Pastor Jake Sletten of the Christ Lutheran Church (28850 South Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes) was introduced by Club President John Jaacks who has known him for many years.
Pastor Jake spoke on the changing interactions between organized religion and cultural secularism in modern society. He is concerned that people are increasingly drifting away from traditional religious values. He spoke of the Reformation against the Roman Catholic Church led by Martin Luther, a German monk and theologian (1483-1546). Luther believed that God is the ruler of both the secular kingdom on the Left, and of the religious kingdom on the Right; we live in both. Luther taught that we are saved “by Grace alone” (from James), and that it is necessary to submit to government authority (Paul in the Book of Romans). There are two kinds of righteousness — Helping a neighbor, and Relationship with God.
Then he opened discussion and comments on the question, “Are we a Christian nation?” Several members responded, quoting the US Founding Fathers (who promoted freedom of religion and separation of Church & State, to avoid the destructive religious conflicts that had engulfed Europe for so many years). Also mentioned was the presence of Jewish and other religious traditions among the early settlers of our nation. Are we a nation whose religious heritage is predominantly Christian, or are we a nation that promotes Christian theology toward our non-Christian citizens? What will our increasingly-multicultural nation look and act like in the future? There was a lively but respectful discussion of these challenging issues by our members.