Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary was privileged to host, together with the Niagara Circuit of LCC, Pastor Michael Salemink, the executive director of Lutherans for Life since January 2016. During his visit in the Niagara area, Rev. Salemink preached in Trinity Lutheran Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, gave a convocation to the pastors and laity of the circuit (hosted by the Resurrection Lutheran Church), spoke at the Brock University’s Lutheran Student Fellowship, and finally gave a presentation to the students, staff, and faculty of CLTS.
Rev. Salemink began by pointing out the common misconception of Lutherans for Life being merely an anti-abortion group of the Lutheran Chruch–Missouri Synod. His organisation is not limited to just the LCMS, pastor Salemink reminded us, nor are they focusing just on abortion: “Life issues” include much more than just that one question. Finally, Lutherans for Life are not a mere “anti” group, focusing on simply opposing things.
“Whenever God says no, He says so because He has something better to give to us”, Pastor Salemink stressed. Lutherans for Life want to present the Gospel of Christ, the value of God’s creation and God’s continual care as their main message. Their ultimate goal is not a change in legislation, but preaching of Christ to the world that needs to hear the good news of God’s love.
Rev. Salemink encouraged future pastors to introduce practices in their congregations that celebrate the gift of life, such as returning thanks when God provides healing to the sick or keeping the old and infirm connected to the life of the church through regular visitations not only by the pastor but other members of the congregation. He reminded the students of the task pastors have as messengers of Gospel. “You cannot be the saviour to your people. Your task is not to solve their life issues.” What the pastors need to do is to listen, comfort, pray, and preach Christ’s love, Pastor Salemink stressed.
Video recordings of Rev. Michael Salemink’s presentations are available on the seminary’s YouTube channel:
Audio recordings can be downloaded here: