1965 Mission Affirmations

Affirmations of God’s Mission

 Adopted by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (1965)

 Prayer Read at the Beginning of the Report of the Floor Committee on Missions:
O God the Father, who didst send Thy Son into the world to redeem the world, which Thou didst create for Thy glory;

O God the Son, who hast redeemed the whole world to God by Thy blood, who art Lord over all things and Head of Thy body, the church;

O God the Holy Spirit, who art the Comforter sent by the Father and the Son to lead us us into all truth and to send and guide us on Thy saving mission to a lost world;

We beseech Thee, O holy triune God, to pardon us for our sins of disobedience against Thy Law and for our littleness of faith in Thy Gospel. Do not cast us aside because of our unfaithfulness, but for Thy mercy’s sake be faithful to Thy promise of full pardon to all who fully confess their sins to Thee.

Lord, we have nothing to bring to Thee but our sins and our emptiness. Forgive us for Jesus’ sake, and fill us with Thy grace. We praise Thee and Thee only for the fruits of the Holy Spirit manifest in the life and work of Thy church. We are not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies, but Thou art worthy to receive blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and might.

Help us to see ourselves as Thy mission to men in their every need, to society in all its tensions, to the church in all its tribulation and to the whole world in all its futile struggles to find its peace without Thee. Give us, who are Thy sent ones, Thy compassion for Thy lost ones.

Teach us to remember that we are but the dust into which Thy Spirit breathes the breath of life, the earthen vessels Thou hast selected to be the treasures of Thy grace, and ambassadors of Thy kingdom, which Thou alone canst establish in the hearts of men.

Keep us as a Synod from becoming so preoccupied with ourselves that we lose our sense and purpose of being Thy mission. Preserve us from that pride which thanks Thee that we are not as other men are, lest we leave this place proud of our heritage but unmindful of that heritage to which we have been begotten by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Help us to glory in nothing save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus, by whom the world is crucified unto us and we unto the world. Let Thy Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Preserve us from the paralysis of fear. Grant instead Thy promised gifts of power and love and a sound mind. Cause us all to walk together as saints of God who know they are yet sinners; who deal with one another not as the good or the bad but as the forgiven, who love much because they are forgiven much by Thee.

Hear our prayer for the sake of Him who ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

The following six resolutions (1-01 A to 1-01 F) refer to “Report of Mission Self-Study and Survey, I. Theological Basis of the Mission of the Church” (CW, 113-123).


The Church Is God’s Mission

WHEREAS, The Father sent forth His Word to create and preserve the world; and

WHEREAS, Upon man’s revolt the Father sent His Son into the world to redeem the world; and

WHEREAS, The Son in obedience to His Father’s commission laid aside His glory, became a man to serve men, and died on the cross to reconcile all things unto God; and

WHEREAS, The risen and victorious Lord sent forth His church on His mission when He appeared to His disciples on the day of resurrection, declaring: “Peace be unto you; as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you”; and

WHEREAS, The Father and the Son together sent the Holy Spirit into the world as the great Missionary until our Lord’s return; therefore be it

Resolved, That we affirm in faith, humility, and joy that the mission is the Lord’s; He is the great Doer and Sender; and be it further

Resolved, That we affirm that the mission is not an optional activity in the church, but the church is caught up in the manifold and dynamic mission of God; and be it further

Resolved, That we thank the Lord of the church for all the ways in which He has graciously used us and our church body in His mission, blessing us and making us a blessing unto many; and be it further

Resolved, That we repent of our individual and corporate self-centeredness and disobedience, whenever it has caused us to regard our local congregations or our Synod as ends in themselves and moved us to give self-preservation priority over God’s mission; and be it finally

Resolved, That we affirm that the church is God’s mission. The church’s ministries of worship, service, fellowship, and nurture all have a missionary dimension We rejoice that for Christ’s sake God forgives us our sins of self-centered disobedience, and we place ourselves, our congregations, and our Synod into His loving hand as willing instruments of His great mission to the world.
Action: This resolution was adopted.


The Church Is Christ’s Mission to the Whole World

WHEREAS, God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life; and

WHEREAS, Christ has sent His disciples out into all the world, saying: “Go ye and make disciples of all nations”; therefore be it

Resolved, That we affirm that the church is Christ’s mission to the whole world. Christians will approach men of other faiths in humility and love. They joyfully acknowledge that God is active in the lives of all men through His continued creative and providential concern, through the Law written in their hearts, and through God’s revelation of Himself in creation and nature. Christians affirm a common humanity with all men. They confess a common sinfulness. They rejoice over a universal redemption won for all in Jesus Christ; and be it further

Resolved, That we reconsecrate ourselves with everything we are and have to the task of witnessing Christ in deed and word to all the world, thankfully making full use also of the c6mmunication tools which God is offering to the church through science and technology for this age of the population explosion; and be it further

Resolved, That in the face of the great unfinished task we rejoice over all faithful Christian efforts to witness Christ to all the world; and be it finally

Resolved, That we recognize that our sister mission churches in other lands have been placed by God into other circumstances and are subservient not to us but to the Lord, who makes His church His mission to the whole world.
Action: This resolution was adopted.


