Professors at Wartburg Theological Seminary (ELCA) are known to promote and teach universalism. Dr. Duane Priebe, Professor of Systematic Theology at Wartburg wrote this in the first printing of the Augsburg Fortress Lutheran Study Bible, “Jesus includes in salvation people who do not believe in him or ever know about him (5:3-10; 25:31-45).” page 1658. Wartburg professor Dr. David J. Lull, Professor of New Testament, published an article where he said, "Jesus did not have to die as a condition of God’s forgiveness of sins. Mark knew that Jesus knew that God had always forgiven the sins of 'many/all,' and that God would keep on forgiving their sins." (see here)
Today we will look at and quote from a sermon given at Wartburg Theological Seminary, in the chapel, by Rev. Dr. Craig Nessan. Dr. Nessan is the Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology at the ELCA seminary.
On February 27, 2013, during Dr. Nessan's sermon, he went into a strange diatribe on salvation, saying that some people think they know who will be saved. At one point Dr. Nessan, in my view, seemed to be mocking God with a number of statements including this, “God knows who deserves to live and who deserves to die.” This was Dr. Nessan's way of setting up his view of salvation for those listening (future ELCA pastors).
The scripture readings for Dr. Nessan's sermon came from Luke 13:22-31 and 2 Chronicles 20:1-20, to which he called the later “texts of terror.” Luke 13:29 says, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” From this verse Dr. Nessan switches to the 2 Chronicles passage concerning the country of Judah and tells the students that the people to the east, west, north and south are the Ammonites, Philistines, Syrians, and Moabites. This was another step in Dr. Nessan's leading his listeners in his universalist way of thinking, by associating these peoples, who worship false-gods, with those who would inherit salvation.
Completing his plan, teaching and leading the seminarians toward universalism, Dr. Nessan refers to Luke 13:24 where Jesus says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door . . .” and Dr. Nessan concludes, “It makes me wonder, what is the shape of that narrow door? Who gets in if the narrow door is shaped like the cross? Who gets in if its shaped like the 'loaf?' Who gets in if its shaped like the 'cup?' Who gets in when it is given and shed for you, to the east? And given and shed for you to the west? And given and shed for you to the north and to you to the south? Given and shed for all for the forgiveness of sins?” (listen here)
Dr. Nessan failed to proclaim and uphold God's Truth revealed in Scripture. He taught heresy to future pastors and untold lives will be adversely affected because of this. God clearly tells us his plan for salvation and how one is saved. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.” John 1:12 tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (Also see Romans 10:9-10, Romans 3:21, John 8:24.) God tells us we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and it is not Dr. Nessan's dangerous false-doctrine of universalism.
After hearing the sermon, one seminarian on Facebook said, “Chapel at WTS messed me all up today. I think that is a good thing.” Responding to the seminarian's comment, an ELCA pastor said tellingly, "Jesus Christ is present in . . . religions."
Bible-believing Lutherans were upset a few years ago when they learned of numerous heretical and unorthodox articles from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They were posted on the ELCA's official website under a section meant to explain the ELCA's beliefs and teachings, called “Dig Deeper.” The ELCA leadership took a great deal of well deserved heat for what the articles said and even though they never repudiated the articles or the teaching, with no apology, they removed them from elca.org.
Now with the help of a website which archives old web pages you can view the articles as they looked in 2009.
- Propagating the idea of Universalism (that all people go to heaven) is the ELCA article titled “Salvation” - See here.
- The ELCA questions the “Virgin Birth” in this informational page – See here.
- The ELCA's “The Bible” page (see here) has a section in which they say “Because Biblical writers, editors and compilers were limited by their times and world views, even as we are, the Bible contains material wedded to those times and places. It also means that writers sometimes provide differing and even contradictory views of God’s word, ways and will.”
The page also tells a few of the forms of study (biblical criticism) which the ELCA uses when studying Scripture. The article describes Redaction Criticism in this way, “understanding how writers creatively shaped material they inherit and how, perhaps, they brought nuances from their own context and culture.”
Here is a better description from a Christian apologetics website -
“Redaction Criticism of the Bible is the theory that different copyists and commentators of the early biblical writings embellished and altered the biblical texts throughout early Jewish and Christian history to make them appear more miraculous, inspirational, and legitimate. An example of redaction theory would be the claim that Old Testament prophecies were modified by redactors after the fact to make them appear as miraculous prophecies. Redaction criticism reduces the quality of the biblical record, casts strong doubt on its inspiration, and implies that the Bible is not trustworthy as a historical document." (read here)
- The ELCA's “The Resurrection” page promotes universalism and doubt about Christ's physical resurrection. See here.
