On September 11, 2012, as I sought to find a previous newsletter article relevant today, I ran across the article I wrote after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. I pray that you also find it useful.
The Word of God reveals that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. He, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the one and only true God. Our Dear Lord Jesus says that if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before His Father. One day, Jesus asked His disciples what people had to say about Him. Peter under the Father’s revelation proclaimed, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God!”
Who do you proclaim Him to be? If you are in a group of people who agree that Jesus was an important person, but not the Savior of mankind, or that He was a good teacher, or a moral leader, but not the Savior of mankind, your silence is denial. This is more than an issue of well intentions, an attempt to maintain friendships, or an avoidance of disfavor. If you do not proclaim Him to be the Savior of the world, both the Scriptures and Luther declare that to be a denial of Christ.
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ." (Luther)
Whenever Christians find themselves surrounded by unbelievers, it is difficult to “Confess Christ”. Nevertheless, every Christian has been called to just such a confession.
That is why the events of Sept. 23, 2001 were so disappointing to those who love Jesus! On that day, “A Service of Prayer” was held in Yankee Stadium. Among those participating with Moslems, Buddhists, and other false teachers was the President of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. In the midst of prayers offered to false gods, he also offered a prayer in Jesus’ name. The impression which the news media reported was that Jesus was just ‘one of many choices’ in a time of crisis.
Collaboration in an inter-faith, inter-denominational service of prayer creates the illusion that opposing religions have been brought into agreement in the presence of God and in the opinion of the world. This was opposed by The Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration X:5.
‘Nor do we include among truly free adiaphora or things indifferent those ceremonies which give or (to avoid persecution) are designed to give the impression that our religion does not differ greatly from that of the papists, or that we are not seriously opposed to it. Nor are such rites matters of indifference when these ceremonies are intended to create the illusion (or are demanded or agreed to with that intention) that these two opposing religions have been brought into agreement and become one body, or that a return to the papacy and an apostasy from the pure doctrine of the Gospel and from true religion has taken place or will allegedly result little by little from these ceremonies.’
It must be said that those who participated in the September 23, 2001 event most likely thought they were doing something helpful for those who suffered so much loss following the incident of September 11, 2001. Therefore, I must say it is not their intentions that are to be judged, but their confession of Jesus.
How many ways are there to God? The Word of God tells us that there is only One Way, through Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God and Savior of the world. He, alone, is the only hope of salvation. To speak of Jesus as though He is one of several options is to deny Him. If Jesus is not Confessed in any area of misunderstanding then the “default option” (let the computer buff understand) is to deny Him.
Now, as your Pastor, my questions are these:
Was Jesus First on Sept. 23, 2001? Was He confessed as the world’s Savior? The sad answer is, ‘No’.
Could unbelievers for whom Christ shed His blood have left Yankee Stadium without “hearing” the true good news of Salvation through Him? The sad answer is, ‘Yes’.
May God preserve His church on earth!