The Formula of Concord: Articles XI & XII
Article XI: God’s Eternal Foreknowledge and Election
Divine election is the teaching that “from God’s gracious will and pleasure in Christ Jesus, election is a cause that gains, works, helps, and promotes our salvation” (FS SD XI 8). Divine election is God’s working of our salvation, in which “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Election is not just knowing beforehand who would believe Christ and be saved, but it is God’s work, bringing us to salvation.
There were no real debates among Lutherans on the teaching of divine election. However, Calvinist theology was beginning to hold sway over some Lutherans, so this article was included. For Calvinism taught a horrendous teaching known as “double predestination.” This Calvinist teaching held that God chose some people for salvation, but He chose the rest of humanity for the fires of hell. In this teaching, Christ only died for the sake of the elect. Yet, this teaching blatantly goes against scripture when Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
In the correct understanding of predestination or election, the Formula of Concord directs us to look nowhere else but God’s revealed Word. And in God’s Word, we hear that Jesus died for the sins of the world and that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “[Christ] is eager that all people should come to Him and allow themselves to be helped…Furthermore, He promises the power and the working of the Holy Spirit.” (FC Ep XI 7).
But, if faith is something the Holy Spirit works in us, and God desires all people to be saved, then why are not all people saved? Well, “the reason some are not saved is as follows: They do not listen to God’s Word at all, but willfully despise it, plug their ears, and harden their hearts” (FC Ep XI 11). Scripture tells us that people can harden their hearts to God’s Word (Hebrews 4:7), resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51), persevere in sins without repentance (Luke 14:18-20), and seek other ways to righteousness and salvation outside of Christ (Romans 9:31). No one has the power to come to faith, yet people can resist the working of the Holy Spirit and remain in their sins.
However, the teaching of election is of great comfort. In this teaching, we see that God has indeed elected us “without any merit or worthiness” of our own, but out of pure grace. And since we have been saved apart from our works and God has planned our salvation from eternity, our salvation is secure in Christ’s saving work on the cross. “He has not only promised this gracious election with mere words but has also certified it with an oath and sealed it with the holy Sacraments. We can call these to mind in our most severe temptations and take comfort in them, and with them, we can quench the fiery darts of the devil” (FC Ep XI 13).
Article XII: Other Factions and Sects
Article XII addresses various false teachings in Christianity at the time. I cannot cover everything this article addresses, so I will just highlight a few. The Formula condemned the assertion that our salvation depends on both Christ’s saving work and our godliness. As we talked about in article IV, our good works are a result of our saving faith, not a contributing factor in our salvation. Also condemned was the view that children were born innocent. Article I addressed this very issue. Because of original sin, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Other articles that were condemned were the claims that Christians could not hold property, hold public office, or make weapons. Several other false teachings were condemned in the areas of the church, government, and home life.
It has been a blessing walking through the Formula of Concord with you. I would encourage all of you to read the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, which is a condensed version of it. It can be found at bookofconcord.org. It has been a blessing to be with you this year, and I pray that the Lord continues to bring you His peace, which passes all understanding and that He guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Blessings, Vicar Dailey.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4
Death is a part of life, although it was not always so. When God created humans in His image, there was no sin, no conflict, no sickness, and no death. This may seem far from our current reality, as we live in a fallen world that is impacted by illness and we mourn the loss of loved ones. Yet, we have the promise that just as Jesus conquered death, we too will rise again and join him in heaven where death shall once again be no more.
The Voters of the congregation met on June 14 and elected officers and members of the various boards. Thank you to all of those that have stepped forward to serve. Doug Hintz will become Congregational President on July 1. Steve Reiman was elected as Vice President, which he will do for one year followed by a year as Congregational President. Ann Willoughby will continue to serve as Secretary. The Officers will be formally installed on Rally Day, Sunday, September 13.
In other business, Lonny Lang was elected to represent Shepherd of the Valley as a lay delegate to the North Dakota District Convention next January. Rob Burkhardsmeier was elected as an alternate delegate.
There have been promising signs over the past month in relations to the COVID-19 pandemic. Active cases have decreased in North Dakota from a high of 670 to about 250 as I write this. Governor Burgum has moved the state from the moderate risk level to low risk, with additional easing of restrictions for businesses and public gatherings. Shepherd of the Valley is maintaining safety precautions, such as limiting physical contact and cleaning common surfaces more frequently. Sunday morning Bible Study has resumed during education hour, with people appropriately physically distancing. The leaders of the congregation continue to monitor the situation and will make adjustments as needed.
Exciting Times Ahead
Assisting Pastor Elect Justin Woodside will be ordained and installed at a joint service on Sunday August 2 at Bethel. He and his family will be moving to Bismarck and closing on a house on July 20th. It is exciting to see a shared assisting pastor come to fruition, as conversations were initiated between Bethel and Shepherd of the Valley regarding a shared worker back in 2011. We have been so blessed to have five great shared vicars over the past several years, and I can’t wait to see what all that we’ll be able to accomplish with a shared assisting pastor.
As I close out my term as Congregational President, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone that helps make Shepherd of Valley truly a church family. Thank you to Pastor Wolfgram for faithfully proclaiming God’s Word and demonstrating God’s love by caring for not only the congregation, but also those he encounters as Chaplain for the ND Highway Patrol and Bismarck Law Enforcement. Thank you for the Elders and all the members of the boards for your willingness to devote your time and talents to serving others. It has been a pleasure serving beside you over the past couple years.
