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Posts Tagged ‘ELS’

“Engaging Families With Jesus”: ELS Convention Essay

One of the highlights of the ELS Convention each year is the essay, which focuses on some particular doctrine or practice of the church. This year’s essay, connected to the overall vision statement of the synod, “Engage Others With Jesus,” was entitled “Engage Families With Jesus.”  Essayist Rev. Donald Moldstad, chaplain of Bethany Lutheran College, presents the home as “Heaven’s Little Embassy” here on earth. Moldstad does an excellent job at showing that the home is a place where evangelism takes place, as parents bring their children to be baptized, and train and nourish them in their faith through regular   More…

What is Objective Justification?

October 14th, 2012 159 comments

What is justification? For Lutherans, the central teaching of the Bible is justification by faith apart from the works of the law. The classic expression of this doctrine is found in Article IV of the Augsburg Confession, “Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely 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, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins.  This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight.   More…

Marriage and Natural Law

September 28th, 2012 32 comments

During its annual convention in June 2012, the ELS resolved that “our members be alerted to this recent challenge” to the Biblical teaching on marriage (the “preferential treatment given to those who live together outside of marriage due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”) and “be encouraged to remain steadfast in their commitment to the institution of marriage of one man and one woman as established by God in Holy Scripture and natural law” (Report of the 95th Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, p. 88). In basing the institution of marriage of one man and one woman   More…

Steadfast at Camp

A recent edition of Rock Center with Brian Williams featured hilarious selections from the book, “P.S. I Hate It Here!: Kids’ Letters from Camp” by Diane Falanga. In this book, kids are brutally honest about their summer camp experience. You may read excerpts here. Similarly, the sainted Gerhard Forde once wrote of his childhood experience at Bible Camp, “I recall vividly once in my young life going to a Bible Camp with its campfire meetings at which there were all sorts of ‘goings-on’ which were strange to the son of an Old Synod parish- emotional songs which I had never   More…

ELS Convention Update

On Sunday, June 17, the 95th annual convention of the ELS began in traditional fashion, with an afternoon Synod Sunday service, following the “Bugenhagen” order of service, also known as the Danish-Norwegian rite of 1685. It was chanted in a vibrato tenor, typical of pastors of Scandinavian descent. This was followed by a picnic, forced indoors by threat of rain. The late afternoon was highlighted by musical performances of Norwegian folk songs and folk dancing at a replica pioneer log cabin. The proceedings of the convention, starting Monday morning, have brought us out of our idealized past and into these   More…

Steadfast ELS — Confess and Defend

The 95th annual convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) is fast upon us. It will begin with “Synod Sunday” services and a picnic (our conventions are like a big family reunion) on the Bethany Lutheran College campus on June 17 (ELS conventions always begin on Father’s Day) and will continue through Thursday, June 21. At last year’s convention, the ELS adopted the vision statement, “In the next five years we will learn to engage others more faithfully with Jesus” (Synod Report, p. 113, goal 7). This statement is often abbreviated in the four-word phrase “engage others with Jesus,” just   More…

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Unity in Worship

         There was a time in the not so distant past when one could step into any Lutheran church in the United States on Sunday morning and know what to expect: the familiar common order of service.  Now this is no longer the case. Even within various Lutheran denominations one can no longer expect that the service will be the same from congregation to congregation.  This is true even within the confessional and conservative synods.  It is especially true in home mission congregations. A memorial was brought before the ELS at convention in 2010 urging our Board for Home Missions   More…

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The Catechism — Learning God’s Word by Heart

Training in God’s Word begins at home.  With this in mind, Luther wrote this heading before each part of the Catechism, “In the plain form in which the head of the family shall teach them to his household” (ELS Catechism 2001 Explanation, p. 13). Teaching and learning the words of the catechism is to take place at home.  In confirmation class and Sunday school, the pastor and teachers are assisting the parents with the task God has given to them. God has entrusted parents with the task of teaching their children God’s Word. “You shall teach them diligently to your   More…

Steadfast ELS — It is written.

Gegraptai, “it is written.”  This was the motto found on the seal of the old Norwegian Synod.  It has served as the byline for the Lutheran Sentinel, the official monthly publication for the laity of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, for many decades. The predecessor publication of the Lutheran Sentinel, the Evangelisk Luthersk Kirketidende was begun as a weekly paper in 1874.  Following the reorganization of the synod, an editorial committee consisting of Pastors G.A. Gullixson, J.A. Moldstad, and H.A. Preus was elected in 1919. (Today the grandson of G.A. Gullixson, Ted Gullixson, is the Sentinel editor and J.A. Moldstad the   More…

Steadfast ELS — Contending for the Faith

February 26th, 2012 21 comments

It is an honor to be asked to add the occasional ELS perspective to the Steadfast Lutherans. The ELS is the little “sister synod” of the Wisconsin Synod (WELS). The ELS consists of 132 member congregations in 19 states, for a baptized membership of just over 19,000. Not to be overshadowed by its big sister, the ELS has its own history, identity and character. The ELS traces its roots to the original “Norwegian Synod” of 1853.  Among the leaders of the Norwegian Synod were Hermann Amberg Preus, Jacob Aal Otteson, and Ulrick Vilhelm Koren aka, “The Norwegian Walther.”  The Norwegian   More…