On Fire for Christ!

cartoon-man-on-fireSometimes the Lutheran Church is accused of not being very missional. We’re solid when it comes to doctrine—justification by grace through faith alone—but when it comes to mission, well, we’re about as clueless as a synod in convention. Or so the thinking goes.

But do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? How can you have pure doctrine, yet no concern for the lost? That doesn’t even make sense. If your doctrine’s pure, you’ll care deeply about missions. If you don’t care about Christ’s mission, impure doctrine’s the least of your worries. You aren’t even a Christian!

We have these clowns running around the LCMS today—Luther called them schwermeri—usually today they call themselves the “missional” crowd. This “missional” designation is used over and against the so-called “confessional” pastors—those pastors who stubbornly cling to those irrelevant doctrines from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away: the 16th century Lutheran Confessions. 

Now before we expose this missional nonsense for the work of Satan that it is, we need to remember that just because they’re doing the work of Satan doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing it on purpose or even know they’re doing it. I know a bunch of these guys. They’re all Christians, they care deeply for the lost, and they’re usually really nice people.

The problem with the missionals is they act like bringing people to faith in Christ is our job, even if they don’t say they believe that. When we aren’t getting results, that’s a sign we aren’t doing it right and need to make the Word a little more appealing. As a seminary professor once told my class, he’d put on an orange jumpsuit and play the banjo if that’s what it took to bring people to Jesus.

To think we can bring people to Jesus is to neither understand what it means to be conceived and born in sin, nor the commandments, which expose how deeply we hate God. Missionals think it’s possible to make Christianity attractive, when in fact the Word of the cross is folly to the natural mind. To make Christianity appealing is to preach something other than Christianity.

So they throw away some of the best gifts the Church has for mission, Her liturgy and hymnody. These treasures are absolutely saturated with God’s Word and instill the faith like nothing else in the world. But the liturgy isn’t attractive enough, so they throw it in the trash.

If only we understood how deeply we hate God, it would come as no surprise that anything that reeks of God’s Word as badly as the liturgy wouldn’t exactly be popular. So they opt for services and songs which are a little more worldly and a lot less doctrinal. In their effort to reach the lost, they end up watering down the Gospel—the very means by which the Holy Spirit brings about conversion—and replacing it with spiritual GMOs.

It’s not hard to fall into the trap of thinking we need to help the Holy Spirit out. Preaching the Gospel in its truth and purity and administering the Sacraments in accord with Christ’s institution’s a good first step, but surely there’s more to God’s mission than that?

I mean, just look at the results. There’s a lot more room in the pews these days than there used to be. How many congregations have found themselves in a rut—same old, same old—week after week? Instead of being on fire for Christ, the only thing that’s ablaze is the church’s finances.

Incidentally, this whole language of “being on fire for Christ” couldn’t be any less helpful. It puts the burden of conversion on the person and work of the self, rather than where it belongs, on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

When things are Ablaze!™ in Holy Scripture, it’s not a good thing. The Bible uses “ablaze” language to refer to the judgment of the wicked, to the coming Day that will reduce the arrogant and evildoers to stubble. It’s common sense, really: being on fire isn’t a good thing, and Jesus doesn’t want pyromaniacs for disciples.

God’s Word always accomplishes its purposes. The problem isn’t with the efficacy of the Word, it’s with our false expectations. Think back to what Christ taught in the parable of the Sower—all the Sower is concerned about is getting the Seed out there. He’s not particularly concerned about where it falls, so He just throws it everywhere. Granted it’s not the best farming method, but when it comes to grace, God isn’t exactly concerned with efficiency. The Sower doesn’t sit around worrying about the yield of His labors. Most of the time, the Word falls upon deaf ears and stony hearts and gets snatched up, scorched, or strangled.

Now it’s only that we would want a good crop after doing all of that planting, but that’s not in our hands. Our job is to plant faithfully and leave the growth to God. Even if we don’t get any harvest at all, that’s still no excuse to start using genetically modified seed. Satan would have us measure success by numbers and money, not faithfulness. We’ve been given to teach the Word of God in its truth and purity, and to just keep sowing it no matter what. That’s how God’s mission works.

Maybe that’s why the missionals have no use for the confessions, even if they pay lip service to them. Our confessions tell the truth. God’s Word works when and where He wills. If we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him, then neither can we by our own reason or strength bring others to Jesus Christ. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.

There is no promise that money and success will follow faithful preaching, and if our Lord’s example is any indication, it’ll usually result in the opposite.

The way of the cross is a narrow way, and our Lord prepares the faithful by telling them how vehemently the world will hate them. He says the hour’s coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. If you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t expect lots of people and money. When you see those things, more often than not, something is seriously wrong.

So what about those jewels of dead orthodoxy we call the Lutheran Confessions? Are they really all doctrine and no mission? The question itself is flawed. It sets God’s doctrine up as if it were a hindrance to His own mission.

God’s mission is at the heart of the Church’s confession:

“Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. People are feely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight,” (Augsburg Confession, V).

That is God’s mission. The salvation of wicked sinners by His grace through faith. Justification is both a doctrine and God’s mission at the same time.

But how does God justify sinners? That’s exactly the next question the Augsburg Confession answers:

“So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given. He works faith, when and where it pleases God, in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake,” (Augsburg Confession, V).

God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies—He accomplishes God’s mission of justifying sinners—through the preaching of Christ crucified for your sin, and by giving you Christ’s grace-filled Sacraments.

And that’s why we ought to support faithful missionaries like Pastor Askins. He’s not interested in being Jesus’ PR guy and helping Him improve His image or smoothing out the jagged edges of God’s Word. He’s content to preach, baptize, absolve, and commune sinners faithfully, and leave the results in God’s hands. Hong Kong may be a very different context than the United States, but if he is at all involved in the mission of God, the essence of his work will be the same as it is wherever the Church is found.

The people of Asia need the Gospel just as badly as we do in our congregations. When people don’t come, it’s not our job to bend over backward and beg them. Our Lord never shoved the Gospel down the throats of those who didn’t want it.

Jesus once told a parable about this. He said a man once gave a great banquet and invited many. But those to whom the invitation went out didn’t want it. They had more important things to do. But the Master didn’t beg them to come. Instead, He became angry and started inviting the poor and the crippled and the blind and the lame, not to mention those on the highways and hedges. As for those who were originally invited, Jesus says, none of them will taste His banquet.

Jesus warned His disciples that they would be rejected by many. When that happens, He says, shake the dust off your feet at them.

Not everyone wants to hear the Gospel. Even in the Church we can take God’s Word for granted. This is something we need to be aware of and guard against. The Holy Spirit isn’t interested in sitting around and waiting for an ungrateful people. Luther once said,

“O my beloved Germans, buy while the market is at your door; gather in the harvest while there is sunshine and fair weather; make use of God’s grace and word while it is there! For you should know that God’s word and grace is like a passing shower of rain which does not return where it has once been. It has been with the Jews, but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have nothing. Paul brought it to the Greeks; but again when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the Turk. Rome and the Latins also had it; but when it’s gone it’s gone, and now they have the pope. And you Germans need not think that you will have it forever, for ingratitude and contempt will not make it stay,” (To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools, LW 45:352–3).

God grant us His Holy Spirit so that we cling to the pure doctrine of the Gospel and support its proclamation here and throughout the world.

Soli Deo Gloria

Learn more about Pr. Askins’ work and give securely online at lcms.org/askins

+Rev. Eric Andersen
Mission Observance, 2015: “On Fire for Christ!”
Zion, Summit
Immanuel, Hodgkins
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Around the Word Bible Studies


Comments

On Fire for Christ! — 25 Comments

  1. “Sometimes the Lutheran Church is accused of not being very missional…. But do you have any idea how ridiculous that is?”

