Tag Archives: Spring 2023

From the President

In his letter, President Riesen welcomes readers to the inaugural issue of Word & Sacrament, the magazine of North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS). He highlights the unique aspects of NALS, including its commitment to confessional education, ecumenical partnerships, and the formation of leaders for the North American Lutheran Church. Gratitude is expressed to supporters and faculty, emphasizing the transformative work of God.

From the Editor

To what has God “called” us as human beings? As Christians? What is the difference between vocation and occupation? What does it mean to receive a vocation to ministry? To marriage? To engineering? To public service? Is the ministerial vocation superior to others? How can vocation be costly? In our inaugural issue of Word & Sacrament, the Magazine of the North American Lutheran Seminary, we start where all pastors in the North American Lutheran Church must start, serve, and finish: with vocation.

Resisting God’s Call

Explore the common barriers encountered when individuals are called by God for a specific task or ministry. Moses, Jeremiah, and Gideon all initially resisted their calling, doubting their abilities and fearing rejection. However, they learned that God equips and empowers those He calls. By trusting in His guidance and provision, they overcame their excuses and fulfilled their purpose.

Disentangling Christian Vocation from Occupation

Delve into the distinction between vocation and occupation, as the former transcends mere career choices. By embracing the Christian faith and serving others in the name of God, vocation takes on a transformative purpose. Whether in ordained ministry or the laity, fulfilling one’s calling nurtures a deeper meaning and the opportunity to care for humanity.

The Christian Vocation

The Christian vocation encompasses repentance, obedience, holiness, and active participation in the worship of God. Paul’s teachings in Ephesians highlighted the calling to hope and unity, reinforcing the Church’s commitment to fulfill its collective vocation in an ever-promising future.

Vocation as Martyrdom

The doctrine of vocation reminds us that faithfulness is a lifelong commitment, lived out in various roles and contexts. Christian vocations bear witness to God’s reality, often at great cost, embodying a strangeness that challenges the prevailing order. Through quiet resolve, ordinary saints can profoundly impact the world, testifying to the living God.

The Call of God

Ethan shares his personal journey of discerning and embracing a call from God. Initially conflicted between a career in law and a persistent inner voice urging him towards ministry, he eventually surrendered to God’s plan. He highlights three important lessons learned along the way and encourages us to reflect on our own callings as God lays out His purpose in our lives.

Discerning God’s Will

In the quest to discern God’s will, Christians often experience anxiety and uncertainty. Luther’s distinguishes God’s hidden will, known only when it comes to pass, from His revealed will which is found in Scripture. Rather than relying on subjective feelings or signs, certainty lies in aligning with God’s revealed will. Trusting in God’s sovereignty, we walk by faith and freedom, knowing that even our mistakes cannot thwart His purposes.

Faculty Spotlight

Get to know Andrew Weisner. The Rev. Dr. Andrew Weisner, a distinguished pastor and theologian, brings a wealth of experience to his role as a professor at the North American Lutheran Seminary. With a background in church history and theology, he teaches the profound connection between worship and our Christian heritage. Rooted in love for God and neighbor, his teachings emphasize unity with the triune God as our ultimate vocation.