Below is an email reply with a friend, who is a pastor. I sent him a link to this website and he replied. This is my reply to him. I have done minor edits to clear up confusion and make it more understandable to the reader. To understand more of my points and views read more of my blogs and the links contained on this website -
And now, the email -
. . .I did not know your position on the issue but figured if you agree "great," if not I'd like to hear your thoughts as someone I respect. I find some of your thoughts helpful, and thank you for them. You may not find my site helpful, but the real intent behind it is to inform the regular ELCA members (like my grandmother) about the truth - what the denomination is teaching and doing, as well as to encourage them to take a stand for their churches.
(To answer your points)
I disagree with your statement on the August decision. The fact is the ELCA has allowed churches to ordain practicing homosexuals and bless their unions. That is an endorsement by the ELCA no matter how you look at it. They wouldn't allow it if they disagreed with it. The synod offices and positions will be allowing it, will they not?
I have a different idea about where authority should be, with God and his Holy word. But as you know, if you have read my links, that is the issue (the ELCA view on the Bible.)
1) I like and agree with your thought that I should claim authorship of the website by putting my name on it.
2) (concerning information on the tornado at the ELCA August meetings and if God caused it) The truth is that God does, at times, speak and use nature for his purposes. Think of Noah, the Red Sea, darkness during Jesus crucifixion, Jonah and the storm, etc. So it is possible God was doing the same here. The storm did not injure anyone, so I don't see any suffering because of it. If the ELCA doesn't take heed to God's Word and Will (that is stated so clearly in the Bible on homosexuality), or with conservative pastors' pleas not to vote for it, I don't think it is too far fetched to think He may use a less than F1 tornado to shake the voting ELCA representatives and as a way to try and convince them to obey His word. I don't believe all disasters are warnings from God, but some are. Isaiah 45:7, "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I the Lord do all these things". Also, Matt. 16: 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
3) I do have a problem with the ELCA's stance on the Israel/Palestine issue. We both know Israel has a longer claim on the land. They have had a continuous presence for over 3000 years there. They also won that land when the arab world attacked them. As Yusef Diya al-Khadidi, Mayor of Jerusalem (1899) said, "Who can challenge the rights of the Jews in Palestine? Good Lord, historically it is really your country." There are 56 Islamic countries and just 1 Jewish country. In 1870, Jews were the majority population in Jerusalem.
The ELCA attacks Israel for its security fence and wants it taken down. The fence was built to prevent suicide bombers from walking into Jewish populations and blowing up innocent men, women and children. Many countries have fences and walls. The U.S., Turkey, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, India, Spain, Thailand, Yemen, etc.
The ELCA states it wants Israel to give up Judia, Samaria, and half of Jerusalem. God gave that land to Isaac and Jacob. The Bible says its for their descendants. (here is another point where the ELCA puts their will above what the Bible says.) Have you seen what Gaza is like with the terrorists in leadership? The same will happen in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If the ELCA cares so much about the issue lets ask one of the arab states to parcel off some of their land and create a Palestinian state away from Israel. That would be a more peaceful solution. After all, Hamas' charter says, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." I encourage you to read my articles listed about Israel and the ELCA. If those in Gaza are suffering greatly, it is because of the radical muslims there, for the most part, not the Israelis.
The ELCA uses bias terms such as "occupied" territory. Where are the calls for Palestinians to change their ways, to lay down their weapons, to stop teaching their children to hate the Jews, to put in their charter that Israel has a right to live there, to form a true democratic government (like Israel), to allow Jews to live in Gaza if they choose?
I am glad we all care about the Palestinians. Absolutely God loves them. But the way the ELCA has chosen to "care" for them is really to blame Israel. I don't see the ELCA confronting those countries that keep "Palestinian Refugees" in poverty and refugee camps and denied them citizenship, since 1948. Do they really care about them or does the Israel angle fit their agenda? I don't see the ELCA demanding Hamas stop using the billions in international money they get to buy weapons and benefit the few.