Gnesio, an online magazine of Lutheran theology, addresses the ELCA's “The Resurrection” page saying:
“The resurrection for the ELCA does not necessarily have to be a historic event, but something of faith. From their website: 'All of this has led some scholars to write that the risen Jesus (and apparitions of the risen Jesus) is a supernatural reality which does not belong to this world and cannot be the object of historic investigation. Rather, Jesus’ resurrection is an object of faith.
Accordingly, ELCA members believe that what history does is to demonstrate the disciples’ faith in the resurrection. Their witness and testimony to Jesus’ post-death appearances make it abundantly clear that the resurrection was a primary object of the apostolic proclamation from Christianity’s very beginning.'
This view then means that it is not important whether Jesus is still dead in a tomb or not, just that you believe that He rose." (see here)
- The ELCA's page on “Satan” tells us that believing or not believing in Satan is a-okay. See here.
The ELCA took down these teaching webpages, but Exposing the ELCA has extensive evidence which shows that the ELCA leadership continues to believe, teach and allow these same heretical beliefs.
The other day, on my personal facebook page I wrote a message of praise to God because a church, that is near to where I grew up, voted to leave the ELCA. A facebook “friend” who it seems is an ELCA supporter, responded to my comment saying, "Sounds like you are praising the Devil, not God.” I challenged his comment and he responded by “unfriending” me.
This kind of thing is not uncommon. I regularly received comments and emails from ELCA supporters who do not like me or Exposing the ELCA. Here are a few examples that I have gotten in the last few weeks -
One person responded to my blog about using Ouija boards at an ELCA college (see here) said, “Dont point to the spec in your neighbors eye when there is a log in your own.” Another person said, “If you've left the ELCA, stop worrying about them. It is not your job to judge, it is God's. Worry about your own business. As a Christian, and a graduate of Concordia College, I am embarrassed for you. And may I just add that the 'devil worshiping, doors of hell opening' haunted house at Concordia was probably a great time, I wish I could have attended.” That same person also wrote, “Are you guys serious? Do you not have anything better to do with you time other than come up with reasons why the ELCA is a sinful organization? I think you're missing the whole point of the gospel. God loves the world. Done. End of story. Get over yourselves.”
It’s obvious that most of the ELCA supporters who write to me do not know Scripture. These people make God in their own image, the way they want Him to be, which means the god they say they know, follow or worship is a false god. That brings me to this next ELCA supporter:
I’ve been receiving long messages from someone who is very supportive of the ELCA’s acceptance of goddess worship. (don’t believe me about the ELCA’s involvement and acceptance of goddess worship? See here) Check out a few of the things this person has sent Exposing the ELCA -
“Indeed, *herchurch* represents a denomination that God the Father *does* want to see being supported!
You need to understand the position you people have put Heavenly Father into.
He has offered Christianity His Gift of gifts for almost 2,000 years -- the Pearl of pearls, the Supreme Gift in all of Infinity & Eternity that He could give womanity -- and you have turned your back on this Gift of gifts and *refused* Her. You have denounced Her, you have slandered Her, you have degraded Her in your thoughts, you have demonized Her -- indeed, in doing so, you have even *blasphemed* Her -- the *Most* Beloved of Heavenly Father, Who He has loved from *before* the Beginning of the Cosmos unto ForEverAfter, you have *blasphemed* -- She thru Whom all Existence (including the existence of your very *soul*) came into being.”
“You chose to believe your false interpretations of words in a book, edited & canonized by corrupt men with their own political-religious agenda of *controlling* the minds & beliefs of others. You chose this rather than actually pure-heartedly *seeking* Her Holy Spirit in your lives, to teach you "all things".”
“Praise Goddess that Her Spirit is so *alive* into this time! And *thank you* Heavenly Father for deciding that this is *Her* Time to come forth into history in the *Fullness* of Her Spirit, & that so many of us are privileged to be *alive* at this time to witness the beginnings of Your Further Revelations *as* Her.”
This person then quoted a rewrite of the Lord’s Prayer beginning with “Our Mother who art present in all life, in all Loving,
Generatrix of all gods & goddesses, of all living souls
-- holy is Your Essence.”
Not knowing, believing or following Scripture makes one susceptible to many things, including goddess worship.
Alfred Hoerig is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, a new ELCA mission congregation in Texas.
In the ELCA magazine, The Lutheran, we read this from an interview Pastor Hoerig had with the magazine, “Grace could emerge as a model of the ELCA church of the future, with its diversity and openness to letting people make up their own minds about their beliefs, he added.”
“(L)etting people make up their own minds about their beliefs” sounds like something a Unitarian Universalist would say, and here we have this ELCA magazine publishing this disturbing statement, a statement many members of the denomination will read. Followers of Christ are not made by telling people to “believe anything they want to believe, it doesn’t matter to God.”
