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The September The Lutheran Witness

If America is a melting pot of ethnicities, she’s just as much a melting pot of religions and belief systems. Sometimes it can be hard to keep them all straight. What’s the difference between Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses? What do Episcopalians believe that Presbyterians don’t? Is the god of Islam the same as the God of Christianity?

While we couldn’t include every religion or denomination in the following pages of this issue, we’ve hand-picked some of the ones we’ve received questions about in the past, hoping that these will be of help to you in the future. We touch on the history and beliefs of each denomination or religion and compare them to our understanding of the faith as LCMS Lutherans. From Buddhism to Hinduism, Pietism to Gnosticism, we discuss what our confession of faith points toward(Christ and His gifts of life and salvation) and what others point away from.

We’re trusting this issue of the magazine will be a handy reference for you, one that you’ll keep on your bookshelf or coffee table, so that when a question pops up—“Should I go to that Bible study at the Methodist church?” “My sister is dating a Buddhist. What does that mean?”—you’ll have a place to start the conversation, good questions to ask your pastor and, in the end, lots of information in speaking to these issues as an informed Lutheran.

Looking at these differences can be difficult. “It is clear that there are serious differences about what the baptized believe, teach and confess within various denominational fellowships,” the Rev. Steve Kieser writes. “This lack of unity in the Gospel is a cause of great mourning for us.”And yet we rejoice that, as Pastor Kieser reminds us, “God is gracious. He alone
preserves His Church.” And in that, we have great joy!

P.S. Don’t forget to go here to read, download and share exclusive The Lutheran Witness online content!

Adriane Heins, Managing Editor

The Lutheran Witness

adriane.heins@lcms.org

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Movies, the Family and the Catechism

We should consider if the film is helpful for teaching some aspect of the faith, whether a movie may help build up a person’s faith or if it’s challenging or even hostile toward his or her faith. Using Scripture and the Small Catechism, everyone can get more out of their media consumption.

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The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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We Believe in the Resurrection of the Body

The resurrection is an event equally as important to our salvation as the crucifixion.

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The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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Somewhere in the Background: Christ

Our standing before God is not based on our checkered and spotty relationship to Him, but on Jesus Christ who makes our distracted and scatter-brained love for the triune God perfect.

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The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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Pay Attention

However, the Church doesn’t only exist for an hour on Sundays. We ought to think of the Church as Luther did—in connection with Baptism as an ongoing reality, wherein God gives us the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake.

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The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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Life under Fire

Only when human individuality is universally—and lawfully—recognized as beginning upon conception will the debate end and unborn life can receive the universal significance it deserves.

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The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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Rejoicing in Persecution

We should be ready for the trials that must come. And we should also, and maybe most importantly, rejoice that God has revealed to us a better country and home in Christ.

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The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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