New Issues, Etc. from winter 2023--wonderful issue!


Super Member

The first article is about conspiracy theories and why so many people believe in them, and how, when believing in them is carried to an extreme, they can become an idol. I am reading it now and it is great, and has things in it I never thought about.

I hope the link works.

Remember, the key to understanding what is real, and why things are the way they are is Jesus Christ and His Word. God IS in His heaven, and all IS right with the world. We know this because the God who sits on the heavenly throne, ruling the universe from end to end is the man Jesus Christ: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:1-3)

From the right hand of the Father, Jesus rules. The Apostle Paul tells the Colossians, “In Him, all things hold together” (Colossians 3:17). All is right with the world because all that is wrong with the world has been atoned for with the blood of Jesus. This fact alone declares every conspiracy theory foolish and unnecessary. Christians don’t need conspiracy theories. As a Christian, should you be skeptical of what you see and hear around you? Yes! But rather than fill the void of uncertainty with the false certainty of a conspiracy theory, fill that void with the true certainty of God’s Word.

I guess this is why I never bother with or worry about all of the conspiracy theories out there that have proliferated over the past 3 years--conspiracy theories about covid-19 and the vaccination for it, the past election, the supposed Great Reset, etc. I just cannot be bothered.

But of course, evil is in the world, all around us. But I am reminded of what Jesus tells us "In the world, you will have trouble. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." And He did, on Calvary's cross.

Are dark, unseen forces attempting to control the world and conspiring against us? Yes! But God has already told us what those forces are: We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

God has also told us that as powerful as these demonic forces are, they do not control His world; He does. And, He has completely defeated these forces in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ....

The true God and his purpose for mankind are a better explanation for what is happening in the world and your life than the sinister forces at the heart of conspiracy theories. The true God is also a better God than the idol of a conspiracy theory. Like every idol, the comfort offered by a conspiracy theory is both false and fleeting. The comfort that God gives in Jesus Christ is true and eternal.

I guess the reason I don't worry about these things is because I have the comfort of Jesus Christ and HIS comfort is true and eternal. Amen, Lord Jesus!

The next article is one of the Wittenburg Trails one--a lady who started out as a Methodist, left that, and wandered spiritually in various churches until she found what she was looking for in an LC-MS church. She did learn something from each of the churches she went to before becoming an LCMS Lutheran.

For my freshman year of college, I attended Seattle Pacific University, a Free Methodist school in Seattle, where I had to sign an agreement that I wouldn’t smoke, drink, or dance while attending school. I didn’t understand how dancing would negatively impact my spiritual life, but I signed it anyway.

One evening during the fall of my first semester, I attended a student Bible study. The leader talked about salvation in such a way that I seriously doubted if I could be saved, even though I believed the Gospel. After this Bible study, on the outside, my life looked like me attending classes, going to the campus church, and spending time with friends. But on the inside, I was in turmoil. I was reduced to basic questions: Who is God? What is His posture toward us? Is He loving or capricious? Does a confession of faith mean something or nothing?

After that, I thought back to my experiences in high school at the LCMS church with the bad volleyball and excellent Bible study and looked for an LCMS congregation nearby. Perhaps there, I would find some answers. So, I looked in a phone book (yes, it was that long ago) and found a nearby LCMS congregation, where I attended for several weeks.

Then, one Sunday morning in 1988, I sat by myself in a blonde-colored pew with the morning sun streaming through stained-glass windows. As the pastor preached his sermon, suddenly, everything became clearer to me. This was not a blinding “Road to Damascus” moment, or a miraculous event witnessing a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping, or a response to an emotional altar call. On that day, through that pastor’s voice, I heard the unfiltered, un-added-to Gospel for what felt like the first time. And what did he say?

• We are all sinners. • But Jesus died, rose, and lives. • And He did all of this for all of us—and for me.

It was just that simple. Later, I learned that the pastor was dying of cancer, which made the moment all the more poignant since I now know that God works through the poor and the small. Through this dying man’s voice in the remaining months of his earthly life, God spoke to me. Through these humble means—at a small church with an aging congregation, in an unassuming suburb, through an old man’s voice—God came to me as He comes to each one of us. He comes through the faithful words of an imperfect pastor, through the bread and wine of the Holy Supper, through the waters of baptism. Here, for me, was the Jesus, “who is before all things and in whom all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).

I was moved to tears at these last lines.

So, my fellow conservative Lutherans, NEVER let us lose the fact that it is ALL through JESUS CHRIST that we are saved and that we can have all we need to know to eternal life in His Holy word, the Bible!