Elsewhere in the article Pastor Hoerig is quoted saying, "The [new] congregation is made up of people who've been ostracized or alienated from other congregations, and people who've been burned by overzealous Christians and judgmental people who've said unkind things or insisted that [Grace members] live a certain way in order to be members of the church." (The Lutheran no longer has the entire article available to read on the internet. Here is the beginning of the article.)
This is the typical line and sentiment from the pro-ELCA, edit-the-Bible-to-say-what-I-want-it-to-say crowd. They love to label those who believe homosexuality is a sin, based on Scriptural evidence, as not “welcoming” and “judgmental.” Their definition of "welcoming" is "endorsing the homosexual lifestyle." The truth is Christian churches welcome sinners, they do not (should not) endorse sin. Satan has deceived the ELCA leadership and supporters. True love helps people out of sin and certainly does not encourage them to fully engage it. That is what Satan wants. Sadly, many in the ELCA are working with the devil.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has immersed itself, and promoted involvement of its members, in interfaith relations. A search of “interfaith” on elca.org confirms this. (see here) But when you look at all the interfaith work the ELCA is so heavily involved with, very little is about sharing the Good News of what Christ has done and the gift of eternal life that is available for those that believe. That is a huge problem and ELCA members should be asking themselves why this is so.
The ELCA’s May/June 2011 edition of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics focuses on helping to “inform and inspire encounters with our multi-religious neighbors.” In one article the Journal’s Associate Editor, Victor Thasiah, tells of one of his experiences. “Shortly after getting to know some young Muslim men from Malindi while traveling in Kenya in 2009, they invited me to join them for prayer — to observe and participate as I wished. Outside of the mosque, after removing my shoes, they welcomed me to wash my hands, feet, face, ears, and mouth — to purify myself from the evil I had thought, done, seen, heard, and spoken. On my knees . . .I cupped water with my hands to cover my ears. . .” The story ends with Victor saying, “I can say that one day in Nairobi I was baptized by a Muslim.” (read here)
In 2010 during an ELCA “Sharing the Gospel” event, the conference welcomed Muslim and Buddhist prayers and those in attendance were invited to participate with them if they wished. (read here)
The ELCA failing to tell people of other religions about salvation in Christ for those that believe is bad enough. But as the examples above show the ELCA seems to be moving toward the acceptance of prayers and worship to gods other than the one true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (see here and here for more examples)
What is going on in our denomination? Would Jesus participate in a prayer and cutting ceremony with the prophets of Baal? In Scripture God told His people to remove the temples and alters of other gods in the land of Israel, not to worship with these false religions. Solomon’s sin was that he worshipped the false gods of his wives. Yet the ELCA invites this.
When you combine the universalism teaching that is going on in the ELCA (teaching that all people will go to heaven - see more here) with the “Interfaithism” preached by this denomination, it is easy to see why the ELCA is not actively sharing the good news of forgiveness of sin and salvation in Christ for those that believe. (John 3:16) It is also easy to see how the ELCA will fall in line, lock, stock and barrel, with the end times one world government that the Bible talks about.
Pray that the ELCA repents of its ways.
The Bible teaches that we need to believe in Christ. John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The teaching of universalism, in essence, says that everyone will go to heaven no matter what they do, think, believe or worship. This is not Biblical and it is very dangerous. People will go to hell because they believe in universalism and not Christ. Yet here is a Luther Seminary (ELCA) professor arguing the merits of universalism and encouraging the preaching of this heresy.
“The Rob Bell Controversy: Does Anyone Go To Hell?“ by David Lose, Director, Center for Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary. (read here)
For more information on the ELCA’s support and teaching of universalism/ universal salvation see here.
ELCA affiliated Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, is hosting a lecture on Jan. 13, 2011, by Dr. Peter Ochs. Dr. Ochs is a “(p)rofessor of modern Judaic studies at the University of Virginia and founder of a revolutionary approach to reading scripture . . .” (read here)
Dr. Ochs will lecture about “scriptural reasoning” and will have a demonstration of how it is done. “Scriptural reasoning is a way of studying scripture with people from different faith traditions.” This includes studying the Qur’an with Muslims.
The press release put out by Augustana College says, “Ochs' lecture will show students and community members the importance of scriptural reasoning for peace and understanding between traditions. ‘Divine voice(s) are not heard deeply without learning and effort — and, we add, without listening to those who hear in ways that are slightly different,’ he said.” (read here)
You may want to read the above quote again. Augustana is bring Dr. Ochs in to their college to “show students and community members” this method where “Divine voices” are heard in other faiths.
