Monthly Letter from Pastor Wilken

June 25, 2008

Prelude: While the relationship between our new show and BJS is strictly unofficial, I think BJS is on to something.


For the first time, the new media voices of confessional Lutherans are being taken seriously by friend and foe alike. These voices need concerted support and encouragement. That’s what BJS is all about.


To the Church, For the World


We call it “infrastructure” —highways, sewers, the power grid, telephone lines. We don’t think of these things as sacred, but secular.


But ask yourself this question: To whom did God give these things, and why?


We mistakenly think that God gave these things first and foremost to the world, for its uses. We mistakenly think that the Church uses these things on loan from the world.


But God did not give these things first and foremost to the world. God gave them to the Church.

God gave these things to the Church, for the World.

You see, the highways, sewers, power grid and telephone lines have their good secular uses. But God gave them first and foremost to the Church for her use 1) in proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified for sinners, and 2) in serving the neighbor in need. God gave these things to the Church, for the World.


Really, the world uses these things on loan from the Church.


The same is true of the so-called “Old Media” of print, radio and television. God gave these things to the Church, for the World.


What about the New Media —the Internet, blogs, online communities, wikis, P2P sharing, streaming audio and video, and podcasting? God gave these things to the Church, for the World too.


Don’t get me wrong, God doesn’t NEED the New Media and neither does the Church. In Luther’s day the New Media was movable type, something considered primitive today. But look at what God accomplished in the Reformation using that primitive medium! The Gospel doesn’t derive its power from technology, nor is it limited by it. Nonetheless, the Church receives every new medium as a gift from God to be used to proclaim the Gospel.


Many in the Church are talking about the New Media; but few are using them for the purpose for which God gave them. Sadly, many churches that are using the New Media are using them to promote error, silliness and unbiblical innovation. They think that if it’s new, it must be good. Some are even abandoning the divinely instituted means of Grace —preaching, Baptism, Absolution, the Lord’s Supper— for the buzzers and whistles of the New Media.


It’s time for the Church to use the New Media for the purpose for which God gave them: to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus for sinners, and to serve our neighbors in need.


I’m hopeful that the laity of the BJS will actively support the new media voices of confessional Lutheran theology. I’m also hopeful that those who are brought together by the New Media will find in BJS a place for real, not virtual fraternity and Christian brotherhood.


Actually, the New Media isn’t so new anymore. But that’s Okay. God’s gift of the New Media isn’t about being “new.” After all, Lutheran theology isn’t new either; it’s ancient. It goes all the way back to Christ, His Apostles and Scripture.


Old Theology, New Media.





About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Monthly Letter from Pastor Wilken — 5 Comments

  1. Pastor Wilken,

    God bless your efforts on the ressurected Issues and thank you for support of the Brothers of John the Steadfast.

    Pastor Rossow

  2. Peace be with you.

    I continue to reflect on your insight and am thankful for your constant re-contextualizing of the things most of us take for granted. Living in the world I am so much swayed by it to keep missing God’s point in the din of men sounding brass. Thank God for His continued proclamation through you and the show.

    We are all eager to set sail.

  3. Pastor Wilken,
    Thank you for the reminder of how God provides for the Church. It is so good to know that we are taken care of and saved by such a loving and generous God. I thank God for men like you who have been given to the Church so that she might always proclaim Christ and Him crucified for us poor sinners.

  4. Rev. Wilken,
    A thought provoking and well written article. I could not agree more that we are often stuck in the “we borrow from the world” mentality, which is completely backwards. So does that mean that everything should be used in the church, (i.e. electric guitars, powerpoint, big video screens, etc…) since it belongs to the church first? I’m certain I know the answer to that question, yet one could easily read into your article a different answer.

    Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to being fed on the “net waves” again!

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