    As noted in the November 19-20, 2015, LCMS BOD Minutes, in Section 166. President’s State of the Synod Report, the 6th bullet on p. 125:

    “The Evangelism Department is producing resources for a revitalized effort to help train laity and clergy to do evangelism, something not available per se [in itself] for decades. The growth of other religious groups during these times suggests that the Synod also should be able to experience some success.”

    Also the 5th bullet on p. 126:

    “The new model for missionary funding, with called missionaries raising 75% of their support prior to entering the field, is working very well, in part enabling the Synod to reach its goal of doubling the number of its foreign missionaries since the 2013 convention.”

  2. Just so you know, in the evangelical world, “On fire!” is synonymous often with exhibition of pentecostal/charistmatic-ish emotionalism. Essentially, if you’re not coming to church or taking on missions with the enthusiasm (!) of a first-day Amway salesman, you’re not “On Fire!” for God, and you need to check whether or not you’re really saved–I’m not kidding.

    There are two hopelessly sad things about this approach. First, there is nothing in Scripture about us being “On fire” for God in the sense of exuberance exercised in every single moment of all things related to Christianity. To be sure, there will be times when our Christian walk will be marked with points of emotion, but emotion is an incidental aside, not a central focal point. Nor is it even to be treated as a “fruit checking” point. That’s like saying I’m not a good husband because I’m not getting weepy about my wife every time I see her or talk to her. Anybody with half a brain should see the absurdity of such a thought.

    Furthermore, to concentrate on an extroverted passion leads to problems on several levels. It places exuberance over and above sound doctrine. It makes Christianity more about the presentation than the content (megachurch CoWo, anybody?). It enslaves people to the perception given by others (If I’m not involved in something mission-related, I’m a bad Christian). It ultimately burns people out by turning them in on themselves in order to keep manifesting emotional passion (see Charles Finney and his horrid revivalism). And it does more damage than anything else.

    You want to see missionalism in its true sense, pastors? Simple: TEACH THE DOCTRINE OF VOCATION. Period. When I read about this doctrine, it was like a light going off. It was “Hey! This is how God wants me to live my faith out in my life and bear witness to the truth in a way that is immediate and relevant to my life!” It’s as obvious a way to love your neighbor and have opportunities to bear witness for the gospel as anybody could ask for.

    Vocation, vocation, vocation. Bring it back to the forefront of Christian living, my Lutheran brethren. For it’s in this that you will see real Christian outreach.

