The Formula of Concord: Articles IX & X
Article IX: The descent of Christ to Hell
We say it every time we confess the Apostles’ Creed: “He descended into hell.” Yet, during the Reformation, theologians began debating Christ’s descent into hell. Lutherans discussed questions like, “Was this done before or after His death? Did this happen only to His soul… or with body and soul?… Does this article belong to Christ’s passion or to His glorious victory and triumph?” (FC EP IX 1). The Formula of Concord answered these questions, not by appealing to reason, but by appealing to “the simplicity of our Christian faith” (FC SD IX 1).
In 1 Peter 3:18-19, we hear that Christ proclaimed to the prisoners his victory over sin and death, by His death on the cross. We might have many more questions about Christ’s descent into hell, but we cannot know more than what Scripture teaches. In its answer to the debates, the Formula said, “It is enough if we know that Christ descended into hell, destroyed hell for all believers, and delivered them from the power of death and of the devil, from eternal condemnation and the jaws of hell. We will save our questions about how this happened until the other world. Then not only this mystery, but others also will be revealed that we simply believe here and cannot grasp with our blind reason” (FC EP IX 4). Simply put, Christ’s descent into hell is shows us the gospel that Christ has conquered hell for every believer.
Article X: Church Practices
The debate on Church practices, or adiaphora, came about during the hard times after Luther’s death and after the Lutheran princes were defeated in the Smalcald War by the Holy Roman Empire (1546-7). After the Lutherans lost the Smalcald War, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, signed the Augsburg Interim into law at the Diet of Augsburg (1548), which attempted to bring Lutheranism back under the control of Roman Catholicism. Under this rule, the Lutherans could keep their belief of justification by faith, but they had to recognize papal authority and follow Roman church practices. Some Lutheran theologians went along with this order, while others said that the Augsburg Interim put the heart of the Christian faith at stake.
Article X of the Formula of Concord addresses this debate about whether or not practices that were not commanded nor forbidden by God (adiaphora) could be brought into the Lutheran Church under times of persecution. First, the Formula made the distinction between normal times and times of persecution, saying, Under normal times, “the community of God… has the power to change such worship ceremonies in a way that may be most useful and edifying to the churches of God” (FC EP X 4). Yet, they also said, “We believe, teach, and confess that during a time of persecution, when a plain and steadfast confession is required of us, we should not yield to the enemies in such matters of adiaphora” (FC EP X 6). The Formula wrote that in times of persecution, such as when the Roman Catholics were trying to bring the Lutherans back under their control, the Lutherans could not adopt Catholic practices, nor give up their own practices. “For in such a case it is no longer a question about adiaphora. But it concerns the truth of the Gospel, preserving Christian liberty, and sanctioning open idolatry” (FC EP X 6).
The writers of the Formula of Concord thought that if Lutherans compromised and adopted Roman church practices, and fell back under the authority of the pope, the whole heart of the Christian faith would eventually be destroyed. When agreement on doctrine was not reached between the Roman Catholics and the Lutherans, the external agreement in practices would only confuse and deceive people.
External practices may seem like a small matter, but they are not. Practices and ceremonies teach what the church believes. Just like in the early church when the circumcision party said that every Christian must be circumcised, teaching that righteousness comes by both faith and works of the law. But Paul rebuked them, for our righteousness comes by faith alone. By putting in a practice that mandated circumcision, the whole gospel that Christ has done it all for us was at stake. Paul wrote concerning the circumcision party, “to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you” (Galatians 2:5).
The Lord be with all of you during this pandemic. I look forward to seeing you all and pray that we can gather together soon in the sanctuary to receive God’s Word, the Lord’s Supper, and have fellowship with one another.
Blessings, Vicar Dailey.
