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Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

1370 Euclid Avenue, City Heights




Membership: 400

Pastor: David Weber

Age: 56

Born: Hampton, Iowa

Formation: University of Laverne, Laverne; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Years Ordained: 9 years

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor David Weber: The full counsel of God is such that there can’t be one thing. God is so all-inclusive that to ignore one part is to miss out on another part. But if I had one thing, I would love to preach about grace. Who doesn’t want to hear about God’s love in Christ? But unless you teach on how the law shows our need for a savior, how can we appreciate the grace?

SDR: What do you enjoy preaching most about, then?

PW: Probably the parables, and specifically all of Luke Chapter 15. It’s the party chapter in the Bible. It’s about the three things that are lost, three things that are found, and the three parties that are thrown to celebrate that. Probably the most notable of those is the parable of the Prodigal Son….

I love how this chapter shows that everyone is important to God, not just those inside the group.

SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PW: I saw a bumper sticker awhile back that said, “God, save me from your followers.” It really irritated me at first and then I started thinking about it and I thought, That’s right! You see so much hate, finger-wagging, and being in people’s faces; I don’t think that’s how Jesus would be. I think it was theologian Karl Barth who said, “One of the leading causes of atheism today is Christians.”

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PW: I’ve always wanted to be a pastor. My grandfather was a pastor in Iowa, and he was awesome. I felt a kinship to God, in his creation as a little boy, and as I became more cognizant of his word, I made a closer walk with Christ.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PW: Specifically, our mission is to be a beacon of light to our community and spread the gospel of God’s love to a world that is in darkness.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PW: As Lutherans, we believe that we have eternal life in three modes. First, when we come to faith and believe that God puts faith in us at baptism, and then when we profess it later…. The second mode will be when we die before Christ returns, which we call heaven…. But ultimately, in the third mode, it is when Christ returns and restores all things.

SDR: Are there any possibilities beside heaven?

PW: The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod definitely talks about hell. If people refuse to believe in Christ, that is the place that people go. But when I look at scripture more closely, Gehenna was a place that God referred to when he was on Earth, which was a junkyard that was always on fire….We say in our Missouri Synod doctrine that hell is eternal, but I’m not entirely sure it’s scriptural. We believe that the Holy Spirit can operate in the freedom of however he chooses. The parable of the harvester makes it pretty clear that we are not the ones who choose who’s in heaven or in hell. God is. So I’m not on the hook for that, thankfully.

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Comments

springerjd Nov. 2, 2011 @ 1:36 p.m.

Rev. Weber is correct in saying that the LCMS teaches that there is an eternal hell. Where he has erred is in saying that an eternal hell is unscriptural. In Revelation 20:10 it is written, "and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." And also Revelation 20:14-15, "The Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name is not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Clearly from verse 10 the lake of fire or hell is an eternal place.

Also, reason says that Holy Spirit as God can do what he wishes but the LCMS teaches that God has revealed His will in the scriptures. So even though He can, He will not contradict His revealed will. This is good news since all of the Gospel promises are given in scriptures. Being baptized into Christ, we receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39) we receive the name of God and are written in the book of life, (Matthew 28:19-20) and we are crucified, buried and raised with Christ! (Romans 6) It would not be good news if the Holy Spirit decided to change His mind about this. Teaching that there is an everlasting hell is teaching the whole counsel of God.

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