2003 Camp Bible Study by xqo30826

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									        The Real Christian Underground
2003 Wyoming District Lutheran Camp Bible Study

                      By

          The Rev. Paul J Cain, Jr.
     Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church
          Green River, Wyoming




                 901 Trona Drive
             Green River WY 82935
                 (307) 875-2598
             emmanuel@onewest.net
   http://www.lutheransonline.com/lo/emmanuel




                      1
                           The Real Christian Underground




                                     Table of Contents

Session 1: Apostle                                         3

Session 2: Centurion                                       5

Session 3: The Jews                                        7

Session 4: The Greeks                                      9

Session 5: The Romans and Roman Citizens                   11

Session 6: The Christ & The Christian Facing Persecution   13

Session 7: Saints Under the Cross in Church History        15

Session 8: Will the Church Go Back Underground?            19

Appendix: Rules for Christian Underground                  21




                                            2
The Real Christian Underground                              What is an apostle? What has an apostle been
Session 1: Apostle                                          given to do? Mark 3:13-15

And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic           Who were the twelve apostles?
Church…                            Nicene Creed             Adults: Mark 3:16-19
                                                            Guys: Matthew 10:1-4
Opening Collect                                             Gals: Luke 6:12-16
O almighty God, whose Church is built on the                What stands out in the three lists read above?
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus
Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone, grant           Who sent them? To whom were they accountable?
us to be joined together in unity of spirit by their        Mark 6:30
doctrine that we may be made a holy temple
acceptable in Your sight; through Jesus Christ,             After Judas‟ betrayal, how was Matthias added to
Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with               the eleven? Acts 1:15-26
You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and                   Does anything like this happen in our
forever. Amen.                                              congregations today? When?

In   the     popular camp game, Christian                   How does Scripture describe the cross the apostles
Underground, the Apostle is an important player.            live under? Luke 11:49-50, Acts 5:18, 5:40, 14:4
The object of the game is for the enemies of the
Gospel (centurion, non-Christian guards, Jewish             Contrast John 20:19 with Acts 4:33. What
spy) to locate and kill the apostle before he is able       accounts for the change?
to baptize and convert all the non-Christians.              Consider also Acts 2:1-4, 14-18; Acts 4:33.
Once a player finds the apostle and is baptized,
he/she then attempts to bring as many other non-            Stephen concludes his sermon with Acts 7:51-53.
Christians to be converted. Only the apostle can            What were the consequences in Acts 8:1-3? Who
baptize. In the meantime, the enemies of the                remained in Jerusalem?
Gospel bring citizens to the interrogator for
questioning, hoping to find out who the apostle is.         Who is Saul?         Acts 8:1, 9:27
Only the interrogator and the centurion can kill
people (the centurion can kill anyone on the spot,          Why did Paul consider himself unworthy to be an
if he so chooses!). The game ends when either the           apostle? 1 Corinthians 15:9; Acts 8:1-3; 1
apostle has baptized all the citizens or has been           Timothy 1:12-17
exposed and executed. For the sake of a less-
complicated game, all those baptized by the                 How did Saul/Paul go from persecuting Christ to
apostle become Christians, which isn‟t necessarily          preaching Him? 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1
the case in real life.
As of this writing, we‟re not sure how long this            Skim Acts 9:1-20 and summarize it in your own
game has been played, where it came from, or who            words.
developed it. We do know that this game is fun.
We‟ll learn all the rules along the way. And, we            Besides the original Twelve, (with Judas later
will see that the Christian Underground was                 replaced by Matthias,) what other pastors are
really no “game” at all. It was deadly serious and          called apostles in the New Testament? Acts
many died for the faith.                                    14:14a
In Session 1, we will learn from Scripture about
the apostles.                                               What are the important features of Christian
                                                            Worship? Acts 2:42?



                                                        3
In what sense are apostles gifts to the Church from        How does the hymn confess that pastors today as
God? 1 Corinthians 12:28-29, Ephesians 3:5,                the Lord‟s apostles today? In what ways is their
4:11-13, 2 Peter 3:2, Jude 1:17                            service different? Where do you see the Scripture
                                                           references from this Bible Study in the hymn?
Is there such a thing as a “false apostle?” Consider
the following: Matthew 7:15, 2 Corinthians 11:1-           As you read through this quotation from the
5, 13-15, 1 John 4:1, Revelation 2:2                       Lutheran Confessions, identify what Christ has
                                                           given His pastors to do:
How are true apostles “foundational” for the               …for Christ gave to His apostles only spiritual
Church? Ephesians 2:20, Revelation 21:14                   authority, that is, the command to preach the
                                                           Gospel, to proclaim the forgiveness of sins, to
Who is the most important “apostle” mentioned in           administer      the     sacraments,       and      to
the New Testament?         Hebrews 3:1                     excommunicate the ungodly without the means of
Who sent Him? What was He sent to accomplish?              physical force. He did not give them the power of
                                                           the sword or the right to establish, take possession,
Who are the apostles, the “sent ones” in the Church        or dispose of the kingdoms of the world. Indeed,
today? What have they been given to do? What               Christ said, “Go…[baptizing…] and teaching
connections do they have to the apostles of Biblical       them to obey everything that I have commanded
times?                                                     you” [Matthew 28:19-20]. Again, “As the Father
                                                           has sent me, so I send you” [John 20:21]. Treatise
Consider the text of “God of the Prophets, Bless the       on the Power & Primacy of the Pope, K/W 335.31
Prophet‟s Sons,” LW 258. (Hymn texts courtesy
of the Lutheran Hymnal Project)This hymn is                Concluding Collect
often used for ordination or installation services.        O almighty God, by Your Son, our Savior, You
                                                           have always given Your Church on earth faithful
Read through the Hymn together:                            shepherds to guide and feed Your flock. Therefore
                                                           we pray, make all pastors diligent to preach Your
1. God of the prophets, bless the prophets‟ sons;          Holy Word and minister Your Means of Grace,
Elijah‟s mantle o‟er Elisha cast.                          and grant Your People wisdom to follow in the
Each age its solemn task may claim but once;               way that leads to life eternal; through our Lord
Make each one nobler, stronger than the last.              Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and
                                                           the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
2. Anoint them prophets, men who are intent
To be Your witnesses in word and deed,
Their hearts aflame, their lips made eloquent,
Their eyes awake to ev‟ry human need.

3. Anoint them priests, strong intercessors they,
For pardon and for love and hope and peace,
That, through their pleading, guilty sinners may
Find Jesus‟ mercy and from sin release.

4. Anoint them kings, yes, faithful kings, O Lord.
Anoint them with the Spirit of Your Son.
Theirs not a jeweled crown, a bloodstained sword;
Theirs, by sweet love, for Christ a kingdom won.

