A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep – April 21, 2014

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A MILE WIDE AND AN INCH DEEP

What could that be? A place to ford a river? This is a saying applied to Christianity in Africa. Though it is not very flattering, it gets fearfully close to the truth. One time in the Nigerian CLC when we were dealing with a situation one elder of the Efa congregation said he thought we were facing evil spirits at work and that therefore we should go to a juju man. What? This elder had gone to the Lutheran high school and was brought up in the church. It is not like that all over but there is a lot of shallowness to the theology.

This is where our true Lutheran position on Scripture comes into play. We see the Bible as a stream a child can wade in and  a river an elephant can swim in. Augustine the great North African Christian is credited with that saying. The Word is so clear that a child can see the Savior and His love. It is also a book that is deep and provides the anchor of faith.

When we teach our men we do not dumb down what we teach. We challenge them with the depth and breadth of Scripture. And we encourage a continued mining of its truths for there is much more there than we can ever learn. “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” Rom. 11:33 It has been said we never ‘graduate’ from our studies until we meet the Master Teacher face to face.

I am firmly convinced that one great appeal for the men who come to us for study is this true Lutheran position of teaching all the Word of God, not just some pablum. The men who come for study are not coming to get salaries, for we do not give that except to men who serve sister synods on a synod wide basis. We are not giving out hardly anything when you get right down to it. So the attraction has to be what we teach. There is an appreciation of our willingness to be like Paul, not shrinking “from declaring …the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:27 And we like Paul believe everything in the Word. Acts 24:14

Some other Protestants come over and teach and then are gone. We continue with our brothers in the Word. We are no fly by night outfit.

Instead of a mile wide and an inch deep we have the reservoir of God’s Word. Think how

High Up in the Hills there is a reservoir full of water. We release the water to go in a stream down the hill. We do not know which way it will go. It may hit a boulder and go either to the right or the left. It may pool in one place for a time only to break forth and flow on. We simply follow it where it goes, not being able to project which way it will go. One thing we are sure of though on the flow, the law of gravity will draw it farther on down the hill.

This is the way it is with us. We have the reservoir of the Word and release it from the great reservoir we have. As the Word is preached going forth we cannot prognosticate where and how it will move, as that is God’s work. But we do know even better than the law of gravity that God’s Word will speed on and triumph(2 Thess. 3:1) and  will accomplish what He purposes(Is. 55:11). We simply follow the flow of God’s Word. There may be those times when in certain places the Word seems to pool and not progress and at other times it is a raging torrent sweeping before it all that the devil throws up to block its progress. We simply try to follow where the flow leads.Right now in India we see a bit of a raging torrent.

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