The Brothers of John the Steadfast held their fifth annual conference on Friday and Saturday, February 15 & 16, 2013 A.D. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL. Bethany recently installed some new stained glass windows. The window above depicts some of the church buildings in which Bethany has called home.
On Friday, Pastor Fisk spoke about being raised Lutheran, but not staying Lutheran, and the challenges we face in passing on the faith to future generations.
One of the goals of the Brothers of John the Steadfast is to use new media to pass on the faith. Pastor Fisk exemplifies that approach in his video podcast, Worldview Everlasting. Pastor Fisk’s presentation can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.
On Saturday morning, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller, a co-host of Table Talk Radio, spoke about loving God’s word. (Click here to view the video of his presentation).
God’s word causes us to understood, is without error, and inspires love. One of the best aspects of a Brothers of John the Steadfast conference is the fellowship of brothers in Christ. Scott Diekmann wrote about the fellowship of this year’s conference in a post entitled: “Joy.”
Because God has filled our hearts with love, we also love one another. Every year the BJS conference features fine fellowship, delicious food, and generous hospitality. This year was no different. We were also treated to two fine sermons by Pastor Hans Fiene (“Steadfast in Doctrine, Steadfast in Love“) and Pastor Tony Sikora (“The Shallow Promises of the Defeated Devil“).
On Saturday afternoon, Pastor James May spoke about Lutherans in Africa. Pastor May said the best way to make disciples was by preaching and teaching the word of God. He said that Islamic missionaries were teaching their faith, while many Christian missionaries gave out T-shirts. We should never neglect people’s physical needs, but we should not pretend that helping other people physically is the same thing as teaching the gospel. The Church Growth Movement does not work in America or Africa.
One story that stood out was of a mother who wanted her babies to be baptized, but could not afford the baptismal fees charged by the Roman Catholic priests. The fee for a baptism was $15, but $15 was two weeks wages in that part of Africa, and she had twins. She was trying to find a priest who would bless her babies for free, when she discovered Pastor May. Pastor May explained that he was not a priest, but that baptism was not so much about becoming a member of the Roman Catholic Church, as it was about becoming united to Christ. The gospel is freedom, so Pastor May baptized her babies for free. Her children later died, and she was comforted by their baptism. She believed that baptism united her children with Christ and saved them because God so said. (Romans 6:3-5).
Pastor May’s presentation can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.
The picture above is of Bethany’s nave after the conference concluded. For additional pictures from this and past year’s conferences, click here.