Friday, September 16, 2016

Esbjorn: "I sow the seed in hope ..." -- cf. Reformed, Lutheran attitudes on new birth in baptism

"Last Years in Andover" p. 307, n5 -- Tidskrift, 1899, pp. 284f.

C.A. Blomgren, Review of Tidskrift for Svensk Ev. Luth. Kyrko-Historia 1899, The Lutheran Church Review, Volume 17 (1898), pp. 631-32.

polemic against Unionus ... a masterly polemic.

John Norton, ed. "Immigrant Pastor Lars Paul Esbjörn's 1851 Recruiting Pamphlet: Greetings to the Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish Emigrant." Swedish-American Historical Quarterly 60.4 (October 2009), pp. 167-73.

... At home, you perhaps did not ask much about the welfare of your soul. You were perhaps satisfied, when no one could bring you to commit a major criminal act ... theft, murder, adultery, swearing, breach of the Sab-bath, and such ... or that you were no worse than others. You perhaps thought that all was well, when you were called “Christian” and went to church and Communion. O, my countryman! Thousands upon thousands of souls have gone to eternal damnation, because they trusted such weak grounds for faith, and wandered the broad road with the masses. (Matthew 7:13). And if you never before cared 170 about Jesus’ words, that without being saved, and become as chil-dren, you will not come into Heaven (Matthew 18:3), do it now. Now you have arrived at completely new conditions, you have come to a land where people generally are not content with the externals and form of Christianity: now you have the best opportunity in the world to convert yourself, so that your soul may be saved from the coming wrath (Matthew 3:7). Do not ever believe that a human, who by knowingly sinning breaks their baptismal compact, can be saved without conversion. There are certainly thousands of people in all the cities and parishes of Sweden, Norway and Denmark who believed this, but it is against God’s word, and God’s word shall not perish, even if heaven and earth shall perish. (Matthew 24:35). No, if you have not been converted before, you have never experienced any anguish in your heart for your sins, and have no fear of damna-tion, as well as having a new, blessed life in your heart, then hasten to turn yourself to Jesus Christ; like the Lost Son, confess your sins to Him (Luke 15) and pray for grace and forgiveness in His name, so you may be given grace to become a child of God, so that your soul dies in grace, when you are called home.

* * *

You believe, according to God’s word that your children were born again in their baptism, through Jesus’ righ-teousness and forgiveness. You will find few outside the Lutherans who believe that way. When you take communion, you find a blessed comfort in the truth that the body and blood of Our Savior are truly present in the bread and wine; but other congregations in this coun-try, except the Lutheran, say that the bread and wine are only sym-bols or signs of Jesus’ body and blood, and that Jesus’ body and blood are partaken of only spiritually and in a heavenly way, by faith, and in many other respects. Thus, stay with that to which you have already come, and if you accept anything else, let God reveal it (Phil. 3:15-16), and do not accept it from men, however learned, pious or good they may be. Take these words of welcome to heart, dear countryman! They are spoken in heartfelt concern for you, and for the spiritual well-being of your children, by one who has carefully tested the teachings of this land, who wishes to see the true light of God’s word shine among his countrymen, and who shall finally answer to God if he fails to educate and watch over his brothers. We shall there, before 173 God’s judgment throne, see each other again, and have eternal joy with Him, if we have been his children and faithfully kept the profes-sion of hope (Hebrews 10:23) until the end. Yes, Amen, so be it! In the northern part of Illinois there are many Swedes, hundreds, especially in Andover, Henry County, Rock Island, and Moline on the Mississippi. There are even three Evangelical Lutheran congrega-tions, at Andover, Moline and Henderson, served by God’s word and the Holy Sacraments, by a Swedish pastor, sent by the Swedish Mission Society in Stockholm, and truly ordained in his holy calling. Other sects and parties are also found in the area, but do not hold the pure faith. The surest sign of a congregation or teacher is that they recognize the Lutheran church’s symbolic books as containing God’s word and true teaching. The way to Andover is from New York to Albany by steamboat; to Buffalo by canal boat or railroad; to Chicago by steamboat; to Peru or LaSalle by canal boat; and to Andover by land using rented or, better yet, purchased horses. Those who can leave Sweden in the fall by sea to New Orleans, can in the spring quickly and easily come by steamboat up the entire Mississippi to Rock Island and Moline. During the winter there are good work opportunities in New Orleans and St. Louis, but during the summer it is unhealthy there. Printed in New York by H. Ludwig & Co., 1851.

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