Sermon from Sunday, September 19: The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 24 A Matthew 22:15–22

I bring you grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus. Amen.

God’s holy Word for our glad hearing and learning for this Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost is the Gospel which was read.

Let us all pray: Lord, Your Word is truth; Sanctify them in Your truth. Amen.

In December, 1934, German Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer received the following reply in part from the Provisional Church Administration to the question about the loyalty oath to German leader, Adolph Hitler:

At this point in time, we are able to say the following regarding our position:

The Oath to be sworn to the Führer, Adolph Hitler, which invokes the name of God, conveys the seriousness of one’s commitment to loyalty and obedience as a responsibility before God, which is its proper foundation. Through the reference to God, it excludes any action contrary to the commandments of God according to the testimony of Holy Scripture.

With this understanding, we hold the words of our Lord: “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s”…

Proper use? or misuse of Jesus’ words which we heard this morning, spoken to the Pharisees and Herodians during holy week before he was crucified by Roman soldiers?

Herodians is another name for those who were loyal to King Herod, and because of that loyalty were also loyal to the Romans who occupied the land. That is why they were brought along as possible witness at Jesus trial for inciting civil disobedience.

But it is clear that Jesus did no such thing. Yet his words still packed enough punch to make his enemies leave in amazed.

For you see, the Roman emperor was hailed as divine. Emperor worship was practiced in the empire. Jesus distinguishes between the Lord God and the human Caesar. Yet, his answer does not allow them to trap him. He’s answered their question. Caesar gets what is his and God gets what belongs to Him.

As far as Adolph Hitler was concerned, he never was worshiped, and he was never declared divine. Yet there came a time when young pastor Bonhoeffer became convinced that the German leader had to be assassinated, and for his participation in the plot against Hitler he was eventually killed in a concentration camp.

This morning’s Gospel Lesson is best known to us–not as the litmus test for whether we should worship our leaders, or even obey them–as the proof text to the question, “Should a Christian pay taxes?”

And, what better authority is there than Jesus?

And regardless of how you feel about His answer, He states clear and simple: “Yes.” God would have you pay your taxes.” We are to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, that is, give to him all that he has a right to and demands.

And if you want a more concise list of those things that are Caesar’s, then that’s to be found in the Bible, too. In Romans chapter 13,

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7)

Now, friends, just think about this: the apostle Paul wrote those words during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, who had his own mother and brother killed, and who burned Christians tied to poles, to light the walkways of his garden. It was also under Nero that Paul was martyred in the year 67.

September’s National Geographic had an article titled “Rethinking Nero”, suggesting that perhaps Nero has been misrepresented and misunderstood. Some historians are revising history. But others aren’t buying it.

Anyway, Paul wrote these words at a time when one of the most notorious emperors reigned. And he could say that the government was in place by God.

But are we really to submit in everything? The Germans and especially the German church at the time of Adolph Hitler are judged today as having submitted to authority and to the government without questioning and in blind obedience, allowing for the rise of terrible reign of terror of the Nazis, and thereby bearing guilt.

Which finally leads to the real point of this message today. What about us? As Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, how obedient are we to be to the government, especially in light of the events happening in Houston, Texas, between the mayor there and that city’s pastors?

If you’re not familiar with that story here it is briefly:

 

An ordinance was passed in Houston earlier this year known as the “Bathroom Bill”. The law allows men to use women’s bathrooms if they identify themselves as women.

Subpoenas were issued in a response to a lawsuit that claimed that pastors were helping to lead opposition to the Bathroom Bill by publicly speak against the ordinance and encouraging members to sign the petition. The city’s Mayor, who is a lesbian, wants the pastor’s sermons turned in. To be read. To see what they had to say about the bill, and about the sin of homosexuality. Many are rightly calling this a violation of free speech and the First Amendment.

What would we do here if such a subpoena came to us? Would we back down and change our message and preaching?

The Bible says Homosexuality is a sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we read:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

And in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 we also read,

The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,  10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

All this gay talk and lesbian language is just trying to avoid the truth of the matter. It is homosexuality. It is men attempting to have sex with a man, and a woman attempting to have sex with a woman. That’s how the Bible speaks of it, and it happens to be the truth. Again Paul is very explicit about it in Romans chapter 1 verses, 26-32. And we need to hear these things or we’re going to be led to believe otherwise. Listen to God’s Word:

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Friends, we need to hear, to be reminded, that the Bible also teaches this, along with the historic Christian faith, that homosexuality is a sin, a sin for which full atonement has been made by the blood of Jesus who gives eternal life to all who repent and believe on His name. Just as He forgives you all your sins which you repent, whatever they might be

So should the pastors hand over their sermons? Yes, gladly. They should make there confession before Kings. That’s a high honor as the Psalmist says, Psalm 119:46   46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,

But if they are told to stop preaching God’s Word. especially if they are punished for it: put into jail. Then the government has become evil and has gone against the will and purposes for which God has established it. In Acts the apostles were told not to speak of Christ and the resurrection of Jesus. They answered, “We must obey God, rather than man!”

