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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Remembering the Dead and the Service of Praise and Thanksgiving for Ronald Feuerhahn

The Service of Praise and Thanksgiving for Ronald Raymond Feuerhahn was held on 17 March 2015 at the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus at Concordia Seminary, where Dr. Feuerhahn served for 22 years. The press announcement about his funeral can be found here on Concordia Seminary's website. Several years ago, the students of Dr. Feuerhahn prepared a Festschrift for him titled, Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay? (This book is available as an ePub and on Kindle from CPH.) Of course, the death of every saint is precious in the eyes of the Lord, but when a teacher of the church enters his eternal rest the effect is felt on a broader scale. A teacher of the church affects his students, his follower teachers, the pastors of the church, and indirectly all the congregation members who had pastors taught by him. Because of this effect, the Scriptures urge the church to take caution in appointing teachers of the church ("Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." James 3:1).
Unlike the Roman Catholic church, Lutherans do not pray to the dead. However, there is a proper remembrance of those who died in the faith, a thanksgiving for the work that the Lord has done in their lives, and even an imitation of how those in the faith who died lived their lives. Children commonly do this by imitating their parents, just as students do their teachers. Hermann Sasse, in Letters to Lutheran Pastors, Volume III (available from CPH in hardcover and on Kindle) wrote about remembering the dead. In his essay "The Remembrance of the Dead in the Liturgy," Section 8, Sasse writes:
"Let me say a word about that which is specifically important for our death-filled century. The remembrance of the dead needs to be revived in the church. It is one of the bases of the powerful attraction of Catholicism in our day that it has preserved this remembrance, while Protestantism, including Lutheranism, has lost it. Therefore, despite all assurances to the contrary, Protestantism has to a greater or lesser extent become a this-side-of-eternity religion. It was the task of the Reformation to dissolve the symbiosis which in Catholicism brought about a point of contact between the Christian faith and pagan presuppositions about the hereafter. The result of this paganism in the church's faith and practice has been all too evident; it is no accident that the Reformation began precisely on an All Saints' Eve (October 31, 1517) with a protest against he fearful commerce which was designed to accomplish the salvation of souls."
Dr. Sasse goes on to point out how Dr. Martin Luther's liturgical reforms of the church refocused the church on the purpose of Holy Communion, "forgiven sinners who in the reception of the Lord's true body and blood are made one with all members of the church, all the saints in heaven and on earth, as the Body of Christ."
On Sunday morning, in the Proper Preface in the Communion liturgy, the pastor says, "...therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we laud and magnify your glorious name ever more saying:" Then the congregation sings the Sanctus, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth..." Although dead separates us from the saints in heaven, we are untied together in the body of Christ. Sasse concludes his letter, "It is my hope that the considerations of this letter, for which you waited so long, and longer than you should have, will contribute to the clarification of our thoughts about one of the most difficult theological questions and help us rightly to exercise the church's ministry of consolation in a cheerless world."

Feuerhahn Funeral Bullet 17 March 2015 by brandy99

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Opportunities — Lutheran Bible Translators



 7 February 2015

 There is tremendous new opportunity for Lutheran Bible Translators in Tanzania and Ethiopia. Dr Mike Rodewald, executive director and Rev. Rich Rudowske, Director of International Programs are spending two weeks connecting with leaders of the two largest Lutheran church bodies in Africa. Lutheran Bible Translators, a recognized service organization of the LCMS, was founded 50 years ago through the vision of a Lutheran missionary who had to leave Nigeria for the health of his family. In the last fifty years, LBT missionaries and partners have translated 40 NT and/or complete Bibles reaching an estimated seven million people with God's Word through their own language.

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Dr. Jim Kaiser, LBT translation consultant arrived in Ethiopia three weeks ago to serve as consultant to five translation projects being accomplished by the EECMY and other partners in southwest Ethiopia. EECMY leaders have formed a translation board to advise and lead the church's efforts in translation.

