Two faithful Lutherans from the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF), a partner church of the LCMS, are facing charges from Finland’s prosecutor general due to a 2004 booklet titled As Man and Woman He Created Them: Homosexuality and the Challenge to the Christian Concept of Man, which was published by the Luther Foundation.
The pamphlet was written by Dr. Päivi Räsänen, a medical doctor and longstanding member of the Finnish parliament, and endorsed by the Rev. Dr. Juhana Pohjola, who is now bishop of the ELMDF.
As Pohjola and Räsänen prepare for their upcoming day in court, we invite the LCMS to give thanks for their faithfulness and to remember them in their prayers. Please consider including the following prayer in your Prayers of the Church on Sunday, Jan. 23.
Prayer of the Church
Prayer for Bishop Juhana Pohjola (pronounced You-ha-na Poi-ho-la) and Dr. Päivi Räsänen (pronounced Pie-vee Ray-zee-nin) as their cases come before the Finnish courts
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the unjust imprisonment of His Son, we have been set at liberty; through His atoning blood, our consciences are washed clean; through His resurrection, we have the hope of eternal life. To live is Jesus and to die is gain!
We give You thanks, O Father, that You have honored our dear brother and pastor in Christ, Juhana, and our sister in Christ, Päivi, to bear chains for the sake of Your Son’s truth. Strengthen their faith in Him and uphold them by the Comforter’s power, that Juhana and Päivi may make the good confession before powers and authorities and not be ashamed. Encourage them to remain glad at all times, knowing their reward is great in heaven.
Lord God, You bless and mark Your Church with the sign of the holy cross. Therefore, we do not lose heart because we know that what has happened to them will serve to advance the Gospel. By this imprisonment, make Juhana’s fellow pastors around the world even more confident in You, and embolden them to speak the Word without fear. Grant that all Christians may follow their example to speak the truth and confess Christ no matter the consequences. Bring even the members of Caesar’s house into the knowledge of this truth; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Read more about the situation in Finland:
- ‘To live is Christ’: Pohjola consecrated as bishop of Finnish Lutheran Church
- LCMS President Harrison: Finnish Parliament member faithfully confesses amid opposition