In my research on the ELCA I often hear people, including ELCA bishops say that the August 2009 vote will have no effect on a church that disagrees with those decisions. What a deceptive smoke screen. The ELCA actions in August will have an effect on everyone in the denomination.
This short article explains a number of ways ELCA members and churches will be impacted by the ELCA's human sexuality decisions. (the article and website have been taken down)
Those that disagree with the ELCA policies and stay in the denomination will be forced into a position of passively and financially supporting those policies.
It is like drawing a line in the sand. If you stay on the ELCA side they will have added numbers, finances, strength, ability, and a louder voice which will allow all of the ELCA's troubling views to thrive rather than diminish.
Below is a excellent sermon by ELCA pastor David N. Glesne. It speaks of the recent ELCA decisions regarding homosexuality and is titled, "Loving Your Neighbor: What does love mean?"
Read the sermon. . .
The Anglican Church has been dealing with some of the same issues that ELCA members are now facing. Here is the manuscript of Mark Rudolph, Senior Pastor of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, which was delivered to a congregation at an ELCA church.
Pastor Mark Rudolph (pdf file)
A letter from 150 Iowa pastors was delivered to Iowa lawmakers today stating their support for same-sex marriage.
Because this is an ELCA focused website I am going to list the ELCA pastors that signed this letter. But you should look at the news article. There are many denominations represented here. This is a another sign of the Christian, church-wide problem with liberal thinking and denial of Biblical Authority.
The last paragraph of the letter says, "As clergy, we stand together in support of civil marriage equality for ALL families. We ask for your support of civil marriage equality and ask that you oppose any resolution or attempt to diminish the marriage rights of Iowa’s families."
This is outrageous! There is a big push by Iowans saying they should be allowed to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed in the state. What these pastors are asking is that Iowa lawmakers deny the citizens of Iowa that right. (last year the Iowa Supreme Court decided same-sex marriage was legal in Iowa)
Here are the ELCA signers of the letter -
Rev. Charles Ager; ELCA (retired); Strawberry Point
Rev. Paul S. Bengtson; ELCA (retired); Storm Lake
Rev. Ramona S. Bouzard; St. Paul Lutheran Church; Waverly (ELCA)
Rev. Dr. Walter C. Bouzard; Waverly (ELCA)
The Rev. Dr. Sean D. Burke; Luther College; Decorah (ELCA)
Rev. Dennis Dickman; ELCA (retired); Waverly
The Rev. Travis M. Fisher; St. Mark Lutheran Church; Davenport (ELCA)
The Rev. Andrew G. Gangle; Peace Lutheran Church; Adel (ELCA)
Rev. Randall E. Gehring; Bethesda Lutheran Church, ELCA; Ames
Pastor John Hagberg; St. Mark Lutheran Church; Sioux City (ELCA)
Rev. George Hanusa; ELCA (retired); Windsor Heights
Rev. Gerald Iverson; Associate in Ministry; ELCA (retired); Sioux City
Pastor Steven M. Jacobsen; First Lutheran Church; Decorah (ELCA)
The Rev. Scott A. Johnson; Lutheran Campus Ministry at Iowa State University (ELCA); Ames
Rev. R. Paul Johnston; Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA); Sioux City
The Rev. Dr. Kathryn A. Kleinhans; Wartburg College; Waverly (ELCA)
Pastor Jim Klosterboer; Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church; Elkader (ELCA)
Rev. Mark W. Kukkonen; Intentional Interim Pastor; St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church; Cedar Rapids (ELCA)
Pastor Vernon H. Naffier; Faculty, GrandView University; ELCA; Ankeny
Rev. Peter T. Nash, PhD; Professor of Religion & Liberal Studies; Wartburg College; Waverly (ELCA)
Rev. Delwyn L. Olivier; Augustana Lutheran Church; Sioux City (ELCA)
Rev. Michael J. Schmidt; Christ Lutheran/St. Peter; LeMars (ELCA)
Pastor Victoria Shepherd; Denver (ELCA)
Rev. Diana Jacobs Sickles; ELCA (retired); Des Moines
Pastor Sarah Stadler-Ammon; Denver (ELCA)
The Rev. Rachel Thorson Mithelman; St. John’s Lutheran Church; Des Moines (ELCA)
Rev. Beverly J. Wolff; St. John Lutheran Church; Cushing (ELCA)
Rev. Dr. David Cline, Evangelical Church in America: Polk City (ELCA)
Sometimes in this blog I like to highlight other articles and websites that reveal important information about what the ELCA is up to. Here is another one that I believe is excellent. It is a "Comparison of the ELCA and the LCMS." The purpose of sharing this is to focus on what they claim the ELCA is doing as well as the sources they have used to back up these statements.
It is well worth reading!
Comparison of the ELCA and the LCMS (pdf file)
Over the last month Exposing the ELCA has be asking readers, "Are you considering leaving the ELCA?" Here are the results:
There were 203 votes cast.
147 voters said "Yes." ( 72%)
39 voters said "No." ( 19%)
17 voters said "I'm not a member of the ELCA." ( 8%)
Thanks for voting!