The Church Is Christ’s Mission to the Church

WHEREAS, Every Christian by virtue of the saving faith which the Holy Spirit creates in his heart is bound to His Lord and enters into a real and living unity with every other member of Christ’s holy body, the church; and

WHEREAS, The same Word of Christ that bids Christians to go and teach all nations also instructs them to teach their fellow Christians all things whatsoever Christ has commanded them; therefore be it

Resolved, That we affirm that the church is Christ’s mission to the church. In obedience to the church’s Head and in sanctified loyalty to his congregation and his church body, a Christian will be ready with good conscience both to witness and to listen to all Christians. Like the Bereans, the Christian will search the Scriptures to test the truth of what he hears and what he says; and be it further

Resolved, That we affirm as Lutheran Christians that the Evangelical Lutheran Church is chiefly a confessional movement within the total body of Christ rather than a denomination emphasizing institutional barriers of separation. The Lutheran Christian uses the Lutheran Confessions for the primary purpose for which they were framed: to confess Christ and His Gospel boldly and lovingly to all Christians. While the Confessions seek to repel all attacks against the Gospel, they are not intended to be a kind of Berlin wall to stop communication with other Christians; and be it further

Resolved, That we affirm that by virtue of our unity with other Christians in the body of Christ, we should work together when it will edify Christ’s body and advance His mission, refusing cooperation, however, on such occasions when it would deny God’s Word; and be it finally

Resolved, That we affirm that because the church is Christ’s mission to the church, Christians should speak the Word of God to one another as they nurture, edify, and educate one another for Christian faith and life. Therefore as a Synod we value our strong tradition of Christian education and seek to extend it throughout life, for laity and clergy. Far from employing agencies of Christian education primarily in our own institutional self-interest, we will endeavor to make them ever more effective tools in equipping God’s people for His mission.
Action: This resolution was adopted.


The Church Is Christ’s Mission to the Whole Society

WHEREAS, Jesus Christ is Lord of all the world and in every area of life; and

WHEREAS, The Christian recognizes no area of life that may be termed “secular” in the sense that it is removed from the lordship of Jesus Christ, though it may not be under the control of the institutional church; and

WHEREAS, The Christian does God’s work in the world through various vocations in the home, church, and state as distinguished by Dr. Martin Luther; therefore be it

Resolved, That we affirm that the church is Christ’s mission to the whole society; and be it further

Resolved, That we recognize the difficulty of under-standing in every instance whether God desires Christians to act corporately or individually or both in His mission to the whole society; they will, however, seek His will through prayer and mutual study; and be it further

Resolved, That Christians be exhorted to serve God in every honest occupation, recognizing that all of life is the arena of a Christian’s ministry to God and man; and be it further

Resolved, That Christians be encouraged to seek the peace of the city, as God commands, working together with their fellow citizens of the nation and of the world, whatever their race, class, or belief; and be it finally

Resolved, That Christians be encouraged as they at-tempt, under the judgment and forgiveness of God, to discover and further His good purposes in every area of life, to extend justice, social acceptance, and a full share in God’s bounty to all people who are discriminated against and oppressed by reason of race, class, creed, or other unwarranted distinctions. Christians recognize that all their fellowmen come from the Father’s creating band and that His Son’s nail-pierced hands reach out in love to all of them.
Action: This resolution was adopted.


The Church Is Christ’s Mission to the Whole Man

WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach us that God’s love reaches out to the whole man, for God the Father lovingly creates and preserves man; the Son redeemed him in body, soul, and mind; the Holy Spirit brings him to faith and moves him to use body, soul, and mind in God’s great mission; and

WHEREAS, Our Lord became a man and ministered to the needs of the whole man, forgiving sins, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and even providing wine for a marriage feast; and

WHEREAS, Our Lord at His return will solemnly report whether or not we fed, clothed, and visited Him in the least of His hungry, naked, and forsaken brethren; therefore be it

Resolved, That we affirm that the church is God’s mission to the whole man. Wherever a Christian as God’s witness encounters the man to whom God sends him, he meets someone whose body, soul, and mind are related in one totality. Therefore Christians, individually and corporately, prayerfully seek to serve the needs of the total man. Christians bring the Good News of the living Christ to dying men They bring men instruction in all useful knowledge. They help and befriend their neighbor on our small planet in every bodily need They help their neighbor to improve and protect his property and business by bringing him economic help and enabling him to earn his daily bread in dignity and self-respect. Christians minister to the needs of the whole man, not because they have forgotten the witness of the Gospel but because they remember it. They know that the demonstration of their faith in Christ adds power to its proclamation.
Action: This resolution was adopted.


The Whole Church Is Christ’s Mission

WHEREAS, Every Christian is commissioned a missionary through baptism, for through the selfsame water and Word the Holy Spirit makes us both God’s children and His witnesses to the world when He says: “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”; and

WHEREAS, All who are baptized into Christ are baptized into His death and resurrection, into His mission, and into His body; therefore be it

Resolved, That we affirm that the whole church is Christ’s mission. Therefore we deplore anything that seeks to divide what God has joined together. We deplore the clericalism that views a congregation primarily as God’s instrument to sustain the ordained ministry, thus smothering the diverse gifts of the Holy Spirit to His people. Equally we deplore the laicism that chafes under the shepherding by which a loving God seeks to equip His children for His mission. We deplore the racism which refuses to repent of its sin and denies the unity of all Christians in Christ and His mission. We deplore the desecration of Christianity by the multiplication of sects as though the Gospel were a religion of human design instead of God’s outreach after men in the giving of Himself. The divisions in the institutional church are as real as the unity in Christ’s body which joins all Christians together. We deplore the wars and political struggles that set Christians and other people in one nation against those in another. We recognize that the Christian lives in the tension between his own imperfect understanding of God’s truth and his knowledge that in spite of errors and divisions he is joined together in Christ’s body with all who truly believe in its Head. The Christian lives in the tension between Christ’s lordship, which is perfect, and his own disciple-ship, which is not The Christian rejoices over the existence of every fellow believer in Christ his Savior, because thereby Christ is preached and His mission is implemented, for the whole church is Christ’s mission.
Action: This resolution was adopted.

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