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The Church’s Role of Mercy in the Community – a review

The Lord be with you

This “mercy essay” was first presented at Concordia Theological Seminary in May of 2002 by Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison. As such we get to overhear what the president of our Synod has to say to the men preparing to enter the Holy Ministry of the LC-MS. The address takes up 19 pages.

The essay ties a faithful corporate Word and Sacrament ministry to a faithful corporate Mercy ministry. All too often acts of mercy have been viewed as purely the domain of the individual Christian. Harrison demonstrates, convincingly, from the Scriptures, from the Lutheran Confessions, from Luther, and from Lutheran theologians, that Christ intends the corporate church also to be involved in Mercy missions. While Harrison does reference the Confessions, Luther and Lutheran theologians, most of this proof comes from the Bible. He writes, “I am convinced that there is an overwhelming explicit and implicit mandate for mercy as a corporate churchly task, inherent in biblical Lutheran theology.”

I can certainly recommend this essay but warn all that reading it may well cause you to reevaluate the ministry of your local congregation. You might even create an office specifically charged with organizing and promoting your congregations Mercy ministries.

The Church’s Role of Mercy in the Community

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