At the 2004 national convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, this resolution was adopted: “LCMS World Mission, in collaboration with its North American and worldwide partners, will share the Good News of Jesus Christ with 100 million unreached or uncommitted people by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.”

Today is that day.

Although efforts to achieve this goal have received minimal publicity since the 2010 LCMS national convention, I thank God for the millions of people around the world who have heard the Gospel through the efforts of faithful folks who take seriously this ongoing endeavor.

“By grace you have been saved, through faith. It is a gift of God!” To God alone be the glory!

A blessed 500th Reformation anniversary to each of you!

The 66th Regular LCMS Convention

LCMS ConventionIn its 169 year history, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has held 65 regular conventions. This weekend marks the beginning of the 66th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Three former national presidents upon whom the honorary title of President Emeritus has been bestowed are still living. Dr. Ralph Bohlmann, Dr. Robert Kuhn and yours truly were invited to send a written greeting to convention delegates. Here is the text of my greeting:

Dear Delegates and Guests, Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

As this 66th Regular Convention of the LCMS begins, I offer words of greeting, encouragement and challenge as you determine at least a portion of the future direction of our beloved Synod.

More than half a century ago the LCMS was recognized as a dynamic, evangelical leader in the United States religious community. Cutting edge endeavors like The Lutheran Hour, This is the Life, Each One Reach One, etc., emanated from a conviction that we had a message to share with the world and that doing so required more than just paying a pastor to mount the pulpit, proclaim the Word of God and praying he would succeed.

Today, some congregations experience health, growth and vitality. Others, perhaps including yours, are uncertain about the future, in many cases less than one generation away from congregational extinction.

A Synod is only as healthy as the congregations that comprise it. Recent decades have seen a steady decline in congregational membership and in dollars contributed for national and international mission and ministry through Synod headquarters in St. Louis. Institutions, including religious ones, are no longer highly respected and trusted.

In this world of complexity and confusion, it is more imperative than ever that the simple, clear, certain hope that is ours in Christ be communicated as widely and broadly, as sincerely and sensitively, as clearly and courageously as possible. We are called to proclaim the great news that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not counting our trespasses against us.”  (2 Cor. 5:19)

We do so Upon this Rock, the statement of faith uttered by Peter, a man whose stalwart commitment to Christ was marred only by his notable failures. We, too, as sinful human beings, are called to repent, to confess and to rejoice in the assurance of forgiveness of sin, life and salvation through Christ our Lord.

May that assurance fill your hearts and direct your thoughts and decisions these days.

+Dr. Edwin A. Trapp, Jr.+

Edwin TrappA faithful servant of the Lord, Dr. Edwin A. Trapp, Jr. of Dallas, Texas, fell asleep in the arms of Jesus on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Ed was called to his eternal home after an eight year struggle with the rare disease known as Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD).

Ed was born February 20, 1931, the only son of Edwin and Marianette Trapp in Chicago, Ill., and was baptized on June 28, 1931. He was predeceased by his only sister, Marianette Bayley.

After elementary and high school in Chicago, he attended Monmouth College and Stanford University, graduating from the University of Wisconsin. At Monmouth he later founded The Trapp Chair of Business Management and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Throughout his academic years he was very active in student government, musical theater, forensics and water sports. During his early professional career he continued to perform in dramatic and musical productions and served several years as a compensated church soloist.

After 17 years of sales and marketing management with General Electric and Motorola, Ed moved to Dallas in 1970 as President of Hall-Mark Electronics Corp., which grew from a small regional company into a national leader of electronic component distribution. Ed retired in 1985 to focus on lay leadership in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and to travel the world.

An active member and leader of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Dallas, he served in many positions. He also served in leadership roles on several boards of the church at large, including:

  • Board of Directors, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod—12 years.
  • Board of Directors, The Texas District of the LCMS—12 years.
  • Board of Directors, Lutheran Social Services of the South—seven years.
  • President’s Advisory Council, Concordia Theological Seminary—nine years.
  • Board for Human Care and World Relief—nine years.

With a strong motivation to see the world and its people, Ed traveled to all seven continents, over 140 sovereign nations and all 50 United States, many more than once. Ed will be remembered by family and friends for his love and commitment to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

On a personal note, I am thankful to God for this faithful man. During my first six years as president of the LCMS, the majority of the members of the national Board of Directors were not supportive of my ministry, to say the least. Dr. Trapp, along with Dr. Jean Garton and Dr. Betty Duda, provided encouragement at a time of great need, enduring from other board members much public and private mistreatment for doing so.

Dr. Edwin A. Trapp, Jr. was laid to rest in Dallas on February 18. For his generous contributions and significant accomplishments in the church and in the world, Ed would be the first to say what I and others who knew him would also say: “To God be the glory!”