Growing up, I naively thought guilt was the preserve and exclusive domain of Catholicism.

After all, when Martin Luther saw the light about justification by faith alone, particularly through Romans 1:17, the impact of that other ‘G’ word, grace, came to the fore. How often haven’t we thought of our Lutheran understanding of salvation in terms of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast’ (Ephesians 2:8,9)?

I thought that was it for guilt, as far as we Lutherans were concerned. There was no need to be beating yourself up – emotionally, spiritually and physically – over your sins. Jesus had taken the beating for us and banished sin, death and guilt forever. Or so I thought …

But as is often the case when it comes to understanding the tension between faith and doubt, righteousness and sin, I was wrong. Guilt tends to be an ever-present fiend in times of trouble.

And it can be destructive if we leave it to fester untreated. It can cause shame, which takes over our whole being with feelings of unworthiness.

But guilt is more than a burden that can damage our relationships with God and with others. Of course, whatever has given rise to that guilt is the real underlying cause of relationship breakdowns. Guilt is the symptom or by-product of sin.

So rather than simply being destructive in all cases, guilt can be instructive, providing a mirror that alerts us to the wrong we’ve done and the good we’ve failed to do. It can also be constructive, in that it encourages us to turn around, to repent and to change our ways.

In this edition, we are blessed to share a range of voices from around our LCANZ as we explore the workings and impact of guilt – and how we can find freedom from it. While we are by no means promising a comprehensive analysis of a complex topic, I hope you will find blessing in these pages, as I have.

As always, our churchwide magazine includes faith-life resources, uplifting stories and news of what’s been happening around the church, including essential information regarding the upcoming in-person sessions of General Synod early next year.

And, as a further bonus for our print subscribers, you’ll find inside Australian Lutheran College’s annual Saints Alive publication. Digital subscribers can access the same content by heading to ALC’s website at

May God bless your reading,


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Bishop Paul’s letter

Rev Paul Smith
Bishop, Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand

I am not much of a gardener. I have seen a long line of pot plants sadly wither and die. Thankfully, I married a farmer’s daughter who watches, waters and nurtures plants. It is a joy to observe my wife, Heidi, watering her garden. She focuses with genuine love for each plant or flower, and she is doubly annoyed when some pest has been eating the leaves.

God is a great gardener, and not simply with respect to God’s wonderful work in creating and preserving all that exists in creation. God is a great gardener of ‘the church’. In 1 Corinthians 3:5–9, the apostle Paul writes: ‘What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.’

This text cultivates the image of you and me and all the church as ‘God’s field’ where there is planting and watering going on. Did you notice that twice this scripture talks about God and ‘the growth’?

The first time it speaks of growth is in the past tense. ‘God gave the growth’ or ‘God was giving the growth’. We look back on our journey as church from the moment those early disciples ran from the empty tomb, and we see the hand of God actively at work in an ongoing way through women and men in the various places of the world ‘growing the church’.

The second time that the apostle Paul writes about ‘the growth’ in this passage from 1 Corinthians, it is present tense, describing the hand of God at work among us in and through us today. This is a tremendous promise for all seasons of life. When we hear the promise that God gives the growth, we are tempted to complain to God, ‘Well, where is it?’. As we are hammered by economic projections day after day with percentages and forecasts, our human reason eagerly wants to translate growth into numbers. When you look at our declining church numbers, our reason then supposes that, if we cannot see progress, then God must not be giving ‘the growth’ or we quickly find someone to blame for the decline.

We can also overlook the language of the activities of ‘planting’ and ‘watering’ in the cause of the gospel. The apostle Paul begins with the presumption that the people of God are caught up in active hands-on evangelical work in the church. This is the same message that Dr Martin Luther shared in reflection on his own witness. He wrote, ‘I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s word; otherwise, I did nothing. And while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf … the Word did everything’.

Our scripture from 1 Corinthians 3, directs our attention away from ourselves and from our human reason’s evaluation of growth to our gracious God. The apostle writes, ‘So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth’. It is important to remember that the letter to the Corinthians was written to a congregation conflicted with dispute and disagreement. Sisters and brothers in Christ were not giving proper regard for their common faith and unity in the work of the gospel as ‘God’s field’. So, the apostle Paul directs our eyes to look for God’s hand at work in each other for we are ‘fellow labourers’ in God’s field. This includes the people we don’t get on with.

