I have quoted from this pamphlet before. It’s called the church at work in the world at war. It was written either just after the war ended, or just before the war ended and of course I’m talking about World War II. That may be the most interesting part of the pamphlet to me – there is no date. Here’s the paragraph that I find stunning.
“When the world is at its worst, the church must be at its best. The world background today is dark and depressing. War more nearly covers the whole earth than ever before. Men are slaughtered and numbers that stagger comprehension. Human life is cheaper than it has been for centuries. The standard of living is being pushed down again. Moral standards have been replaced by humanistic and pagan ideologies. The road back to God, which many prophesied would be teaming with penitent humanity because of sufferings brought about by the war, has only occasional travelers. There is been no great influx into the churches. Nor has there been any real revival in the churches themselves. Selfishness, greed, and godlessness are on the increase and have brought about a hopelessness and despair such as has seldom confronting mankind.
Just for such a time as this has the Missouri Synod been called to work in the kingdom. The currents of life and thought in our topsy-turvy world must receive the attention of the church. Conditions in the world affect every phase of church life. The chaos and the shifting, seething restlessness of the world make deep impacts upon the thinking, life, and the work of the church. All this creates problems and difficulties which, though not necessarily new, demand speed, decision, and a true sense of direction on the part of our church.”
The authors going to say that many of the unprecedented situations confronting the life and work of the church incident to the beginning of World War II, were “everybody’s concern in general, but nobody’s business in particular”. What a revealing statement. Everyone’s interest in general, but nobody’s business in particular. The more things change the more they stay the same.