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 Dr. Albert Collver of the LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM), Dr. Mike Rodewald and Rev. Rich  Rudowske of LBT, discuss areas of cooperation and networking strategy as both organizations seek to work in Ethiopia with the EECMY for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel. They are looking at a Ge'ez document titled, "Aleqa Meseret Sebhat LeAb" which teaches the doctrine of justification by faith and helped lay the foundation of the EECMY at the beginning of the 20th century. It will soon be translated into Amharic and English. The LCMS mission department and Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT) have had a long standing relationship where LCMS rostered workers are called by the Synod and seconded to LBT. Future opportunities in Ethiopia and elsewhere offer new avenues for cooperation.

  Aleqa Meseret

The Ge'ez document "Aleqa Meseret Sebhat LeAb." Ethiopia has a history of Lutheran Bible translation efforts going back to the 17th century. Dr. Peter Heyling (1607-1652) in 1647 translated the Gospel of St. John from Ge'ez (pictured above) into Amharic which was the language of the people.  In 1652, Dr. Heyling departed Ethiopia and while traveling was captured in Turkey. Faced with the choice of conversion to Islam or death, Peter Heyling did not deny Christ and was martyred for his faith. There is apparently a direct line from Peter Heyling to the founders of the EECMY. Peter Heyling's translation efforts in the 17th century helped give birth to the worlds largest Lutheran church in the 21st century with 7.2 million members.

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To find out more about Lutheran Bible Translators, please visit lbt.org.

Dr. Baue's Doctrine / Confession Class at MYS

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Dr. Fred Baue  Lecturing on the Lutheran Confessions
6 February 2015
"Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. The Mass is held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence, " comes from the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, said Dr. Fred Baue to his class on the Lutheran Confessions. "What is the mass?," asked Dr. Baue, "The word is associated with the Roman Catholic church, but it simply means the chief Sunday service where the Lord's Supper is celebrated." Lutherans were falsely accused of abolishing the chief worship service in Martin Luther's day. "Today, we need to consider if the charge of abolishing the mass, or the chief worship of Christ applies to us today, particularly here in Ethiopia. You as leaders of the church need to evaluate this for yourselves." What ensued was an engaging lecture with excellent dialog in the class of about 36 people.
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 Part of the lecture was a demonstration and practicum on how to not "abolish the mass" included  singing the opening versicles of Matins. The EECMY does not have Matins or Vespers as part of its liturgical tradition. The missionaries 90 some years ago translated the Divine Service with Holy Communion and a Service of the Word from German and Scandinavian languages into Amharic and Oromo, but they did not translate Matins or Vespers. When LCMS people began teaching on the campus of Mekane Yesus Seminary, they would hold a Matins service from time to time in the chapel. After seeing the service from the Lutheran Service Book a few times, the leadership asked if assistance could be given to put Matins into Amharic. The next EECMY hymnal revision may contain the order of Matins and Vespers. Dr. Baue is involved in bringing these services into Amharic by helping to put it in an Ethiopian context.

Dr. Baue's demonstration of the opening versicles of Matins, prompted a discussion on "contextualization" and a discussion about how to properly contextualize worship both in the 21st century and in Ethiopia. Dr. Baue explained that the music and the instruments need to be contextualized for a given people and location, but the basic forms and content should remain consistent. This brought about a discussion on Lutheran doctrine. One of the students raised his hand and said, "Lutheran doctrine is nothing other than Biblical doctrine. The teachings of the Lutheran church come directly from the Bible." Dr. Baue then asked, "What is pure doctrine?" as he began to draw on the chalk board.
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The quality of the artwork aside, Dr. Baue illustrated "pure doctrine" with a glass of milk. He quoted 1 Peter 2:2, "long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation." Christian teaching is spiritual milk by which we grow up to salvation. He asked how many flies would have to be in the glass of milk before you refused to drink the glass of milk? Nearly the entire class said, "No flies!" Dr. Baue explained that reason, philosophy, culture, even contextualization that take us away from the cross of Jesus are flies in the milk. He said the reason we study the Augsburg Confession is to help us keep flies out of the milk. The class remained engaged in the lecture to the point of nearly forgetting to take a coffee break. At the end appreciation was expressed for the lecture. Dr. Baue will remain teaching for several months.

