The author of the January “Commentary,” Dr. David Adams (“Same-Sex Marriage: A Cautionary Tale”), has my utmost respect in his position at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. However, I believe it is our duty as members of both kingdoms to join our “Calvinist and Evangelical friends” as well as our Roman Catholic and other Christian friends in the political arena to influence civil laws so that they harmonize with “Biblical truth.”
This is not in order to establish a “theocracy” but rather to preserve the Judeo-Christian basis of our laws and culture through which our Lord has blessed us as a nation, as families, and as individuals. We dare not leave the political arena to those who would destroy the family unit and remove Christianity’s influence from the public square.
Hubert L. Dellinger Jr., M.D.
Thank you for the perceptive commentary by Dr. Gene Edward Veith on the TV show “The Book of Daniel” (“Lessons from the Late ‘Book of Daniel’ ” Feb. ’06). We can only hope and pray that Hollywood will learn the lessons Veith suggests.
Perhaps the article also suggests a lesson for us in the Missouri Synod. I am saddened that Veith, such a gifted yet humble servant — cultural editor of World magazine, noted apologist for the faith, author of three excellent books, director of the Cranach Institute at our Fort Wayne seminary — was chosen to write this important analysis but was recently deemed unacceptable by the Council of Presidents even for consideration as executive editor of the Synod’s official periodicals. The same treatment was accorded to four other sound scholars.
As churchmen, our prayers for peace and unity must always include the petition that we all carry on the struggle with integrity.
I recall from my days in the Council of Presidents an adage directed to us more than once by one of the brothers: “Some men die by bullets; some go down in flames; but most perish inch by inch, playing little games.” These days are too frightening for little games.
Dr. Karl L. Barth
Gene Edward Veith’s points about the late, unlamented, lousy TV show “The Book of Daniel” were well taken. They just went on far too long. His “commentary,” starting on Page 1, jumped to Page 6 and then onto Page 8, giving the devil, so to speak, way more than his due.
Veith’s piece became an editorial in desperate search of an editor. LCMS parish leaders receive Reporter for reports. There are plenty of other forums for long-winded diatribes on the culture wars. Let’s keep the focus in Reporter where it’s always been — on reports of mission and ministry in the Synod.
Ollie, Ollie accuracy
In the February Reporter (“Letters to the Editor”), Dr. Douglas Groll made some statements concerning Oliver North and John Poindexter. Now, I am not defending or chastising either of these men. However, I believe there were some errors made in Dr. Groll’s letter.
Oliver North, the decorated Vietnam veteran, was convicted of three — out of 12 — charges relating to illegal United States support of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s. Groll stated that Lt. Col. North (not Colonel as stated by Groll) was released on appeal. An Appeals Court reversed North’s three convictions in 1991, and so basically the case was thrown out of court.
North’s boss, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, was sentenced to community service after his trial. Another superior, National Security Adviser John Poindexter, was convicted the following year of conspiracy, obstructing Congressional inquiries, and lying to Congress. Those charges, however, later were overturned.
I do believe it is important that if people voice their opinions about individuals, whether pro or con, it is important to have accurate facts.
Rev. Mark Wescoatt
A complementary offer
As Chair of the LCMS Sanctity of Human Life Committee, I am pleased to see your recent coverage (Dec. ’05) of the newly released document from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) titled “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings,” which chiefly addresses the ethical problem of human embryonic stem-cell research.
Members of the Sanctity of Human Life Committee (SHLC) applaud the CTCR for tackling this critical topic in a time when laity and clergy need a Biblically based understanding of the issues. This document says some helpful things and does a good job of explaining the more complex medical issues. This is a noble pursuit, and “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings” indeed applies to embryonic stem-cell research the same guiding moral principle as did the previously published CTCR document “Christian Care at Life’s End” — that we always should care for, never kill, human life.
However, I and many of my peers on the Life Committee are concerned that “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings” may be an incomplete resource for use in the parish. I believe our church body would benefit from a fuller understanding of the Biblical concepts involved, and a line of reasoning that asserts Biblical truths instead of basing the main thrust of its argument on a philosophical/legal approach more appropriate for a secular audience.
You can read the SHLC’s response to the CTCR regarding “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings” at the Lutherans For Life Web Site.
To this end, the SHLC will be working diligently over the next few months with some of our Synod’s best Biblical scholars to develop companion resources to the new CTCR document. Our goal is to expose our laity and clergy to a line of reasoning about early human life that is grounded in the incarnation of our Lord and which affirms very strongly the essential reality that at the moment of conception a “person” comes into existence.
I encourage members of our church body to make use of these helpful and lay-friendly study materials that will be produced by midsummer under the cooperation of LCMS Life Ministries, Lutherans For Life, and the Concordia Bioethics Institute at Concordia University of Wisconsin. This is such an important and defining issue in the church and in contemporary society. Now is the time for our Synod to make a real and lasting contribution to the Biblical understanding of God’s love for all life.
Maggie Karner, Chair
LCMS Sanctity of Human Life Committee
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