Summer Mid-week Worship
It is our joy to once again host the summer mid-week worship services at
Shepherd of the Valley each Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Pastors and vicars from our sister congregations in Bismarck and Mandan have agreed to lead services and proclaim God’s Word as a part of these services. If you know that you will be out of town for the weekend, why not join us for worship on Wednesday? It will give you the opportunity to feed and nurture your faith in Christ while listening to a different voice with a fresh message. We are grateful to our sister congregations and their leaders in partnering together to offer these mid-week services. Please join us! You’ll be glad that you did.
June 3 Vicar Dailey
June 10 Pastor Walla (Holy Communion)
June 17 Pastor Zellers
June 24 Vicar Durham
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
Summer Voter’s Assembly
The summer voter’s assembly will take place on June 14 during the education hour at 9:30 am. This will be our election meeting. If you have an interest in serving as an elected officer or on one of our church boards, please visit with Justin Dever or Doug Hintz.
“MAIN STREET LIVING” MEDIA MINISTRY
Thank you for your much-needed financial support! Checks may be sent to “Main Street Living NORTH”, 821-5th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103, or donate by Credit Card or your PayPal account on the website. God’s blessing in Christ! -Ken Koehler / MSL North Volunteer Coordinator
“Main Street Living North” Programs for June 2020:
June 7th: Rev. Jared Nies, St. John’s Lutheran Church – Corliss, MN, presents the message: “In the beginning, God … Who is That?” based on Genesis 1:1-2:4a. This Is The Life program is “Give and Take” – A young Christian advertising agency representative navigates a situation with an overly attentive married man.
June 14th: Rev. Craig Fenske, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, ND, presents the message: “What Jesus Sees in Us,” based on Matthew 9:35–10:20. This is The Life program is: “No Tears for Bill” – A widow struggles with the past and her upcoming marriage.
June 21st: Rev. Eli Voigt, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bagley, MN, presents the message: “God of Joy” based on Hebrews 12:2. This Is The Life program is: “Two Weeks to Eternity”.
June 28th: Rev. Thomas Clark, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hankinson, ND & St. John’s Lutheran Church, Belford, ND, presents the message: “The Cost of Peace,” based on Matthew 10:34-42. This Is The Life program is: “The House of Sand.” This classic Fisher Family episode explores the difference between a moral and Christian life.
“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally-produced TV program that includes a 30-minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30-minute Lutheran Hour program (normally “This Is The Life,” along with occasional church-season specials). Programs are at 10:00am Central KBMY Xtra Channel 17.3 Bismarck/Dickinson (Cable channel 594), as well as the cable and satellite systems carrying these stations. (For a list of cable & satellite stations and their channel assignments in your area, please contact your church office.) MSLN programs are also archived and can be viewed at any time on www.mainstreetliving.com then click on “North (Fargo)”.
2020 Summer Bible Camp Opportunities
June 7-8 or June 28-29
Children enter kindergarten through first grade will love this camp! This is a great way to introduce children to camp. Campers will have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor activities at Shepherd’s Hill at the Crossroads while learning about God’s love through chapel time, Bible studies, crafts, and campfires. Horseback lead rides are available for an additional charge. Arrangements can be made for parents to stay on camp if there are concerns about their children’s overnight stay.
June 7-9 or June 28-30
Children entering second and third grade will greatly enjoy this camp! Swimming, canoeing, paddleboats, and hiking are a few of the activities youth will enjoy as they also study God’s Word and develop life-long friendships. Arrangements can also be made for parents to stay if there are concerns regarding separation anxiety. Discover Camp ends on Tuesday at 4:00 pm. A sack supper will be provided.
Kids Camp is especially designed for children entering grades four through six. Trail rides and lead rides are available for an extra fee. Campers will grow in their faith through chapel time, Bible studies, campfires, and fellowship. This camp ends on Thursday at 1:00 pm.
District Encounter Camp
Encounter Camp is for youth in grade seven and up. Join us as we encounter God through Word, World, Worship, and Recreation Encounters. Make new friends, learn basic leadership skills, reunite with old friends, grow in your relationship with Christ, and have fun in a camp setting.
