October 4, 2011
(Jesus said) "And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" Luke 18:7-8
You will note that the Lord Jesus didn't ask if He would find church buildings when He returns.
Nor did He ask if He would find pastors or a Lutheran Laymen's League or the LWML or even a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or a Lutheran Church-Canada. He asked, "Will I find faith on earth when I return?"
Years ago when I first read those words, I thought Jesus' question was rhetorical, that is, because the answer was so obvious, nobody had to reply.
Now I'm not so sure.
Recent surveys of clergy and laity have led me to believe Jesus was quite serious. A Barna survey says more and more Christians are creating their own brand of faith. Their personal opinion -- and not God's Word -- has become the final judge in what is to be believed. If an individual likes a doctrine, he will keep it; if he doesn't, that article of faith is thrown out the window.
All too often the end result looks nothing like the saving faith that is revealed in the Bible.
But I said there were surveys.
Another survey has found that a majority of pastors believe the importance of identifying with a denomination is going to diminish over the next 10 years. That survey didn't entirely surprise me -- not when I've seen congregations taking down their crosses lest they offend, not when the Bible is being censored to make it more acceptable.
I wonder, maybe Jesus was serious when He asked if He would "find faith on earth?"
All of this is just my way of saying, I'm proud to be part of a denomination which, in spite of its numerous flaws and failings, strives to remain faithful to Word and Sacrament. I give thanks for Lutheran Hour Ministries which preaches a changeless Christ to a changing world.
Yes, I know such Bible-based preaching, this pointing to the Christ who was crucified and has risen, is not always popular and it certainly can offend.
In spite of that I prefer to share God's Word and offend a fellow sinner, rather than please a sinner and let down my Savior.
What is more, I give thanks to the Lord I have a Synod and an organization and a congregation that share that preference. I am thankful that our living institutions still preach a changeless -- a caring Christ -- to a changing world.
If we continue to do so, by God's grace and the Holy Spirit's power, the Son of Man will find faith when He comes back to earth.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, no matter what others may do, may I and my house cling to the cross and be found standing before the empty tomb. May we remain faithful and let our lights shine with those You have saved and to those who are lost. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries