To the Source

torkild-optMany of us are focused on our own generation and our congregational needs. But is the next generation really on the hearts of those living in the Western world? If we really care for the people of tomorrow, we should do something about it now. In post-Christian Europe, especially, it is getting more and more challenging to leave a good spiritual legacy to our offspring so that they might grow in faith.

How can we provide good spiritual soil for the believers of the future? How can we make sure we will have enough disciples to disciple tomorrow’s world? How can we make sure our children will be grafted into a healthy spiritual tree? According to Rev. Torkild Masvie, one of the answers is to direct young pastors in the body of Christ back to the source, to the inerrancy of the Bible, the Word of God. And when Torkild Masvie has a clear vision, he acts on it.

Masvie is a former Caspari Center CEO. During his 13 active years as head of the Caspari Center, he initiated the “Hearts to Serve” program, among many other projects. And he still has a burning drive and passion to make a big change in church life.

After some 15 years abroad, Masvie returned home to Oslo, where, in the fall of 2005, he established a congregation called Messiaskirken (“The Church of the Messiah”). Having served as a pastor with the Norwegian state church for a number of years, he found he disagreed with some of its teachings. And so, Messiaskirken formed a new denomination – the Lutheran Church in Norway (LCN) – in September 2006, as a completely separate entity from the state church. The LCN has a confessional Lutheran theology and a mission-focused mind.

Over the years, Messiaskirken has grown from 11 people to a weekly worship service with over 70 in attendance. Two-thirds of the group are in the 16-30 age range, and are mainly university students. Masvie is the senior pastor and also temporary acting bishop of the LCN, relating to the authorities.

In spite of the small size of this new church, it is running Ad Fontes, the only Norwegian Lutheran pastoral training program outside the Church of Norway. Ad Fontes is Latin for “to the source.” Both the LCN and Ad Fontes are a part of the larger historic and confessional Lutheran church around the world. The Ad Fontes program is done as a supplement to the BA and MA programs at the Lutheran School of Theology and Fjellhaug School of World Mission, both in Oslo.

Training pastors is a big challenge. Although the challenges in the Middle East adfontedphoto-optand in the Scandinavian post-Christian world are very different, there is a great need for trained lay leaders everywhere.

It seems believers everywhere are less willing to commit themselves to important studies. According to Masvie, this phenomenon is the result of a consumption-oriented world, an “instant culture” in which people try to get what they want as quickly and easily as possible. People pick the parts they like without seeing the need for total commitment. Masvie believes that one of the solutions is to be a good role model for young believers. If you can show the good fruits of a congregational commitment in your own life, it speaks louder than words.

Even though the name of the course speaks of the importance of roots, and part of the course is the study of the Jewish roots of Christianity, these Jewish roots are nothing if they do not include Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and Savior. There are some churches where the Jewish roots and traditions are highly respected, but they do not see Jesus as the Messiah for Jewish people. There is still only one way to salvation: a Jewish way, in Jesus. The Ad Fontes program includes Walking with Jesus through the Jewish Calendar, published by Caspari Center.

Masvie hopes for the growth of the program in the future. He hopes to leave his own children a church in which they can trust that the pastor stands on a biblical foundation in his teaching, now and in the future. That is the fruitful source for a healthy, growing faith.

Heidi Tohmola