And God gives the growth, tenderly watching and watering with abundant grace. In the Small Catechism we were taught to acknowledge God’s ‘daily’ continuous, loving gardening work in the church. ‘Daily in this Christian church, the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins – mine and those of all believers’ (Explanation to the Third Article of the Creed).

In Christ,


Lord Jesus, we belong to you,
you live in us, we live in you;
we live and work for you –
because we bear your name.

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Iconic French fashion designer Coco Chanel is quoted as saying, ‘Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death’. Indeed, as we age, it is natural to reflect on our lives. Looking back, we may have feelings of guilt about what we have said and done. We asked two Lutheran aged-care chaplains for their observations about the part guilt can play at end-of-life.


Gospel provides great comfort

by Gillian Reid

My role as an aged-care chaplain is to provide social, emotional and spiritual support for residents, staff and residents’ families, along with leading Bible studies and lay reading services. I also organise visits from congregational pastoral care teams from residents’ home churches if they have stated they would like visits.

Formerly a teacher, I was led to chaplaincy because I am passionate about providing a listening ear for people who need someone to talk with. As a teacher, I found that students would talk with me about things that were on their minds and a dear friend suggested that I become a chaplain.

The greatest joy for me is the relationships that I have the privilege to be part of. To just sit with an aged-care resident and share that time is a blessing.

I believe that both Christians and non-Christians struggle with guilt. It is a part of humanity’s fall. The difference is that a Christian person has the assurance and tremendous comfort that their sins are forgiven.

Some of our residents carry guilt from their past. Other residents who have dementia can re-experience guilt when it feels for them as though the event happened recently. Carrying guilt harms their self-worth and their relationships with God and others. For example, several residents have said they felt that the mistakes they had made in the past meant that God was punishing them now. The sense of guilt adversely affected their faith.

There is a difference, too, between guilt and shame. Guilt focuses on our behaviour. Shame focuses on us and is the fear of being unworthy of love. It causes people intense pain and suffering when left unaddressed. In contrast, guilt can be a good thing because it can lead us to the source of forgiveness, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We can best serve others who are suffering with guilt by listening to them as they share their story. If you feel someone you are serving needs further assistance and counselling, do some research so that you can refer them to local psychologists and charities. When or if they ask us about God, you can share the gospel message of grace and forgiveness with them and support them.

I have known residents who have come into aged care carrying guilt from their past and who have discovered God’s forgiveness and grace through hearing the gospel message. It has made a positive difference in their lives and relationships.

The gospel is immensely powerful in releasing people from guilt. When I visit residents with dementia and we say the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed, they know every word and pray to God. The look of hope and forgiveness on their faces is beautiful to see. The Holy Spirit is living and active in their hearts. It is one of the great joys of my work. 

Gillian Reid is a chaplain with Lutheran Services since 2018, and has moved recently from Salem, Toowoomba, to Zion, Nundah in Brisbane. A member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Toowoomba, she is in the process of joining a new church family due to her recent move.


Unfinished business

by Kathy Friebel

In a society that struggles to name sin, guilt is talked about openly in the context of indulgences like eating chocolate. Such confessions are offset by friends who respond with an admission of an equal or greater indulgence. More serious guilt for ‘what we have done’ and ‘failed to do’ is processed in our worship liturgy. Uncomfortable as it may be, guilt can help convict us, and guide us towards better lifestyle choices or relationship reconciliation. At worst, it can condemn a person to live with a sense of shame.

As a chaplain in an aged-care facility, I have listened to many older people share stories of the guilt that plagues them as they wrestle with ‘unfinished business’ late in life. More obviously, guilt is often present as tension between residents and their families.

As care residents spend increasing amounts of their day in sedentary activities, the time available for reflection increases. It is estimated that more than half of elderly people live with depression, and this can turn a person’s focus towards what hasn’t gone well during their lifetime.

With or without faith, a sense of guilt for choices made in earlier years is common. Where relationships have been damaged or broken, reconciliation with others is often impossible, especially if they have died. Rites of confession and absolution are deeply powerful for those who understand forgiveness from a gracious God.

While grief and loss may be dominant emotions for a resident entering aged care, guilt is often a silent companion. It is also common for family members to express feelings of guilt for having ‘put’ a spouse or parent into care, even though this level of care is needed.

If loved ones have been caring for the person entering care, part of the transition is resorting to the role of partner or child and relinquishing the role of carer. Visits can relax into spending time with each other. With the support of staff in creating new relationships of trust, there is great potential for avoiding or reducing feelings of guilt.

Whether or not dementia plays a part makes a significant difference. Those who need living assistance but have no insight as to their need, are particularly prone to laying guilt on spouses or children for moving them out of their home. With the personality change that can result from dementia, hurtful words of accusation are often spoken which, for the receiver, are hard to forget.

Residents experience guilt about many things. The theme most often verbalised relates to being a burden on people and resources. Residents who think this way can feel guilty for living. Comments about life being easier for their loved ones if they were dead are common.

Ageing people in any setting can have a type of survivor guilt, especially when a child or grandchild dies or has a terminal diagnosis. Residents who are deteriorating can also feel guilty for dying, especially if family members ask them to hang on until the next family milestone.

Guilt often presents during end-of-life and as part of grief afterwards. Much of the guilt in the death space is avoidable if conversations about death occur ahead of time. Outlining expectations for medical interventions can alleviate the angst faced in a highly emotional time. Visitation is often an area of misunderstood expectations. Many aged-care residents do not expect family members to keep a bedside vigil during end-of-life. When this has not been discussed, loved ones often put pressure on themselves and others to be present 24 hours a day until the last breath is taken.

The antidote to much guilt experienced in the last season of life is open conversation. Where this is difficult, it may help to enlist the support of another trusted person. A chaplain or pastor can assure a person that they are a loved and forgiven child of God, even if they do not want to discuss their guilt.

Discussing choices and boundaries within families can eliminate tension and guilt for the aged person and their loved ones. If healthy expectations are nurtured, their remaining days on earth can be free from misunderstanding and unnecessary burdens.

Kathy Friebel has been an aged-care chaplain for 10 years and serves at St Andrews Aged Care at Tallebudgera on Queensland’s Gold Coast. She has been part of the St Andrews Lutheran community as a congregational member there for 25 years.

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The part guilt plays in our relationship with God and with others can be perplexing. We know we’re forgiven as Christians and loved children of God, so why do we still feel guilty? We put this and some other curly questions about guilt and shame to Noel Due and asked for his insights.

Why do people have feelings of guilt?

Simply because they have a conscience. That conscience is schooled by upbringing, peers, social norms and other factors. It registers when we have transgressed. That’s not to say a conscience is reliable. It’s not. It needs to find a law to align itself to. The things to which it aligns itself may be a long way from the truth of who God is. And when we transgress, it acts as judge, jury and executioner.

How do feelings of guilt differ from shame?

Guilt is related to transgressions: I have done a wrong thing. Shame is related to our identity: I am a wrong thing. Guilt and shame may work in tandem, but shame always carries the feeling of how you appear in the eyes of another. It always leads you to believe you are not enough. Not just that you have not done enough or done too much of the wrong thing (guilty feelings); but that you are not enough.

Why do forgiven Christians, who know they are forgiven and saved by grace alone through faith feel guilty?

Because our consciences are still at work. Often, they are misaligned too. They can be aligned to all sorts of pietistic and religious attitudes and actions, which carry with them ‘should’, ‘ought’ and ‘must’ type words. In addition, your conscience – being as much a part of fallen humanity as the rest of you – will constantly need to be renewed by hearing the gospel. It’s never a once-off thing. The amazing thing about grace is that it is always amazing. If we’re not amazed, it is because we may not be hearing the gospel, or because our consciences are so deeply bound by the ‘should’, ‘ought’ and ‘must’ vocabulary of church life that it has built up like wax in our spiritual ears.

What is the difference between a shame-based culture and a guilt-based culture?

That’s not easy, as both cultures operate with shame and guilt as real experiences; but they are often expressed differently. In shame-based cultures, the fear of being put to shame (losing face) acts as a powerful social conditioning factor. It relates to the way one is viewed by the group, and therefore the status and acceptability (or not) of that group. In the West, shame-based action (being put to shame on the one hand or presenting a face so that we maintain group acceptability) is increasingly evident through social media; and the associated ‘cancel culture’ or ‘defriending’ actions that cause so much pain.

Can feelings of guilt ever be a useful, productive, or positive thing in terms of our lives, our faith, and our relationships with God and others?