5. Make them apostles, heralds of Your cross;
Forth let them go to tell the world of grace.
Inspired by You, may they count all but loss
And stand at last with joy before Your face.
                                                       4
The Real Christian Underground                            Centurions had great responsibility. This is seen
Session 2: Centurion                                      in this study‟s first Bible reading.
                                                          Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10.
And when the centurion, who stood facing him,
saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said,       What two reasons does the centurion give for
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"                      saying that it isn‟t necessary to come to his
                                Mark         15:39        home? (Matthew 8:8-9, Luke 7:6-8)
(ESV)
                                                          What is Jesus‟ response to this? (Matthew 8:10-13,
Opening Collect                                           Luke 7:9-10)
O Lord God of hosts, stretch forth Your almighty
arm to strengthen and protect those who serve in          Consider the role centurions had during the
the armed forces of our country. Support them in          passion and resurrection of our Lord. Read:
times of war, and in times of peace keep them             Matthew 27:54,Mark 15:39, 44-45, Luke 23:33-
from all evil, giving them courage and loyalty            47
and granting that in all things they may serve
honestly and without reproach; through Jesus              What surprises you the most of what the
Christ, our Lord. Amen.                                   centurions say? What would you have expected
                                                          them to say instead?
Considering that the centurion was a Roman
military unit, centurions show up in the New              Centurions were accustomed to war, death, and
Testament Scriptures a surprising number of               executions. When a centurion certified that a
times. Centurion, a word related to our word              criminal was dead, (Mark 15:44-45) how
century, also a military term referring to the            trustworthy was that judgment?
group each centurion had responsibility over.
Each centurion had full responsibility over his           In Luke 23:33-47, the centurion concludes,
century—command in battle, administration,                “Certainly this man was innocent.” What did he
training, and discipline. All centurions were             see and hear that led him to that conclusion?
graded, or ranked. It often took 15-20 years for a
soldier to work up to the rank of centurion, but it       Consider the importance of a centurion to the
was worth it. They received double the pay of an          future preaching of the Gospel of Christ to gentiles
ordinary solider after being selected for promotion       as you read Acts 10:1-48.
on the basis of outstanding merit or past service.
In the game Christian Underground, there is one           What made this centurion unique? Acts 10:1-2
Roman Centurion, assisted by several Roman
guards, one of whom is a Christian guard. The             What happens to Peter in verses 9-20?
centurion and guards wield flashlights that are to
be treated like swords. If you are commanded to           Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. When
stop, you MUST STOP. Only the interrogator                they rejected Him, the Great Commission was
and the centurion can kill people. (the centurion         given to make disciples of all nations, including
can kill anyone on the spot if he so chooses!)            the non-Jews, or gentiles. How do we see the Great
When the slips of paper identifying the role of           Commission in action in verses 44-48?
each player have been passed out, the centurion
and the guards are brought forward, and everyone          What roles are given to the centurions mentioned
else is dismissed. The Christian guard will               in Acts 22:25-26 and Acts 24:23?
attempt to get people baptized while protecting his
own identity.                                             Read about a centurion appointed to guard Paul
                                                          in Acts 27:1-44.
                                                          What were the centurion‟s responsibilities? (1-3)
                                                      5
What were some difficulties along the way? (7,                Leads against the foe;
10, 14, 29, 41-42)                                            Forward into battle
What was God‟s promise? The result? (22-25, 34,               See His banners go!
37, 44)
                                                              Refrain (after each stanza):
                                                              Onward, Christian soldiers,
Consider the impact Paul‟s preaching of Christ
                                                              Marching as to war,
had due to the working of the Holy Spirit. Read               With the cross of Jesus
about his mission work among the Roman                        Going on before.
military while imprisoned!   Philippians 1:12-
14, 4:22.                                                     2. Like a mighty army
                                                              Moves the Church of God;
Consider 2 Timothy 2:4. The praetorian guard                  Brothers, we are treading
served as the emperor‟s personal troops and                   Where the saints have trod.
bodyguard. How significant an evangelism                      We are not divided,
opportunity was this? Why? What could a                       All one body we,
                                                              One in hope and doctrine,
Christian soldier do?
                                                              One in charity.
Is it O.K. for a Christian to be a soldier? If there is       3. Crowns and thrones may perish,
time, consider: Luke 3:14, Romans 13:1-7                      Kingdoms rise and wane,
                                                              But the Church of Jesus
In the game, the one Roman Centurion is not a                 Constant will remain.
Christian, but one of the guards is. How                      Gates of hell can never
important is this to the game?                                ‟Gainst that Church prevail;
                                                              We have Christ‟s own promise,
The following reading from the Lutheran                       And that cannot fail.
Confessions speaks concerning public order and
secular government, which addresses the vocation              Concluding Collect
of soldier: Concerning public order and secular               O God, from whom all holy desires, all good
government it is taught that all political                    counsels, and all just works proceed, give to your
authority, orderly government, laws, and good                 servants that peace with the world cannot give,
order in the world are created and instituted by              that our hearts may be set to obey Your
God and that Christians may without sin exercise              commandments; and also that we, being defended
political authority; be princes and judges; pass              from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace
sentences and administer justice according to                 and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ,
imperial and other existing laws; punish evildoers            our Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the
with the sword; wage just wars; serve as soldiers;            Holy Spirit, God forever. Amen.
buy and sell; take required oaths; possess
property; be married; etc… The Augsburg Confession
XVI, German Text, K/W, 48.1-2

How does this apply to you today and in the
future?

Sing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” LW 518.
1. Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,

                                                          6
The Real Christian Underground                               Luke 2:21; Luke 2:22-38; Luke 2:39-40; Luke
Session 3:The Jews                                           2:41-52

O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive                 What was the problem in John 2:13-22?
Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son
of God appear. Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel           Why was Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem and the
Shall come to thee, O Israel!                  LW 1          Jewish people in Matthew 23:37-39?

Opening Collect                                              The Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans
Almighty and everlasting God, who loves to show              in A.D. 70, while the generation that witnessed
mercy, hear the prayers which we offer unto You              Jesus‟ ministry was still alive. Consider the
for Your ancient people, that, acknowledging Jesus           disciples two questions in Matthew 24:1-3. What
Christ, who is the light of truth, they may be               are they?
delivered from their darkness; through the same              How does Jesus answer the first in Matthew
Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.                      24:15-22?
                                                             What about the second question? See Matthew
As you may remember or have already learned,                 24:36, 42.
all of the players in the game are assigned “roles.”
Enough small pieces of paper are prepared and                Not only did the Jews worship at the temple, but
given out so that each player will receive one piece,        they also were gathered around the Word at the
identifying his/her nationality.                             Synagogue. Read Luke 4:14-37.
Each citizen is also given a password to identify            What was Jesus‟ main message? How did
his/her nationality. It is the word for “peace” in           Nazareth react? Capernaum?
whatever language is spoken. Therefore, the Jew
will identify himself as such by saying,                     The third place of Jewish worship was the home.
“Shalom.” In Christian Underground, there is a               Annually, they would celebrate the Passover,
Jewish spy (a Judas), and several Jewish citizens.           remembering God‟s rescue of them in the Exodus,
                                                             with a special “Seder” meal. Read Luke 22:1-23.
The term “Jew” is derived from “Judah,” the title of         What new thing did Jesus give us from the
what was the southern kingdom in the days after              Passover Seder meal? How is it similar to what
Solomon. Judah was one of the twelve sons of                 went on before? Different?
Jacob, also known as Israel. The name for this tribe
came to be applied to the whole people: one who lived        As we read about Jesus, we also hear about some of
in Judah was called a Judah-ite, or Jew. Today,              the abuses, misinterpretations, and outright errors
some consider the term “Jew” not to be politically           of some of the parties/denominations within
correct, so “Jewish person” has been recommended.            Judaism of the first century.

