This is for those who are struggling with the ELCA’s actions and rejection of God’s word, for those that are taking a stand for truth in the face of opposition, for those who are afraid and feel alone, for those who have placed allegiance to God above friends, family and denomination, and this is for the people of Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who are facing a lawsuit by those who support the ELCA.
You Never Let Go
by Matt Redman
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near
And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me
And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth
Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You
© 2006 Sparrow
The ELCA leadership is notorious for questioning scripture. They love to introduce doubt into lay persons’ and seminary students’ minds. Doubt about the truth of scripture. They did this when the ELCA website openly questioned the virgin birth. (read here) Similarly, they encourage questioning key areas of orthodoxy in regard to sin, salvation, creation, hell, factual events in scripture and the inerrancy of scripture, to name a few. (just look around this website) Consider the following as further shocking evidence of one key ELCA leader’s thoughts in regard to hell. (also notice the tone of universalism in what he says)
Bishop Peter Rogness of the Saint Paul Area Synod had this to say:
“I’ve never been much concerned about hell, I guess.”
“I think the ministries that emphasize the reality of hell are also prone to a heavy dose of self-righteousness. . .”
“While the Bible has several intriguing (and varying) references to hell, clearly the God we meet in Jesus Christ is a God who meets us in love and grace and forgiveness and acceptance . . .”
Please go back and read your Bible a little more diligently, Bishop Rogness. Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone else in scripture. If hell is an important enough topic for our Lord and Savior to warn people about, maybe you should too.
Bishop Rogness also said, “I think we have to conclude that whether there is a hell or not is ultimately not going to make or break our faith.” (see here)
This is a perfect example of the ELCA leadership’s view of scripture. If there is something in scripture that the "intellectual" elites do not like, they question it or discard it.
Bishop Rogness, the book of Revelation has a lot to say about the realities of hell. Revelation also says, “And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” - Revelation 22:19
As the saying goes, “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Who are the bedfellows of the ELCA? In a past blog, Exposing the ELCA revealed the close ties and similar ideologies the ELCA has with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. (read here)
Now we find that the ELCA is also very close with an organization called the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Here is some information about the ISNA:
- “(T)he United States Department of Justice named ISNA . . . as an unindicted co-conspirator and one of a number of ‘entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood.’” (see here)
- “According to columnist Rod Dreher's interpretation of court documents, ‘ISNA is an integral part of the [Muslim] Brotherhood's efforts to wage jihad against America through non-violent means.’" (see here)
- “(T)he FBI has uncovered internal Muslim Brotherhood documents naming ISNA as ‘one of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.’” (see here)
(If you would like more details pertaining to the Muslim Brotherhood, what they are and what they stand for, check out this article)
- “ISNA was created by members of the Muslim Brotherhood – a radical Egyptian movement that seeks to spread Shariah law globally – in the U.S. Many of those founders remain in leadership positions with ISNA. (read here)
So with that information about the ISNA and the Muslim Brotherhood, let's look at the relationship the ELCA has with the ISNA:
- The national director for the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) spoke to the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. (see here) The ELCA website quotes the ISNA speaker as saying, “(w)e have worked with your organization and leaders [and] we have seen this tireless leader of yours, who’s been here for hours and hours. But I’ve seen him in the corridors of power speaking the truth about issues … whether it is about peace in the Middle East or anti-Muslim bigotry in America. . . we are working together in shaping the new millennium.” (read here) The ISNA representative received three standing ovations from the ELCA leadership at the Assembly.
- ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson said the following at the ELCA 2011 Churchwide Assembly, “I’m very pleased to now welcome an interfaith partner to this assembly. Dr. Sayyid Sayeed, is the National Director for the Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances of the Islamic Society of North America. He has become a close friend. We share a deep commitment to our growing relationship and dialog, but not just in dialog, in our working together to build a more peaceful and just world both in this country and in places of tension throughout the world.” (see here - plenary six)
- Presiding Bishop Hanson turned to the ISNA representative and said, “ . . . I hope you hear both our warm response to your being here, but beneath that, the commitment to walk together.” (see here - plenary six)
- The ELCA official website has the ISNA listed under a section called “Our Partners.” (see here)
- The Islamic Society of North America lists and links to the ELCA on a page entitled “Our Partners.” (you can go to their website and find the link)
- ELCA website links to the ISNA’s website. (see here)
- The Rev. Donald J. McCoid, Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, represented the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, at an emergency interfaith summit called by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) (see here)
The ELCA leadership is working with and partnering with the ISNA, an organization that is said to have very close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. If this doesn't make ELCA members question what kind of denomination they are members of, I don't know what will.