Yes, the Christian should disobey the government when the government tells them to sin, and they may disobey with a clear conscience. Regardless of what ramifications there may be. The person may have a clear conscience that their actions will be judged as right by Jesus Christ on the Last Day.

Yet, we’re not in that position yet. But it is good for us to pray for our government and leaders, that they may govern us according to God’s will and ways.

And should we worry about what will come in the future? We can be involved citizens. We can vote leaders in and out of office. We can actively participate in government. And we also pray the Lord ’s Prayer, where we ask our heavenly Father, to lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil.You see, when Jesus was answering those Pharisees and Herodians he really was saying that. Praying the Lord’s Prayer. Especially summed as it is in the conclusion: For God’s is the Kingdom and the power and the glory. Forever. Amen.

Issues, Etc. Reformation Week

LSB Icon_072Issues, Etc. Reformation Week airs each day, Mon.–Fri., 5–6 p.m. (Eastern) October 27–31

  • Monday, October 27: “The Lutheran Reformation and Education” with Dr. Ken Schurb of Zion Lutheran Church, Moberly, MO
  • Tuesday, October 28: “The Lutheran Reformation and the Visual Arts” with Dr. Gene Edward Veith of Patrick Henry College
  • Wednesday, October 29: “The Lutheran Reformation and Government” with Dr. Larry Rast of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Thursday, October 30: “The Lutheran Reformation and Music” with Dr. Carl Schalk of Concordia University Chicago
  • Friday, October 3: “The Lutheran Reformation and Science” with Dr. Angus Menuge of Concordia University Wisconsin
    Listen live or at your convenience at www.issuesetc.org

Sermon from Sunday, September 12, Anniversary Sunday

Proper 23 A Matthew 22:1–14

I bring you grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus. Amen.

God’s holy Word for our glad hearing and learning for this Anniversary Sunday is the Gospel which was read, the so called Parable of the Wedding Feast.

Let us all pray: Lord, Your Word is truth; Sanctify them in Your truth. Amen.

RSVP: it’s French. It means “répondez, s’il vous plaît”. RSVP means “reply, please.” RSVP means the person who has invited you wants to know if you’re coming.

And if you have recently been involved in the preparing and sending out of wedding invitations then you know people do not respond. They do not “RSVP”. Even when you provide them with a self-addressed stamped envelope to mail their reply back. (The post office must make a fortune on unused wedding themed and love themed stamps that go on reply envelopes and never get used.)

And apparently people today are no different than they were in Jesus’ day. They ignore invitations, as we hear in the Parable of the Wedding Feast.

But there is a big difference. Who would ignore the King’s invitation?

Who would ignore such a personal invitation? Who would mistreat the King’s servants who come with a personal invitation?

The answer is obviously: no one. No one. No one…except a person with hate and treachery in their heart. Someone who despises that King. Someone who is unwilling to recognize the King’s kingship over the land, and particularly over his/her life. Someone with hate enough to be bold enough to essentially disobey the King. Such a person would do all the things described in the first part of the parable.

And in the history of the cosmos that has happened: There have been those who have been invited and have despised the call. The fallen, evil spirits; and all godless and unbelieving people. These have at the beginning and throughout history openly rebelled and attempted to ruin God’s kingdom and his wonderful invitation. The evil spirits with the devil did so long ago when there was rebellion in heaven and were thrown out. Godless people have been doing it since the fall of Adam and Eve, and continue to this day –under the direction and influence of the unclean spirits.

And among those which I just described as unbelieving are to be included the people of Jesus’ day. Of his own flesh and blood –humanly speaking. The Jews who hated Him for who He was and the wanted no part in the rule of God with Jesus as God’s appointed over all. And they took hold of Him, the Lord of Life, and murdered Him. But God raised Him up on the third day and has made Him Lord of Lord’s and King of Kings.

In many ways this a great mystery that even St. Paul in Romans tries to sort out and explain. But it was according to God’s plan, and we can only find it remarkable in relationship to our own election.

