“When the world is at its worst, the church must be at its best. The world background today is dark and depressing. Men are slaughtered in 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 Moral standards have been replaced by humanistic and pagan ideologies.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 teeming with penitent humanity because of sufferings brought about by our situation has only occasional travelers. There’s been no great influx into the churches. Nor has there been any great 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 confronted mankind”.
That is a quote I found recently while searching for something else. One would think it was written about today. However I took one word out of that quote and the word was War. I found this quote in a little pamphlet called “The Church at Work in the World at War”. It was written by the National Advisory Emergency Planning Council to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Missouri, Ohio, and other States. That is the Missouri Synod. If I have one issue with this little pamphlet it is the fact that nowhere in all of its pages can you find a date. I’m not sure if was written immediately after WWII or as the war was about to end. But I’m stunned at what I found in its pages. It speaks volumes to the issues we’ve been talking about in this blog. Questions of proclamation versus mercy, and the inclination or disinclination of many of our members to enter into one or the other. One fascinating quote that I found is on page 13.
“It has sometimes been said that the pastors of the Missouri Synod are not as aggressive and alert to mission opportunities as they might be”.
And this interesting quote,
” Our counsel believes it to be part of its functions to challenge the membership of our churches and our pastors and teachers to undertake to win more people for Christ – beginning now”.
The article then goes on to talk about not only proclamation of the Gospel but the building up and undergirding of the charitable foundations and institutions of churches all around the world. Admonition is a funny thing. Sometimes it is taken for what it is, the mutual admonition and consolation of the saints, and other times as interference. It is up to you to decide which is which.