  3. From the LCMS web site:
    “A Theological Statement for Mission in the 21st Century
    The apostles testified to Witness (martyria), Mercy (diakonia), Life Together (koinonia) in the apostolic Church. An example of this can be found in Gal. 2:7, 9-10. The apostles divided up the task of proclamation (witness) to the circumcised and the uncircumcised. The apostles remembered the poor (mercy). The apostles extended the right hand of fellowship (life together).”
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “But do you have any idea how ridiculous that is? How can you have pure doctrine, yet no concern for the lost? That doesn’t even make sense. If your doctrine’s pure, you’ll care deeply about missions.” Does pure doctrine have some kind of effect on human motivation? Does knowing what is right enable us to want to do it or to do it?
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “Luther called them schwermeri—usually today they call themselves the “missional” crowd.” Luther called them “Schwärmer,” a difficult to translate word, usually rendered in English as, “Enthusiasts,” but closer in meaning to “dreamers”, “people of unbridled imagination.” Luther and other Reformers objected to the notion these people believed that they received God’s revelation directly, in the way the authors of Holy Scripture did, rather than through means, i.e. the Word and the Sacraments.
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “The problem with the missionals is they act like bringing people to faith in Christ is our job, even if they don’t say they believe that.” I am not certain that they deny the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion; I suspect they simply mean that “witnessing” (martyria) is our job.
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “So they throw away some of the best gifts the Church has for mission, Her liturgy and hymnody.” That is indeed a grave mistake. On the other hand, our use of these gifts is almost exclusively in the life of our churches, koinonia. I suspect that martyria involves more preaching of Law and Gospel. Performing the liturgy for the unconverted is pointless, since they cannot receive communion.
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “Incidentally, this whole language of “being on fire for Christ” couldn’t be any less helpful. It puts the burden of conversion on the person and work of the self, rather than where it belongs, on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.” I suspect the language originates with the oft repeated (even in our churches) Pentecost prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and set them on fire with your love.” This prayer, originating in the RC Church, shows the kind of misunderstanding of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit about which Hermann Sasse wrote when he approvingly quoted a colleague, “The doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran Church.”
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “He’s not particularly concerned about where it falls, so He just throws it everywhere.” Our Lord certainly knew that the people of Israel lived precariously on the edge of hunger all the time. A sower would be careful to throw the seed where it would have the best chance to flourish, and waste as little as possible. Our Lord’s injunction about “shaking off the dust” bears witness to that.
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “Maybe that’s why the missionals have no use for the confessions, even if they pay lip service to them. Our confessions tell the truth. God’s Word works when and where He wills. If we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him, then neither can we by our own reason or strength bring others to Jesus Christ. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 10:14, “And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Maybe the ”missionals” are concerned that if the auditorium is empty, the Holy Spirit has nobody to work on?
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies—He accomplishes God’s mission of justifying sinners—through the preaching of Christ crucified for your sin, and by giving you Christ’s grace-filled Sacraments.” God gives us His Holy Spirit in Baptism. He comes once, and stays until we enter the Kingdom of Heaven, provided we do not commit the Sin against the Holy Spirit. So then the Kingdom does not come to us, but God brings us into the Kingdom by being born again. The Greek verb, which is translated as “come”, when used metaphorically, means “to flourish”, “to increase,” which is what we pray for when we pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” By “you” I assume are meant members of a Christian congregation, since others may not participate in the sacraments. But what happened to martyria? Is that not how God’s Kingdom increases?
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “The people of Asia need the Gospel just as badly as we do in our congregations.” This is a classic confusion of martyria and koinonia. Our congregations are made up of believers, who need the continued proclamation of the pure Gospel and the correct administration of the sacraments to sustain their faith. Those in Asia need the witness of Law and Gospel through which the Holy Spirit will bring them into the Kingdom. By ignoring the needs of those who have nothing, we justify using our resources for ourselves, even when we have in abundance.
    From “On Fire for Christ”: “God grant us His Holy Spirit so that we cling to the pure doctrine of the Gospel and support its proclamation here and throughout the world.” Sasse also wrote, “We seek Him where He is not, and where He is, we do not seek Him,” or words to that effect. God has granted each one of us His Holy Spirit. He will not grant “more” Holy Spirit. What we should pray for is that the Holy Spirit would soften our hearts to have pity on those in need, both of the pure Word of God (martyria) or of help to survive in this world (diakonia).
    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  4. A few things.
    1. I hope that you’ve had extensive conversations with those raising the missional banner prior to you posting this.
    2. How do we weigh this against the fact that we are the Church on earth and all have spots on the team? Are we not called to go, follow Christ, and make disciples of all nations?

  5. @Tyler Schlitzkus #4

    1.) as an ex-evangelical, I have spent firsthand time with those who push the “On Fire!” rhetoric. What I’m hearing here is no different.

    2.) Again: TEACH THE DOCTRINE OF VOCATION. Why is it that Lutheranism, which has brought this doctrine back to light, seems to be undergoing a bout of amnesia about vocation? Vocation answers the questions that missionals ask. Plain and simple.

  6. @J. Dean #5

    I am pleased to see the comments on vocation introduced just prior to this comment and so I will comment further. In my life observations the doctrine of vocation has not been taught in the LCMS for decades, with the exception of some orthodox pastors, but not nearly enough to make it a reasonable dent in corporate knowledge and practice. Personally, I have been a LCMS Lutheran since 1961 and never heard of this doctrine until about 2001 or so, even after many moves around the country. Take note that CLCC offers an excellent all day seminar on this topic.