Jesus Christ was born a Jew. In following His life,          What was the error of the Sadducees? Mark 12:18
we see much of the true worship of God.                      St. Paul, earlier called Saul, was a Pharisee. Read
                                                             Philippians 3:4b-7. What were Pharisees known
There was only one Jewish Temple. From Old                   for? What does Paul call for us to trust in
Testament times, sacrifices were offered there,              instead?
looking forward to the once-for-all sacrifice of the
promised Messiah, the suffering servant.                     Other Jewish religious parties included the
                                                             Essenes, Zealots, and Herodians, but the group
What other events took place at the temple? What             that gave Jesus the most trouble was that of the
do we learn about Jesus in each of the following             Pharisees. Consider the following passages. What
texts?                                                       sins does Jesus rebuke?      Luke 14:1-6; Luke

                                                         7
10:25-29 (skim 30-37); Luke 18:18-27; Mark                 1. Not all the blood of beasts
12:1-12                                                    On Jewish altars slain
                                                           Could give the guilty conscience peace
How would you describe the biggest problem of the          Or wash away the stain.
Pharisees?
                                                           2. But Christ, the heav‟nly Lamb,
                                                           Takes all our sins away;
Consider again a text we read with reference to the        A sacrifice of nobler name
temple. Re-read John 2:18-22. Do Christians need           And richer blood than they.
a temple? What currently sits atop temple mount
in Jerusalem? Why is this of concern to Jews? To           3. My faith would lay its hand
Christians? Should Christians plan to help Jews            On that dear head of Thine,
rebuild the temple to restart sacrifices? Why not?         While like a penitent I stand
What should we do instead? How do these                    And there confess my sin.
questions help explain the difference between
Israelites/Jews of Jesus‟ day and Israelis/Jews of         4. My soul looks back to see
                                                           The burden thou didst bear
our day?
                                                           When hanging on the cursèd tree;
                                                           I know my guilt was there.
We will learn more about the Jewish people of Jesus‟
day in our next session about Greeks.                      5. Believing, we rejoice
                                                           To see the curse remove;
Read and comment upon the following from the               We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
Lutheran Confessions: In point of fact there has           And sing his bleeding love.
been only one atoning sacrifice in the world,
namely, the death of Christ, as the Letter to the          Concluding Collect
Hebrews teaches when it says [10:40, “For it is            Blessed are You, O Lord our God, king of the
impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take        universe, who led Your people Israel by a pillar of
away sins.” A little later [v.10] it says about the        cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
will of Christ, “And it is by God‟s will that we           Enlighten our darkness by the light of Your
have been sanctified through the offering of the           Christ; may His Word be a lamp to our feet and a
body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Isaiah, too,           light to our path; for You are merciful, and You
interprets the law to mean that the death of               love Your whole creation and we, Your creatures,
Christ—not the ceremonies of the law—is a real             glorify You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
satisfaction or expiation of our sins. Thus he says
[53:10], “When you make His life an offering for
sin, He shall see His offspring, and shall prolong
his days,” etc. Now the [Hebrew] word he uses here
(„asam) refers to a victim sacrificed for
transgression. In the Old Testament this mean
that a certain Victim was to com in order to make
satisfaction for our sins and reconcile us to God,
so that people might know that God wants to be
reconciled to us not on account of our
righteousness but on account of another‟s merits,
namely Christ‟s… Apology XXIV, 261.22-23



Read or sing LW 99, “Not All the Blood of
Beasts.”
                                                       8
The Real Christian Underground                            How are the Greeks included in the Great
Session 4: The Greeks                                     Commission? Read Matthew 28:18-20, Galatians
                                                          3:27-29.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the
power of God for salvation to everyone who                Acts 6:1-7 tells us about a complaint from Greek
believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.         believers. What was the solution?
Romans 1:16 (ESV)
                                                          What two responses to the Gospel do we hear about
Opening Collect                                           in Acts 14:1-7?
Grant, we implore You, almighty God, to Your
Church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom which              By this point in the book of Acts, especially with
comes down from above that Your Word may not              the example of Cornelius the centurion, almost
be bound but have free course and be preached to          everyone sees that non-Jews are being made part of
the joy and edifying of Christ‟s holy people, so          God‟s people. There was a significant
that in steadfast faith we may serve You and in           disagreement about what was required of gentiles
the confession of Your name abide to the end;             (non-Jews). Was conversion to Judaism through
through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who             circumcision required, or was Jesus enough? Read
lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,            Acts 15:1-21. What was the decision of the
one God, now and forever. Amen.                           Jerusalem Council?

In the game Christian Underground, each citizen           How is Timothy himself an example of this new
is given a password to identify his/her                   reality? Acts 16:1-5 Titus? Galatians 2:3
nationality. It is the word for “peace” in whatever
language is spoken. Therefore, the Greek will             What kind of hearers did Paul and others
identify himself as such by saying,                       continue to preach to? Acts 17:1-4, 10-12; Acts
“eijrhvnh.” (Eye-Ray-Nay)                                 18:4; Acts 19:10, 17; Acts 20:21

Greek was one of the most commonly known                  How does St. Paul describe his call as a servant of
languages in the Holy Land in Jesus‟ day, (John           the Word? Romans 1:14-17
19:20) much as English is around the world                What is his message?
today. Even the New Testament was originally
written in common, everyday Greek.                        What promises and troubles will come a believer‟s
Read Matthew 10:1,5-8. Knowing what Jesus says            way, no matter if they‟re Jew or non-Jew? Romans
in the Great Commission, what surprises you               2:9-11
about what He says here?
                                                          What do Jews and Greeks have in common
For a time, preaching of the kingdom was limited          according to each of the following passages?
to Jews. Read Matthew 15:21-28. How does Jesus            Romans 3:9-12, 24-25; Romans 10:12-13
open the door to non-Jews, like this Canaanite
woman (and later other gentiles like Greeks)?             What things can stumbling blocks to believing?
                                                          1 Corinthians 1:22-23
Some people of Greek descent often converted to           Do you see these same kinds of concerns today?
Judaism. Some potential converts made the trip to         Where?
Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Read John 12:20-
21. What important thing did these Greeks have            How then do people come to faith?
figured out?                                              1 Corinthians 1:24-25; 2:11-12, 14-16; 12:12-13




                                                      9
What important message would St. Paul have us              2. Elect from ev‟ry nation,
remember? Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 3:4-6;                 Yet one o‟er all the earth;
Colossians 3:11                                            Her charter of salvation:
                                                           One Lord, one faith, one birth.
                                                           One holy Name she blesses,
The following part of the Lutheran Confessions
                                                           Partakes one holy food,
should be very familiar to you, coming from the
                                                           And to one hope she presses
Small Catechism.                                           With ev‟ry grace endued.