While the conscience is not the inner voice of God, God can awaken the conscience so that we begin to hear him through that means. The Spirit comes to convict of sin, righteousness and judgement. He uses the Law to do that and under the weight of that conviction, our consciences become deeply troubled. We cannot put things right and so find grace in the love of God. Luther’s experience of that arc from the conviction of sin to the experience of God’s grace was the spark for the Reformation. But if preachers or well-meaning Christians use guilt as a motivator it destroys relationships. It produces the deeds of the flesh, not the fruit of the Spirit.

Can guilt damage our relationship with God?

Yes, especially if we feel that God can never forgive us. So, we continually try to go up the down staircase. Instead of seeing that God has come to us, we are constantly trying to get to him; imagining that he has high expectations of us and that we must keep trying harder to please him. We become like the elder brother in the story of the prodigal son; or we look down our noses with contempt at others, like the Pharisee in Luke 18.

Can guilt damage our relationships with others? What can we do in such cases?

Nothing but the love of God can free us to forgive and confess our failures to others. Guilt only leads to more and more self-justifying behaviour, chief of which is being critical of others in the very areas in which we feel most guilty. Shame likewise corrodes relationships, because it feeds envy, jealousy and the need to constantly be proving to others that we are enough. But where there is true forgiveness, there is no ground to defend. That means we can be both authentic and vulnerable because we all stand in the same place at the foot of the cross.

What is false guilt? How does false guilt harm us?

False guilt is feeling guilty when you don’t need to feel guilty. It is one of the great weapons of manipulative people, conmen and dictators. False guilt is feeling you must take responsibility for something that is not your responsibility. It is often more linked to the insecurity that arises from shame, but emotionally it feels like a burden of guilt.

I know God has taken the burden of my sin, and I have confessed my sin to him, but I am still weighed down by feelings of guilt. How can I be free from such a burden?

In part, this is the battle of life on this side of heaven. We are yet to fully realise what we have been remade as in baptism. We are a new creation in Christ, but every day the world, the flesh and the devil tell us otherwise. The battle of faith is to believe that God’s promises are true all the time. Luther once said something like this: ‘the Law says, “do this”, but it is never done. Grace says, “believe this because all is already done”.’ We are not alone.

Rev Dr Noel Due is pastor of Northern Territory’s Top End Lutheran Parish and formerly served the LCANZ as Pastor for New and Renewing Churches. Among other publications, he is the author or co-author of New Life New Love, Live in Liberty: The Spiritual Message of Galatians and Spirit Filled: Normal Christian Living.

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Why do we feel guilt, shame and regret? We asked Lutheran psychologist Dr Michael Proeve, whose research interests include shame, guilt and remorse, to unpack what these emotions teach us and what their relationship is to repentance for us as Christians.

The Greek theological term ‘Metanoia’ is often defined as ‘a transformative change of heart’. It is the turning again or change in mind and change in living that in Christianity we commonly call repentance.

And if we are to live repentance and articulate our experience of it, we may do this through the language of emotion. For, as creatures of flesh and bone as well as spirit, we are used to speaking our experience through those fusions of thought, feeling, physiological response and interpersonal action that ebb and flow and recur in our lives, which we call emotions. I want to focus on three emotions that I believe feature when we work through repentance: regret, guilt and shame.

The idea of looking backwards seems contrary to one of our current cultural imperatives of ‘moving forward’ but looking backwards is what regret entails. The Frank Sinatra song My Way talks of having had ‘… a few [regrets], but then again, too few to mention …’. However, I suspect people who endorse this view either have extraordinary foresight or more likely are not paying attention to the consequences of what they do. The rest of us have regrets.

Psychological interest in regret has been developing since the 1990s and the value of regret is recognised in business-oriented self-help literature. Put simply, we experience regret when we wish that things were other than they are. This is broad, in that we may regret the situations and behaviour of others, but I want to focus particularly on regret as it applies to ourselves when we wish that we could turn back time, and start the day, month or even years again. Regret for actions and opportunities we did not take may preoccupy and weigh very heavily on us, but our behaviour is often a painful source of regret and need for repentance. When we regret, we think of mistakes we made, that we should have known better, and we want a second chance.

Though regret may bite and ache, it offers us the motivation to look at how we might do things differently and make the changes that we can, if we should be given a second chance. We can feel regret because of what we have suffered, but we may also regret what we do because it has hurt others, and this is where regret links to guilt.

