We live in a highly educated society that is not educated at all about the truths of Scripture. In America, people are leaving Christianity in alarming numbers. They are leaving because they think Christianity is not true. Because their disagreement with Christianity is factual, entertainments will not bring them back.
The only thing that will bring them back is a vigorous and thorough presentation of the truth of the word of God. Only God’s Word can change the human heart.
However, there are many false religions masquerading as Christianity, and they discredit true Christianity by hiding the truth of the Word of God. For example, “decision theology” is one reason atheists think Christianity is false: Every thinking person knows that we can choose our opinions, but not our facts. Rational people choose their opinions, but rational people do not choose what they think is factually true. They must be convinced of the facts by evidence and testimony.
Even though Christianity is a historical (fact based) religion, “decision theology” says: “Make a decision for Jesus.” Choose to believe he was God incarnate and born of a virgin. Choose to believe he was crucified and rose from the dead. Choose to believe Christ is trustworthy, and choose to trust Christ, and choose the right factual beliefs, and God will reward you with eternal life. Atheists rightly ridicule this as a religion of emotion and make-believe.
Will we win those atheists with a better praise band? Will we win those who pick and choose their church based on their emotions by appealing to their fickle emotions? Or will the Holy Spirit win them with sound arguments based on the word of God?
The Book of Concord can help us begin to understand how the true Christian faith is different from these make-believe religions that are posing as true Christianity. This book can help us begin to make a solid defense of our faith, and start using the word of God with skill.
Baptism is the beginning of faith and the Christian life. Later on, examination and Confirmation will mark the beginning of a Christian’s intellectual defense of that faith. Confirmation marks merely the passage from Christian childhood to Christian adulthood. It is not the end, but merely one’s first step into the fray, into the real battle for the truth.
Therefore, if there are any WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) congregations in the Northern Wisconsin District that do not already give copies of the Book of Concord to their confirmands; please have your pastor leave a comment here or contact me directly, and I will try to provide each confirmand with their own Book of Concord. Free books will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis, and supplies are limited.
The purpose of this offer is not only to help provide our Christian soldiers with the tools they will need in the coming battle, but also to plant the idea that we need: the entire Wisconsin Synod needs to return to our Confessions so that we can make a better defense of our faith, both in doctrine and practice. God has graciously given us his effective word in the Scriptures, and our Confessions can help us to interpret and wield his word with skill.
The Small Catechism summarizes the basic truths of God’s word, and is milk for children. When we become mature in the faith (after Confirmation), it is time to start eating solid food.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. [Hebrews 5:13-14].
“For what I received I passed on to you …” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Notes: A previous version of this article was first published in 2009.