From Christopher C. Barnekov, PhD
Ph. (260) 399-6565
[April 8, 2015]
The Swedish-Language Finnish paper, HBL, reports today that the Church of Finland has defrocked five CoF pastors who have been serving congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. CoF bishops had threatened such action in 2013, and CoF did defrock three leaders of ELMDF, including Bishops Matti Väisänen and Risto Soramies and Dean Juhana Pohjola. This is the first time CoF has defrocked pastors simply for serving ELMDF congregations.
ELMDF was formed in March 2013 by Confessional Lutherans distressed by the CoF’s abandonment of Confessional Lutheran teachings and practice.
The five pastors targeted are Sakari Korpinen, Miika Nieminen (pastor of the congregation in Pori), Anssi Simojoki (pastor of the congregation in Laitila), Markku Sumiala and Martti Vaahtoranta (pastor of the congregation in Rauma). The action was taken by the Consistory of Turku (Åbo) Diocese.
Report in HBL.fi (in Swedish):
Previous report of CoF threats against Confessional pastors:
English-language webpage of ELMDF:
The April 2015 issue of the Journal of Lutheran Mission is a special edition published outside of the regularly scheduled editions. The April 2015 edition features an introduction by President Harrison and a classic piece of Lutheran missiology titled, “The Lutheran Church Plants Lutheran Mission,” by Friedrich Wilhelm Hopf translated by Deaconess Rachel Mumme and Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison.
Hopf presents three basic missiological sentences:
1. The Lutheran Church can only do Lutheran mission.
2. Lutheran mission can only be done by the Lutheran church.
3. Lutheran mission must lead to a Lutheran church.
The essay presents the idea that seems self-evident but isn’t always present in practice that the goal of Lutheran mission is to lead to Lutheran churches. Although a variety of mission strategies can be used to reach people, some of which might have intermediate goals such as human care, English as a second language, education, as long as the ultimate goal is to plant a Lutheran church, or to strengthen an existing Lutheran church (in the case of a partner church).
This piece is a thoughtful piece worth the read.
You can see the article below or download it from the following link:
A Sermon for Good Friday 2015
But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
We’ve all been there, and if you haven’t yet, you will be. I’m speaking, of course, of the deathbed of a loved one.
A few weeks ago, I was visiting a dear friend in the hospital with some brother pastors. We were there to sing hymns for our beloved professor, and it was great visit. But as we were leaving his room, a woman about my age came up and quietly asked whether we might be able to come to her mother’s room and sing there as well. So we did. Her mother was ninety-two. She was frail and unconscious, clearly nearing the end. And there at her deathbed, she was surrounded by her many children and grandchildren. The family was all there. And so was Jesus. You see, Jesus takes care of his family.
St. John is the only writer to record this intimate account of Jesus caring for his mother. The only other place where Mary is mentioned in John’s Gospel is at the very beginning, at the wedding at Cana, where she is alerted to the impending shortage of wine and tells Jesus, who replies: “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” And yet Mary tells the wine stewards in faith: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:4). You see, Mary knew that Jesus takes care of his family.
Mary knew that from the very beginning, when the angel spoke into her ears the incredible news of a child to be conceived in her womb by the power of the Most High, a child who would be called “holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). And Mary’s faith received those words from the Lord, and the Son of God was thereby conceived in her womb. As we confess of Jesus,
“. . . conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate
was crucified, died and was buried . . .” (Apostles’ Creed)
You see, Mary also knew of the pain that would come to her infant son. For at Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple at forty days old, Old Man Simeon had prophesied: “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel . . . and a sword will pierce through your own soul also . . .” (Luke 2:34–35).
Here, at Calvary, when Jesus’ hour had finally come, that “dagger to the heart” came to Mary also, as she beheld the son she once cradled in her arms—now beaten, mocked, and crucified as a common criminal, bleeding, and dying in agony. Yet, in the midst of all of that, Jesus took care of his family.
And Jesus takes care of you, too. For Mary and the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” are a picture of you and me, a picture of Christ’s holy church, his family. “I will not leave you as orphans,” Jesus promised his disciples (John 14:18). And he has not left you abandoned and alone in your sin. He has not left you alone to face death. He will not leave you alone at the deathbed of your loved one. And he will not leave you alone at own deathbed. For Jesus has already passed through death, for you. By his death and resurrection, Jesus has swallowed up death forever in victory (Is. 25:8; 1 Cor. 15:54). And through your Baptism, you have been buried with him into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, you too might walk in newness of life. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Rom. 6:4–5).
