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Vieraskieliset / In-english

In Mutual Gatherings, We Talk about Faith and Doctrine

Vieraskieliset / In-english
10.6.2022 11.00

Juttua muokattu:

10.6. 11:06

Har­ri Vä­hä­jylk­kä

SRK:n kuva-arkisto

Trans­la­ti­on: Mat­t­hew Ke­rä­nen and Jou­ko Haap­saa­ri

There have been many dis­cus­si­ons with the goal of re­sol­ving di­sag­ree­ments that have emer­ged in North Ame­ri­can Chris­ti­a­ni­ty.

In some LLC (La­es­ta­di­an Lut­he­ran Church) cong­re­ga­ti­ons there has been ten­si­on and cont­ra­dic­ti­ons for some time. There has been dif­fe­ring in­for­ma­ti­on and per­cep­ti­ons about the cong­re­ga­ti­ons’ si­tu­a­ti­on and the to­pics of di­sag­ree­ments, which in turn have made it dif­fi­cult to un­ders­tand and gain a sen­se of the ove­rall si­tu­a­ti­on.

The SRK (Suo­men Rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys­ten Kes­ku­syh­dis­tys—the cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­on of Con­ser­va­ti­ve La­es­ta­di­ans in Fin­land) has been in­for­med of the in­ter­nal dif­fi­cul­ties in North Ame­ri­can Chris­ti­a­ni­ty in joint mee­tings bet­ween the sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons and in dis­cus­si­ons held via re­mo­te con­nec­ti­ons. An abun­dan­ce of in­for­ma­ti­on and con­tacts about the si­tu­a­ti­on in North Ame­ri­ca has al­so re­ac­hed Fin­land ot­her than through the LLC.

Dis­cus­si­ons to Re­sol­ve the Si­tu­a­ti­on

In mee­tings bet­ween the SRK and LLC, it has been no­ted that God’s Spirt uni­tes those that be­lie­ve the same way ac­ross na­ti­o­nal bor­ders. Ac­cor­ding to mee­ting par­ti­ci­pants, in dis­cus­si­ons bet­ween the cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons, they have ex­pe­rien­ced the uni­ty of God’s Spi­rit, the same un­ders­tan­ding of faith, and mu­tu­al love. Ac­cor­ding to the SRK rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves who took part in the dis­cus­si­ons, no dif­fe­ren­ces in opi­ni­on or un­ders­tan­ding of doct­ri­nal is­su­es or any ot­her mat­ter have emer­ged in the dis­cus­si­ons.

The SRK has sought via these dis­cus­si­ons to of­fer help in ca­ring for the si­tu­a­ti­on in North Ame­ri­ca. In doing so, it has been no­ted that the di­sag­ree­ments and ar­gu­ments at hand par­ti­cu­lar­ly con­cern North Ame­ri­can Chris­ti­a­ni­ty and LLC cong­re­ga­ti­ons. It has been sta­ted in these dis­cus­si­ons that no one has a hig­her po­si­ti­on than ot­hers in mat­ters of faith. It has al­so been no­ted that no one has the un­ders­tan­ding or skill to ap­point them­sel­ves the one to de­ci­de who is right or wrong when a conf­lict ari­ses. On­ly God sees in­to a per­son’s he­art and is the ul­ti­ma­te jud­ge. Mu­tu­al faith and the Holy Spi­rit that dwel­ls in a be­lie­ver cre­a­te true uni­ty bet­ween be­lie­vers. The Holy Spi­rit is al­so the Spi­rit of truth, which le­ads mat­ters among be­lie­vers in both Fin­land and Ame­ri­ca. Love and mu­tu­al uni­ty are bro­ken abo­ve all by sin.

En­cou­ra­ge­ment to Watch in Faith

In ad­di­ti­on to the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween the cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons, there have been many spi­ri­tu­al dis­cus­si­ons on a per­so­nal le­vel as well. Thus al­so here in Fin­land it has been pos­sib­le to hear a va­rie­ty of ex­pe­rien­ces and pers­pec­ti­ves on the conf­lict si­tu­a­ti­on. Those in­vol­ved in the dis­cus­si­ons say that in the dis­cus­si­ons there has been en­cou­ra­ge­ment to watch in one’s faith per­so­nal­ly and to pray to God for a mer­ci­ful mind as well as the hu­mi­li­ty and pa­tien­ce that ari­se from faith.