The Third Article                                          3. Though with a scornful wonder
                   Sanctification                          The world sees her oppressed,
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian           By schisms rent asunder,
church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness           By heresies distressed,
of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life        Yet saints their watch are keeping;
everlasting.                                               Their cry goes up, “How long?”
What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by            And soon the night of weeping
                                                           Shall be the morn of song.
my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ,
my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has
                                                           4. Through toil and tribulation
called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His           And tumult of her war
gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.           She waits the consummation
In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens,             Of peace forevermore
and sanctifies the whole Christian church on               Till with the vision glorious
earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one           Her longing eyes are blest,
true faith.                                                And the great Church victorious
In this Christian Church He daily and richly               Shall be the Church at rest.
forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.
On the Last Day He will raise me and all the               5. Yet she on earth has union
                                                           With God, the Three in One,
dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers
                                                           And mystic sweet communion
in Christ.
                                                           With those whose rest is won.
This is most certainly true.                               O blessèd heav‟nly chorus!
                                                           Lord, save us by Your grace
How does this explanation of the Third Article of          That we, like saints before us,
the Apostles‟ Creed confess the Biblical truths            May see You face to face.
we‟ve read in this session?
Where are Jews and Greeks included?                        Concluding Collect
Where are you included?                                    Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy
                                                           Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant
Read or sing “The Church‟s One Foundation,” LW             that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and
289.                                                       take them to heart that by patience and comfort of
                                                           Your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold
1. The Church‟s one foundation                             fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through
Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;                                 Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and
She is His new creation                                    reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God,
By water and the Word.
                                                           now and forever. Amen.
From heav‟n He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.




                                                      10
The Real Christian Underground                               language is spoken. Therefore, the Roman will
Session 5: The Romans and Roman Citizens                     identify himself as such by saying, “Pax.” When
                                                             the slips of paper identifying the role each player
Let every person be subject to the governing                 have been passed out, the centurion and the
authorities. For there is no authority except from           guards are brought forward, and everyone else is
God, and those that exist have been instituted by            dismissed.
God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities               At first glance, it appears that in the game, (and
resists what God has appointed, and those who                real-life Biblical history,) that all the Romans are
resist will incur judgment….he is God's servant              “bad guys.” This isn‟t the case. Remember, there‟s
for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for           already one Christian Roman Guard! In order to
he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the            make the game work, some of the Roman
servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's             characters, especially the adults involved, can‟t be
wrath on the wrongdoer. From Romans 13 (ESV)                 converted.
and the Small Catechism “Table of Duties”                    You‟ve learned about the Roman empire in history
                                                             class. It was large, long-lived, and for the first few
Opening Collect                                              centuries of Christianity, very hostile towards the
Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the            church. In New Testament times, Rome
leaders of our land that we may be a people at               dominated the Holy Land.
peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other
nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy            John 11:47-53 records the conspiracy against
leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general        Jesus. What people were conspiring against Him?
welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our                Why? What was their concern? What “prophecy”
generation to the honor and glory of Your holy               was uttered in verse 50 and how was it fulfilled?
name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
                                                             In Acts 1, Jesus ascends into heaven. Read Acts
Look at all the “Roman” characters in the game               1:6-8. How did the disciples misunderstand Jesus‟
Christian Underground! There is the Roman                    mission? What did they expect? How did Jesus
Centurion, an Interrogator (adult, if possible),             answer them?
several Roman Guards, one of whom is a                       How do Jesus words before Pilate help? John 18:36
Christian Guard, and numerous Roman citizens.                What kind of kingdom does Jesus have?
The object of the game is for the enemies of the
Gospel (centurion, non-Christian guards, Jewish              Roman citizenship had its good points and its
spy) to locate and kill the apostle before he is able        bad points. Read Acts 16:14-21. Why was Paul
to baptize and convert all the non-Christians.               arrested here?
Once a player finds the apostle and is baptized,             Consider the accusation in verse 21. Why would
he/she then attempts to bring as many other non-             that be a convincing argument?
Christians to be converted. Only the apostle can             What happened as a result? Acts 16:22-24
baptize. In the meantime, the enemies of the                 Following release by an earthquake, their very
Gospel bring citizens to the interrogator for                jailer believed, and he and his whole household
questioning, hoping to find out who the apostle is.          were baptized.
Only the interrogator and the centurion can kill
people (the centurion can kill anyone on the spot,           A benefit of Roman citizenship appears in Acts
if he so chooses!). The game ends when either the            16:35-40. Can you figure out why it was
apostle has baptized all the citizens or has been            unlawful for Paul to be beaten by the government?
exposed and executed.                                        St. Paul was arrested on numerous occasions for
An interrogator can either be chosen beforehand              preaching Christ. In Jerusalem, he was seized by a
by the leader or be drawn like the others. Each              crowd of Jews. Paul was a Roman citizen of what
citizen is given a password to identify his/her              city? Acts 21:39
nationality. It is the word for “peace” in whatever
                                                        11
After “listening” to his defense in chapter 22, the         Heav‟n is my home.
crown said, “Away with such a fellow from the               Danger and sorrow stand
earth, for he should not be allowed to live. Pick up        Round me on ev‟ry hand;
the account in Acts 22:23-30.                               Heav‟n is my fatherland,
                                                            Heav‟n is my home.
It‟s the same song as chapter 16, different verse.
What was about to happen when Paul “met” this
                                                            2. What though the tempest rage,
centurion?                                                  Heav‟n is my home;
What did Paul and the commander/tribune say                 Short is my pilgrimage,
to one another? How valuable was Roman                      Heav‟n is my home;
citizenship?                                                And time‟s wild wintry blast
                                                            Soon shall be overpast;
Skim Acts 23:23-35.                                         I shall reach home at last,
How many troops were involved in the rescue of              Heav‟n is my home.
Paul, a Roman citizen? Who rescued him? Where
is Paul headed next?                                        3. Therefore I murmur not,
                                                            Heav‟n is my home;
                                                            Whate‟er my earthly lot,
In Acts chapters 25 and 26 St. Paul appears
                                                            Heav‟n is my home;
before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. What legal               And I shall surely stand
rights did a Roman citizen have according to                There at my Lord‟s right hand.
these passages? Acts 25:7-12; Acts 25:14-16                 Heav‟n is my fatherland,
Paul‟s right to an appeal to Caesar was due to his          Heav‟n is my home.
Roman citizenship. Consider a portion of his
defense before Agrippa: Acts 26:24-32                       Concluding Collect
Of what importance are Agrippa‟s words in verse             Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping that
32?                                                         awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may
                                                            rest in peace.
Not every person in the Roman Empire was a                  Lord, now You let Your servant go in peace; Your word
                                                            has been fulfilled. My own eyes have seen the
citizen. There were some born citizens and others
                                                            salvation which You have prepared in the sight of ev‟ry
who purchased citizenship.
                                                            people: a light to reveal You to the nations and the
How did you become an American citizen? How                 glory of Your people Israel. Glory be to the Father and
can one become an American citizen? What are                tot the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the
some of the blessings and privileges?                       beginning, is now, and will be forever Amen.
Responsibilities? Are there any drawbacks or                Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping that
concerns?                                                   awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may
                                                            rest in peace.
Read Ephesians 2:13-22. The “two groups” of
which Paul writes are the Jews and the Gentiles.
How does this passage help a Christian remember
his/her true citizenship, no matter what nation
one lives in? How else does this passage comfort or
encourage you?

