27.9.10

The Missouri Synod's Missionary Endeavours

The Lutheran Church does not exist merely to be the church of those who happen by accident of birth and upbringing to bear the stamp "Lutheran". Rather, it is her calling to proclaim the Gospel, as it was re-discovered during the Reformation and is witnessed to in the Lutheran confessions, to all the people she can possibly reach. This is being done by Missouri today in a particularly effective, impressive way in the world-wide, missionary radio program The Lutheran Hour. In a similar way, the school system of the Missouri Synod gives evidence of this will to engage in missionary endeavours. A large percentage of the children who attend the excellent congregational schools of this church rather than the public schools come from non-Lutheran backgrounds. In this way each congregation is a centre of missionary activity and is indeed conscious of itself as such. This accounts for the steady growth of the Missouri Synod in all parts of America, as well as the fact that this church body more than any other Lutheran church is able to attract those of other confessions and the unchurched. These undeniable realities ought to move other Lutheran church bodies to study the Missouri Synod instead of getting agitated over the fact that Missouri is not asleep like they are!

From Confession and Theology in the Missouri Synod, Letters to Lutheran Pastors No. 20, (July 1951); [trans. mine]

2 comments:

  1. This was very true at the time Sasse wrote and I wish all confessional Lutherans would take it to heart. The LCMS, far more than the other synods, was able to reach out to the African American population of the U.S.

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  2. Jon, yes I'm a little bit conversant with Missouri's work amongst African-Americans, for e.g. I think they have a university in Alabama which is historically black - quite an achievement.

    'The Lutheran Hour' used to be broadcast in Australia, btw, and our Lutheran Media Ministry still uses some Missouri-produced programming.

    Frankly, this is what fascinates me about Missouri - they have been both a confessional church and a missionary church. The two go together, of course, but for Lutherans Missouri provides a paradigm of how this can be done, as Sasse notes in his concluding sentence.

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