For the past two years, the LCMS has been actively assisting in the masters level theology program at Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS). Support for the program includes scholarships, curriculum assistance, and instructors. Presently, there are about 65 students enrolled in the masters program. The master degree students are or will become Synod leaders and instructors at Bible schools and regional seminaries. Those who teach at the MYS seminary frequently study abroad, increasingly at LCMS seminaries. Funding for the MA student scholarships, for the instructors who teach at the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS), and scholarships to study at LCMS seminaries is provided by the Global Seminary Initiative (GSI). To see the opportunities the Global Seminary Initiative is meeting please visit: http://www.lcms.org/makeagift/gsi

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Opportunities in Africa (Ethiopia) for Theological Education (GSI)


Opportunities in Africa (Ethiopia in this case) abound for theological education. Opportunities exist both for a person who wants to travel overseas to teach a class and for students who are taught at a local insinuation or who receive a scholarship to study at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, or Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis. 
The video highlights how the Global Seminary Initiative (GSI) is helping connect qualified volunteers with teaching opportunities overseas and students with opportunities to study locally or possibility at an LCMS seminary. Two students are interviewed: a future deaconess who has been accepted to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and a PhD student who has been accepted for study at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis. Two instructors are interviewed about their experience at Mekane Yesus Seminary. Finally, Rev. Shauen Trump, Area Director for East Africa, speaks about how theological education is the single largest request he receives in Africa.
For more information about the Global Seminary Initiative please visit: http://www.lcms.org/makeagift/gsi

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lutheran Confessions at the Mekane Yesus Seminary

Dr. Fred Baue mentors a student at MYS in the Lutheran Confessions 
Dr. Fred Baue mentors a student at MYS in the Lutheran Confessions

 3 February 2015 After arriving at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, we went to the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS). Once on campus, we went to the Lutheran Confessions class taught by Dr. Fred Baue. This is Dr. Baue's second time teaching at the MYS seminary. His first teaching stint lasted six months. This time Dr. Baue will remain for four months teaching the Lutheran Confessions and English. He also will be composing some liturgical music. The Global Seminary Initiative (GSI) helps send professors to teach at seminaries around the world. It also helps provide books for the class room.

CPH Readers Edition of the Book of Concrod 
CPH Readers Edition of the Book of Concord

 The Lutheran Confessions class makes use of Concordia Publishing House's Readers Edition — Pocket Edition of the Book of Concord. The EECMY church subscribes to the unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther's catechisms. Until recently, the church body did not have the entire Book of Concord in Amharic. At the MYS seminary, in the Lutheran Confessions class, Dr. Baue uses the entire Book of Concord

.Rev. Shauen Trump, Beza Tefera, Gideon, Daniel Brege sit in the Dean of Theology Office 
Rev. Shauen Trump, Beza Tefera, Gideon, Daniel Brege sit in the Dean of Theology Office

Dr. Daniel Brege came to Ethiopia for the first time to teach the Psalms at MYS. Today will be the first day he teaches. Prior to his teaching, we met in the Dean of Theology Office to print copies of his syllabus and assign the class room. Rev. Shauen Trump, East Africa Area Facilitator or the Office of International Mission, helps oversee the LCMS' work in Ethiopia.

Beza Tefera and Gideon at the MYS Cafe -- Ethiopian Coffee 
Beza Tefera and Gideon at the MYS Cafe -- Ethiopian Coffee 

 After meeting with people we took a coffee break at the MYS Cafe. Coffee is a must in Ethiopia and facilitates discussion and friendship. Over coffee we planned the rest of our day.

