By Roger Drinnon An online survey is now available to provide early feedback on updating the “Explanation” of Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, in keeping with 2013 Synod-convention Resolution 3-13A.
The Explanation of the catechism was last revised in 1991. According to the 2013 resolution — adopted by a vote of 913-7, “many changes in the understanding of morals, civil law and natural law in church and society” have occurred since then. Addressing these societal “changes in understanding” in such areas as same-sex marriage, beginning-and-end-of-life issues, drug legalization and religious liberties are factors behind the need to update the Explanation. “The updated Explanation will retain and preserve virtually all of the theological content of the current Small Catechism while presenting its content in a fresh manner to make it easier to use, understand and apply to real-life issues,” said the Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR). The CTCR, with the concurrence of the Synod president and the help of Concordia Publishing House, initiated a process to update the Explanation of Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation in February 2014. The process began with six surveys emailed monthly through July 2014 to rostered workers of the Synod for input on the current and future state of the Explanation. The new survey is the next step to obtain feedback from across the Synod on the template being proposed to update the explanation portion. “At this point, sample materials are being offered only to illustrate the proposed template, not the specific content,” said Lehenbauer. “As sections of the Explanation are completed, they will be shared with the Synod in similar surveys. That will be the time for people to make suggestions about modifying answers, adding or subtracting Scripture verses and passages, and so forth.” After this initial field-testing survey ends on May 15, a roughly yearlong drafting process will begin by the drafting committee working under the oversight of the CTCR. In addition to Lehenbauer, committee members include:
- Rev. Dr. Charles Arand, dean of Theological Research and Publications, director of the Center for the Care of Creation, and Waldemar A. and June Schuette Chair in Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
- Rev. Wally Arp, pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Oviedo, Fla.
- Rev. Thomas Egger, assistant professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
- Dr. Jan Lohmeyer, commissioned educator at Lutheran High North, Houston.
- Rev. John Pless, assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions and director of Field Education at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.
- Rev. Larry Vogel, associate executive director of the CTCR.
Lehenbauer said when all sections have been completed and field tested, and after final review and approval by the CTCR and the Synod president’s office, the complete, proposed Explanation will be published — with hopes to have this completed in time for the 2017 celebration of the Reformation. For more information, read this month’s Reporter insert titled “Update to the Explanation of the Small Catechism.”
Roger Drinnon (email@example.com) is manager of Editorial Services for LCMS Communications. Posted March 27, 2015
As the old saying goes, “the more things change the more they stay the same”.
Yes it is very important, especially for our young people, to keep the exclamation to the Catechism up to speed as the “Kingdom of the World Changes.” While the Catechism remains true to the scriptures, the way, the truth, and the life still equip us with just what is needed to deal with the same old secular motivator wearing various outfits from a new wardrobe of “sheep’s clothing”.
Adding the Connections and Application section is critical for highlighting contemporary conditions .
Conditions that recall church lessons learned in not being proactive in dealing with a secular world that has crossed the “Caesar/ God Line”(Luke 20:25) and Kingdom of God and Kingdom of the World line in Luther’s treaties on Secular Authority -“there is a time to resist and a time not to resist.” “…We must obey God rather than man”(Acts 5:29).
From the Memoir of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “The Cost of Discipleship”.
“Both modern liberal theology and secular totalitarianism hold pretty much in common that the message of the Bible has to be adapted more or less, to the requirements of a secular world. No wonder, therefore, that the process of debasing Christianity as inaugurated by liberal theology led in the long run, to a complete perversion and falsification of the essence of Christian teaching by National Socialism.”
Sounds pretty much like the liberal theology that exists today and of course it is the same old secular world except in new “Sheep’s Clothing”. Today the lines are being crossed by creeping Secular Socialism in the form of: Political Correctness and Intellectual (Academia)/Government intimidation instead of Government force (so far).
Now that the secular world is suggesting we are living in the post Christian Era, it is time (STAT/ASAP) for the church to become proactive and see to it. ” See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
For those churches who did not see to it and knuckled under to PC or Intimidation and adopted secular beliefs the Lord has this to say: “I know your works: you are neither cold or hot. Would you were either cold or hot! So, because you are neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelations 3: 15&16
Most mature Christians well versed in scripture, faith, forgiveness and sin don’t have problems countering the evils of Abortion and Homosexuality no matter how the secular world tries to justify them – unless they are soft on theistic evolution.
Much of the focus to derail Christianity is on brainwashing Christian youth in secular colleges and universities.
Here is some advice to help the student discern where the line is that intersects what is Caesars and what is Gods.
“Generally speaking, faith intersects an academic discipline at the point where it asks its most fundamental questions. Faith intersects where a discipline appropriates its most fundamental assumptions, from whatever source they may come. Faith intersects at the point where a discipline adopts a philosophical position to guide it or to provide a structure for its theories, data, and explorations. Faith intersects where a discipline establishes its core values, upon whatever basis they are founded. One could argue that faith is the fundamental basis for all human knowledge, without which rationalism and empiricism could not function.“—Harry Lee Poe, Christianity in the Academy
The Christian’s Critical Thinking Objective*
“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
But we *have the mind of Christ”. 1 Corinthians 2:16
I believe it a good thing that we up date our Catechism that God’s word will continue to address the world in which we find ourselves in today. The internet alone brings up a lot of new questions that we never thought to address in a specific way before. As an example: how many of our young adults, and older ones too, use the internet in looking for a mate. Even Lutherans aren’t just looking in their congregation for a mate any more. Then too we might address some of what is going on in the world in regard to the persecution of Christians. What if that comes to us?