This is another example of an ELCA-related entity that is introducing false doctrine. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the one true God. They are not the god of the Muslims or any other religion. (read more about this here)
Rev. Tim Singleton is a ELCA pastor at New Horizons Lutheran Church in Falcon, CO. You may remember him from an previous article on Exposing the ELCA. (see here)
Rev. Singleton calls himself a Trinitarian Universalist. In a recent blog he explained, in detail, his thoughts on salvation. He said,
"I am convinced. . . that the Spirit of Christ is present within all compassionate faiths.
A rose by any other name is still a rose; and Christ by any other name is still Christ. Christians say Christ, Buddhists say Buddha, Hindus say Krishna, and so on — different names for the same Spiritual Reality revealed through different languages and cultures. Furthermore, God by any other name is still God. Jews say Hashem (Yahweh), Christians say Trinity, Muslims say Allah, Buddhists say Nirvana, Hindus say Brahma, Native Americans say Great Spirit, and Boy Scouts say Great Scout Master. These are different ways of addressing the Ultimate One, articulated through different languages and cultures — but God is God nonetheless." (read more of his blog here)
Rev. Singleton words are strikingly similar to comments made by ELCA Bishop Robert Rimbo of the Metropolitan New York Synod. He recently said, "We commend ourselves to the reliable and merciful arms of the God of Abraham, the God whom Jesus calls Abba, the God whom Muslims and Christians in various parts of the world call Allah. This God promises a reign in which all shall be well." (read here)
Rev. Singleton and Bishop Rimbo's opinion here is not Biblical. God clearly shows in Scripture that He is not the god of other religions. I Kings 18:21 says, "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.'" If you keep reading this chapter in I Kings you will find out that Elijah, the prophet of God, had the prophets of Baal killed. That is not an action a "god of all religions, just called by different names" would take.
II Kings 17: 35-39 says, "When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: 'Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.'"
God clearly tells us in His Scripture that He alone is to be worshipped (see Exodus 20:2-3). For the ELCA to allow and Rev. Singleton to say that the Father/Son/Holy Spirit is the same as the gods of other religions is heresy!
The ELCA is putting the souls of billions of people at risk by teaching and encouraging universalism.
Read more about Universalism in the ELCA
(Todays "Exposed Blog" is written by a pastor from Michigan.) An ELCA news release today highlights the August 30th "Public Statement on the Islamic Center Proposal" by Bishop Robert Rimbo of the Metropolitan New York Synod. In his concluding comments, Bishop Rimbo states: "We commend ourselves to the reliable and merciful arms of the God of Abraham, the God whom Jesus calls Abba, the God whom Muslims and Christians in various parts of the world call Allah. THIS GOD (my capitals) promises a reign in which all shall be well."
Am I understanding correctly that the learned bishop is referring here to God almighty revealed in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, as the God of many names, including Allah? Or perhaps, a public acknowledgment of many paths to God. It appears so, at least to me, since the bishop says THIS GOD PROMISES A REIGN...(all singular).
Isn't this yet another example of the "big tent" ELCA which bends over backward to avoid or distort the biblical name of God for the sake of secular tolerance and "political correctness?"
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently held an event called "Sharing the Gospel in a 2.0 World." On day three of the conference Muslim and Buddhist prayers were giving at the invitation of the ELCA.
Two students who were with a group called Interfaith Youth Core, and whose Muslim founder and executive director Eboo Patel (read here) was a keynote speaker for the "Sharing the Gospel" event, gave the Muslim and Buddhist prayers.
Sue Rothmeyer, ELCA Associate Executive Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries said, "out of hospitality we offered these students the opportunity to pray." Rothmeyer went on to say, "we carefully stated to (the assembly) it was out of the student's tradition and we invited everyone to listen and participate as they felt comfortable."
A conference attendee said of the prayers, "I think everyone in the room thought they were quite beautiful and appreciated people sharing something out of their faith traditions."
I have problems with the inclusiveness gospel the ELCA is preaching and conducting. They sacrifice the Good News for the sake of trying to be accepting, tolerant and understanding. The fact of the matter is, sharing the Good News is the most loving, kind and caring thing they could do. But bringing people to the saving grace of Jesus doesn't matter to these ELCA leaders.
Now they have prayers, to false gods, given at their "Sharing the Gospel" ELCA event. Jesus would NEVER allow that. He would have been filled with holy anger if the prophets of Baal were in the temple leading people in prayers to their god.
Sadly the real Jesus doesn't matter in today's ELCA. Satan has them rejecting the Bible and following his rules. Then the ELCA cloaks everything they do in quasi-christian language and hope you don't notice.