Read or sing “I‟m But a Stranger Here,” LW 515.



1. I‟m but a stranger here,
Heav‟n is my home.
Earth is a desert drear,
                                                       12
The Real Christian Underground                              Consider 1 Timothy 6:11-16.
Session 6: The Christ & The Christian Facing                What is the good confession? What/Whom should
Persecution                                                 we confess in similar situations?

“I will also speak of Your decrees before kings; and        The first Christian martyr, one who was killed for
shall not be put to shame.”            Psalm 119:46         being a Christian, is St. Stephen. The traditional
and the Preface to the Latin Text of the Augsburg           date of his death is December 26th, the “Feast of
Confession                                                  Stephen” mentioned in the Christmas carol “Good
                                                            King Wenceslas.” This red feast day, so close to
Opening Collect                                             the Nativity of Our Lord reminds us that Christ
Almighty God, graciously behold this Your                   was born to suffer and bear a cross for us.
family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was                  In Acts 6:5 Stephen was one of the seven who had
willing to be betrayed, to be given into the hands          lands laid upon him. Chapter 7 sees him
of sinners, and to suffer death on the cross; who           preaching before the elders, scribes, and chief
now lives and reigns with You and the Holy                  priests. Read the last part of his sermon,
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.                     concluding with the stoning of Stephen. Acts
                                                            7:51-8:3
Get a perspective on how Jesus handled persecution
by listening to His interaction with Pontius                James son of Zebedee (and brother of John, the
Pilate. Listen to John 18:28-19:22., 31, 38,                author of Revelation, three epistles and the fourth
especially 18:40, 19:6, and 19:12.                          Gospel account,) was put to death by Herod
                                                            Agrippa I. He was the first of the apostles to die a
                                                            martyr‟s death and the only one whose death is
                                                            recorded in the Bible. Acts 12:1-3 (This isn‟t
                                                            James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus, and author
                                                            of an epistle.)

                                                            Back in the fifth session, we heard much about
                                                            St. Paul‟s times of persecution and his trip to
                                                            Rome. Do you remember whom he had opportunity
                                                            to witness?
                                                            Acts 25:11-12
                                                            For what it‟s worth, according to tradition (not
                                                            Scripture) and early Church historians, Paul was
                                                            released from his Acts 28 imprisonment and
What reactions do you have?                                 traveled east again and possibly also to Spain. It
What happened to Jesus?                                     is believed he was killed in the persecution under
How was He treated by Pilate?                               Nero.
How was He treated by the Jewish leaders?
How did He react?                                           From the earliest days, it has been believed that
What surprises you the most?                                Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom on the same
                                                            day, June 29 in the year 67, although some
Consider one of the false accusations leveled at            accounts give the year as 68 or the date as
Jesus. Read Luke 23:2.                                      February 22. Traditions assert that Peter was
What did Jesus actually say? Luke 20:21-25.                 crucified upside down on Vatican Hill and that
                                                            Paul was beheaded (since Roman citizens were
Read Acts 13:28. What did these Jewish leaders              not crucified) near the Via Ostia, south of Rome.
Know about Jesus. What did they ask the Roman               What do Jesus, Stephen, James, Paul, and Peter
government to do anyway?                                    have in common?
                                                       13
Just to be clear, how was Jesus‟ suffering unique?        The lion‟s gory mane;
                                                          They bowed their necks their death to feel—
[You are not to bear false witness against your           Who follows in their train?
neighbor.] …all people bear false witness against
                                                          4. A noble army, men and boys,
their neighbors. Wherever there are upright
                                                          The matron and the maid,
preachers and Christians, they must endure
                                                          Around the Savior‟s throne rejoice,
having the world call them heretics, apostates,           In robes of light arrayed.
even seditious and desperate scoundrels. Moreover,        They climbed the steep ascent of heav‟n
the Word of God must undergo the most shameful            Through peril, toil, and pain.
and spiteful persecution and blasphemy; it is             O God, to us may grace be giv‟n
contradicted,     perverted,     misused,     and         To follow in their train!
misinterpreted. But let this pass; it is the blind
world‟s nature to condemn and persecute the truth         Concluding Collect
and the children of God and yet consider this no          Merciful and eternal God, from whom the holy
sin. The Large Catechism, The Eighth Commandment,         apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul received grace
421.262                                                   and strength to lay down their lives for the sake
                                                          of Your Son, grant that, strengthened by the
Why is it appropriate to call such persecution a          Holy Spirit, we may with like constancy confess
cross?                                                    Your truth and be at all times ready to lay down
                                                          our lives for Him who laid down His life for us;
The game Christian Underground mirrors the                even Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns
historical reality of persecution. In your own            with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
words, why will the “Romans” never win in real            forever. Amen.
life?

Sing or read LW 304, “The Son of God Goes
Forth To War.”

1. The Son of God goes forth to war
A kingly crown to gain.
His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink His cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below—
He follows in His train.

2. The martyr first, whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave,
Who saw his master in the sky
And called on Him to save.
Like Him, with pardon on His tongue
Inmidst of mortal pain,
He prayed for those who did the wrong—
Who follows in his train?

