Death is ugly from the outside no matter how life ends, but God looks upon our ugliness and says, “This is mine.”
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There’s one day each year that doesn’t garner decorations or turkeys, a day off work or a special stamp from the Post Office. It’s January 16, Religious Freedom Day.
It’s not a new thing either. Thomas Jefferson, in 1786, wrote, in the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, about the importance of religious liberty and the protection of it, afforded by the First Amendment.
No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
This month, we took take a look at what we are “free to profess” about matters key to the discussions currently ongoing in America today, specifically those of marriage, life and religious liberty.
In “Talking Marriage,” the Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer helps you articulate how to make the case for one-man/one-woman marriage and why it is good for children and for civilization, while lawyer Mark Stern explains how to respond to increasing intrusions by the government in the realm of the Church in “Challenges at the Church Door.”
Rachel Thompson’s “Having Done All, Stand Firm” moves us to speak the truth in love to a culture not always willing to listen, even as Tim Goeglein and Doug Napier’s “Free People” explains where freedom of religion is already at risk in America today.
Find answers to the questions college students are asking about how to stay Christian on secular campuses in the Rev. Jonathon Bakker’s “College Is Tough,” and learn more from President Matthew c. Harrison’s “Genius and Courage” about what James Madison had to say about the Lutheran understanding of church and state, which the Rev. Chris Thoma explains in “Two Kingdoms.”
Finally, learn more about the Synod’s “Free to be Faithful” campaign, which serves to educate and raise awareness about the topics of marriage, life and religious liberty, particularly as they are addressed in the public square. Go to www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful to learn more and for a free download of all the infographics found in the following pages.
On January 16–Religious Freedom Day–remember what we as Lutherans are for. “We are for the right of the unborn child to life,” writes Mark Stern. “We are for the right of every child to have a mother and a father if at all possible.” But there’s something even better: “Most importantly, Christ is for us; He gave His life for all of sinners and for our salvation.” And that is worth remembering, not just on January 16, but every day of the year
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
Special Note | State of the Synod District Pledge Update
The district pledge information in the November “State of the Synod” issue of The Lutheran Witness was assembled based on the Synod’s fiscal year, rather than on the districts’ pledge year. Because of this, the LCMS English and Northwest Districts pledge totals caused some confusion.
We are pleased and thankful to report that the LCMS English District pledged $200,277 for FY 2013, that the LCMS Northwest District gave $158,845 to Synod (instead of the $15,845 that was reported in error) in FY 2013 and that the latter has pledged $170,000 for the current fiscal year.
An updated chart, representing both pledged and received amounts based on the districts’ pledge year, can be found here.Download District Pledge Update
Additionally, the notation on page 11 of the November issue should have indicated that amounts are stated in thousands.
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When it is commonly said that America was founded as a “Christian Nation,” that is only true in the sense that the overwhelming number of the founders were Christians, and that they recognized the benefit Christianity affords government.
The “official notices” are published for a single purpose only: giving notice of a result, namely, changes in the Synod’s membership rosters by the addition or deletion of the names of individuals and congregations. It is not always appropriate that reasons for the changes be identified in the published notices. Since a change can occur […]
Christmas carols invite us—and through them we invite others—to the place where Jesus is sure to be found: in His Word read and preached, the Word with water, bread, and wine, the Word sung by choirs and children.
Advent gives us the hope of a King who not only came to us in a dingy stable, but comes to us now in Word and Sacrament and will come again in glory on the Last Day.
The main thing that makes our death blessed is faith in Jesus Christ.
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