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Thursday, July 12, 2012

For the Brazil church... from old Missouri

Recently I had correspondence with a man from Brazil.  After assisting him on a question of theology with help from Pieper's writings, I promised that I would publish some history of his country's church from the writings of the old (German) Missouri Synod.  The last report by Franz Pieper in the pages of Lehre und Wehre of the sister synod in Brazil was this short article, volume 75 (1929), pgs 350-351:
In the "Kirchenblatt" of our Brazilian District from September 1 we find this report: "We have in our Brazilian District blessed Christians who have not found they become poorer by giving."  In the same paper we find the following rich content of a Thanksgiving sermon on 1 Thess. 5:18: "It was addressed to the congregations the admonition: 'Be thankful in all things!' This was first shown, for which we Christians are at our Thanksgiving to thank God, that even for the many afflictions that the dear God has let come in the course of the year over people, plantings, and livestock, which will also work together for good of us Christians; so then for all earthly blessings that God has brought us, but especially also for the spiritual blessings that Christ has acquired for us and has been continually told us by word and sacrament.  Secondly it was shown, as we Christians want to express our thanks to God, namely, by sincere prayers of thanksgiving, praise, and songs of thanksgiving and sacrifice of the hands, we the best of the poor and of the Kingdom of God, also especially are to present to God for the supply of poor students. Such thanks well pleases God.  Temporal and eternal blessings will follow in such thanks to God."
In an earlier issue of the same year (vol. 75, pgs 154-155) was a report on the 25th anniversary of the seminary in Brazil:
Over the twenty-fifth anniversary of our seminary at Porto Alegre, Brazil, we see in the "Kirchenblatt for South America" the following messages: Pastor Heine gave an address on the basis of 1 Sam. 7:12: "He explained that the bygone year was a milestone in the history of the seminary, since the seminary could look back on a twenty-fifth anniversary.  Like Samuel, had after the children of Israel defeated its enemies, a stone placed on the monument, calling it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us', so must we in the twenty-fifth anniversary of our seminary speak: 'Hitherto has the Lord helped us'. It is a magnificent work, allowed to work at what we do. The Word of God that is taught and learned in the seminary, and that pure and clear, is the heavenly wisdom which alone can save people. Before the people of the world we are backward.  Also our faithful adherence to all the teachings of the infallible Word of God is viewed as backward by false believing church communities, which is no longer maintained before 'advanced' science, but we well want to consider what Christ says in John 8:31-32. 'So ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.'  Finally, the students were invited to the diligent study of Holy Scriptures to strengthen their faith, to comfort and prepare for their glorious office. They were also warned to prove to be always in their lifestyle as a student of Scripture. Professor Schelp then read the so-called moral censorship, that is the evidence of conduct, diligence, attention and order. At the end the students were handed diplomas. Two could not be moved to the next class, and some only conditionally. These must in fact complete some subjects during the holidays and before the new academic year which, God willing, will begin on March 6, there is only a test. Six students were on (page 155) consummate study, and after they had also served one year each as vicars in the ministry, given as a candidate of theology on the next day their diplomas. Similarly, three students completed their studies as future teachers, but only obtained their diplomas after a vicar year of service. From our seminary 42 pastors and 8 teachers have emerged. God bestow them as a blessing for many and admit that our Seminario Concordia also be a nursery of his church henceforth and remain for the spread of the Lutheran Zion in South America!"    F.P.
Franz Pieper reported on events from around the world and always rejoiced over true Christian preaching and testimony.  And that included Brazil.

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