However dear friends, today’s Gospel is not about the ongoing dilemma of people’s bad manners when it comes to invitations and the bride’s frustration in trying to get a count for a reception.

And while today’s Gospel does speak to us about the rejection of God’s will and plan for people, and the history of His dealing with the Jews, and about the cosmic, invisible struggles that go on–and while that is all interesting–today, on our congregation’s anniversary Sunday, our Gospel lesson interests us particularly in that it shows us the distinction between the church on earth and the church in heaven.

Now often times you will hear us speak of the visible and invisible church. Or the church militant and the church triumphant. That is the language of distinguishing between the church on earth, and the church in heaven.

But first let me be clear by saying that there are not two churches. Just one church. We confess in the creed “One holy, Christian and apostolic Church”. Sometimes you will hear the word catholic used–a word that Lutherans are allergic to–but which simply means universal.

And in the church visible are all who claim to be believers of Jesus Christ. And of course these would have to be baptized. They would confess Jesus as Lord. And for all appearances they are Christians.

They have made it into the wedding feast. They have accepted the invitation. You might not at first expected to t see them there. They are not the kind a King would ordinarily invite. But the King is generous and He wants the wedding hall to be filled, and while He has been spurned by those who do not acknowledge Him, He is glad to have any and all who would come and dine with Him. The good, the bad, and the ugly, alike, if you will.

You see the key to understanding the distinction between visible and invisible is the word appearance. In the visible church people must at least appear to be Christians. There can be no belief in another god. There can be no gross outward sins. There is attendance at church –hearing the Word cheerfully and make regular use of the sacraments –not despising them. There must be forgiveness of neighbor. And there is a hope and belief of heaven; an expectation of the last judgment, and a looking forward to be with God forever. (And this list could be filled-out more with other things.)

That is essentially the life of a Christian. To be counted in the Church you must live the life of a Christian.

But there is one important thing about the visible church that this parable of the Wedding Feast brings out. There are also hypocrites in the visible church. Hypocrites, because you can’t tell them apart from the true believers by appearances. Hypocrites who hide a heart of unbelief.

And the visible church is called by her Lord to put up with hypocrites. All who respond to the invitation are to be invited in. As long as the hypocritical heart remains hidden and is unknown to the eyes of the members of Christ’s church on earth they are to continue.

Now friends, when we deal with a parable of Jesus’ like this we know that He is going to say things that sound odd and also He is going to turn things around. Our Lord is like that and for a good reason. He wants to get our attention and make us think. He wants to show us that our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways.

So in then it is only in the invisible church that the hidden is revealed. Think about that.

That is a remarkable statement. But is it true!

In the invisible church, that is, in heaven, the true believers are seen for who they are and the heart that until death was hidden, is made known. In the invisible church the true appearance of the state of the soul is known.

And that is the wedding garment. Not just a name on a membership list. Not just sitting and attending –even remarkably not missing a Sunday for 80 years. But true faith in Jesus, faith that gains entrance, and is adorned by good works. The wedding garment is our love toward God and our neighbor.

Why do you dress up? When you are a little boy it’s because you mother told you. Believe me we go through that all the time! But why do you dress for church? Because you love the habitation of the Lord’s House and the place where His glory dwells!

Why do we love His glory? Why do we follow His commands? Why do we help our neighbor?

Why do we forgive one another? Why do we seek to extend His Kingdom? Why do we talk about Jesus to everyone? Because we love God’s glory and we want to be in it forever. We love the Lord Jesus.

For 167 years people have been loving the Lord here at Immanuel. And it shown by their wedding garments. By the beauty that is not outward. But that is present. And that you can sense.

And that the Lord sees and says, “This one I do acknowledge as mine. He/ she is adorned in my Son’s righteousness. They have made their garments clean in the blood of the Lamb.” “They love my house. Let them dwell in it forever!”

167 Years. A Long time. But nothing compared to eternity.

Many have gone to heaven by way of this church. Yes, there have been hypocrites. I don’t know who. Yes, there may be hypocrites. No one can say, because no one can see the heart. But many have been saved. And that is the remarkable thing.

For while what Jesus says is true: few are chosen from the many called, He has blessed us by calling few–in comparison to the world, and to other churches, we’re small at Immanuel. And by His mercy many have been chosen!

Amen.

Rev. Mark A. Loest: 25th Anniversary of Ordination and 10th Anniversary at Immanuel

A service of thanksgiving to God was held on September 14, 2014 on the occasions of Immanuel’s pastor, the Rev. Mark Loest’s 25th anniversary of his ordination in the Ministry, and 10th anniversary with our congregation. A special service was held that day at 10:30 a.m. After the service a meal and special program were held in the school hall. Many guests and former members attended, and greetings were read and presented to Pastor and his family. A basket of cards was also presented as a gift.

LoestRev. Mark A. Loest

The first of four children, Mark A. Loest was born to the Rev. Aden E. and Deaconess Ruth A. (Jacobsen) Loest on December 20, 1961 in Staples, Minnesota, and was baptized on January 14, 1962.  He was confirmed at Concordia Lutheran Church in Hillside, Illinois on April 11, 1976. He is a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

In the spring of 1980, Loest graduated from Proviso West High School in Hillside. Next, he enrolled at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois (CCRF). Working closely with the Rev. Dr. Robert Rahn, Assistant to the President, Loest was a student leader of the college’s “Ambassador’s for Christ”, a student evangelism organization, coordinating outreach opportunities. The summer of 1981 he worked as a camp counselor at Camp LuWiSoMo of the South Wisconsin District.

Loest served as Academic Life Officer of the Student Executive Committee his senior year. In May of 1984, he graduated from CCRF with a B.A. in Ancient (Hebrew, Greek, Latin) and Modern (German) Theological Languages. For five seasons he worked at the Great America theme park in Gurnee, Illinois, in the ride operations department, becoming a ride crew “lead”, and a roller coaster aficionado.

In the fall of 1984, Loest enrolled at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  During his seminary education, he served as fieldworker at Zion Lutheran Church in Garrett, Indiana, first under the Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, who was vacancy pastor, and then with the Rev. Herbert Schumm.

His second year of seminary (1985–1986) was spent at the Lutherische Theologische Hochschule, in Oberursel, Germany. While in Germany he did a practicum with the Rev. Helmut Koopsingraven in the Christus Church in Lachendorf, Germany. In 1987 he completed a one year vicarage at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, under the Rev. Dr. Charles Remintz. During his vicarage year he met his future bride, Malinda (Mindy) Kelly Schultze, of Gresham, Nebraska, who worked in Lincoln at the time.

Graduating from Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS) with a Master of Divinity degree in 1988, Loest received a deferment for his placement into the Holy Ministry to continue theological studies in the Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree program at CTS. During this year he assisted the Rev. Dr. Heino Kadia, chairman of the seminary’s historical theology department on various projects. He also worked at the seminary library. On June 24, 1988, he and Mindy were united in holy marriage.

Having successfully completed all coursework and qualifying exams, Loest received a call in 1989 to be associate pastor of St. John Lutheran Church and School in Indianapolis, Indiana. On June 18, 1989, he was ordained by his father at his home church, Bethel Lutheran Church in Gurnee, Illinois, Rev. Rahn delivered the sermon. Loest was installed at St. John, Indianapolis the following Sunday, serving the congregation with the Rev. Dr. Gary Schaper.  The Rev. Dr. Robert Preus, president of CTS, gave the sermon.

At St. John, Loest was responsible for youth and outreach, taught religion in the church’s day school, and with Mindy, started a 20–30s aged group. During this time Loest also taught Reformation History as an adjunct instructor for CCRF in Indianapolis. He served as German translator for the Rev. Dr. Wallace Schultz, then Associate Speaker of the Lutheran Hour. Loest assisted Schultz in translating German and served as interpreter for the Rev. Dr. Harald Kalnins of Riga, Latvia, who had organized Lutheran congregations during the communist era, and visited and toured the United States with Schultz after the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

In 1992, Loest was called as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church (Wegan) in Brownstown, Indiana. He taught religion at the Lutheran Central School in Brownstown which was an association school with the Wegan congregation. He was elected chairman of the Jackson County Mission Federation, a Lutheran outreach of LCMS congregations in that part of Southern Indiana. He contributed to the radio devotions Know Your Bible aired from nearby Seymour, Indiana. During his time in Indiana Loest also taught adjunct for Concordia University Wisconsin.

In 1996, Loest completed his dissertation on the Genesis lectures of the reformer Martin Luther and received a STM from CTS. He also led a tour to Germany on the 450th anniversary of Martin Luther’s death. He would lead additional tours in 1999 (commemorating the 500th anniversary of Katharina Luther’s birth) and in 2000 (Oberammergau Passion Play and Luther sites).

In the fall of 1996, Loest was called as Reference and Research Assistant at Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) in St. Louis, Missouri. This position was later made Assistant Director for Reference and Museum. In both these areas he hired and supervised part-time staff, contracted for services and products, produced and enforced policies, developed and implemented museum exhibits and special projects, worked directly in assisting researchers. When Loest came to CHI the Rev. Daniel Preus was director. The Rev. Dr. August Suelflow, Director Emeritus, still had an office at CHI. Loest worked with directors Rev. Preus, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Noland.

As museum curator, Loest created many memorable exhibits including commemorations of  Phillip Melanchthon (1997), Katherina Luther (1999), J. S. Bach (2000), and events including the 150th anniversary of the LCMS (1997), the 1974 Seminex Walkout (1999), and CHI’s 75th Anniversary (2002). Loest also identified original woodcuts by the German artist Albrecht Dürer in the archives, and exhibited them as A Sword Shall Pierce Your Own Soul, Too: The Life of Mary and the Passion of Christ in the Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer. He also acquired for CHI the fascinating Gerecke Letter which was written and signed by the Nazi war prisoners on trial in 1946 at Nuremberg and addressed to the wife of their Lutheran military chaplain before their execution. Loest oversaw the restoration of the 1938 log cabin replica on the grounds of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, a major preservation/ restoration project of the Walther Mausoleum in Concordia Cemetery, also in St. Louis, and the development of a children’s learning center at CHI.

From 1997–2003, Loest also assisted part-time at Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, Illinois, working first with the Rev. Dr. Jeffery Schrank, and then with the Rev. Timothy Scharr. For about 15 months, during 2000–2001, he served the Nashville congregation as vacancy pastor. He recorded daily devotions for the community titled Do You Have a Moment for Your Soul? broadcast on local FM station WNSV.

In January 2004, Loest was installed at Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church (Frankentrost) in Saginaw, Michigan. His duties have included serving the Frankentrost church as sole pastor, being a vicarage supervisor, teaching religion in the congregation’s day school, and offering nursing home chapel services, writing periodic devotions for the Frankenmuth News, and providing grief counseling at a local high school. Loest served as pastoral delegate on behalf of the Michigan District’s Frankenmuth Circuit at the 2007 and 2010 national conventions of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He has conducted services in German at Immanuel and for the community. He recently marked 10 years with the Frankentrost congregation.

Coming to Frankentrost has resulted in invitations for Loest to speak on the Michigan colonies founded by Wilhelm Löhe of Neuendettelsau, Germany. In 2008, he delivered the paper Wilhelm Löhe and the Saginaw Valley Colonies at the Löhe bicentennial celebration at CTS. In 2011, he hosted at Frankentrost the final day of the International Löhe Society’s triennial conference, presenting the paper Löhe’s Michigan Colonies: Then and Now.

Loest translated “New and Old Antinomianism” in The Beauty and the Bands, published in 1995 by the Luther Academy. He delivered a paper on the sesquicentennial of the American Book of Concord titled “The 1851 Book of Concord: In Anticipation of a Brighter Day” at the 2001 annual Pieper Lectures sponsored by both CHI and the Luther Academy. For more than a dozen years he served as support staff of cover art for Logia, a Lutheran theology journal.

Loest contributed “Walther’s First Year as Synod President, 1847–1848” in the Festschrift Soli Deo Gloria: Essays on C.F.W. Walther in Memory of August R. Suelflow published by Concordia Publishing House (CPH) in 2000. He is co-editor of a significant translation project making available in English the convention resolutions of the LCMS. The Doctrinal Resolutions of the National Conventions of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod 1847–2004 was published as a CD by CHI in 2007.

Loest is listed as a contributor to the Daily Treasury of Prayer and produced the index for Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible by C.F.W. Walther,  both published by CPH. He has served as a doctrinal reviewer for the LCMS. He has participated as a peer reviewer for CPH. Loest has been a welcome guest on the synod’s radio station KFUO, speaking on church history –particularly Lutheran and American Lutheran church history. In 2009, Loest delivered to a morning sectional of the annual Exegetical Symposium at CTS, a short exegetical paper on Walther’s exegesis of the John 2 account of the Wedding at Cana. He has contributed to The Lutheran Witness, Concordia Historical Quarterly, Concordia Pulpit Resources, and For the Life of the World. He edited a revision of How the Missouri Synod Was Born –a history of the beginnings of the Missouri Synod, which CHI published in 2001.

The Loests have five children: three girls, Audrey, Anna and Abigail, and two boys, Andrew and Alexander. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2013. His hobbies include German, reading, gardening, and his classic 1950s 14 ft. mahogany Yellowjacket runabout (speedboat).