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XI - Number 09 - October 2019

posted Mar 30, 2012, 3:22 PM by Zion Lutheran   [ updated Oct 6, 2019, 12:23 PM ]


ZioN NoiZ

March 2019

Zion Lutheran Church

424 E. Warner Ave.

Guthrie, OK 73044-3348

Phone – 405-282-3914                                                            Fax – 405-282-3918

Rev. W. R. Rains, Pastor                                                   Home Phone 405-728-8330   

 E-mail: faithokc@aol.com                                                  Website: zlcguthrieok.org


Sharing Grace: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense




Volume XI                                                                                                                     Number 9      

Pastor’s Point of View

In February 1995, I began studies that would lead me into full-time ministry. At the time, I thought I was doing it simply to grow in my knowledge of the Scriptures and to help the pastor of my congregation, which was Christ in Mustang, OK. However, my studies opened a door that has brought me to this point, which is the beginning of my 21st year of ministry. My full-time ministry began through a call by Faith in Oklahoma City, upon the completion of my lay ministry studies sponsored by Concordia University Wisconsin and hosted by the Oklahoma District. It was a four and a half year program that led to my being certified for a call as a commissioned minister of religion with Faith working with the district to extend me a call. The call to serve as a licensed commissioned minister of religion was issued on August 20, 1999, which I accepted on September 1st with my official start date to be October 1st.

On October 3, 1999 (the Sunday closest to October 1st), I was commissioned and installed as a licensed commissioned minister of religion at Faith Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City, where for the next 5 years I was licensed to serve in Word and Sacrament Ministry as I prepared to be certified for ordination. In January of 2000, I began my studies toward certification for ordination through a program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, known as DELTO (Distance Education Leading to Ordination). Finally, on January 14, 2005 that day arrived. Then on January 23, 2005, I was ordained and installed into the pastoral ministry at Faith. I continued to serve that congregation in Word and Sacrament Ministry while also serving several vacancies in the Oklahoma City area. This congregation was one of those vacancies. It was while serving as vacancy pastor (which began in July 2007) that you asked the district about the possibility of placing my name on your call list. With the district’s blessing, you added my name to your list of candidates, and after a duly called voters meeting, you officially extended me a call to serve as your called pastor on August 23, 2008. In a letter dated September 26, 2008, I accepted the call to be your pastor and stated that I would be able to begin on November 1st with my installation to be on November 9th. So, in addition to beginning my 21st year of ministry on the 1st of November I will begin my 12th year as your pastor.

All that being said, I want to share with you a portion of my ordination and installation service:

(District President, Rev. Hartman) In the presence of this congregation and before our Lord God to whom you must give account now and at the Last Day, I now ask you:

Do you acknowledge that the Lord has called you through His Church into the ministry of Word and Sacrament?

Candidate Rains: I do.

Rev. Hartman: Do you believe and confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God and to be the only infallible rule of faith and practice?

Candidate Rains: Yes, I believe and confess the canonical Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

Rev. Hartman: Do you believe and confess the three Ecumenical Creeds, namely the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, as faithful testimonies to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and do you reject all the errors which they condemn?

Candidate Rains: Yes, I believe and confess the three Creeds because they are in accord with the Word of God.  I also reject all the errors they condemn.

Rev. Hartman: Do you confess the Unaltered Augsburg Confession to be a true exposition of Holy Scripture and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church?  And do you confess that the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on Authority and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord – as these are contained in the 1580 Book of Concord – are also in agreement with this one scriptural faith?

Candidate Rains: Yes, I make these Confessions my own because they are in accord with the Word of God.

Rev. Hartman: Do you promise that you will perform the duties of your office in accordance with these Confessions, and that your preaching and teaching and your administration of the Sacraments will be in conformity with Holy Scripture and with these Confessions?

Candidate Rains: Yes, I promise with the help of God.

Rev. Hartman: Will you faithfully instruct both young and old in the chief articles of Christian doctrine, will you forgive the sins of those who repent, and will you promise never to divulge the sins confessed to you?  Will you minister faithfully to the sick and dying, will you demonstrate to the Church a constant and ready ministry centered in the Gospel?  Will you admonish and encourage the people to a lively confidence in Christ and in holy living?

Candidate Rains: Yes, I will with the help of God.

Rev. Hartman: Finally, will you honor and adorn the office of the holy ministry with a holy life?  Will you be diligent in study of Holy Scripture and the Confessions?  And will you be constant in prayer for those under your pastoral care?

Candidate Rains: I will, the Lord helping me through the power and grace of His Holy Spirit.  

Although this is from my ordination and installation at Faith, I was also asked these questions when I was commissioned and installed at Faith. And when I was installed as the pastor of this congregation, I was asked these same questions. In fact, every rostered church worker in the LCMS is asked these questions.  