Guilt is known as a self-conscious emotion in that we evaluate ourselves against standards and rules. When we feel guilty, we judge our behaviour negatively against the rules and standards we hold for ourselves, particularly about behaviour towards others, and we feel responsible. We want to apologise, repair matters, and remind ourselves to live by the values we hold. Recent psychological thinking sees guilt as generally a good thing, as people who feel guilty tend to be empathetic towards other people, understand their perspectives, and they want to repair their relationships with others.

However, there are times when guilt is not so helpful to us or others. For example, sometimes people take too much responsibility for what happened in circumstances where others would not judge them so harshly.

When we feel guilty, it can be good to ask what we are truly able to control and be responsible for, as we cannot necessarily control all circumstances and we cannot control what other people do. We can then repair what we can repair, reach out to other people whom we have hurt and be more conscious of living according to the values we hold.

The emotion of shame, however, is a mixed blessing. Shame is a very painful emotion, which involves judging our whole self as inferior or bad, and perceiving that other people see us that way too.

Some scholars hold that shame serves a valuable function, as shame tells us that we are in danger of being rejected by others. It may therefore impel us to change our behaviour or to repair what we have done. However, this may happen only to the extent that we believe that we can repair what we have done.

Also, people commonly feel shame not because of their behaviour, but because of their appearance or because of things done to them. In these circumstances, shame results from events or aspects of ourselves for which we are not responsible and which we cannot necessarily repair.

As well, whether shame results from our behaviour or not, we can respond to shame in unhelpful ways. People may cope with shame by turning it outwards, being angry and blaming others. Or we may cope with shame by isolating ourselves and hiding from others. So, shame can result in responses of attack or paralysis, neither of which benefits others or ourselves.

The way out of shame is often by means of the opposite of shame, which is compassion. When others treat us with compassion and accept us for who we are, and we learn to do the same towards ourselves, shame can decrease. If shame comes from what we have done, we may then transform shame into guilt, take appropriate responsibility, and return to our values.

There are few more striking descriptions of guilt and shame than King David’s outpouring in Psalm 51, his prayer of repentance. For Christians, as for David, God is the compassionate ‘Other’ to whom we may bring our shame, guilt and regrets, to be restored, renewed and compassionate towards ourselves. In turn, when we can be compassionate towards others, their shame may be lessened, they can feel appropriate guilt, and they may be renewed and may renew their relationships.

A clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr Michael Proeve is an academic at The University of Adelaide. He is co-author or co-editor of the books Remorse: Psychological and Jurisprudential Perspectives, and Remorse and Criminal Justice: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. He has had a long involvement with the Lutheran Church as a congregant and member of church committees.

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by Rev Dedi Pardosi

When the Bible mentions ‘guilt’, it almost always refers to theological guilt, namely the guilt that arises as a result of violating God’s law. Some Bible scholars say the Bible never separates guilt from sin.

It is very important for Christians to know that the Bible does not emphasise guilty feelings – which are often subjective and may be unfounded – but rather addresses the guilt of sin. Therefore, Christians must be careful not to try to create guilty feelings as a tool to make it easier to change and motivate someone. Guilty feelings should only exist as a normal reaction to our awareness of the reality of sin. For this reason, Christians must be able to distinguish between ‘constructive sorrow’ and ‘worldly sorrow’.

Constructive sorrow or positive grief is a term used by theologian, psychologist and author S Bruce Narramore in his research article ‘Guilt: Christian Motivation or Neurotic Masochism’, which appeared in the Journal of Psychology and Theology in June 1974 and is based on 2 Corinthians 7:8–10. In this passage, the apostle Paul distinguishes between worldly sorrow, which is roughly equivalent to simply subjective guilt feelings and constructive sorrow, which is positive and results in a constructive change in attitude to life.

An example of these two contrasting emotional states could come from a driver who hits a person with his or her car. The driver could experience worldly sorrow, by which he or she may feel guilty, curse themselves and forever refuse to take the wheel and drive again. In this case, constructive sorrow may also lead to the driver feeling guilty but would also see him or her acknowledging their mistake, being willing to receive the appropriate punishment and, where possible, endeavouring to remedy the harm caused.

Indeed, the world often prefers worldly sorrow, because the world is bound with a lust for revenge so that people are only satisfied when guilty people receive a death sentence. But this reality should not be a reason for us to choose such a guilty way.

