The long overdue Commentary from Pastor Torgerson in the February Reporter is well written and addresses sympathetically many points of concern.
Those of us with international experience rightly question whether the LCMS in partnership with SELK is not proclaiming a triumphal entry into a beleaguered city where many faithful Christians need an embrace more than condescension.
Although we may not agree with all of Pastor Torgerson’s points, we are grateful that such a considerate article was at long last posted.
Dr. David Zersen, president emeritus
Concordia University Texas, Austin
The January issue of Reporter headlined the results of a poll taken by more than 2,000 youth attending the Synod’s 2007 Youth Gathering.
Some of these results, as cited in the story, were:
- “58.4 percent said pre-marital sex is always wrong … .
- “60.8 percent claimed never to have engaged in sexual intercourse.”
Broken down by age: for 15-year-olds, it was 77 percent; for 16-year-olds, 67.4 percent; 17-year-olds, 59.3 percent; 18-year-olds, 52 percent; and 19-year-olds, 48.3 percent.
- “65.8 percent said homosexuality is always wrong … [and] 23.4 percent said that it’s nobody’s business to say homosexuality is a sin.”
- “14.5 percent indicated they would allow same-sex marriage … .”
God’s Word says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6: 9-10).
And, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4).
The article indicates similar results of polls going as far back as 1986. I feel that it is not unreasonable to assume that these youths’ parents hold similar views.
In my view this is a serious indictment of our church. We apparently have not been preaching and teaching the whole of God’s Word. We seem to have neglected to preach and teach clearly what sin really is and the serious consequences of not accepting God’s words, repenting and turning in our ways.
Has any synodical body, study group, or seminary ever addressed this issue over the years? Was any plan of action put in place to straighten out the beliefs of our members and bring them into conformity with God’s Word? “Will not inherit the kingdom of God” is real in my mind.
And I have to question our efforts to bring new members into our church with this internal failure so obviously facing us.
Belle Mead, N.J.
Dr. Terry Dittmer, director of Youth Ministry with LCMS District and Congregational Services, provided the response that follows to Charles Henning’s letter. — Ed.
Mr. Henning raises a challenging point that the church needs to hear. Training up our children and youth is an ongoing task.
Indeed, faith-and-life formation is an ongoing task regardless of age. But unfortunately, our membership reflects the attitudes of the general population in this regard.
The LCMS Youth Ministry office takes the challenge seriously, despite limited resources. Workshops at our gatherings and events always include topics related to sexuality to help teens deal with the issues from a biblical perspective. Concordia Publishing House has published a number of excellent books for teens on sexuality over the last few years — in particular, the Why Files.
The youth audience is always changing. Every four years there is a new group in high school. We can’t ever think we are finished. There’s always a new group to start with and pass on what we know and believe.
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 phone number. Letters may be edited
for length and clarity. — Ed.
Posted March 27, 2008