Dear Members and Friends of the ELS:
Lutherans find in the 4th Commandment a command to be patriotic for whatever country in which we live. Once again in our United States we are celebrating Independence Day, the birthday of our country, if you will. We thank our Lord that we are granted the freedoms to exercise our religion without government intrusion. Such liberty allows God’s Word to have free course, so that it might be proclaimed to the joy and edifying of His holy people.
But while we cherish that freedom and liberty as citizens of this world, we know that in Christ’s kingdom things go much differently. In His kingdom we are not independent, rather we totally rely on the gracious rule of our Lord. He owes us nothing and yet He gives us everything, not only for this life but for the life to come. So, for example, in our congregations through a majority of votes or consensus we are able to conduct our affairs regarding finances and property in a democratic fashion, however, we do not have such power when it comes to the teachings of Christ in His Church. In such cases we must submit, even when it does not please the majority of opinions in a congregation. Pastors are called to watch over such things keeping those committed to their care faithful to Jesus’ Word. Boards of elders watch over pastors for the same reasons.
The Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus alone provides us freedom from sin’s guilt, shame and condemnation. Blood was spilled to secure this freedom too, but it was the blood of God’s holy Son. There are freedoms in both kingdoms of which we are citizens. Learn to distinguish them well and celebrate them both in the name of God your Savior. A happy and blessed Independence Day to you and yours!
Thanks be unto You, O God, King of kings, because You have granted a good and a free government to our land. What You have given graciously preserve to us and our children. And grant that the civil liberty that we enjoy may remind us to seek that spiritual and everlasting freedom which is found alone in the kingdom of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen. (Reading the Psalms with Luther, CPH, Ps. 20, p. 54)
In Jesus’ name,
Glenn R. Obenberger
The 2022 Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The annual synod convention was held June 26–29, 2022, on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College. On Sunday, June 26, a special Synod Sunday service was held in Bethany’s Trinity Chapel. The service included the installation of Rev. Timothy Hartwig as president of Bethany Lutheran Theological seminary. The overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision was noted with the singing of the Te Deum hymn, “We Sing Thy Praise, O God.”
During the convention, Rev. Glenn Obenberger was elected as president of the ELS and Rev. Michael Smith as vice-president. Rev. S. Piet Van Kampen delivered the convention essay, “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word.” The pastors and delegates reviewed the work of the synod throughout the year and offered ideas as well as thanks for the work of our standing boards and committees. A new Board for Apologetics was approved by the convention.
The convention was adjourned on Wednesday afternoon, June 29.
Saude Rededication Service
Saude Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lawler, Iowa, brought its restoration of its sanctuary project to completion with a rededication service on June 5, 2022. The 3:30 p.m. service was well attended by members, former pastors, and friends of the congregation alike. Pastor Peter Faugstad served as liturgist and performed the rite of rededication. President Glenn Obenberger preached the sermon based on Mt. 24:1–14 under the theme: Until the End Comes the Gospel Is Proclaimed in Our Broken World. A catered meal was served afterward to all the attendees. We give thanks to our Lord for causing His people to decorate the inside of His house so beautifully to reflect their appreciation for what beautiful things He accomplishes for them in this sacred place.
Rock Dell Lutheran Church, Belview, Minnesota, celebrated its 150th anniversary on June 18–19, 2022 under the theme of “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of Lord!’” (Ps. 122:1) On Saturday afternoon a divine service conducted in Norwegian took place with the Rev. Prof. Mark DeGarmeaux preaching a sermon based on the text from Ps. 122:6–9. On Sunday morning a festival divine service was conducted with President Glenn Obenberger preaching a sermon based on 2 Samuel 12:15–23 under the theme: “Believing Sinners Gladly Go to the House of the Lord: It Gives Life.” The Rev. Andrew Soule served as liturgist at both Saturday and Sunday services. On Sunday a dinner was served to all the guests followed by an afternoon program of “Memories of Rock Dell.”
The Rev. Jerome Gernander, was installed as pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Leander, Texas, on June 19, 2022. The Rev. Luke Ulrich served as preacher, and the Rev. Micah Ernst as installing pastor.
The Rev. Tim Buelow was installed as pastor of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, on June 12, 2022.
Our Bethany Lutheran College
Each year many incoming freshmen arrive on the Bethany campus who have had little or no background in Christianity. Some of them come from foreign countries, others from our own United States. Bethany’s Religious Studies department has developed a class called “Essentials of Christianity” that introduces these students to the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. Each class day these students are asked to use Bibles and a textbook. It is helpful to be able to have everyone look up passages by providing them with a page number, since most of are unfamiliar with the order of Biblical books. We would like to provide each one of these students with a new Bible (EHV) and the Essentials of Christianity textbook which are required for the course. If you are interested in contributing toward this purchase you can send your gift to Bethany Lutheran College, and note “Bibles for Freshmen” on the check.
– Chaplain Don Moldstad
July 21–22 – Board for Home Outreach
July 28–31 – LYA Convention
August 11 – Board of Trustees
August 15 – Board of Regents
August 15–16 – Doctrine Committee