A great theme in the Bible is God’s forgiveness. The Lord Jesus came as God’s lamb to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29) so that humans might receive forgiveness and be reconciled to God (Acts 5:30,31; Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7).

The Bible often emphasises that forgiveness from God is concerned with important matters such as repentance (1 John 1:9, Proverbs 28:13) and the forgiveness of our fellow human beings (Matthew 6:12 and 18:21). Without repentance, there is no forgiveness and without a willingness to forgive the faults of others, there is no forgiveness from God.

Indeed, faith is a gift (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 12:3) from the Holy Spirit, not a virtue of our own standing or works (John 3:3). Without the Holy Spirit’s renewal of our whole nature, we are not aware of our sin and the need for God’s forgiveness. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins.

The proof of repentance is a life under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, which produces the fruits of kindness, generosity, patience and peace (Galatians 5:16,22), namely the main elements that mark the event of forgiveness. PH Monsma, in his article entitled ‘Forgiveness’ says: ‘A person who seeks forgiveness but doesn’t forgive others hardly knows what he/she is asking for and is not worthy of it.’

S Bruce Narramore provides a comparison chart between psychological guilt (worldly sorrow) and constructive sorrow, as follows:

  1. The centre of attention in the first instance is self; in the second it is God and our neighbour.
  2. Thoughts on the problem in the case of psychological guilt focus on the mistakes that have been made; while constructive sorrow focuses on the consequences of mistakes that have been made and corrective steps to be taken.
  3. The motivation behind the actions taken contrasts between freeing oneself from guilty feelings and encouraging others to grow, and doing God’s will (love).
  4. Attitudes towards yourself are angry, hateful, and frustrated versus being deeply concerned or contrite, and loving yourself so that try your best.
  5. The outcome or effect of worldly guilt can be temporary external change, withdrawal from responsibilities, failure repeating itself and self-hatred; while with constructive sorrow, the result can be ‘repentance and change based on an attitude of love and respect’.

By looking at the differences above, between psychological guilt and constructive sorrow, it is clear that what humans need is constructive sorrow and yet this is never perfect in a person’s struggle without God being present.

Indeed, humans can seek constructive sorrow, but without repenting and being reconciled to God, this is groundless and has no clear purpose, so it does not guarantee the resolution of the guilt problem.

As writer Johann Ludwig Konrad Allendorf says in the English translation of the hymn ‘Jesus ist kommen’, ‘Jesus has come! Now see bonds rent asunder! Fetters of death now dissolve, disappear, see him burst through with a voice as of thunder! He sets us free from our guilt and our fear, lifts us from shame to the place of his honour. Jesus has come! Hear the roll of God’s thunder!’

The Bible emphasises very clearly the futility of those who do good apart from the gift of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:20, 9:32, 11:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).

Rev Dedi Pardosi is a pastor of Indonesia’s HKBP (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan) church and Director of the National Committee Lutheran World Federation Indonesia (KN-LWF). Previous to taking on this role early in 2022, he was working with the same body’s Luther Study Centre.

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by Craig Heidenreich

In recent decades we have lived through a significant shift in the ethnic mix of our society, and we now have a new mission field right in our own backyards.

The LCANZ’s Cross-Cultural Ministry Department has teamed up with Australian Lutheran College to offer an online training course for those who want to engage with people of these new cultures.

The course is geared for individuals or groups and deliberately addresses the ‘how to’ questions of cross-cultural ministry to boost your confidence to start conversations.

This course is now available and is free for 2022 participants!


The seven training topics of the cross-cultural ministry training course can be completed in about 20 hours and will cover subjects such as:

  • Our biblical mandate to reach out to the nations
  • Who are these ethnic newcomers and how do they tick?
  • How can we respond as individuals to make new friends?
  • Ways to be a congregation that welcomes people from many backgrounds

For enrolment details and training support, please contact me at

 Craig Heidenreich is the LCANZ’s Cross-Cultural Ministry Facilitator.

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Australian Lutheran College (ALC) has this month launched its annual appeal with the theme of ‘Encouragement brings students to ALC’. ALC is calling on all members of the LCANZ to support the college with their prayers and gifts – and by encouraging people to serve the church as pastors, teachers and other church workers. You can read more in the ALC publication Saints Alive, included with this month’s print edition of The Lutheran and available to download at

Appeal packs are available in your congregation, or you can donate online at or by using the donation slip in Saints Alive.

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