Rev. Timothy Stout – St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Devils Lake, and Grace Lutheran Church, Lakota.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a nerd. I’m a theological nerd, and one of my favorite things to do is to relax with a good cup of tea and an ancient book of theology. And if you tell me that some modern theologian is a dangerous heretic, I’ll probably go find every book of his I can find to discover what is wrong or not wrong with him. I’m also a science nerd, and I love to learn about the latest in scientific discoveries, but I’m frustrated at the extent to which modern science is directed according to political motives and the religion of scientism. And when I am not studying theology or science, I am reading a good science fiction/fantasy novel, watching the same kinds of movies or TV shows, and I think that the latest run of Marvel and DC comic book movies is the best thing to happen to movie cameras since BBC invented Doctor Who.
- What areas of theology have you been studying this past year?
In the last year I have been reading C. F. W. Walther’s works. I finished the new translations of Law and Gospel and Church and Ministry and am starting to work on his sermons. From him I am learning more deeply the things I was taught at seminary, how to preach, and the importance of the office I hold. I have also been reading Gerhard Forde, because I heard he was a dangerous heretic. What I have learned is that he was not as much a heretic as I was led to believe, and the most dangerous thing about him is the tendency people have of taking pithy quotes from him and using them out of context. As this is the most annoying tendency in his own writings, as he often did the same thing with the works of Luther, it seems a bit of ironic justice. From him I have learned to preach the Gospel so that it doesn’t sound like Jesus made it possible to get God’s blessings by “being good enough to earn them” for us.
- How would you define “the Gospel?”
The simple answer is that the Gospel is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life purchased and won for us by the precious suffering and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and made securely ours by His resurrection from the grave. In this Jesus takes all that is ours, our sin, our death, our darkness, and makes it His and then suffers the consequences in our place, and gives us all that is His, righteousness, holiness, and eternal life as an heir of the kingdom of heaven. This is important because we were made to be in an eternal loving relationship with our Creator, but because of the fall into sin, that has become impossible. If we die in our sin we will be eternally separated from the loving mercy and kindness of our God, and that is an unimaginable torment that none of us has ever known, and were never meant to know. But in His conception, birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus has reconciled us to the Father and restored to us our place in His eternal kingdom. There is nothing more important than that this message of salvation be preached to all of God’s created people.
- Do you have a personal mission statement, or maybe a Bible passage that is the foundation of your faith and life?
“Sir, we would see Jesus”.” (John 12:21) “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)