About Aganai (Redemption) Evangelical Lutheran Church
The words “redeem” and “redemption” appear many times in the Bible. The meaning of redeem is to “buy back.” The Bible teaches that about 2000 years Jesus Christ offered Himself on the cross and paid the price to redeem all people from their sins. By offering Himself to God on the cross, Jesus freed us from the control of the devil, bought us back to God, and made peace between God and us.
Whoever believes in Jesus as their Redeemer is freed from eternal punishment and can enter eternal life. The members of Aganai Lutheran Church, in response to the love of Jesus, want to show love to God and to the people in their lives.
In July of 1964 construction began on the church and parsonage at our current site in Higashikurume (called Kurume Machi at that time). Aganai Lutheran Church’s dedication service took place on March 7, 1965.
The following missionaries and pastors have served at Aganai since its inception: R. Seeger, N. Meier, K. Habben, T. Nidaira and Pastor Brad Wordell. Currently, Pastor Daisuke Nakamoto is serving as a pastor at Aganai to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, who is the center of the Bible.
The following is a summary of what we believe:
- The Bible is God’s infallible, inerrant Word.
- The Bible gives comfort and guidance for our daily lives.
- The one true God is the Triune God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- All people are born with original sin and are headed for the punishment of hell; without a Savior they cannot enter heaven.
- God sent Jesus as the Savior to rescue us from the punishment of our sins. Jesus is God’s Son who was born into this world as a sinless human being. On the cross Jesus carried the sins of the world and suffered and died in our place.
- Jesus rose from the dead three days later. As the Risen Savior, He has been given the authority to judge all people when He comes again in glory on the Last Day.
- Whoever believes in Jesus as their Savior has the forgiveness of their sins and will receive eternal life.
- The Holy Spirit works through God’s Word (Bible) and the Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) to plant faith in our hearts, and make our faith grow and bear fruit for God.
We the men, women, and children of the Aganai have been redeemed by the Savior, who has brought us out of the darkness of unbelief into God’s wonderful light.
Aganai Evangelical Lutheran Church exists to work with churches in our fellowship to make disciples of Jesus using God’s Word and Sacraments (Holy Baptism and Holy Communion)—all for God’s glory. This mission includes the following:
- Making new disciples in Japan and around the world.
- Encouraging each other to keep all the things Jesus has commanded. (cf. Matthew 28:18-20)
Many people in Japan are unfamiliar with the name “Lutheran.” But the Lutheran church is not a a new church. The Lutheran Church, as it faithfully confesses and teaches God’s Word, is built upon the truth of God’s Word. That Word is the foundation of our faith and teachings. In this way, the confession of our Lutheran church is the same as that of the apostles in the early Christian church. About 500 years ago, Martin Luther led the church back to the Bible. Our Lutheran Church shares Luther’s respect for the Bible.
Martin Luther is the 16th century leader of the Lutheran Reformation. Martin Luther did not bring new teachings to the Christian church. Recognizing that the Christian church had strayed away from the Bible, Luther wrote and posted 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Luther wanted to debate these points on the basis of the Bible.
Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany, in 1483 and was instructed in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church from a young age. Later he decided to become a monk. He hoped to find the answer to a question that troubled him: “How can I be sure that I have done enough to earn forgiveness for my sins?”
At the monastery Luther’s teachers recognized his talents and chose him to study and teach the Bible at the University of Wittenberg. There Luther was able to study the Bible thoroughly in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek. Later Luther translated the Bible into his native tongue, German.
In the Bible Luther found the answer to his question about forgiveness. Luther discovered the message that we do not earn forgiveness by what we do (good works), by purchasing it with money (indulgences), or by praying to the saints in heaven. Forgiveness is given as a free gift to all who believe in Jesus. Jesus has paid for our sins and has opened the doors of heaven for us. Martin Luther discovered this good news in the Bible.
Martin Luther and the Lutheran church often speak about these three important teachings of the Bible: 1) We are saved through faith alone (faith in Jesus); 2) We are saved by grace alone (not by what we do); 3) The foundation of our faith is the Scriptures alone (not what modern church leaders might say).
The Lutheran Reformation spread from Germany to other parts of Europe, especially in northern countries like Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Later many Lutherans from these countries emigrated to the United States.
The Lutheran Church also reached out to native American Indians. One of the first books translated into an Indian language was Martin Luther’s Small Catechism (1646). Many Lutherans formed congregations in America. Later, on the basis of a common confession, they formed synods (“walking together”) with other Lutheran church bodies.
The WELS has been sending missionaries to Japan since 1957. These first missionaries lived with their families in Mito City and Tsuchiura City in Ibaraki Prefecture and Higashikurume City in Tokyo Prefecture. They began their mission activities in these cities.
Currently the LECC has four national pastors. The pastors serve congregations in Tokyo Prefecture (Higashikurume City), Chiba Prefecture (Sakura City), Ibaraki Prefecture (Mito City and Tsuchiura City), and Tochigi Prefecture (Utsunomiya City and Ashikaga City). The LECC is proclaiming the gospel in these and other cities. The LECC also has its own pastoral training program (seminary).
Aganai （Redemption） Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor Daisuke Nakamoto
Pastor Brad Wordell
〒203-0052 Higashikurume City, Saiwai Cho 3-2-17
Megumi （Grace） Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor Mitsuo Haga
〒310-0905 Mito City Ishikawa 1-4022-3
Nozomi （Hope） Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor Tadashi Yoshida
〒300-0823 Tsuchiura City Komatsu 3-23-27
Tomoshibi （Lamp） Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor Tadashi Yoshida
〒285-0858 Sakura City Yuukarigaoka 1-34-5
Mihikari （Holy Light） Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor Takeshi Nidaira
〒321-0138 Utsunomiya City, Hyogozuka 3-29-6
Heian （Peace） Evangelical Lutheran Church
Pastor Takeshi Nidaira
〒326-0846 Ashikaga City Yamashita Cho 4-2411-3
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), which sent missionaries to plant the LECC, was formed as a church in Wisconsin in 1850. The five pastors who attended the first WELS meeting were serving 18 congregations.
Currently the WELS, by God’s grace, has about 400,000 members, gathering to worship in about 1300 congregations in the US and Canada. These members want to reach out with the message of the gospel, where they live and around the world. The WELS currently sends missionaries to about 22 foreign countries, including Japan.
In America there are various church bodies that carry the name Lutheran, but the WELS is theologically conservative, recognizing all of the Bible as God’s inerrant Word. Like the faithful saints who have gone before us, the members of WELS want to be careful to teach and live according to God’s Word, not compromising God’s Word with the ways of the world. In this way, the WELS seeks to honor and proclaim God’s holy name.