- Rev. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, Executive Director of the ELCA's Division for Global Mission and ISNA representative hold a press conference with other faith leaders. (see here)
This summer “Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mark S. Hanson will deliver the keynote address” to a conference held by a homosexual advocacy organization, Lutherans Concerned / North America. (see here)
Lutherans Concerned / North America works for the “acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners” (see here).
Some of Lutherans Concerned / North America's “Declaration of Principles” are:“encourage and nurture all who are coming out”
“acts assertively in the face of oppression”
“seeks the guidance of the Holy Spirit to integrate and express our spiritual and sexual selves” (see here)
“This is the first time a presiding bishop of any denomination has delivered the keynote address at our assembly.” (see here)
One would think, with the financial struggles the ELCA is having, that they would at least try to be wise with the gifts and tithes to God that they receive from people. However, much like the United States government, they love to spend on their agenda.
For example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wants you to come to “Ecumenical Advocacy Days.” (March 23-26) At this gathering you "will explore economy, livelihoods, and our national priorities . . . hear from theologians and policy experts, equip ourselves to speak confidently on key policy issues, and take our message to our elected officials in Congress." But wait, is "(m)oney tight? We understand, and to help more people attend EAD, the ELCA is providing scholarships." (read here)
"ELCA scholarships for Ecumenical Advocacy Days cover the conference registration fee, hotel costs, and travel expenses to Washington D.C. (either flight or mileage reimbursement)." (read here)
Isn’t that nice? Your tithe is going to train people to be lobbyists and political activists, and you can be sure the training will be centered around the ELCA’s political priorities.
That’s not all. You know the money you sent to ELCA World Hunger? It is being used to send lobbyists to the Iowa State capital. Called "Lutheran Day on the Hill," "passionate advocates" will be going to lobby state legislators. "This opportunity is offered at no cost to attendees." Lunch is provided and you also get a t-shirt.
"This event has been made possible through a grant from ELCA World Hunger. We are proud to be a partner in Lutheran Day on the Hill with the three Iowa Synods of the ELCA." (read here)
And lastly, another example of how our denomination is quick to spend God’s money on their ideology. "Lutheran School of Theology Chicago Offers LC/NA Course Free For CEU's." This ELCA seminary is offering free Continuing Education Units for a course called "Transformation + Action = Oxygen." The course "is designed to empower, equip, inspire, and activate participants to have life-giving, well-timed, appropriately-framed conversations with their congregants regarding the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities." (read here)
This course comes from Lutherans Concerned / North America, whose purpose is "to unite gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters within the Lutheran churches." (read here)
And it’s free at this ELCA seminary!
I came across “this gem” by way of facebook. Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS), an ELCA school, posted a video titled “S**t Seminarians Say” (the curse words were edited by Exposing the ELCA) on their facebook page. (see PLTS’s page here)
Let me be clear, this is on the seminary’s official facebook page, not a PLTS student’s page.If you watch the video your treated to an individual use the “F” word. The exact phrase is "I ****in' love kale." (see video here)
The video was an attempt at humor, and I am sure many will find it humorous. I just don’t know why one of our ELCA seminaries, whose job it is to instruct the future leaders of our denomination, would post a video that contains this kind of language.
The video is the work of theradicalspirit.org. The website claims to be “an online journal of Unitarian Univeralist hope.”
And for those of you that may think I am nitpicking here, please consider the following Scripture:
Ephesians 5:4 - Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Matthew 15:10-11 - And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Colossians 3:8 - But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
James 3:10 - From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
In February there will be an election for bishop of the ELCA’s Minneapolis Area Synod. One of the 18 pastors nominated for the position is Rev. Mary Albing. If she were to be elected, it would be a huge slap in the face to God, Scripture, orthodox Lutherans and Christians everywhere.
