Letters to the Editor (April)

Be fruitful and multiply

Dr. Judith Christian asks, “Where are all the children?” (Commentary, March ’06).  A quick look at statistics will tell you the answer: They were never born.

In 2004, the LCMS had 2.46 million baptized members.  Likewise in 1961 we had 2.46 million.  The difference is, in 1961, our people were reproducing above the replacement fertility rate.  We had some 82,000 infant baptisms that year, whereas in 2004 we had around 33,000 — a 60 percent decline.

In short, our church body has been complicit in its own demise by not emphasizing God’s plan for procreation in marriage.  We are contracepting ourselves out of business.  All the evangelism programs in the world can’t make up for that.  Ask the Shakers if you don’t believe me.

Rev. H.R. Curtis
Worden, Ill.

The Shakers, a no-longer-existent religious sect, prohibited sexual relations, even between spouses.  They thought their movement could be perpetuated by outsiders joining the group. — Ed. 

One reason for fewer children in church is the extreme liturgicalism that some pastors force on their congregations and which neither children nor many of their parents find meaningful or helpful.  Add to this the fact that some pastors make it plain they don’t want children to disturb the worship, or who even refuse to instruct children, and it’s no wonder the children are absent.

Rev. Theodore Allwardt
Monticello, N.M.

I have just finished reading this commentary and can’t think of anything more important to bring to the attention of LCMS members than this issue.  Reprints of this article by Dr. Christian should be made available for distribution to every church in the Synod.  How else can the church grow and the Word take root without the children being involved?

Andrew Sofranko
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

A helpful tool, but …

Thank you for your coverage (Dec. ’05) of the recent Commission on Theology and Church Relations document “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings.”  Lutherans For Life is pleased that the CTCR dealt with this critical question of when human life begins.  We are equally pleased with the CTCR’s conclusion that the axiom “Always to care, never to kill” is applicable to pre-implantation human life.  

The CTCR’s approach is to articulate the pro-life position of the LCMS in the “context of the political realities of our pluralized society.”  They want to present our position in a way that cannot be easily dismissed by those who disagree.  This is a commendable goal.

However, I wonder if this is the goal intended by the LCMS convention resolution that asked the CTCR to “help the church, on the basis of the Word of God”?

When traveling the country speaking on these issues, I observe that very busy pastors want help and guidance understanding technologies dealing with life’s beginnings, so that God’s Word can be appropriately applied to them.  I believe pastors see as their first priority teaching sound biblical arguments about human beginnings to their people before engaging society.  While the CTCR document may be a helpful tool for the latter, I believe it falls short of helping with the former. 

Dr. James I. Lamb
Executive Director
National Lutherans For Life

Content is king

Judy Benke’s characterization of Dr. Gene Edward Veith’s commentary (“Lessons from the late ‘Book of Daniel'” — Feb. ’06) as a “long-winded diatribe” misses the mark.

Mission and ministry without solid content are nothing but “methodism.”  Methods without the solid meat of the Gospel and attendant apologetics are worse than worthless.

I for one always will choose content over fluff.  Well done, Reporter, for publishing Veith’s most helpful article.  Do more of it!

Rev. Walter R. Steele
Pensacola, Fla.

I was happy to see Reporter devote space to Dr. Veith’s commentary on the canceled NBC show “The Book of Daniel.”  As Christians, we need to view the arts not only critically but constructively.  Veith showed how “The Book of Daniel” failed to deliver God’s answer to human sinfulness and stressed how our culture needs the true message of salvation.  That’s an encouragement to us in our whole mission of sharing the Good News about Christ our Savior.  Let us pray for all Christians working in the various arts to find ways of conveying the true Gospel message.

Rev. Robert Clausen
Palatine, Ill.

Please send letters via e-mail to REPORTER@lcms.org or by mail to REPORTER Letters, 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122-7295.  Please include your name, postal address, and telephone number.  Letters may be edited for length and clarity. — Ed.

Posted March 31, 2006 

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