See the camp brochure for other camps, more details and costs.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
LCMS Stewardship Ministry
Newsletter Article – June 2020
The sin of the world is paid for. God’s Law has been kept perfectly on our behalf. The prophecies have all been fulfilled. Jesus Christ has finished it all! And that, dear Christians, should fill us with complete confidence in our salvation. Since Jesus has finished all these things in His self-sacrifice, we can be fully certain our sins are forgiven, and we have everlasting life!
St. Paul wrote: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1)
We hear the same teaching in 1 Peter. “As you come to him, a living stone, rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
It’s the very thing Malachi foretold of the Lord, that He would come and purify His priestly people, that they may offer to Him an offering in righteousness. (Mal. 3:3)
So, what does this mean? In view of God’s mercies – that is, because Jesus sacrificed Himself to make us pure, giving His entire self into death – Paul said that we are to sacrifice ourselves entirely to God, offering Him our whole lives. For our Savior did not give Himself for us in part. So, we do not give back to Him in part.
We don’t offer ourselves to God just on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings, for example. Rather, we give Him our whole selves, all the time. We understand that offering ourselves to God as living sacrifices involves the giving of our time. It requires us to be faithful stewards of the time He has given us. Yes, it means we devote to our Savior all our time. Otherwise we are not sacrificing our whole lives.
You see, God both teaches us, and has graciously qualified us, to present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices – to live as His holy priests, who offer Him acceptable sacrifices through Jesus Christ, all day, every day, in our various callings.
In the passages from Romans and 1 Peter, we hear several examples of Christian self-sacrifice: serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, showing mercy, living peaceably with others, submitting to governing authorities and those over us in the workplace, wives submitting to husbands, husbands honoring wives, showing compassion, and suffering patiently in doing good.
In all these things, and in all our other everyday activities, we sacrifice ourselves by using our time, not just for our own benefit, but also and especially for the well-being of others. Work time, school time, exercise time, study time, mealtime, chore time, recreation and relaxation time, even sleep time – it’s all God’s gift to us to use for purposes that please and honor Him.
This challenges us to think about the way we spend our time, how we utilize our talents, and the way we spend our treasures. Whatever it is I’m doing, am I doing it “for the Lord”? (Col. 3:23) Am I presenting God a living sacrifice? Am I conducting myself as a holy priest, whose sacrifice is acceptable to God?
Because our Lord sacrificed Himself wholly for us, we offer ourselves wholly to Him as living sacrifices. This is following Jesus in self-sacrifice. By His saving mercy, yes, our sacrifice is acceptable to God. For the sake of Jesus’ finished work, God is pleased with us.
|JUNE BAPTISMAL BIRTHDAYS
Cody LaFond 6/1
Laith Hintz 6/3
Dane Wolfgram 6/7
Walter Rehling 6/11
Ken Purdy 6/14
Noah Jackson 6/20
Krey Ekstrom 6/20
Josh Lawyer 6/21
Brandin Kuntz 6/21
James Bechtold 6/24
Kyleen Ekstrom 6/27
Melvin Sutheimer 6/27
Grayson Lawyer 6/29
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 Kevin Olson
16-30 Craig Helm
Arlan & Sherrald Kostek 06/07/64
Norman & Carol Mohl 06/16/67
Eldon & Carla Unrath 06/03/72
Lonny & Korrine Lang 06/15/74
James & Cindi Bechtold 06/25/74
Carey & Cindy Bittner 06/07/75
Kevin & Cindy Olson 06/16/79
Ken & Cheryl Purdy 06/27/82
Loren & Kathie Strum 06/04/83
Lester & Denise Wolfgram 06/17/89
Curt & Lyn Krecklau 06/09/90
Leland & Lisa Miller 06/28/91
Rob & Dorrie Burkhardsmeier 6/8/02
Laith & Kristi Hintz 06/07/03
Paul & Sara Vukelich 06/12/04
Nate & Carrie Harling 06/30/12