Be­lie­vers in Fin­land and North Ame­ri­ca com­mu­ni­ca­te with each ot­her in many ways. In ad­di­ti­on to in­di­vi­du­als sta­ying in con­tact with one anot­her, the cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons SRK and LLC are in re­gu­lar con­tact with each ot­her. Coo­pe­ra­ti­on in are­as of work in Chris­ti­a­ni­ty oc­curs, for examp­le, in mis­si­on work and in com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons. One of the main to­pics in our com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on has al­wa­ys been the dis­cus­si­on of faith mat­ters, inc­lu­ding both doct­ri­nal is­su­es and al­so qu­es­ti­ons of li­ving as a Chris­ti­an.

Valde Palola has been involved in the work between SRK and its sister organizations for a long time.

Valde Palola has been involved in the work between SRK and its sister organizations for a long time.

Elisa Raappana

Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween Sis­ter Or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons

Val­de Pa­lo­la is cur­rent­ly the ac­ting Chair­man of SRK’s Bo­ard of Di­rec­tors. He has been in­vol­ved in the work bet­ween SRK and its sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons for a long time. He has al­so been in­vol­ved in com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween SRK and LLC.

– The cent­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­on and its sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons have re­gu­lar­ly sche­du­led coo­pe­ra­ti­on mee­tings as well as ot­her mee­tings that may be re­qui­red by cur­rent af­fairs. We meet eve­ry ot­her ye­ar as three sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons, SRK, LLC and SFC (Sve­ri­ges Frids­fö­re­nin­gars Cent­ra­lor­ga­ni­sa­ti­on—Cent­ral Or­ga­ni­za­ti­on of Swe­den’s As­so­ci­a­ti­ons of Pe­a­ce), for a mee­ting of ad­mi­nist­ra­ti­on and of­fi­ce rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ves that lasts se­ve­ral days. At these mee­tings we dis­cuss cur­rent is­su­es and is­su­es re­la­ted to our coo­pe­ra­ti­on ag­ree­ment, such as those re­la­ted to fo­reign mis­si­on work.

The sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons have done fo­reign mis­si­on work to­get­her for ye­ars in, e.g. Af­ri­ca and South Ame­ri­ca.

– For this pur­po­se we have a writ­ten coo­pe­ra­ti­on do­cu­ment which is up­da­ted at our mee­tings. At these mee­tings it is al­so cus­to­ma­ry to have spi­ri­tu­al dis­cus­si­ons ba­sed on an ag­reed theme.

Pa­lo­la says that in cur­rent, prac­ti­cal mat­ters, our of­fi­ces are in con­tact with each ot­her as ne­ces­sa­ry.

– When the need ari­ses, we ar­ran­ge ad­mi­nist­ra­ti­ve mee­tings re­mo­te­ly, in which we in­form one anot­her of cur­rent is­su­es. In these mee­tings, the dis­cus­si­on fo­cu­ses on spi­ri­tu­al mat­ters. There have been se­ve­ral such mee­tings in re­cent ye­ars.

Dif­fi­cult Is­su­es to Ad­d­ress

In re­cent ye­ars, North Ame­ri­can be­lie­vers have en­coun­te­red dif­fi­cult mat­ters in their midst, such as the bre­a­king of uni­ty bet­ween be­lie­vers. Pa­lo­la has par­ti­ci­pa­ted in dis­cus­si­ons bet­ween the SRK and LLC on this to­pic.

– As I pre­vi­ous­ly men­ti­o­ned, we al­so dis­cuss spi­ri­tu­al is­su­es du­ring the mee­tings. Es­pe­ci­al­ly in re­cent ye­ars we have had a wide-ran­ging dis­cus­si­on about these dif­fi­cult mat­ters that have ari­sen among Ame­ri­can be­lie­vers.

Pa­lo­la has felt that there has been an open and res­pect­ful at­mosp­he­re in the dis­cus­si­ons.

– We have had much dis­cus­si­on on doct­ri­nal is­su­es and on those cont­ra­dic­ti­ons that have ari­sen among Ame­ri­can be­lie­vers in re­cent ye­ars. In these dis­cus­si­ons we have been ab­le to see that we have a com­mon un­ders­tan­ding in the doct­ri­nal mat­ters as well as re­gar­ding the cur­rent si­tu­a­ti­on.

An Open and Con­fi­den­ti­al Con­nec­ti­on

– I am glad that bet­ween us there is an open and brot­her­ly re­la­ti­ons­hip ba­sed on trust. We have been ab­le to dis­cuss even those dif­fi­cult mat­ters di­rect­ly and open­ly. I have no­ti­ced how the LLC brot­hers have wis­hed to face these dif­fi­cult mat­ters with the mind of Christ.