3. A glorious band, the chosen few,
On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant saints—their hope they knew
And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant‟s brandished steel,
                                                     14
The Real Christian Underground                              encouragement to the observance of these
Session 7: Saints Under the Cross in Church                 commemorations of individuals in the great cloud
History                                                     of witnesses is written in the Letter to the Hebrews:
                                                            Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great
Our churches teach that the remembrance of                  cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything
saints may be commended to us so that we may                that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
imitate their faith and good works according to             and let us run with perseverance the race marked
our calling, Augsburg Confession XXI.                       out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Opening Collect                                             The list of individuals chosen for this list of
Almighty God, in whose glorious presence live all           commemorations is representative and not
who depart in the Lord and before whom all the              exhaustive. Certainly, other names could have
souls of the faithful who are delivered of the              been added whose commemorations would also be
burden of the flesh are in joy and felicity, we give        of edification to God's people. For those who observe
You hearty thanks for Your loving-kindness to               the commemorations the purpose is to focus on
all Your servants who have finished their course in         Christ Jesus and His Gospel, giving thanks to
faith and now rest from their labors, and we                God for demonstrating His mercy through graced
humbly implore Your mercy that we, together with            and gifted women and men through whom the
all who have departed in saving faith, may have             Holy Spirit has accomplished wonderful things.
our perfect consummation and bless, in both body            As the Confessions simply and encouragingly
and soul, in Your eternal and everlasting glory;            state: "It is truly worthwhile to hear of these things
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and               and to see some examples of mercy." Apology to
reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God,               the Augsburg Confession, XXI, 36
now and forever. Amen.
                                                            Special thanks to the LCMS Commission on Worship and the
                                                            Lutheran Hymnal Project for this introduction and the subsequent
On the calendar of the Christian Church a number            biographies.
of special dates are noted as commemorations,
opportunities to remember special people of God             Each small group will be assigned one of the
from centuries past. Lutherans have always                  following Christian paragraph biographies. As a
understood that there is great benefit in                   group, answer the following questions for your
remembering the saints whom God has given to                person or persons.
the Church. The Apology of the Augsburg                      In your own words, how would you briefly
Confession (Article 21) lists three reasons for                 describe this person?
such honor. First, we thank God for giving                   When did this person live?
faithful servants to His Church. Second, through             What is he/she noted for?
such remembrance our faith is strengthened as we             Was this person persecuted or martyred? If so,
see the mercy that God extended to His saints of                when and how?
old. Third, these saints are examples both of faith          What is this person‟s Christian example?
and of holy living to imitate according to our               How did he/she witness to Christ?
calling in life.                                             What connection is there between this person
                                                                and us today?
Included on this [abbreviated] Lutheran sanctoral
calendar are men and women both from the Old
and New Testament era as well as from the
succeeding centuries of the Christian Church.
Their faith and its expression in their lives have
established them as individuals who deserve our
recognition and regard, not for their own sake but
for the greater glory of God among His people. An
                                                       15
June 1, Justin, Martyr Born at the beginning of the             and caring that now are the highlight of Valentine's
second century, Justin was raised in a pagan family.            Day in many nations.
He was student of philosophy who converted to the
Christian faith and became a teacher in Ephesus and             May 21 , Constantine, Emperor, and Helena, his
Rome. After refusing to make pagan sacrifices, he was           mother Constantine I served as Roman Emperor from
arrested, tried and executed, along with six other              A.D. 306 to 337. During his reign the persecution of
believers. The official Roman court proceedings of his          Christians was forbidden by the Edict of Milan in
trial before Rusticius, a Roman prelate, document his           312, and ultimately the faith gained full imperial
confession of faith. The account of his martyrdom               support. Constantine took an active interest in the life
became a source of great encouragement to the early             and teachings of the church and called the Council of
Christian community. Much of what we know of early              Nicaea in 325 at which orthodox Christianity was
liturgical practice comes from Justin.                          defined and defended. His mother, Helena (ca. 255-
                                                                329), strongly influenced Constantine. Her great
February 23, Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr              interest in locating the holy sites of the Christian faith
Born c. 69, Polycarp was a central figure in the early          led her to become one of the first Christian pilgrims to
church. A disciple of the evangelist John, he linked the        the Holy Land. Her research led to the identification of
first generation of believers to later Christians. After        Biblical locations in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and
serving for many years as bishop of Smyrna,                     beyond, which are still maintained as places of
Polycarp was arrested, tried, and executed for his faith        worship today.
on February 23, c. 156. An eyewitness narrative of his
death, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, continues to                  May 2, Athanasius of Alexandria Athanasius was
encourage believers in times of persecution.                    born in Alexandria in Egypt in A.D. 295. He served as
                                                                a church leader in a time of great controversy and
March 7, Perpetua and Felicitas, Martyrs At the                 ecclesiastical disagreements. At the Council of Nicaea
beginning of the third century, the Roman emperor               in 325, he defended Christian orthodoxy against the
Septimus Severus forbade conversions to Christianity.           proponents of the Arian heresy, which denied the full
Among those disobeying that edict were Perpetua, a              divinity of Jesus Christ. During his 45-year tenure as
young noblewoman, and her maidservant Felicitas.                bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius wrote numerous
Both were jailed at Carthage in North Africa along              works that defended the orthodox teaching. His
with three fellow Christians. During their                      enemies had him exiled five times; on two occasions he
imprisonment, Perpetua and Felicitas witnessed to               was almost murdered. Yet Athanasius remained
their faith with such conviction that the officer in            steadfast and ended his days restored fully to his
charge became a follower of Jesus. After making                 church responsibilities. The Athanasian Creed, though
arrangements for the well-being of their children,              not composed by Athanasius, is named in his honor
Perpetua and Felicitas were executed on March 7, 203.           because it confesses the doctrinal orthodoxy he
Tradition holds that Perpetua showed mercy to her               championed throughout his life.
captors by falling on a sword because they could not
bear to put her to death. The story of this martyrdom           May 25, The Venerable Bede Bede (673-735) was the
has been told ever since as an encouragement to                 last of the early church fathers and the first to compile
persecuted Christians.                                          the history of the English church. Born in
                                                                Northumbria, Bede was given by his parents to a
February 14, Valentine, Martyr A physician and                  monastery in Northern England at the age of seven.
priest living in Rome during the rule of the Emperor            He rarely left the monastery and devoted the rest of his
Claudius, Valentine become one of the noted martyrs             life to teaching and writing. The most learned man of
of the third century. The commemoration of his death,           his time, he was a prolific writer of history, whose
which occurred in the year 270, became part of the              careful use of sources provided a model for historians
calendar of remembrance in the early church of the              in the Middle Ages. Known best for his book, The
West. Tradition suggests that on the day of his                 Ecclesiastical History of the English People, he was
execution for his Christian faith, he left a note of            also a profound interpreter of Scripture; his
encouragement for a child of his jailer written on an           commentaries are still fresh today. His most famous
irregularly-shaped piece of paper. This greeting became         disciple, Cuthbert, reported that Bede was working on a
a pattern for millions of written expressions of love           translation of John's Gospel into English when death
                                                                came, and that he died with the words of the Gloria

                                                           16
Patri on his lips. He received the title "Venerable" within        in 1518. When Emperor Charles V declared Luther an
two generations of his death and is buried in Durham               outlaw in 1521 at the Diet of Worms, Frederick
Cathedral as one of England's greatest saints.                     provided sanctuary for Luther at the Wartburg castle.
                                                                   On his deathbed, Frederick received the Lord's Supper
                                                                   in both kinds--a clear confession of the evangelical
                                                                   faith.




