev. Shauen Trump is the facilitator for East Africa. The hospitality that both he and his wife have shown is outstanding. Tomorrow we travel to Tanzania.
– Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations, posted on 12 August 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.
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In Helsinki, LCMS Professors, Pastors Focus On Luther
By Kim Plummer Krull
While members of Celebration Lutheran Church in St. Johns, Fla., might assume that the scholarly papers presented at the 12th International Congress for Luther Research in Helsinki, Finland, would have no impact on them, their pastor suggests otherwise.
“My eyes certainly have been opened up to what people around the world are doing with Reformation studies in new ways,” said the Rev. Jason Lane, Celebration’s pastor and one of more than 200 theologians, professors and pastors from around the globe taking part in the conference, Aug. 5-10. “I’m getting a lot of helpful illustrations and images from Luther’s writings for sermons.”
Lane, who is working on his dissertation on Luther’s interpretation of the book of James, was one of some 14 LCMS pastors and professors at the gathering. Several made presentations. During a conference break, LCMS colleagues took a moment to talk about the importance of the congress, held every five years to spotlight writings and translation projects on the life and works of the 16th century Reformation leader.
Although Luther is most closely identified with the birth of the Lutheran church, members of a variety of denominations — including Roman Catholic, Methodist and Mennonite — were among the participants, said the Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver III, director of Church Relations and assistant to LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.
“All the Protestant churches in the world owe their existence to Martin Luther, even if they don’t follow all his teachings by the book,” said Collver, who gave a sectional presentation titled “Luther’s Invocavit Sermons as Law and Gospel.”
Dr. Gerhard H. Bode Jr., assistant professor of Historical Theology and archivist at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, said the conference “offers an opportunity to hear about current trends in Luther studies and helps equip us for future research, writing and teaching. It’s also a good reminder that Luther’s Gospel message and, with it, the Lutheran heritage are not to be taken for granted.”
Hosted by the University of Helsinki, the congress explored the theme, “Luther as Teacher and Reformer of the University.”
For LCMS professors in attendance, the conference was “an opportunity to interact with Luther scholars from around the world and exchange each other’s insights on Luther and his theology in his historical context,” said Dr. Naomichi Masaki, associate professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), Fort Wayne, Ind.
“It is always important to understand aright doctrine that Luther was given to believe, confess and teach,” Masaki continued. “As we theologians deepen our grasp of Luther’s theology, we pray that what we teach at the seminaries and in the congregations may have evangelical contributions to form servants in Jesus Christ who teach the faithful, reach the lost and care for all.”
While the Rev. Juhana Pohjola, a pastor and dean of the Lutheran Foundation Finland (LFF), was pleased the congress drew participants from around the globe to his homeland to focus on Luther, he said the gathering also “reveals the great struggle over the heritage of Luther and the many different opinions that can be heard.”
Prior to the congress, Pohjola took part in a three-day Luther seminar presented by Masaki and LCMS colleagues for pastors with the LFF, a young and growing confessional Lutheran church body. Pohjola and several fellow pastors graduated from the CTS Master of Sacred Theology program.
“It was wonderful to see there’s a living church body that takes seriously its confessional foundation,” Pohjola said of the LCMS.
“We [Finland] have the same foundation, but it’s now more part of past tradition than everyday life. But we are growing,” Pohjola said of the LFF, which has blossomed from one congregation to 30 with several thousand total members over the past 15 years.
As the congress drew to a close, Collver reflected on how “people tend toward different hermeneutical approaches to texts: such as a literal and historical reading to a revisionist approach that looks to what (in this case) Luther said in his day and ponders how he might have said it differently today.”
“For instance, some hold to how the proper distinction between Law and Gospel was a major consideration for Luther’s approach, while others believe there are new and better paradigms to Law and Gospel, such as two kinds of righteousness … ,” Collver said on the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog (www.wmltblog.org). “Dr. Mark Mattes’ [associate professor of Religion and Philosophy, Grand View University] paper, ‘Luther’s Use of Philosophy,’ held that the proper distinction between Law and Gospel governed Luther’s appropriation and use of philosophy.”
Attendance at this congress was reportedly among the largest in recent years. The Rev. John T. Pless, assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at CTS, is not surprised. “The voice of Luther is still a captivating and intriguing voice to Christians across the world,” he said.
Even non-Christians are drawn to Luther’s writing, Pless added, even though they don’t really understand what it’s all about.
