The latest Steadfast Quarterly has been mailed out to all our members and as in previous issues is getting high marks. This is in large part due to the list of authors editor Fred Baue has collected. The authors include several past and present nominees for synodical president and vice president such as Daniel Preus, John Wohlrabe, and Central Illinois District President Herbert Mueller who is getting a lot of attention for the first vice presidency of synod in 2010. His contribution is included below. Other authors include noteworthy blogger Pastor Will Weedon and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis professor Robert Kolb.
This issue is a special double issue that highlights the evangelistic work of confessional churches, pastors and laity. Over the course of the next week or so we will highlight some of the articles. To get this insightful, timely, edifying and full color publication mailed to your home click the “Join Now” button on the top of this page and for $25 a year you can become a member of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. (To see the past three issues of the Quarterly click here or look for it and other features on “The Organization” page of the site.)
Confession and Outreach, By Rev. Herbert C. Mueller, Jr., President of the Southern Illinois District
Somehow the impression has been given that if you are interested in the Lutheran Confessions you will not be much concerned about outreach to those who are lost without Christ. Conversely, in some quarters at least, those who have a burden for reaching out to unbelievers have the reputation of not considering the Confessions very important for their work. We have all heard the stereotypes. One focuses on doctrine; the other focuses on mission. When the focus is on doctrine the church retreats into a shell. When the focus is on mission, the church expands, but at the expense of theological faithfulness.
My continued prayer is that these two–confession and outreach–can be seen more and more as twins, two sides of the same coin. Doctrine and mission are each impossible without the other. To all who count themselves “confessional,” I say, “Great! Now get out there and confess!” Our Lutheran Confessions are the clearest and most faithful expositions of God’s Word of Law and Gospel and keep Christ at the center of our life and proclamation. The ultimate goal of our confessions, I believe, is always to bring the greatest possible comfort in Christ to the penitent sinner. So let’s do everything possible to invite as many as possible to hear the clear Word of God brought to people in winsome, relevant ways.
On the other hand, to all who put outreach at the top of their priority list, I say, “Excellent! Going to all the world with the Gospel of Christ is Christ’s own command!” We believe people are lost forever unless they hear the Word of God and are brought to faith in Christ. Outreach is what we are about. Now let’s be sure we are bringing people the “real deal,” the “good stuff” of God’s undeserved grace and mercy for the sake of Christ alone, crucified and raised from the dead, and received through faith alone.
To all I say, don’t hide it. Don’t water it down, but invite, proclaim faithfully, share and teach the truth in Christ. Focus on salvation through Christ alone. Constantly use His means for making disciples: baptizing and teaching. Confession of the truth and outreach to the lost: you will not be faithful in either one without an equal emphasis on the other. God’s peace to you as you seek to invite people to “taste and see” the life Christ has for them.