February 18, Martin Luther, Doctor and Reformer
Martin Luther, born on November 10, 1483, in
                                                                   June 25, The Presentation of the Augsburg Confession
Eisleben, Germany, initially began studies leading
                                                                   The Augsburg Confession, the principal doctrinal
toward a degree in law. However, after a close encounter
                                                                   statement of the theology of Martin Luther and the
with death, he switched to the study of theology,
                                                                   Lutheran reformers, was written largely by Phillip
entered an Augustinian monastery, was ordained a
                                                                   Melanchthon. At its heart it confesses the justification
priest in 1505, and received a doctorate in theology in
                                                                   of sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, for the
1512. As a professor at the newly-established
                                                                   sake of Christ alone. Signed by leaders of many
University of Wittenberg, his scriptural studies led
                                                                   German cities and regions, the confession was
him to question many of the church's teachings and
                                                                   formally presented to the Holy Roman Emperor
practices, especially the selling of indulgences. His
                                                                   Charles V at Augsburg, Germany, on June 25, 1530.
refusal to back down from his convictions resulted in
                                                                   A few weeks later Roman Catholic authorities rejected
his excommunication in 1521. Following a period of
                                                                   the Confession, which Melanchthon defended in the
seclusion at the Wartburg castle, Luther returned to
                                                                   Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531). In 1580
Wittenberg, where he spent the rest of his life preaching
                                                                   the Unaltered Augsburg Confession was included in
and teaching, translating the Scriptures, and writing
                                                                   the Book of Concord.
hymns and numerous theological treatises. He is
remembered and honored for his lifelong emphasis on
the biblical truth that for Christ's sake God declares us
righteous by grace through faith alone. He died on
February 18, 1546, while visiting the town of his
birth.



                                                                   May 7, C.F.W. Walther Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm
                                                                   Walther (1811-87), the father of The Lutheran Church-
                                                                   -Missouri Synod, served as its first president from
                                                                   1847 to 1850 and then again from 1864 to 1878. In
                                                                   1839 he emigrated from Saxony, Germany, with other
                                                                   Lutherans, who settled in Missouri. He served as pastor
May 5, Frederick the Wise Frederick the Wise, elector              of several congregations in St. Louis, founded
of Saxony from 1486 to 1525, was Martin Luther's                   Concordia Seminary, and in 1847 was instrumental
sovereign in the early years of the Reformation. Were              in the formation of the LCMS (then called the
it not for Frederick, there might not have been a                  Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and
Lutheran Reformation. Born in Torgau in 1463, he                   Other States). Walther worked tirelessly to promote
became so well known for his skill in political                    confessional Lutheran teaching and doctrinal
diplomacy and his sense of justice and fairness that               agreement among all Lutherans in the United States.
he was called "the Wise" by his subjects. Though he                He was a prolific writer and speaker. Among his most
never met Luther, Frederick repeatedly protected and               influential works are Church and Ministry and The
provided for him. In all likelihood he saved the reformer          Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel.
from a martyr's fate. Frederick refused the pope's
demand to extradite Luther to Rome for a heresy trial
                                                              17
                                                               What promise are Christians given in Matthew
                                                               16:18?

                                                               Read John 6:60, 66-69. What happened to some of
                                                               the followers of Jesus? Does this still happen today?
                                                               Why? (60, 66) What other dangers do we face?
May 4, Friedrich Wyneken, Pastor and Missionary                Matthew 24:22-28
Friedrich Wyneken is one of the founding fathers of
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, along with                Read John 15:18-21. What happened to Jesus?
C.F.W. Walther and Wilhelm Sihler. Born in 1810 in             Should we be surprised when persecution comes
Germany, he came to Baltimore in 1838 and shortly              our way? Why not?
thereafter accepted a call to be the pastor of
congregations in Friedheim and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
                                                               What has the Lord given us to encourage us
Supported by Wilhelm Loehe's mission society,
Wyneken served as an itinerant missionary in                   throughout our lives even if intense persecution
Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, particularly among                comes our way? Matthew 28:19-20; John 20:23;
Native Americans. Together with Loehe and Sihler, he           Mark 14:22-24
founded Concordia Theological Seminary in 1846 in              What ultimately awaits us? Revelation 21:1-4
Fort Wayne, Ind. He later served as the second
president of the LCMS during a period of significant           Sing or read “When I Survey the Wondrous
growth (1850-64). His leadership strongly influenced           Cross,” LW 114/115
the confessional character of the LCMS and its
commitment to an authentic Lutheran witness.                   1. When I survey the wondrous cross
                                                               On which the prince of glory died,
                                                               My richest gain I count but loss
                                                               And pour contempt on all my pride.

                                                               2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
                                                               Save in the death of Christ, my God;
                                                               All the vain things that charm me most,
January 2, J. K. Wilhelm Loehe, Pastor Although he             I sacrifice them to His blood.
never left Germany, Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe,
born in Fuerth in 1808, had a profound impact on the           3. See, from His head, His hands, His feet
development of Lutheranism in North America.                   Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Serving as pastor in the Bavarian village of                   Did e‟er such love and sorrow meet
Neuendettelsau, he recognized the need for workers in          Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
developing lands and assisted in training emergency
helpers to be sent as missionary pastors to North              4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
America, Brazil, and Australia. A number of the men            That were a tribute far too small;
he sent to the United States became founders of The            Love so amazing, so divine,
Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Through his                   Demands my soul, my life, my all!
financial support, a theological school was established
in Fort Wayne, Ind., and a teachers' institute in              Concluding Collect
Saginaw, Mich. Loehe was known for his confessional            O almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit
integrity and his interest in liturgy and catechetics.         together as one communion and fellowship in the
His devotion to works of Christian charity led to the          mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to
establishment of a deaconess training house and                follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly
homes for the aged.                                            living that we may come to those unspeakable joys
                                                               which You have prepared for those who unfeignedly
                                                               love You; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who
                                                               lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one
                                                               God, now and forever. Amen.

                                                          18
The Real Christian Underground                               4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Session 8: Will          the    Church    Go   Back          O may I then in Him be found,
                                                             Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Underground?
                                                             Faultless to stand before His throne!

