Archive for August 2013
On the way back to Abakan, we stopped at little villages so Pastor Pavel Zayakin could visit members of the church, especially those who had moved away from closer congregations due to economic reasons. Pastor Zayakin is the Prost, similar to the District President, of the Khakassia region.
We came to the village of Shira (Шира) to make the first visit to two women who had moved from another village. The village they moved from had collapsed economically, only about 100 people, mostly elderly, remain. The village of Shira (Шира) by comparison is a good place to live.
We visited another town, Tuim, for a home visit. The women were 84 and 85 years old and spoke Latvian and Russian. Their parents had been relocated from Latvia to Siberia but they had remained Lutheran their entire lives.
– Posted by Dr. Albert Collver from Moscow using BlogPress from my iPhone
Inside one of the caves, were cave paintings nearly 4,000 years old. The paintings on the wall represented human beings and a god with four eyes. The caves were discovered by Pyotr Proskuryakov in 1883. Animal bones were found inside the cave indicating that sacrifices had been made to the god in the past.
Nearby a cave that we came out of was some runic writing on the rock face. It was discovered in 1883 by Pyotr Proskuryakov’s expedition, but the runic script was not deciphered until the early 20th century. The runic script encoder a Turkish based language. The inscription reads: “I greet you Altu Shan, my state and my Han (prince). I am Agdam Enal. My people are Tersye. I have come down from the mountains and have found out .” A debate ensued among scholars regarding the name of Tersye. This is a Khakassia word of Turkish origin. This is from a Syriac word used to designate a Christian. Other Syriac words such as Mar for teacher appear in other texts. Kyrgyz people were Christian around the 7 – 10th centuries. Additional evidence for Christian roots can be found in Khakassia language, for instance the Tarcha River, literally means “the Christian River.” The name of this river comes from Tarcha Khyz. Khyz means young lady. According to Khakassian tales, Tarcha Khyz was the young woman who lead the Kyrgyz people in battle against the Mongolians. She was shot by an arrow and killed on the banks of the Tarcha River, hence it’s name. This legend goes back to the 10th century. The history of Christians in Khakassia ends with the Mongolian invasion. This invasion drove the people of Kyrgyz Kaganate (predecessors of Khakasian people) into Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. How did these people become Christian? Most likely by the Nestorians who were forced out of the Persian Empire onto the Great Step. They came to Khakassia as missionaries.
The Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church’s “Camp Between the Rivers” is structured after a Poligon, literally in English, a polygon. It has the practical sense of a training field or proving ground for soldiers or athletes. The camp is set up to train the hearts, minds, and bodies of young people to be Christians in this world, hence hiking, works of service, worship, study and camping.
Pastors Pavel Zayakin and Alexey Streltsov of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) hosted and accompanied (listed alphabetically) Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations; Rev. Randy Golter, Executive Director of the Office of International Mission; Rev. Daniel Johnson, Catechist to Siberia and Baltic churches; Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, LCMS Director of Theological Education and Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.
– Posted by Dr Albert Collver in Tuim, Russia using BlogPress from my iPhone
Working through the resolutions adopted by the 2013 convention, one or two stand out in importance above the others. You may have your own choices. Perhaps they will be the same as mine. But perhaps not.
Which is not to say that there are any that are unimportant. All are important to some of us–even those bylaw-change resolutions that go on and on about this and that in our life together. And some are important to all of us, as are many of the witness, mercy, and life together resolutions that often are passed with little or no discussion. And several are especially important for our Synod right now–those declaring church fellowship, or those addressing SMP/licensed deacon issues, or those addressing our Synod’s relationship with its schools.
