LHF has published its 92nd language edition of Luther’s Small Catechism, this time in the Swedish language. Catechism Persecution
While the Swedish Small Catechism with Explanation will be made available in Sweden, the bulk of the 800 books printed will be used in neighboring Finland, where there are Swedish-speaking Lutheran churches.
“The Small Catechism has been translated into Swedish since the time of the Reformation,” explained Rev. Juhana Pohjola, coordinator of LHF’s Finnish projects. “However, there is a need for an updated explanation which deals with questions like sanctity of life, marriage and homosexuality and other issues that Christians are facing in secular societies at the moment.”
This is particularly true in Finland, where even though the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is the official state church, it is a very liberal church body. Pastors who are faithful to Biblical teachings on gay marriage and women’s ordination often face persecution, including being defrocked.
And as mentioned in LHF’s last newsletter, even Finnish lay people must be prepared for a backlash that may come when speaking Biblically. Päivi Räsänen, a Lutheran medical doctor and member of the Finnish Parliament, is still being investigated by police for “incitement to hatred” for her work on a 2004 publication supported by LHF, concerning Christian marriage and homosexuality.
(To read an English translation of the pamphlet Male and Female He Created Them, click here.)
Finnish police also interrogated Rev. Pohjola for five hours in February regarding his work on the pamphlet. “I’m suspected (as the editor of the pamphlet) of spreading hate material,” he said. In such difficult circumstances, faith in Christ, firmly founded in the Word, provides comfort and strength.
“We should always be students of the catechism, which can guide us in the cultural storms,” said Rev. Pohjola, “but most of all, it teaches us about Jesus’ personal, saving work on the cross and sacramental gifts of Christ in the liturgical life of the Church.”
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