Pa­lo­la has been left with po­si­ti­ve imp­res­si­ons from the dis­cus­si­ons.

– It has been re­mar­kab­le how pa­tient­ly and with pra­yers for God’s help they have con­duc­ted dis­cus­si­ons about the cont­ro­ver­sies with va­ri­ous par­ties. I have al­so ex­pe­rien­ced that throug­hout this time the brot­hers have pra­yed from the he­art that love would be res­to­red among be­lie­vers and that all could be in the care of the good Shep­herd. It has felt safe to see that there has been op­por­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss mat­ters.

Ac­cor­ding to Pa­lo­la, LLC and North Ame­ri­can cong­re­ga­ti­ons have in re­cent ye­ars ar­ran­ged nu­me­rous dis­cus­si­ons and gat­he­rings to re­sol­ve conf­licts that have ari­sen. Ma­te­ri­al ac­c­ru­ed from these gat­he­rings, pre­sen­ta­ti­ons and dis­cus­si­ons has al­so been re­cei­ved in Fin­land.

– I have gi­ven a lot of thought to the is­su­es that cau­se di­sag­ree­ment among Ame­ri­can be­lie­vers. In this si­tu­a­ti­on I have not been ab­le to avoid thin­king how from the pers­pec­ti­ve of the his­to­ry of Chris­ti­a­ni­ty, deep and longs­tan­ding cont­ra­dic­ti­ons bet­ween Chris­ti­ans have in es­sen­ce al­wa­ys been roo­ted in doct­ri­nal di­sag­ree­ments and, me­anw­hi­le, in qu­es­ti­ons of li­fes­ty­le that ari­se from the doct­ri­nal is­su­es. These have not al­wa­ys come to light while the si­tu­a­ti­on pre­vails, but on­ly la­ter.

The core qu­es­ti­on, Pa­lo­la desc­ri­bes, has al­wa­ys been one of how an in­di­vi­du­al Chris­ti­an po­si­ti­ons him­self or her­self in re­la­ti­on to God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on.

– In si­tu­a­ti­ons of conf­lict, the fo­cus of dis­cus­si­ons might of­ten shift among many ot­her doct­ri­nal qu­es­ti­ons, even such that there may not have been any vi­sib­le doct­ri­nal dif­fe­ren­ces. The main ba­sis of di­sag­ree­ment, no­net­he­less, has al­wa­ys been a dif­fe­ring view on the doct­ri­ne of the cong­re­ga­ti­on. As qu­es­ti­ons go, this has al­wa­ys been a sen­si­ti­ve one be­cau­se it me­ans sub­jec­ting one­self to the gui­dan­ce of the Holy Spi­rit ins­te­ad of one’s own un­ders­tan­ding.

The Holy Spi­rit Cre­a­tes Mu­tu­al Love

Pa­lo­la pon­ders this qu­es­ti­on al­so on a very per­so­nal le­vel and says he wis­hes to ap­p­ro­ach it simp­ly through faith, as­king God for hu­mi­li­ty and wis­dom.

– It is through faith, and on­ly through faith, that I un­ders­tand that when in my he­art I en­de­a­vor to obey the voi­ce of the Holy Spi­rit, then I al­so see the cong­re­ga­ti­on of God as a gol­den cand­les­tick. Then the Holy Spi­rit con­nects me with bonds of mu­tu­al, sha­red love to God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on and I may live in the fel­lows­hip of grace and for­gi­ve­ness in God’s king­dom. I think that God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on is not a tem­po­ral or­ga­ni­za­ti­on, but rat­her it is the com­mu­ni­on of saints, which is the child­ren of God gat­he­red in­to one flock by the Holy Spi­rit.

– I hope and pray that in the conf­lict that now exists in Ame­ri­ca, God is ab­le to lead the mat­ters the best way. The most im­por­tant mat­ter is that each per­son would en­de­a­vor to be­lie­ve his or her sins for­gi­ven and would thus re­joi­ce in mu­tu­al faith and love and in uni­ty of the Spi­rit.

Pa­lo­la points out that faith is God’s gift and pre­ser­ving it is the most pre­ci­ous mat­ter.

– This is al­so taught by the Apost­le Paul. He ex­hor­ted the yo­ung Ti­mot­hy, for examp­le, to keep faith and a good cons­cien­ce, for the re­ward for that is eter­nal life with God in he­a­ven.


Minä asun korkeudessa ja pyhyydessä, mutta asun myös murtuneiden ja nöyrien luona. Minä virvoitan murtuneiden hengen ja herätän eloon nöyrien sydämen. Jes. 57:15

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