Jesus takes care of his family. As he took care of Mary and John at the foot of the cross, so also takes care of you and me, His Church. For “that same heart which began to beat in Mary’s womb and had been silenced on the cross, once again began to beat in that cold dark tomb, and it still beats to this very day. It still beats for you and me” (O.P. Kretzmann).
As we prepare to celebrate the Holy Triduum, I want to share the writing that appears in the Treasury of Daily Prayer for today. C.F.W. Walther writes the following and it is a great piece to read on this day.
The apostle [Paul] wishes to say: Consider, beloved Christians, that when you receive the blessed cup and the blessed bread, each one partakes of the body and blood of Christ; they are both common to all of you. You come into body-and-blood fellowship with one another. For just as many grains become one bread, so in the Holy Supper, you, though you are many, become one Body, one mass, because you are partakes of the one bread and with it one and the same body and blood of Christ.
Because of the presence and participation of the body of Christ, the Holy Supper is a meal of the most intimate fellowship and, therefore, at the same time, the highest love-meal. Just as fervent love is demanded, so fervent love is delivered. We all come together, as children of the same family, to the table of our common, heavenly Father. As great as the distinction between communicants in civic life may be, in the Holy Supper all distinctions evaporate. We are all the same, in that we each eat the same earthly and heavenly bread and drink the same earthly and heavenly drink. In this Meal, the subject and his king, the slave and his master, the beggar and the rich, the child and the old man, the wife and the husband, the simple and the learned, truly all communicants stand as the same poor sinners and beggars, hungry and thirsty for grace. Although one may appear in a rough apron while another in velvet and satin, adorned with gold and pearls, when they depart, all take with them that for which they hunger and thirst: Christ’s blood and righteousness as their beauty and glorious dress. No one receives a better food and better drink than the other. All receive the same Jesus, and with Him, the same righteousness.
From Treasury of Daily Prayer © 2008 Concordia Publishing House,www.cph.org. Used by permission.
Dr. Robert Bugbee, President of Lutheran Church Canada (LCC), explains how the LCC until 1988 was a district of the Missouri Synod. In 1854, the Missouri Synod had its first congregation in Canada. The mission work in Canada expanded so rapidly that the Missouri Synod created the Ontario District in 1879. In 1988, the LCC became an autonomous, self-governing church body. Since that time, the LCC and the LCMS work together closely. In recent years, the LCC and LCMS have engaged in cooperative mission work in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Cambodia. The LCC also does mission work in the Ukraine.
President Bugbee, Dr. Albert Collver, Rev. Ted Krey met to hear an update about the LCC and their mission work, and to discuss joint LCC and LCMS work in Latin America. Since 1997, the LCC has been engaged in mission work in Nicaragua. In 2008, the Iglesia Luterana Synod de Nicaragua (ILSN) was founded. In May 2014, The LCMS and Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC) signed a protocol agreement May 13 in Chinandega, Nicaragua, with the Lutheran Church—Synod of Nicaragua (Iglesia Luterana Sinodo de Nicaragua, or ILSN) that allows for an expansion of mission work in the Central American country. The agreement outlines how the LCMS, LCC and ILSN will communicate, coordinate and work together in this mission endeavor. The agreement is not altar and pulpit fellowship, but a working understanding on how the three parties will interact. The meeting in Winnipeg, Canada, was to discuss the cooperative work of the LCC and the LCMS.
Pictured: Rev. Theodore Krey, LCMS Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean; Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, President of the Lutheran Church of Canada; Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations; Deaconess Cherie Auger, missionary to Nicaragua / Honduras; Rev. Edward Auger, missionary to Nicaragua / Honduras; Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, LCC Director of Missions & Social Ministry Services.
Dr. Neitzel and Rev. Auger discuss the work in Nicaragua and Honduras. The Augers are LCMS missionaries who are seconded to the LCC for their work in Latin America. The three-way agreement between the LCC-LCMS-ILSN provided the framework for this joint work.
President Robert Bugbee gives his greetings to his brothers and sisters in Christ from the LCMS.
Both the LCC and the LCMS thank the Lord for our close relationship and we pray that the Lord of the harvest would bless our joint work together around the world.
—Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations