The Rev. Dr. Christian Tiews, LCMS missionary to Germany, works with the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK), the Synod’s partner church in Germany, to reach out to Germans and Farsi-speaking immigrants from the Middle East. As part of his work, he also offers English classes, translates English theological materials into German and teaches online classes for Luther Academy, Riga, Latvia.
On his missionary blog, Tiews writes about “everyday miracles” that often occur in the mission field. Recently, he shared this report about interviewing new students for Luther Academy:
Even though an application interview … is normally quite business-like … the Lord lifted all of us out of our administrative tasks, reminding us that He is growing His church by Word and Sacrament — even through mundane interviews.
Case in point: In two interviews the applicants shared that they had either never heard of infant Baptism (many of them are new to orthodox Christianity) or that they were aware of it, but only in theory; as such, they had not yet baptized their own children. … To explain the concept of infant Baptism, we asked the candidate to open his Bible to Matt. 28:10–20 and read aloud. We then showed that Jesus grows His Kingdom by commanding — not suggesting — that His disciples baptize and teach all nations.
“Look at the word ‘nations,’” we said. “What age groups live in ‘nations’?” The candidate answered, “People of all ages — from babies to old people.”
“Exactly,” we responded. “That means that our Lord wants people of all ages baptized — including babies.” We added that there are similar verses in Acts that state the same thing: Whole families and households were being baptized — including the infants.
In both cases, by the end of the interview, the candidates said that they now understand what our Lord is commanding in these passages, and that they were going to baptize their own children in the very near future. Our eyes welled up. Indeed, it is God, not us, who is building up His church — solely by Word and Sacrament — and in this process He is using administrators and even Zoom as His divine tools.
Posted Aug. 12, 2021