Saturday, April 14, 2007 Faith grows stronger for some soldiers, is lost for others - Tue, Apr 3, 2007

I read this article: Faith grows stronger for some soldiers, is lost for others - Tue, Apr 3, 2007 in the Rochester Post Bulletin yesterday (was in 4/12/07 paper). It really stuck with me. I've been spending time trying to locate Peter Moeller so I might write him. Should I pay for people search engine results in order get an address to send this following note to him?

Dear Peter,

You were mentioned in an article in the Rochester Post-Bulletin on April 12 that dealt with challenges to faith for soldiers.

I would first off like to thank you for your service to our country and to protecting our citizens. I appreciate your efforts and I don't believe that is expressed often enought. I am sorry to hear of the challenges of facing death and serious injury. That has to influence a person for the rest of their life. You have made a sacrifice for your country. I wish for you that you might be able to return to a normal life and work.

I think it was very compelling to read of your challenges to your faith. I had a few thoughts that I really wanted to share in that regard.

I don't know if your training as a Lutheran included clear and direct teaching about the Gospel: the good news that Jesus died for your sins and the sins of all people and that he offers that forgiveness as a free gift. I believe that with the Gospel clearly in mind, that pure Christian religion gets separated out from all other religions of the world and even many that call themselves Christian religions. The separation is that for pure Christianity, the forgiveness comes as a FREE gift. With Islam and all other religions, favor with God (forgiveness) is something that must be earned by the individual. In fact, the muslim terrorists who are fighting against the U.S. are believing that by fighting and dying, they are going to gain God's praise. Pure Christianity, however, says that all our attempts to make God happy are really not going to accomplish that. Instead of our failed attempts to make things right with God, God comes to us and gives us that as a free gift when He gave His Son to be a man in Jesus, to suffer and die on the cross and to rise again.

For me, there is a great difference between the Muslim trying to earn God's favor and the Christian getting the free gift of God's favor. So, it isn't a minor difference that could go either way.

How do we decide which is right? For me, I know my shortcomings. I know that what I do is not ever very good in God's eyes. I know that if I would attempt to please God by what I do, I would always come up short. I know I need the free gift. Therefore, I am glad to have the free gift, because I could not do it myself. I need it to come completely from God for He IS able to do it and He did do it when Jesus died on the cross. If I were a Muslim, I'd always be asking myself, did I do enough? Did I do it well enough? How can I really be sure God is happy with me? How can I ever know I am right with Him. Only pure Christianity provides the answers and they are all answered in Jesus.

It was also a bit surprising to see that you thought of the Iraq war as Christians fighting against Muslims. I would have thought of it more like the U.S. fighting against Muslim terrorists and fundamentalists. It is true that Islam was founded on the principle of violence and war used to convert people. Now there are many liberal Muslims today who don't follow those principles. The conservative and fundamentalist Muslims are the ones we are really concerned about. They are the terrorists who are trying to attack and destroy the U.S. Again, I appreciate your sacrifice to help protect us from them.

I would be happy to speak with you about these topics further. You can call, write or email me at: xxx --- xxx


Monday, April 09, 2007

Teacher Removal Response

My last entry here was my letter of resignation as an elder of my congregation as a result of unresolved theological concerns I hold. A few days after I posted that letter here with my name present as well as the name of my church and pastor, I was removed from my position as a Bible Study and Sunday School teacher. That hurt.

Below is a letter from my in-laws, in response to my removal as teacher.

Elders of <X> Lutheran Church <addressed>
Subject: Removal of <me> as a teacher at <X> Lutheran Church


This letter was written to express our concerns about the recent action to remove <me> as a teacher at <X>. This has nothing to do with the fact that <me> is related to us, but it does have to do with his being our Bible class teacher and a trained, respected theologian.

We have read in the Sunday bulletin that he resigned because of “theological issues”. We have also heard that it was stated “that it was not appropriate for him to continue teaching because of theological concerns and that they were made public”. If this is true, would one of you please tell us the meaning of “not appropriate” and “theological issues or theological concerns”?

Out of consideration for your time we will tell you what we know (and don’t know) about the situation to obviate the need to rehash what is already common knowledge.

1. We have a copy of the letter dated February 21, 2007 in which <me> delivered his resignation as Elder to the committee of Elders.

2. We have a copy of the constitution and by-laws of <X> which describe the duties of an Elder.

3. We have a copy of the publication titled: “THIS WE BELIEVE A Statement of Belief of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod” Revised January 1999.

4. We have searched for a reply or rebuttal to <me's> letter and have found none.

In the absence of a reply or rebuttal, we must conclude that <me’s> concerns stand as true and represent a warning to the members of <X> which must be taken seriously. This then brings us back to the purpose of this letter. Why was <me> banned from teaching? In our opinion, by this action, he has been made out to be a heretic or worse and his reputation has been tarnished.

Arguably the best teacher at <X> has been removed from the Lord’s work, which he has been trained to do, without adequate explanation. We were his students and as a result of this action we feel deprived of his knowledge (in a public Bible class environment) as well as the fellowship and interaction with other <X> members who attended the class.

We don’t know (or care) who is responsible for the decision to ban <me> from teaching, but we do know who can fix the injustice that has occurred. We pray that you as the Elders of <X>, will reconsider this matter and take correcting action with regard to his reputation.

We look forward to someone’s written response to this inquiry in due course.

Respectfully and in His name,
<my in-laws>