But two in particular are at the top my list right now. My list was a list of one until listening to the news this past week. I added Res. 1-09A “To Prepare LCMS Congregations and Pastors for Defense of our Christian Faith.” Its first whereas paragraph strikes me as one of the most timely and important paragraphs adopted by the convention three weeks ago: “Christ foretold that Christians throughout the world will suffer persecutions for Christ’s name (John 16:33).” It brings to mind and prayer Egypt and those Coptic Christians burning to death in defense of their burning churches and their Christian faith. We watch from (for now) a safe distance, but we also know that such reaction to the Gospel, when running wild, would be no gentler or kinder on this side of the globe.
But my first choice for the “resolution of greatest moment” remains closer to home. It would be easy to overlook Res. 4-15 with an “Oh, that again” dismissal, but it addresses what can arguably be the most successful tool Satan has employed in years, if not centuries. If awards were distributed in the nether regions, this one at the root of the erosion of our once-Christian culture could claim first prize. It has had a history of success and is still going strong, now broadly accepted as foundational by a culture that is tearing our younger generations away from the faith of their fathers and mothers, helping to make it easy for many to casually set aside the practice of Christian faith and conscience.
Once the hypothesis of evolution as the maker of heavens and earth holds sway, calling into question the need for or existence of the Maker of all things, the rest of the Creator’s Word is easily relegated to the kingdom of preposterous and fantasy and make-believe. The Christian faith becomes, at best, shelved and, at worst, regarded as the enemy for the “anything goes” thinking that permeates our society.
Res. 4-15 “To Reaffirm Synod Position on Creation” says it so well: “[H]ypotheses of macro, organic, and Darwinian evolution, including theistic evolution or any othe rmodel denying special, immediate and miraculous creation, undercut …support for the honoring of life as a gift of God” and “continue[s] to undermine teachings on marriage, human sexuality, the value and dignity of all human life, and the conduct and ordering of human relationships in family and society that are in accordance with Scripture and natural law.” I would add that evolution undermines faith itself and any confidence that other miraculous teachings of Holy Scripture, including God’s saving grace in Christ, are also to be taken seriously.
Res. 4-15 calls on the CTCR to “continue and complete its current study on the relationship between science and theology, taking into account the concerns noted above about the detrimental effects of Darwinian views on marriage, family, and society.” This is important, of course, to set the record straight. I hope that the commission will also take into consideration Overture 5-13, which was placed in Omnibus Res. A (and referred to the Concordia University System) underscoring the importance of creation apologetics. We need help to do that better, lest we appear to have succumbed to this false teaching that permeates our schools and society. It’s important.
Next to the Organ Hall / Roman Catholic Church is the former rectory. Today it is “Music School No. 5” located on Decemberists Street, named after the revolutionaries in the 19th century who attempted to overthrow the Czar.
The city Krasnoyarsk is East of Tomsk and North East of Novosibirsk.
– Posted by Dr Albert Collver on 19 August 2013 using BlogPress from my iPhone
Today, the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) congregations in Angarsk and Chita worshiped together. these congregations are 700 miles apart (talk about circuit riding!). Siberia is a vast territory that makes it challenging for both pastor and congregation. This is the first time LCMS people have had the opportunity in a SELC congregation since the Missouri Synod ratified fellowship with the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) with Resolution 4-02, “To Endorse Altar and Pulpit Fellowship with the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church” at the 65th regular convention held in 20-25 July 2013.
When the Missouri Synod engages a church body in fellowship discussions both doctrine and practice are discussed. Worship is attended. How a church worships reflects what it believes. In other words, you cannot really know a church unless you see how they worship because that is where doctrine is implemented or put into practice.
When fellowship talks happen between the Missouri Synod and another church body doctrine is examined to see if there is agreement, practice is studied, church constitutions are looked at, and worship is attended. This is all part of the process for church fellowship.
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to visit the Angarsk and Chita congregations so soon after the Missouri Synod ratified fellowship with the SELC in the July 2013 convention.
We said our good byes, exchanged gifts and spoke of the day when we could all gather in Chita. Off to the train station for the next city.
– Posted on 18 August 2013 by Dr Albert Collver using BlogPress from my iPhone