Dr. Albert Collver at MYS Campus wearing LCMS U Shirt in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr. Albert Collver at MYS Campus wearing LCMS U Shirt in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

LCMS U has managed to reach Ethiopia — at least the LCMS U shirt has made it to Ethiopia. Looking to a very good visit in Ethiopia this week.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

BIM Honors Missionary for 28 Years of Service in Africa

President Matthew Harrison and Dr. David Erber, OIM Area Director for West Africa
 
31 January 2015
The Board for International Mission (BIM) honored Rev. Dr. David Erber, OIM Area Director for West Africa, for the 28th anniversary of his arrival in Nigeria. Dr. Erber was in Saint Louis first for the Office of International Mission Regional Directors' meeting, the ALMA conference, and the BIM meeting, where he spoke how the Gospel of Jesus was being shared in Africa by the LCMS. Yesterday, while attending the ALMA meeting, Dr. Erber mentioned that his wife sent him an email, "Happy Anniversary." Everyone, of course, assumed he spoke of his wedding anniversary to his wife, Joyce. David explained, "Not my wedding anniversary, but my 28th anniversary from when I deployed to Nigeria as a missionary." The BIM wanted to honor Dr. Erber for his service.
President Matthew Harrison, Dr. David Erber, Rev. Bernie Seter, Chairman of the BIM
The BIM heard that Dr. Erber wished he could own a copy of the Concordia Commentary Series. With the help of Dr. Bruce Kintz and Concordia Publishing House, the BIM was able to present Dr. Erber with the entire Concordia Commentary Series. Congratulations to Dr. Erber and his wife Joyce for their many years of faithful service in the mission field!
Dr. Erber presents to the BIM about challenges and opportunities in West Africa.



Friday, January 30, 2015

Latvia Guest in Regional Directors Meeting at CPH


Pictured (left to right): Rev. Tony Booker — Eurasia Regional Director, Deaconess Grace Rao — Director of Deaconess Ministry, Rev. Andris Kraulins — Board Member from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, and Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver — Director of Church Relations / Regional Operations.
During the Regional Directors' meeting held at Concordia Publishing House, Rev. Andris Kraulins visited from Latvia and met with the regional directors, in particular Rev. Tony Booker, Eurasia Regional Director.
Rev. Andris Kraulins a board member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, an LCMS partner church, and dean (circuit counselor) of the district of Jurmala visiting LCMS international center, St. Louis, January 25-27. Rev. Kraulins, who studied theology at Luther Academy, gave a presentation at IC, discussed the conservative church of Latvia in times of challenge. The presentation was informative and interesting and the audience received it well. At IC he was able to meet and have a brief talk with Rev. Bart Day, interim chief missions officer, Rev. Dr. Ray Hartwig, secretary of the synod, Rev. Larry Vogel of CTCR, associated executive director of CTCR. Later he was interviewed by KFUO, followed by a visit to CPH, where he was invited by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, director of church relations, and assistant to the president to meet all the regional directors of office of international mission. Here too, Rev. Kraulins talked about the Latvian church its structure and the challenges. Also, he brought the greetings from Archbishop, and the congregation at large.
Prior to his visit, he was at CTSFW who participated at the Lenten workshop, and the exegetical symposia, Jan. 18-21. At the seminary he had an opportunity to meet Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, Rev. Dr. Masaki and Rev. Dr. Detlev Shulz. Subsequently, he was invited by ONM to attend the Life Ministry Conference and participated in March for Life at Washington DC, Jan.21-24.
Rev. Kraulins is here to strengthen the church partnership and is interested in building the theological educational needs for pastors, and diaconal workers. LCMS welcomes Rev. Kraulins and looks forward to support and assist our Latvian partner church to reach out in mercy and compassion to those in need, motivated by Christ and His Gospel according to the Lutheran confession of the faith.
On Wednesday 28 January, the Regional Directors' meeting concluded with budget and strategic planning. After the conclusion of the Regional Directors' meeting, the RDs along with OIM staff attended the ALMA Conference on Thursday and Friday.

Concordia Publishing House hosted the Regional Directors' meeting. A special thanks to Dr. Bruce Kintz and the staff of CPH for providing the Regional Directors with one of the most productive and peaceful from hustle and bustle meetings that they have had in recent memory. The close relationships that the Regional Directors have forged with CPH and the partnership between CPH and OIM have been and continues to be a blessing for the international mission efforts of the church. We are looking forward to many other joint ventures in the future for the benefit of the mission field.