- Jeffrey Goodman
Confessing the Faith
Today is the commemoration of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle. In St. Matthew 16 Peter confessed boldly to Jesus “You are the Christ.” We know from holy scripture that no one can say “Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12). Upon this confession Peter became one of the early leaders of the church. The New Testament gives to us a human picture of Peter. Peter fails in his confession during the passion, but is later restored by our risen Lord Christ (John 21). Eventually according to sacred tradition Peter is martyred for the Faith in Rome around the same time as St. Paul. This confession of St. Peter then becomes a faithful model for the Christian. We are witnesses to Christ. We stand firm for Christ. We hold to the Faith once delivered to us. We also recognize that we will be “hated” by the world for His Name and our confession of His Name (Matthew 10). So, we should not be surprised when we in the church suffer for the Name of Jesus and His Word. After all we are to “bear up the cross and the follow” our Lord.
Two Christians in Finland will be bearing the cross for the confession of Jesus this mo
nth. Päivi Räsänen (Pictured above), a member of parliament in Finland, and Bishop Juhana Pohjola (pictured at the top of the page) are both facing criminal charges for “incitement against a minority group.” Räsänen is charged for quoting Romans 1:24-27:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
She quoted this passage from scripture during a radio show, in a Tweet against the state Lutheran Church’s support of a “pride” parade and in a book published in 2004 entitled Male and Female He Created Them. Bishop Pohjola has been charged for publishing the book. It should be noted that Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, which is not affiliated with the state affiliated Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The state affiliated Lutheran Church has largely drifted from its Biblical foundations. Here is a fuller story you can read about the situation.
Here is an interview with Ms. Räsänen
Here is an interview with Bishop Pohjola
Here is a presentation the Bishop made at St. Paul’s Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana
You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “that’s Finland, it’s so far away, this can’t happen here.” It can happen here. We must always be prepared to defend the Faith (1 Peter 3).
First off, pray for these two saints. Second and perhaps most importantly stand firm in the Apostolic Faith. Give no quarter to those who seek to revise the Christian Faith, to those who seek to undermine or twist God’s Word. Stand firm and “Do not be afraid” for Christ has us and all the way. Christ is Lord.