(concerning the ELCA using "mother" as a reference for God)
4) On "mother" God. I don't think most ELCA members would approve, and I want them to know about the ELCA's stance. Wasn't Jesus, God Himself, a man? Did Jesus ever call God "mother?" Did the disciples? Did anyone in the Bible? Why do we think we know better and understand more about God then them? If Jesus called God "Father" that is the term we should use, in my opinion. It seems to me the ELCA thinks they are so intellectual, they are so wise, and they know so much more than the authors of the Bible (God included) that they can decide what is true and what is not. What is real and what is not. What Jesus said and what he didn't. They can dismiss thousands of verses that talk about prophecy and things that will happen because they "know" it's not possible for someone to know the future even if it is God speaking through them. They have put their view above God's Word, which He is said to "inspire." If the ELCA's view of the Bible was right, don't you think Jesus would have said that? If it wasn't from God and true, don't you think Jesus would have said, "Hey everyone, the scriptures are just human's writings. They're not from God. And prophecy? It's a bunch of hogwash." The fact is, Jesus didn't say that and He read and viewed the writing as true and as God's Word.
Good connecting with you. If you have more comments and thoughts, I'd love talk with you about them.
The ELCA teaches there are errors in the Bible. That leads to the ELCA's "pick and choose" method where you take the parts of the Bible you believe and throw the rest away. Got to love it. Humans decide what is from God and what isn't. We know so much more than those mental lightweights who actual knew Jesus and wrote about him. We can tell what Jesus really said and what he didn't. We know Adam and Eve are not real, even though the Bible says they are and it talks about them in both the OT and NT. Jonah is not a true story, even though the bible says so. And Jesus said so. Look it up. (or read here) I could go on and on. But I will save that for a later blog .
Sometimes I have to laugh. The ELCA teaches that Jonah and the Whale is a myth intended for teaching a moral lesson. Really? The book of Jonah reads as if it is an actual historic event. It has details that would be un-necessary if it was a made up story. The city Jonah went to is Nineveh, which is an actual city in the world at that time. And to top it off, Jesus himself said it was an historic event! In Matthew 12:39-41, Jesus speaks, ". . .A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here."
How can the ELCA say Jonah and the whale is a made up story if Jesus said it happened (just like he will rise again in three days)? Oh Yeah . . . they don't believe Jesus really said what is in the Bible, PLUS they don't really believe the Bible. Yeah, that's the kind of church I want to belong too. How about you?
In a Lutheran CORE newsletter they write an article entitled "ELCA worship resources offer prayer to ‘Mother’ God." The article says that "the ELCA publishing house is recommending a prayer addressing God as “Mother” in worship materials for Sunday, Dec. 27. The prayer is one of the Prayers of Intercession in the Sundays and Seasons worship planning resource widely used by ELCA pastors and is included in the “Celebrate” bulletin insert used by many ELCA congregations." (News from Lutheran CORE, Dec. 2009)
Sometimes you have to call them as you seen them. Many views and decisions made by the ELCA are heresy.
Bishop Paull Spring, of State College Pa., Lutheran CORE chair, called the ELCA’s August actions on human sexuality “heresy.” He also said, "“Many ELCA members and congregations have said that they want to sever ties with the ELCA because of the ELCA’s continued movement away from traditional Christian teachings. The vote on sexuality opened the eyes of many to how far the ELCA has moved from Biblical teaching.”
I've been reading up on the ELCA's views and positions they have taken against Israel, which can be found on the "ELCA Exposed News" page. It reminded me of an experience I have while at seminary. The teacher liked to refer to people in the ELCA as evangelicals and that day she said how we are much more supportive of Israel than people like Pat Robertson. She went on to say the Pat is very anti-Jewish/Israeli. First off, I think Pat would consider himself an evangelical and I would never consider the ELCA evangelical despite them using the word in their name. But I could not believe the teacher would say that about Pat Robertson. At that time I spoke up and said, "I am very familiar with Pat Robertson. I have been watching him for over 20 years. I have never heard him say any anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli remarks, in fact he is the most supportive person of Israel you will ever find."
After reading the ELCA's view and policies against Israel, my encounter that day really makes me think "Hmmmm."
Thanks for your reply Pastor.
I have strong feelings about this, so please don’t read this as anger but as passion for the Word of God.
