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I gave a little thought to the idea of titling this work, “This is most certainly true.” But that seemed a bit arrogant, especially in a time when claims to know the truth are almost despised, so it doesn’t have that title. But I do worry that despair in our culture over inability to know the truth absolutely has resulted in not trying to know the truth at all.
There are many fine works on what we believe, from Luther’s Small Catechism to Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics. They speak to different audiences. This work only seeks to address the Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLB) Statement of Faith. Written for an adult lay audience, this work is more specific than the Catechism and is nowhere near as exhaustive as Pieper.
This commentary arose out of my concern that we know what we believe. Versions of it have been on my various hard drives for at least 15 years. It began as teaching notes for Lutheran Brethren Seminary students and became an expanded discussion on the Church of the Lutheran Brethren Statement of Faith for people inquiring about the CLB. I hope this commentary gives support to those who teach in the church, to those who lead small groups, and to those who are in church governance positions. You need more than the Explanation, I think, but I doubt you will venture into Pieper. So here is what we believe.
Dr. Tim Ysteboe
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The apostle Peter wrote, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms" (1 Peter 4:10).
In writing this commentary on the Statement of Faith of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, my friend and colleague Tim Ysteboe has exercised one of his spirited gifts to serve many of us in the CLB.
Writing is hard work, but Tim did not shy away from the labor of producing this valuable volume. It will be of great benefit to pastors, elder and adult lay leaders seeking to read, reflect and pray their way to a more mature Christian confession of faith. To be able to say about an article of Christian truth, "this is what I believe about it and this is why..."--that's worth a lot!
On behalf of a grateful Church,
Pastor John C. Kilde
We thank Rev. Robert Overgaard for initiating and encouraging this project during his tenure as President of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLB), and CLB President Joel Egge for facilitating the editing of this version of the commentary. We express appreciation to students and colleagues who contributed to the developing text.
We also gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Rev. Rick Bridston, Rev. Dan Lazicki, Rev. Dale Hanson, Rev. Tony Karlik, and Rev. Mark Erickson for their written participation, and Dr. Eugene Boe, who served as a consulting editor. Brent Juliot did the final editing, with assistance from Dr. Boe.
This study was partially funded by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a fraternal benefit society based in Appleton, Wisconsin. We thank them for their investment.