Plan Now to Attend the Tenth Annual ACELC Free Conference at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa - "Christ For Us: Ecclesiastical Supervision"
June 2, 2020, 9:30 AM
Verse of the Day

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Beware of Ravenous Wolves


Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits.” (ESV Matthew 7:15f).


“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us” (ESV 2 Thessalonians 3:6).


The word “beware” carries with it the idea of being in a continuous state of readiness. In the case of Matthew 7:15, Christ is warning His hearers to “beware of false prophets,” which in the end He says are nothing but “ravenous wolves.” Why? Simply because both convey the sense of being particularly vicious and dangerous to the ones they seek to deceive and devour — wolves to sheep and false prophets to God's people!


Thus, when St. Paul gives his admonition (command) to the Thessalonians to “keep away from any brother who is walking … not in accord with the tradition that you received from us it is important for us to continue taking heed in our day. For, as this recent posting (Recognizing the Body of Christ: Theology of Glory or Theology of the Cross?) on THE DAYSTAR JOURNAL website reveals, we are clearly not walking together in the LCMS! As is easy to see in this article, there are still those in this time and place who persist in offering up counterfeit words with such sweet phrases and personal stories as to appeal to the heart and emotions over and above the Holy Spirit's Biblical teaching regarding Holy Communion. This is not a new battle in the LCMS, but it is one which will never be settled until those who hold duly elected positions of Ecclesiastical Supervision are willing to step up and fulfill their responsibilities in addressing it each time it rears its ugly head. And this is where St. Paul's words to “keep away from any brother” are especially important to the Ecclesiastical Supervisors in Synod. For even though this supervisory office is given de jure humano (by human right) and not de jure divino (by divine right), it accords well with the initial objective of the Synod's Constitution: “The Synod, under Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, shall — 1. Conserve and promote the unity of the true faith (Eph. 4:3–6; 1 Cor. 1:10), … and provide a united defense against schism, sectarianism (Rom. 16:17), and heresy.”


When St. Paul refers to “the tradition that you received,” he has in mind that which is handed down (tradition), and for him and the other Apostles it means especially that which Christ Himself handed down to them, and they in turn are now passing along to their hearers! That which is “handed down” also serves the purpose of keeping good order in the churches, for as he says elsewhere: “But all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).


There is a quote sometimes attributed to the poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson which goes like this: “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” The essence of these words reflect in an eerie sort of way what took place in Genesis 3 when Eve took the bait (believed the lie) presented in the serpent's words to her in the Garden of Eden. Would that it all ended there, but this was just the beginning, for that great deceiver continues to use the same technique in every generation as our Lord Himself warns when He says to the Pharisees: “your father the devil … does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).


This “father of lies” has his followers in every generation, and the Church is where he especially seeks to ply his wares to destroy the faith of as many as he possibly can. For this very reason the ACELC continues to sound the alarm (bark) about these matters which are disrupting the Synod and doing harm among to those within and without our congregations! This is a matter of great importance to our Lord, for He is the one and only who yielded up His very body to the cross and bled and died for the sins of all, because He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). That too is the desire of every congregation and associate member of the ACELC, and if you would like to join or be a part of this ongoing effort please visit our website to review our materials, and consider joining us at our next conference at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa, June 2-3, 2020, where the topic will be … “Christ For Us: Ecclesiastical Supervision.”


Contending together for faithful doctrine and practice in the LCMS, The ACELC Board of Directors

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