For I am already being poured out as a drink
                                                             What trials have Christians throughout history
offering, and the time of my departure has come. I
                                                             had in common?
have fought the good fight, I have finished the
                                                             Can you point to promises from the Lord we have
race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid
                                                             in common as well?
up for me the crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that
                                                             In the United States, we rejoice to enjoy freedom of
Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have
                                                             religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of
loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
                                                             speech.
                                                             How do these freedoms contribute to your worship
Opening Collect
                                                             of the one true God?
O God of all grace, You sent Your Son, our Savior
                                                             How would your life be different if you didn‟t
Jesus Christ, to bring life and immortality to
                                                             have such freedoms?
light. We give You thanks that by His death He
                                                             What bad things do such freedoms allow?
destroyed the power of death and by His
resurrection He opened the kingdom of heaven to
                                                             Have you ever been persecuted for being a
all believers. Strengthen us in the confidence that
                                                             Christian? How? When? Why?
because He lives we shall live also and that neither
                                                             How did you respond?
death nor life nor things present nor things to
                                                             How would you prefer to respond in the future
come will be able to separate us from Your love
                                                             with the Lord‟s help?
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and
reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God,
                                                             Often, the most intense persecution we suffer in
now and forever. Amen.
                                                             the United States today is ridicule or peer
                                                             pressure.
Read or sing “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,”             Have you ever felt “uncool” as a Christian?
LW 368.                                                      Even though times may be difficult now, what
                                                             Gospel comfort do you have?
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus‟ blood and righteousness;                         In some parts of the country, like many
No merit of my own I claim,                                  communities in Wyoming, Mormons outnumber
But wholly lean on Jesus‟ name.                              Christians by a considerable percentage.
                                                             What is life like going to a high school that has
Refrain (after each stanza):                                 an LDS seminary or LDS student majority?
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;                          What challenges do you and your fellow
All other ground is sinking sand.                            Lutherans and Christians face?
                                                             How can you help one another?
2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev‟ry high and stormy gale                                In America, churches and pastors enjoy some tax
My anchor holds within the veil.                             benefits. Both are exempt from paying some
                                                             kinds of taxes. Why should we be concerned about
3. His oath, His covenant and blood                          legislation that would take those tax benefits
Support me in the raging flood;                              away? What could come after that?
When ev‟ry earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.                             The United States has a religious past. You‟ve
                                                             read about the Pilgrims and the first
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thanksgiving. You may have memorized a                       Read 1 Peter 4:12-19. How are you encouraged by
portion of the Declaration of Independence that              this section?
mentions the Creator. “In God We Trust,” is the              Finally, hold on to the promises the Lord Jesus has
national motto                                               for you:
Think about the following historical facts about             Matthew 28:20b
some of our founding fathers and answer the                  Hebrews 13:5-6
following     questions.    George     Washington            Revelation 22:20-21
belonged to the Masonic Lodge. Thomas Jefferson
was part of a religious movement called “Deism.”             Read or sing LW 490, “Abide with Me.”
He believed in God, but in his edited version of the
Bible, he cut out any references to Jesus‟ miracles          1. Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
or claims to be God.                                         The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
Our nation may have many Christians, but does                When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
that make it necessarily a “Christian nation?”               Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Why not?
                                                             2. I need Thy presence ev‟ry passing hour;
What opportunities have there been for American
                                                             What but Thy grace can foil the tempter‟s pow‟r?
Christians that many Christians around the                   Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
world did not have?                                          Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

Just as America has a religious past, but not                3. Swift to its close ebbs out life‟s little day;
necessarily a “Christian” one, the present and the           Earth‟s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
future look much the same. After decades of open             Change and decay in all around I see;
hostility to religious faith, many are losing hope           O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
in science and technology and turning to
religion.                                                    4. I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless;
                                                             Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
In what ways is this a good thing?
                                                             Where is death‟s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
What are some potential dangers?
                                                             I triumph still if Thou abide with me!

Some major thoughts running through this                     5. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
“return to religion” are the ideas that all religions        Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
are equally true and that “we all believe in the             Heav‟n‟s morning breaks, and earth‟s vain shadows flee;
same god anyway.” How are these refuted by                   In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Scripture?
Isaiah 44:6-8; Acts 4:8-12; Matthew 7:12-14                  Concluding Collect
                                                             Almighty God, by the death of your Son Jesus
Read John 14:1-6.                                            Christ you destroyed death, by his rest in the
What difference would it make if Jesus had said,             tomb you sanctified the graves of your saints,
“a way, a truth, and a life?”                                and by his glorious resurrection you brought life
What is the message of verse 6?                              and immortality to light so that all who die in
                                                             him abide in peace and hope. Receive our thanks
When people, whether friends, classmates,                    for the victory over death and the grave which he
coworkers, or adults tell us to do something that            won for us. Keep us in everlasting fellowship with
we know is wrong, how can we back up our                     all that wait for him on earth and with all in
objection?                                                   heaven who are with him who is the resurrection
Acts 5:29                                                    and the life, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Read 1 Peter 3:13-17. What point does Peter
make?

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Christian Underground                                      baptize and convert all the non-Christians. Once
The Unofficial (yet authoritative) Rules                   a player finds the apostle and is baptized, he/she
                                                           then attempts to bring as many other non-
Players                                                    Christians to be converted. Only the apostle can
                                                           baptize. In the meantime, the enemies of the
   1. Absolutely no running.                               Gospel bring citizens to the interrogator for
   2. All participants must stay within the                questioning, hoping to find out who the apostle is.
   designated perimeters at all times.                     Only the interrogator and the centurion can kill
   3. You may not lie about your nationality,              people (the centurion can kill anyone on the spot,
       though you may lie as to whether or not             if he so chooses!). The game ends when either the
       you‟re a Christian (but then again, if you          apostle has baptized all the citizens or has been
       are a Christian, are you willing to lie?)           exposed and executed.
   4. The centurion and guards wield
       flashlights that are to be treated like             How to Play
       swords. If you are commanded to stop,               An interrogator can either be chosen beforehand
       you MUST STOP.                                      by the leader or be drawn like the others. Each
   5. Absolutely no one can escape from jail               citizen is given a password to identify his/her
       unless the interrogator releases them.              nationality. It is the word for “peace” in whatever
                                                           language is spoken. Therefore the Roman will
Players                                                    identify himself as such by saying, “Pax,” the
                                                           Greek by saying “Eiraynay” (eijrhvnh), and
1 Apostle, 1 Roman Centurion (adult, if possible),         the Jew, “Shalom.” When the slips of paper
1 Interrogator (adult, if possible), 2 to 4 Roman          identifying the role each player have been passed
Guards (depending on group size), one of whom              out, the centurion and the guards are brought
is a Christian Guard, 1 Jewish spy (a Judas), 2 to         forward, and everyone else is dismissed.
5 Jewish citizens (depending on group size) 6 to
15 Greek citizens (depending on group size) 15 to          Hint
??? Roman citizens (depending on group size).
                                                            The Christian guard will attempt to help get
Items Needed for Play                                      people baptized while protecting his own identity,
                                                           and at the same time the spy will attempt to
   1.     Enough small pieces of paper so that             expose the apostle while protecting his identity.
          each player will receive one piece,
          identifying his/her nationality.
   2.     A place to take suspects that are to be
          interrogated.
   3.     Flashlights for the centurion and each
          guard.
   4.     A jail to incarcerate prisoners.
   5.     A “death pile” to put those who have been
          executed.


Object

The object is for the enemies of the Gospel
(centurion, non-Christian guards, Jewish spy) to
locate and kill the apostle before he is able to

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