The strong congress turnout also signals that “world Lutheranism is gearing up for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017,” Pless said. “It’s another reason to look forward to a very robust celebration of the anniversary in Wittenberg, Germany.”
Not so coincidentally, the next International Luther Congress is set for 2017 in Wittenberg.
Other LCMS leaders at the International Lutheran Congress included the Rev. Dr. Roland Ziegler of CTS; the Rev. Dr. Timothy Dost, the Rev. Dr. Erik Hermann, the Rev. Dr. Robert Kolb, the Rev. Dr. Paul Robinson, the Rev. Dr. Robert Rosin, the Rev. Dr. William Schumacher — all of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Dr. Christopher Brown, associate professor of Church History, Boston University; and the Rev. Jonathan Mumme, international tutor, Westfield House, Cambridge, England.
Kim Plummer Krull is a freelance writer and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.
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Luther Congress delegates listen to plans about the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Wittenberg, Germany, in 2017. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which the LCMS is not a member, has been making plans for the 2017 celebration, as have the German Protestant Churches. The 13th International Congress for Luther Studies will be held in Wittenberg, Germany, in 2017.
On of the emphases of the Luther 2017 celebration is that Luther and his message is for the entire world, not just one confession (i.e. Lutherans) or one people (Germans). In a broad sense this is true. The message of the Gospel that Luther proclaimed is for all people and is not limited to a nation or cultural group. The broad promotion of Luther tends toward minimizing confessional differences and glosses over the particular Lutheran Confession of Faith found in the Book of Concord.
One of the ways, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the churches in Germany decided to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation was to plant a Luthergarten in the shape of a Luther Rose. Each church body that participated, planted a tree in the name of the church with a Bible passage. The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod did participate in the Luthergarten. You can see the LCMS’ contribution here.
Species: Sorbus aria ‘Magnifica’ – ‘Mehlbeere’
Godfather: Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, United States of America
Planted by Reverend Samuel Nafzger
Bishop: Präsident Rev. Matthew Harrison
biblical vote: John 15, 5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
The LCMS through the International Luther Society of Wittenberg (ILSW) is planning a Luther study center and guest / welcome center in Wittenberg at the Old Latin School across from the City Church, where Luther preached (pictured above). It is hoped the center will be completed in time for the 2017 celebration. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) also has established a center in Wittenberg, called LWB-Zentrums.
Marta Lane and Rev. Jason Lane are with Dr. Prof. Oswald Bayer, one of the foremost Luther scholars alive today. The International Congress for Luther Studies provides the opportunity to visit and discuss Luther scholarship. Both Rev. Dr. Roland Zeigler of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and Rev. Jonathan Mumme of Westfield House in Cambridge, England, studied under Dr. Bayer.
Dr. Gerhard Bode from Concordia Seminary St Louis, Dr. Christopher Brown, Associate Professor of History at Boston University, LCMS church member and general editor to CPH’s Luther’s Works, and Dr. Albert Collver discuss Martin Luther’s doctrine of creation and his “heroic prayer” for Melanchthon.
Delegates listening to one of the final lectures at the 12th International Congress for Luther Studies.
The time in Helsinki at the 12th International Congress for Luther Studies has been very good and profitable. The conversation among scholars is very helpful in that the “topics” chosen for Luther research are a reflection of societal challenges. Luther scholars reach back into the writings of Martin Luther to seek enlightenment on contemporary issues. A popular word at the Luther Congress was “re-Contextualization.” As with the US Constitution and the Holy Scriptures, people tend toward different hermeneutical approaches to texts: such as a literal and historical reading to a revisionist approach that looks to what (in this case) Luther said in his day and ponders how he might have said it differently today. For instance, some hold to how the proper distinction between Law and Gospel was a major consideration for Luther’s approach, while others believe there are new and better paradigms to Law and Gospel, such as two kinds of righteousness. For example, Dr. Christine Helmer presented on “Teaching Theology with Luther.” She held that Luther’s distinction between Law and Gospel falls “flat footed” in the modern age. In contrast, Dr. Mark Mattes’ paper, “Luther’s Use of Philosophy,” held that the proper distinction between Law and Gospel governed Luther’s appropriation and use of philosophy. Dr. Mattes said,”At best, philosophy can function as a third use of the Law. At worst, it can destroy faith.”
The lectures, sectionals, and conversations were very stimulating and helpful for further thought and discussion.
– Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations on 10 August 2012 in Helsinki, Finland.
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