1 A difference in doctrine which hitherto has been regarded as divisive, is suddenly made to lose its divisive significance.
2 Differences in doctrine are made to lose their divisive significance with a view to uniting hitherto separate churches.
3 A formula of unification is found which each of two hitherto separate churches may accept but which each of them interprets differently. An external bond is found for internally divided groups.
4 The unionist declares that every one may continue to hold his own private convictions and merely needs to respect and tolerate those of another.
– John Michael Reu
John Michael Reu (1869-1943) studied at Loehe’s Neuendettelsau Mission Institute in Bavaria and was ordained to the Lutheran ministry at the age of 20. He served pastorates in Mendota and Rock Falls, Illinois, and taught at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa for 44 years.[Wikipedia] “It was said of Reu, that the Bible was a love story from beginning to end, God wooing back His own and sustaining them with heavenly food. Reu understood the main task of Christian education to be telling the story of God as revealed in scripture. And for Reu, the study of scripture was more than just the pursuit of knowledge, but had to do with formation and feeding of the soul. He leaves a legacy of a man who was a teacher, pastor, student and lover of God’s word.” [Mark Kvale & Robert C. Wiederaenders; Biola]
“When does the kingdom of God come to us? Ever more voices answer today: It will come when international peace has been established, when war has been outlawed forever, when all the churches have been united in one great ecumenical organization, when social injustice has been removed, and when epidemics and incurable diseases are things of the past.
“And in what manner will this blessed season be ushered in? Through energetic efforts put forth by Christians and others, through conferences, and organizations? This is precisely the way in which the kingdom of God does not come. Man-made organizations and unions, leagues and societies, conventions and executive boards and lengthy reports—they all are earth-born efforts, beating the air and of no avail, unless they are pervaded by the vital breath of the Holy Spirit. The Small Catechism gives an entirely different answer. It asserts that the kingdom comes when the Father in heaven gives us His Holy Spirit so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and live godly lives, here in time and in heaven forever. I, too, know of a paradise to come; but it will not be the crowning culmination of a natural development of everything good that now exists in the world; it will arrive only after the day of judgment, after the abrupt termination of the present natural development, namely when Christ Himself returns ‘to judge the quick and the dead.’ In blessed hope I long for this day of perfection. But until then the kingdom of God is the kingdom of the Cross, and its only means are the Word and the Sacraments.”
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