But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
–1 Peter 2:9

Threats by North Koreans to attack neighboring countries and the United States prompted international debate about the rationality of North Korean leader, Kim Jung Un. Closer to home, the bombings in Boston prompted a similar discussion about the rationality of two young men, one a teenager, who attacked Boston Marathon participants–men, women and children. Senseless acts of violence.

Evil is senseless and afflicts society and confounds the Church. When evil produces outbursts such as those in Boston, Christians offer consolation to the victims, and more often than not, lament the acts as senseless and irrational. When evil afflicts the Church within, it often goes unnoticed. It grows and festers with impunity.

Less celebrated evil presents itself as sensible, even reasonable. This low-profile evil works quietly over time and finds a willing host where it can breed and grow. It may take years, even decades, to manifest itself. This evil, this evil that incubates within the host, is the most insidious and most dangerous.

The Church combats such evil by the faithful preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. The Word and Sacraments offer life to the Church when afflicted by evil within. Without such means, the Church surrenders to evil and rots and decays until it is no more a Church but a spiritual corpse.

Preaching Christ’s atoning work is the Church’s life-saving message for the world; its special calling. Anything else accommodates evil; tolerates the discomfort, and leaves the world without hope. This accommodation is sin at its worst for it not only is self-destructive, it is the manifestation of hopelessness.

Evil will remain until our Lord returns in glory. Whether evil explodes on the world or resides dormant within, it is the Church that offers the sure and certain final victory. Let the Church carry out its work faithfully that sinners would be brought to life, delivered from evil, and from sin, death, and hell.

May God in Christ bless and keep the Church. Amen.

Gregory Williamson
LCMS Chief Mission Officer