    My point in bringing this up is my other observation; it is most frustrating to try to do personal evangelism if you don’t understand vocation. There is no other real alternative to doing what the Lord has asked us to do, i.e. sow the seeds with abandon, without this knowledge. This knowledge also allows us (think gives us the freedom) to sow without being worried about our personal performance and results. This my friends is real empowerment.

    I am anxiously awaiting to see what Synod itself will come up with to replace prior efforts going back to the early 70’s with Evangelism Explosion, etc., to the present. It seems Synod has tried all the wrong ways to do it so perhaps, just perhaps, they will see the error of their ways and do it the right way this time, based on Scripture and vocation.

  7. @Tyler Schlitzkus #4

    Are we not called to go, follow Christ, and make disciples of all nations?

    I have been told that the “Go” in that passage is better translated “as you go” [about your daily business…your vocation] let it be evident in your life that you follow Christ and so be a witness to others.

    Some are called to make discipleship their vocation. “Everyone” is not so called, any more than everyone on the football team is a quarterback! But they all play, in their own positions.

  8. @Tyler Schlitzkus #4

    Hi Tyler,
    Please listen to Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller on Issues, Etc. Last week he had a great discussion with Rev. Wilken about the so-called ‘Great Commission’ and its’ horrible misreading by American Evangelicals and at times, Missouri Synod Lutherans. As Helen said, the ‘Go’ in Matthew 28 means ‘as you go’ about your daily life, as in your VOCATION as husband, wife, sister, brother, etc. These verses first and foremost are the Words of Institution for Holy Baptism and alongside of that there are the doctrines of the two natures of Christ, the Trinity, and the Office of Holy Ministry. How do we make disciples? The Church makes disciples by BAPTIZING AND TEACHING.

    In Christ,
    Diane

  9. “On Fire” = “The Ablaze Movement”
    The first thought that entered my mind when I think of being on fire.

  10. Thank you for this post.
    I’ve noticed that the pertinent citation in the Augsburg Confession is Article 5 Paragraph 2.
    “Five Two” the right way.

  11. I’m curious as to how you would label Paul then? 1 Cor. 9:19-23 sounds like it would fall under your (unintentional on their part) heresy definition of “missional”. Is there a place of “middle ground” here? I agree that we cannot “bring others to Christ.” But, it is my part of my calling to bring Christ to others. And, if “wearing an orange jumpsuit while playing the banjo” (poorly in my case because I don’t know how to play it) would help in that endeavor, I’d figure out a way to do it.

  12. @Rev. Daniel Ross #12

    And, if “wearing an orange jumpsuit while playing the banjo”… would help in that endeavor, I’d figure out a way to do it.

    But, why would you believe that making a spectacle of yourself would help anyone to know about Christ!? [Like “liturgical dancing”] it seems to be “all about ME”.

    [See Lutheran Satire]

    What about Paul? When he was among Jews he emphasized his Jewish lineage. When he was among Gentiles, he didn’t.

    When you find a group addicted to orange jumpsuits and playing the banjo (badly) perhaps you might want to join in. (Until you taught them better?)
    But that is way different than teaching them to play the banjo (badly) (and dress worse)… and pretending it has anything to do with getting to know Christ.

  13. @helen #13

    Helen, I think you’re missing my point. All I am saying is that if I believed doing something that was not sinful would help me bring Christ to somebody, that would (dare I say?) aid in witnessing both the Law and Gospel to that person, I would try to do it if it were in my means. It would be no different then people who go into bars to try and bring Christ to those who might never step into a church.

  14. @Rev. Daniel Ross #14

    Paul knew well that you can only “win more for Christ” by using means that have catechetical value. You cannot accomplish this by wearing an orange jumpsuit and playing the banjo (entertainment), mercy work, etc. Even when Paul became as a Jew to the Jews or a Greek to the Greeks, he still understood that the content of the proclamation was the main thing. Without it, you’re only confirming pagans in their paganism. Christianity is offensive to the Old Adam on every level (whether it’s the damning Law or the beggars’ Gospel). God doesn’t need us to help Him make His message more appealing, and if we do, it’s no longer God’s message that we’re preaching.