Dr. Walter Martin's exposes the liberal theology being taught in many denominations in his lecture "The Cult of Liberalism." This is what is infesting our ELCA seminaries. This way of thought is in the ELCA's highest levels of leadership. This is what the ELCA's future pastors are learning from their liberal seminary professors (and this has been going on for many years.) It's informative and interesting. Dr. Martin starts talking near the 1/3 mark.
"Interpretation of Scripture" is a term that is often used when discussing the ELCA's actions, changing beliefs and policies.
How does a denomination decide they know better than the words, directed by God, contained in the Bible? A reader of "Exposing the ELCA" said it best . . .
"The mainline denominations elevate liberal ideology over Scripture. They are cultural relativists. Liberal ideology is the norm by which Scripture is interpreted. For instance, the ancient world was patriarchal and prejudice against women, so we can disregard what the Scripture says about the roles of men and women. St. Paul did not have the psychological insights into sexual orientation, so we can disregard the prohibitions against homosexuality. Modern liberal ideology is superior to Scripture and whatever the church has taught for 2000 years. It is borne out of arrogance in which the society of today is far more enlightened than the authors of Scripture. They say to themselves, if only Jesus had been as enlightened as me, what a wonderful world this would be."
- by Nosterrex
The mainline denominations seem to think so. Being an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) member and a former ELCA seminarian I will focus my thoughts on them. But lets not kid ourselves. A lot of the mainline denominations are marching to the same beat of that human thinking, enlightened "truth," Bible denying drummer.
The ELCA will tell you: 1) the Bible is full of errors, 2) it is loaded with made up stories, 3) Jesus didn't really say what is in the Bible, 4) the Bible has no prophecy in it, 5) EVERYONE will be saved, 6) the Jews are no longer of any significance to God, 7) they support the killing of unborn children, 8) their opinion has greater standing than God's word, 9) they doubt that Mary was a virgin, 10) they doubt there is a hell, 11) they doubt there is a devil, 12) they doubt there are angels, 13) they allow their seminary professors to teach Jesus did not really raise from the dead, 14) they decide they will replace words in the Bible where ever it seems fitting, like calling God "mother."
It seems to me that the ELCA thinks they know a lot more than the 2000 years of Christian scholars before them. They think they know better than the guys that wrote the Bible. They think they know better than God. You know, the creator of everything, all powerful, caring and just Supreme Being who claims to have been behind the writing of the Bible.
Let's take a look at Jesus. You know the guy. Sinless, truth speaking savior, God Himself. If anyone should know if the Bible is true and from God, it would be Him.
How did Jesus view the Bible? Here is what He said about it. John 10:35 - ". . . the Scripture cannot be broken."
Matt. 5:17,18 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Luke 16:17 - ". . . It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law."
John 17:17 - "Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth."
Matt. 22:31 - "But about the resurrection of the dead--have you not read what God said to you. . ."
Matt. 21:42 - "Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes?'"
Matt. 19:4 - "Haven't you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and
female. . ."
Matt. 26:24 - "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him."
Matt. 26:31 - "Then Jesus told them, 'This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be
Mark 7:13 - "Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
Luke 4:17-21 (speaking about Jesus) "The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The
eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'"
John 5:46-47 - "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"
John 6:45 - "It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.'"
Matt. 22:29 - "Jesus answered them, 'You are deceived, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God.'"
Mark 7:6 - "He replied, 'Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'"
Jesus quoted scripture to the devil saying "It is written . . ." Would Jesus quote from the Bible if it didn't have any authority?
Jesus goes on to say "But he answered, 'It is written, Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" - Matt. 4:4. Jesus says God's words sustain us. How do we hear God's words, but from the Bible?
"He replied to him, ‘If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31
Jesus told about prophecies in the Bible that were about Him. "Jesus said, 'How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?'" Matt. 26:54
"Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures. Then he said to them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.'” Luke 24:27, 44.
How can man know the future but by God. Jesus knew this was not possible without God. And from the above verses it is clear Jesus viewed scripture as from God.
Not only did Jesus view the Bible as God's word and true, but He also viewed it as historically accurate. Stories that mainline denominations laugh at as "made up stories" are proven to be true and historic by Jesus Himself. He talks about Noah, "For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man." Matt. 24:38-39. Jesus talks about Jonah, "For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights." Matt. 12:40 He talks about Sodom and Gomorrah as actual towns, "I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town!" Matt 10:15
How can our denominations have such a different view of the Bible than God's own Son? Is Jesus just clueless? Could the ELCA give him a lesson on proper Bible interpretation and reading? The truth is we have a church that has fallen for the devil's lies. Trashing the clear reading of scripture and making up their own "spiritual truth." Who is running our denomination and seminaries? Don't kid yourselves people. It will continue to get worse and worse. Get your church to leave or just leave it yourself. Don't try to reform your denomination.
If Jesus believed the Bible was from God and was true, we should do the same. Join a church that views the Bible as Jesus did.