That brings me to what I would like to talk about and that is the Confessions. In the section about beliefs on the LCMS website it states this about the Confessions: “Drawn from God’s Word, the Lutheran Confessions are a true and binding exposition of Holy Scripture and serve as authoritative texts for all pastors, congregations and other rostered church workers of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.”

That all sounds good, but just what are the confessions? The website further states: “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod accepts the Scriptures as the inspired and inerrant Word of God and the LCMS subscribes unconditionally to all the symbolic books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God.”

The symbolic books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church can be found in the Book of Concord (1580). It was first published in German on June 25, 1580 in Dresden on the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession with the authoritative Latin edition published in Leipzig in 1584. It was compiled by a group of theologians led by Jakob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz at the behest of their rulers who wanted to bring to an end the religious controversies that had arisen after the death of Martin Luther in 1546. It was intended to replace territorial collections of “bodies of doctrine.”

The documents that make up the Book of Concord are:

                The Three Chief Symbols – the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the                               Athanasian



                The Augsburg Confession (1530)

                Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531)

                The Smalcald Articles (1537)

                Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537)

                The Small Catechism (1529)

                The Large Catechism (1529)

                The Formula of Concord (1577) – Epitome and The Solid Declaration

The Augsburg Confession (Confession) is our primary confession and was first presented at the Diet of Augsburg on June 25, 1530. It was followed by the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Apology) which was a defense and further explanation of the Augsburg Confession. After the Augsburg was presented, Charles V commissioned a Roman Catholic response and the Apology is in part a rebuttal of the Roman Catholic response to the Confession. Both of these documents were written by Philip Melanchthon but highly influenced by Luther.

The Smalcald Articles are a summary of Lutheran doctrine and were written by Martin Luther in 1537 in anticipation of an ecumenical Church Council which never took place. In the document Luther summarized what he thought to be the most important teaching in Christianity. Prior to the meeting of the Smalcaldic League, which is where they were first presented, Luther became ill and was unable to attend. Without his presence and the influence of Philip Melanchthon the League chose not to adopt the articles because Melanchthon convinced the gathering that the articles were too divisive. It was at the same meeting that Melanchthon was asked to write a clear statement on the papacy. That document is known as the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. In this document Melanchthon stresses three points: 1) The pope is not the head of the Christian Church and superior to all other bishops by divine right, 2) The pope does not hold civil authority by divine right, 3) The claim that obedience to the pope is necessary for salvation is invalid since it contradicts the fact that we are justified by grace alone.

The Small and Large Catechism were written in 1529. Speaking about the Small Catechism, in the Large Catechism, Luther stated that a catechism’s “contents represent the minimum of knowledge required to be a Christian…Therefore it is the duty of every head of household to examine his children…at least once a week and ascertain what they have learned of it, and if they do not know it, to keep them faithfully at it.” In his preface to the Large Catechism Luther writes “to think we can finish learning in one hour what God himself cannot finish teaching” is dangerous. A little later he writes: “I once again implore all Christians…not to try to be doctors prematurely and to imagine that they know everything. Vain imaginations, like new cloth, suffer shrinkage! ... Let them continue to read and teach, to learn and mediate and ponder. Let them never stop until they have proved by experience that they have taught the devil to death and have become wiser than God himself and all his saints.” This is why we have both the Small and Large Catechisms.

Finally, we have the Formula of Concord (1577). After Luther’s death doctrinal controversies threatened to tear Lutheranism apart, so Elector August of Saxony called together some of the best Lutheran minds of the day to bring these controversies to an end. They first met in May 1576. There were six primary participants – Jacob Andrea, Martin Chemnitz, Nicholas Selnecker, David Chytraeus, Andres Musculus, and Christopher Cornerus. These men wrestled with pertinent Scripture passages, the writings of Luther and the Church Fathers, and the arguments made by several sides from each controversy. This led them to formulate the biblical, orthodox, and distinctively Lutheran doctrine in 12 articles. It became known as the Formula of Concord, and it has two parts – the Epitome and the Solid Declaration. The Epitome is a summary of the Formula of Concord and the Solid Declaration is ‘A thorough, pure, correct, and final repetition and declaration of some articles of the Augsburg Confession about which, for some time, there has been controversy among some theologians who subscribe to the them, decided and settled according to the analogy of God’s Word and the summary contents of our Christian doctrine.”

As I bring this article to an end, I continue to hold these vows to be true that I made over 20 years ago to the Scripture and the Confessions, when I entered into full-time ministry in October 1999 and reaffirmed at my ordination and installation in 2005, and again when I became your pastor almost 12 years ago.

Rev. Hartman: Finally, will you honor and adorn the office of the holy ministry with a holy life?  Will you be diligent in study of Holy Scripture and the Confessions?  And will you be constant in prayer for those under your pastoral care?

Candidate Rains: I will, the Lord helping me through the power and grace of His Holy Spirit.



                                                                                                            Pastor Rains