Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, it is my joy and privilege to bring you greetings on behalf of the College of Bishops, the clergy, and the laity of the Anglican Church in North America.
In this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I have to confess it is really good to be with Lutherans! Especially Lutherans who believe the Bible and attempt to practice its teaching!
Thank you, Bishop John, for your invitation and your hospitality over these days. I am deeply grateful.
The Anglican Church in North America and the North America Lutheran Church have been having ecumenical discussions and fellowship for a number of years now, and we partner in various ways to further of the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I personally appreciate your clear stand on the moral teaching of the Bible. It seems that God has called us to live in a generation when too many Church leaders have thrown away Biblical morality for the sake of cultural relativity. Even leaders from our various traditions, who wear the same name as we do, Lutheran and Anglican, have abandoned the teaching of the Bible.
A virus of immorality, has spread to the leadership of the Church and become accepted as “Christian.” It is nothing more, than pagan morality, dressed up and Christianized, with inclusive language and politically correct verbiage. We have become too feeling-oriented in the Church. Yes, we are to love, but we’ve become afraid to tell people of their sin. This is not love at all, it is deception (And you know where deception comes from).
Because we refuse to tell people God’s truth, refuse to reveal to people God’s holy expectations, in the name of love, we are deceiving people into thinking that “living in sin” is ok with the Almighty. It is not. Thank you, for your clear stand for Biblical Morality. We in the Anglican Church in North America stand with you.
Secondly, I want to thank you for your emphasis on discipleship. Jesus said to his disciples: “GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always.” This is called the Great Commission. Sadly, for too many in our pews and chairs, it is the Great Omission. This is what we are called to be about – making disciples. Jesus ends this commission by saying “Lo, I am with you always.” As we make disciples, He promises to be us. This ought to immediately motivate us – so Jesus will be with us. He says to “Go” literally. Isn’t this what a commission does? It gives you something to do. As you go, make disciples.
We must get out of our churches and go. We must get out of our homes and go. We must get out from in front of the television, and go. We must get out from in front of our computer screens, and go! As you go, make disciples.
Did he say go and make new members? Did he say go and lead beautiful worship services? Did he say go and build buildings?
All those things are great, but not if we are aren’t doing what he asked us to do. As you go, make disciples. Make disciples of all nations. Make disciples of all people. Not just our kind. Not just people who look like us. Not just people who share our values. Make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.
We aren’t to just get people to pray a special prayer, and then get them wet in baptism, we are to teach them. Teach them what Jesus taught. Teach them what His Word says. Teach them how to follow Jesus in a world which hates him. As you go, make disciples, of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all that I commanded you, and I will be with you always.
What a joy to know that you have a vision of discipleship! We are excited about our partnership with you in these Gospel endeavors. Together, we can impact North America, for generations to come!
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, and the blessing of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you all forever more. Amen.