The Church Confesses Christ in the Face of Persecution
St. Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him, that all his words would bear witness to the truth of God’s Word, and that in all he did, he might proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:18–19).
The church prays that Christians, and especially those called into the Office of the Holy Ministry, might be given boldness and strength to confess the truth of God’s Word, even in the face of persecution and opposition. Where persecution occurs, and where governments fail to protect the right teaching of Scripture, the church confesses Christ and stands on the truth of God’s Word.
Finland’s prosecutor general has charged the Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, diocesan dean and bishop-elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, with incitement against a group of people. The charges stem from his agreement with a 2004 booklet that articulates historic Christian teaching on human sexuality. In addition, the prosecutor general has similarly charged Dr. Päivi Räsänen, a Finnish member of Parliament who authored the booklet identifying homosexuality as a sin and teaching that a failure to recognize sin as sin undermines the very need for a Savior.
Through a recent International Lutheran Council statement signed by 48 confessional Lutheran leaders worldwide, LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison addressed these events: “The actions of the Finnish State in prosecuting Christians for holding to the clear teaching of the very words of Jesus regarding marriage and sex (Matt. 19:4–6) are egregious. ... We Lutherans make this strong confession along with Drs. Pohjola and Räsänen.” (The I.L.C. statement is printed below.)
Join us in praying for Christians throughout the world, that boldness of confession would lead all to Christ and Him crucified, as the church stands on the unchanging truth of God’s Word.