Why do I say that? “(Rev.) Albing became eligible to serve as a rostered leader in the synod by virtue of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly vote allowing gay or lesbian pastors to be in same-gendered, life-long, monogamous relationships.” (see here)
An article from Minnesota Public Radio states, “Mary Albing is a ‘very out’ lesbian pastor at Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer in Minneapolis, Minnesota—and has been an influential voice for change in the church.” (see here)
So will the ELCA elect a practicing homosexual to be the next bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod? It would not surprise me. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Rev. Albing also has troubling views of the authority of Scripture, theology, science and the church's role. Speaking about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s vote on homosexuality, the Minnesota Public Radio article reports “(S)he says those who opposed the vote on biblical grounds let their ‘biases color their theology.’”
"Lutheran theology has traditionally not only used the Bible, but our experience and reason to help us make theological and ethical decisions. Common sense and hard and soft sciences all tell us that gay people are just created the way they are and that our business as the church is to help them as they try to have lasting and meaningful relationships and live out their vocations in the world," says Rev. Albing. (read here)
This is being promoted in the Saint Paul Area Synod newsletter -“. . .Lutherans Concerned/Twin Cities (LC/TC) holds its seventh annual Reconciling in Christ (RIC) festival worship as part of the national celebration of welcoming churches, recognizing faith communities that bear a public witness to God’s love for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
I wonder if the ELCA posts Lutheran CORE gatherings in their publications.
From this month’s The Lutheran:“Heard a report from ELCA Secretary David Swartling that included the ELCA's current number of congregations (9,995) and baptized membership (4.2 million).” (see here)
The total given for baptized membership is, in all likelihood, high because many churches do not update their membership rolls very often.------
For those wondering how much money the ELCA spent on the sexuality studies, a statement from 2002 says the ELCA “approved $1.15 million to fund the six-year project.” (see here)
From what I have read, it seems that the $1.15 million does not include the salary for ELCA staff who worked on the project.
The ELCA official website claims this about their “Peace Not Walls” blog:“The Peace Not Walls blog is meant to show the breadth of views and opinions surrounding the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” (see here)
That's Hogwash! I have not seen a blog from this website that represents the prevailing Israeli viewpoint. What this blog does do is promote the ELCA leadership’s anti-Israel world view. Just look at the above statement calling the land “occupied.” It is an anti-Israeli narrative and very bias. Do not be fooled by the ELCA claims.
Exposing the ELCA asked it’s readers:
Should the ELCA continue to use member tithes and gifts to fund their advocacy department and to promote their political positions?
40 people voted “Yes” (15.38%)
220 people voted “No” (84.62%)
Total Votes: 260
There is now a new poll on the homepage.
It has been a busy 2011 for Exposing the ELCA. A year of ministry, writing, researching, emailing, replying, designing and informing. It has been a year of exposing darkness, encouraging conversations and correspondence. It has been a year of persecution by the enemy for standing up for Christ.
Here are some of the most important happenings in Exposing the ELCA in 2011:
- Exposed the ELCA’s close work with the Unitarians. (see here)
- Exposed ELCA church’s goddess worship videos. (here and here)
- Shared these three high quality ELCA-related illustrations by Matthew.
- Exposed universalism happening in the ELCA. (see here and here)
- Exposed 1500+ ELCA leaders position on Evolution and Creation. (see here)
- Reported on many orthodox Lutheran churches and pastors leaving the ELCA (see this page)
- Exposed the bias and anti-Semitism that continually shows itself in the ELCA. (see here)
As you can see, God has used this ministry greatly over the past year. Through our reporting, God has led us to impact many individuals and churches in their journey to stay faithful to Scripture in troubling times in our politically-correct culture. It is my prayer that we have been faithful to God’s calling on our ministry, Exposing the ELCA. I look forward to the future as we continue to grow and expand our efforts, and I humbly ask that you lift up this ministry in prayer. In order to grow and continue this important work, we also need monetary support. Despite hearing many reports and personal emails testifying to our critical role in churches and in the lives of people seeking truth, frankly, there has been very little financial support for this ministry. Perhaps you are like me, in that I really appreciate and utilize the resources of Christian organizations and programming, yet I haven’t always supported them financially even though they give me and others so much. God has convicted me about this, and now I support those ministries. If you have been resourced, helped or blessed by this ministry, I am asking for your help in keeping this ministry going and continuing to be a change agent in the ELCA and in the lives of individuals and churches who need to be equipped for the critical work of standing up for Truth. (there is a link for anyone who would like to give at the top, right hand side of this page)
- Exposed that a top ELCA leader from the Office of the Presiding Bishop Presented Pictures of Jesus as a Female at an ELCA-run conference. (see here)
God bless you and happy new year!