I can't really say that I agree with your comment "it doesn't really work to simplify the discussion to "just read the Bible" because people on both sides are reading the Bible, and, with integrity, they are arriving at different conclusions."
As far a homosexuality is concerned, the Bible is very clear that it is wrong ("abomination" and "wicked" are a few words used to describe it). The people who support homosexuality have to go through some amazing intellectual gymnastics to come to the conclusion that the Bible/God says it is not a sin and a lifestyle that should be encouraged by the Christian church. The people are doing their best to fit God into their own beliefs about what is right and wrong. So are they reading the Bible with integrity? No, they are doing their best to invent loopholes that allows them to have guilty free beliefs or lifestyles.
The ELCA can not say the homosexuality is a sin now. If they did, could they honestly encourage people to continue doing it? No. It is a dangerous thing to claim something is good that God has declared a sin. I do not think a tornado hits the building the ELCA is in, at the time of the scheduled vote on homosexuality if God is pleased with what the ELCA is doing.
The fact is this is not just about homosexuality. The ELCA has been teaching for years, in essence, that the bible is not true. They claim Jesus did not say what is in the Bible. They say there is no prophecy in the bible. They think the creation account did not truly happen. When you can make these claims you, as a denomination can elevate your our beliefs above God’s word. Sounds like they believe God was not involved in the writing of the Bible.
Also, if they can say Jesus didn't say what the bible says he said, aren't they in fact saying the authors are lying? The authors say, "Jesus said." The ELCA thinks they are pretty smart if they think they know better then Jesus' friends. They know more about if Jesus said something 2000 years after it happened then those that were there?
If the Biblical authors are lying about this and about prophecy being real (the authors say it is prophecy about things to come) isn't the ELCA truly saying the Bible is a book of lies? And if God inspired it, then God is a liar.
We can not be scared to stand on the Word of God. If people leave, so be it.
It is time to leave a denomination that has left God long ago.
Good stuff. I obviously would not tell someone they have no integrity, but I do not think it is true to say those on the other side are "reading the Bible with integrity" if they come to the conclusion that the bible says homosexuality is fine. Pastor, really, if someone can conclude the bible says its fine, are they really reading it with integrity? They may have integrity but they are not reading the Bible with integrity. I feel fine judging that. That is what I was trying to say before. I think if you rereading my last email it may make more sense now.
God's word will always stand. To me, that doesn't mean we don't stand up for it. Jesus challenge the Jewish leaders in their understanding of the law and traditions. John the Baptist called out people's sin and challenged them to repent. There are multiple ways to lead people to Christ. Some will come by sharing your story and listening, some will come by hearing the good news, some will have a great revelation by God, some will come by fire and brimstone. I don't feel bad about stating my opinion and just as those on the other side do not feel bad about stating there opinion. If people are offended by me saying homosexuality is wrong, they have a problem with the Bible and God. I am not afraid to say what the Bible clearly says. Honestly, I gently state to people of opposing views what God's word says. Doesn't it say God's word is offensive to some? I'd rather people be offended then compromise God's word.
I spoke at the forum for 30 seconds yesterday, and listened for around 2 hours. The only one I am having this conversation with is you. If we are on the same side of the issue how am I alienating those who are for the ELCA position? Maybe you don't like that I sent a couple of emails in the past about the ELCA decision, to family and friends. If that is the case, I really make no apologies. I stand firm against the ELCA in what they teach and the decisions they have made. I will not be a ELCA member and I want everyone to know the heresy in the ELCA denomination. I can not state that more strongly.
What the ELCA has decided is a done deal. As for me, dialogue and community with the denomination is not a goal anymore. Another way to say it is, if the ELCA as a whole, decided to worship Satan and Jesus would we all stick around and dialogue with them as we proudly claim to be ELCA?
Again God's word can stand up to any attack but people are being lead away from God's truth and that is worth standing up for.
I think people are scared because they worry people will leave the church. I don't want people to leave the church myself. But with that said, I don't want us as a church to compremise on these issues or to hook our train to a denomination that teaches the way the ELCA is now.
With that said, I will honor your time and close this. You know my thoughts .
Again, with that said please hear me say, I apprieciate your thoughts.