Your Brother in Christ,
Eagle Scout Project To Expand Storage Space
Leaders at Shepherd of the Valley have discussed the need for additional storage space for a number of years. Part of that conversation has centered around having a storage shed closer to the church building, especially in winter to make snow removal equipment more accessible to users. This would also free up space within the church that is currently being used for storage. Grayson Lawyer will be a senior in high school this fall and is working toward his Eagle Scout acknowledgement. He has approached the board of trustees and the church council with an offer to build a storage shed as his Eagle Scout project. What follows is a note from Grayson regarding the project.
I am Grayson Lawyer, a Boy Scout who is trying to earn a rank advancement to Eagle Scout. In order to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, I have the opportunity to do something of significance for the community. After purchasing a new lawnmower, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church has finally run into an unavoidable problem; no more space. This, along with our current shed showing signs of significant age, with a door almost too narrow to accommodate the width of the new mower, caused me to reached out to our church leaders and asked if they would be okay with me building a new shed for the church which would fix two problems our church has: not enough room for the mower, and classrooms having to be dedicated to storage space.
The cost for this project is approximately $7000. We are accepting donations to help fund this. Please consider donating to this project.
Vicar Dailey Farewell
You are invited to a farewell meal for Vicar Dailey and his family on July 19 at Bethel Lutheran Church. Vicar Dailey will preach at Bethel at their 8:30am Divine Service and at Shepherd of the Valley for our 10:45am Divine Service. The meal and celebration will begin at roughly 12:15pm. Please join us. The meal will be provided.
Mainstreet Living July Preachers
- July 5-Rev. Brian Shane-Beautiful Savior Lutheran-Fargo, ND.
· July 12-Rev. Mathew Meyer-Beautiful Savior Lutheran-Callaway, MN.
· July 19-Rev. Robert Hill-St, Paul Lutheran-Wimbledon, ND.
· July 26-Rev. Ross Fritz-Grace Lutheran-Breckenridge, MN.
The local worship service airs at 10:00 AM CST, 9:00 AM MST on WDAY, Cable channel 594. Followed by This is the Life.
Martin Luther School Update
Theme verse for the 2020-2021 academic year:
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
We weathered the distance learning and have made it to summer vacation! During these summer months, our teachers continue to plan and study for the upcoming school year. Before the COVID closure, the board, staff, and teachers discussed implementing the method of classical education. We revisited the topic as things began to settle down at the beginning of summer break. Despite some setbacks from a rough year, we decided to move forward and are planning to implement some aspects of classical education through a new history and geography curriculum. There are elements of classical education that we currently use, but there is still much for us to learn and incorporate as we become more familiarized with this process. If you have any questions about classical education, (this differs from “traditional.”) I would love to visit with you!
We also would like to extend to you the invitation to take a look at the school! We have been cleaning, painting and sanitizing to get ready for the up coming school year. Because of our size, we can easily plan on holding all-day, in-person education for students preschool age – 6th grade. I especially reach out to children looking to enter kindergarten. Feel free to talk with me to set up a time to visit, and I can even arrange a visit with the teacher and get a feel for the school! Martin Luther School has a place for you!
These days we may feel that there many things over which we feel we have no control, but we can be reminded to stay calm, to BE STILL because we know that God is who He is and He IS in control and He has a plan for the future.
Mid-week Summer Worship Schedule
July 1 Pastor Wolfgram (Holy Communion)
July 8 Pastor Walla
July 15 Vicar Dailey
July 22 Pastor Marcis
July 29 Pastor Wolfgram (Holy Communion)
August 5 Pastor Walla
August 12 Pastor Marcis (Holy Communion)
August 19 Pastor Zellers
August 26 Pastor Woodside (Holy Communion)
September 2 Pastor Wolfgram
Martin Luther School is in need of a school cook. This position is approximately 30 hours per week, and the pay is $12.00/hour. Experience is helpful, but not required. Stop by the school to pick up an application or contact Denise Wolfgram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middle School Youth Group
Youth entering grade 6-8 are invited to a cookout and activities at the home of Pastor and Denise Wolfgram, 4601 Rolling Ridge Road, on Sunday, July 5, from 6:00-8:00 pm. Dane Wolfgram is leading the effort to bring youth together to make connections and grow in their faith. There are also plans in the works for a middle school youth night at Sertoma Park on July 26. Mark your calendars and plan to attend. If you have any questions or concerns, please call or text Dane at 701-400-5044. So that we can adequately prepare for the meal, please let Dane know whether you plan to attend.
July Acolyte List
*July 5 Zeva B. 815am
Daisy A. 1045am
July 12 Blake N. 815am
Kallen H. 1045am
*July 19 Aspen R. 815am
Reese D. 1045am
July 26 Jason C. 815am
Brekken Z. 1045am
|JULY BAPTISMAL |
Pat Bitz 7/1
Shirley Cook 7/1
Denise Walker 7/3
Marilyn Brandner 7/7
Madison Gildea 7/8
MacKenzie Gildea 7/8
Jesse Strum 7/12
Evan Purdy 7/14
Nolan Purdy 7/14
Kage Ekstrom 7/14
Dale Kitzman 7/14
Todd Schwagler 7/18
Lisa Miller 7/19
Taylor Krecklau 7/21
Craig Helm 7/25
Julia Dever 7/27
Melissa Davis 7/28
Loren Strum 7/29
|THE PURPOSE OF SHEPHERD OF THE VALLEY LUTHERAN CHURCH IS TO PROVIDE SPIRITUAL NURTURE THROUGH WORD AND SACRAMENT, LIVE THE FAITH AND REACH INTO THE COMMUNITY WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.|
1-15 Dick Dever
16-30 Rob Burkhardsmeier
Jacob & Dori Fetzer 07/19/17
Tom & Cathy Sitter 07/26/96
Don & Dawn Albrecht 07/28/01
Greg & Shari Zeis 07/29/95