  15. @Rev. Daniel Ross #14

    It would be no different than people who go into bars to try and bring Christ to those who might never step into a church.

    You know someone who claims to do mission work in a bar? How well did it work?
    Christ is received through the “means of grace”, not just the Word, (which you might speak in a bar) but Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which, as far as I can tell, are sorely lacking in “club” ministries.

  16. @helen #16
    Dear helen,
    In fact, some of my best mission work is in the local tavern, I do enjoy a Lutheran Beverage with my fellow man. You would be suprised how many hurting souls are in there.

    Christ is received through Grace, and it is a work of the Holy Spirit in all that. You can never ever say, the Holy Spirit “may” be at work in someone, then we come along and deliver the goods (so to speak).

    It is ALL God’s Grace, but we are there, in season (out), at all times to give witness when able.

  17. @Pastor Prentice #17

    Dear helen,
    In fact, some of my best mission work is in the local tavern, I do enjoy a Lutheran Beverage with my fellow man. You would be suprised how many hurting souls are in there.

    Oh, I can believe that part, Pastor. But I would imagine that you would sooner or later invite them to church… or they might come.

    It was the bit about “might never set foot in a church” which I was meaning to comment on.

  18. @Pastor Eric Andersen #15

    Could you elaborate on how you cannot “win more for Christ” through “mercy work?” I’m very curious as to what you mean by that or define it. That would seem to be the exact opposite of what happened in the early church (going the extra mile, staying to tend to victims of the plague, etc.). So, please, expand on that if you could?

  19. @helen #16

    Helen, quite a few, even some of my own laity. And, back in my college days, I did, also. There are a lot of broken hurting people who crave the numbing effects of alcohol. The harvest is ripe there. People without hope that need to hear the life saving Gospel that God loves them. At some point is there an invitation to come to church to learn more? Yes, of course, don’t be absurd, I was never suggesting that. But, I am sure you are familiar with Romans 10:14. There are lots of people in the United States who would never set foot in a church unless somebody witnessed to them. They include not only atheists, but also people who are members of a false religion. I’m not expecting your average Buddhist to come walking through my doors unprompted. Could it happen? Yes, just like George Clooney could show up some Sunday. Is it likely? that if nobody witnessed to that person that they would show up to “learn more?” Maybe a few percentage points higher than George Clooney ever showing up. But, still to this day the number one human factor for somebody coming to a church that is unchurched/dechurched is a personal invite.

  20. @Pastor Eric Andersen #15

    God doesn’t need us to help Him make His message more appealing, and if we do, it’s no longer God’s message that we’re preaching.

    I’m not so sure.  God does need us to avoid making His message unappealing. Please see

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/01/paging-rev-dr-matthew-harrison/comment-page-3/#comment-1079998

    “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” 1 Thess 5

    Christmas Blessings, Pr Andersen

  21. @Rev. Daniel Ross #20

    At some point is there an invitation to come to church to learn more? Yes, of course, don’t be absurd, I was never suggesting that.

    Thank you for clarifying!

    Considering some of the [absurd] things going on in “Missouri” today,
    I need meanings spelled out to be sure .

  22. @Rev. Daniel Ross #19

    Mercy work isn’t the Gospel. That fact does undermine the necessity of mercy work (or even the fact that it may open up doors to sharing the Gospel), but neither does that work bring about saving faith. What’s more, helping those in need can (and is) often done apart from faith in Christ, so it’s not like this is a uniquely Christian activity.

    @John Rixe #21

    I don’t think we disagree. We are neither to make the Gospel more nor less appealing. God calls us to be faithful.

  23. @helen #18
    Dear Helen,
    Yes, I may go out and talk, I may help a person out, I may love a person, I may do good works; that is what we do as faithful Christians…and to Pastor Andersen, the Gospel drives me to do all this, mercy works included…albeit I fail to do it well.

    In the end, all I can do is invite someone to “come and see” what the Lord provides in Word and Sacrament. And it only works when the Holy Spirit does urge them to
    “go in and see”.

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