Former German bishop warns Lutherans against ‘losing our identity’

Schöne reminds assembly that there is no Life Together apart from Christ

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. (November 1, 2012)—In a world filled with secularism, relativism, liberalism and atheism, Lutherans can be in danger of “losing our identity and making compromises in good intention but being misled by our feelings,” warned the Rev. Dr. Jobst Schöne, bishop emeritus of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany.Schöne, the headlining speaker for the second day of the International Conference on Confessional Leadership, held in Peachtree City, Ga., spoke to a room of 120 confessional leaders representing more than 20 million Lutherans around the world.

Outlining a worldwide need for Life Together (Koinonía) among Lutherans, Schöne said instead, “It’s not a man-made Koinonía that we should try to find. Koinonía is and remains a divine gift.” It is “always Christ Himself by whom [we] are placed into this Koinonía,” he noted. 
This cross-focused Life Together “overcomes borders of all kinds: ethnic, cultural, social, race, gender or other kind,” Schöne explained, “making Christians altogether ‘one in Christ’ (Gal. 3:28).” 

LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison also presented to the conference, speaking on the topic of Lutheran Diakonía (Mercy). “The Church’s work of mercy extends beyond its own borders,” he said. “Jesus became incarnate in our flesh, and we take on the flesh of our neighbor when we serve our neighbor.”
“If we refuse to live that incarnate life,” he warned, “we render the Gospel a clanging cymbal.” 

This week’s conference speakers also included the Rev. Dr. Alister McGrath, King’s College, London, as well as Lutheran pastors from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Friday’s presentations will focus on Witness (Martyría) and will feature the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba of the North American Lutheran Church. 

Daily news briefs and updates will be available via the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog, LCMS Twitter, LCMS Facebook, the Synod’s video blog and KFUO Radio. The conference is made possible by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The 2.3 million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.

 
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