What do you know . . . An ELCA leader doesn’t believe what the Bible says; this time its about Jesus’ birth. Surprise and Merry Christmas! (Do they celebrate Christmas in the ELCA any longer?)
Here is what was said by Rev. Dr. Don Carlson, Assistant to the Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, concerning the two accounts of Jesus’ birth in the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke:
“They are very different stories which are quite incompatible with one another. . .I certainly do not believe they are ‘historical’ in any modern understanding of historicity. . .I think that the stories are made up. (I’m retiring at the end of May anyway so don’t waste time with the heresy accusations.) They are myth” (read here).
Here is what Rev. Carlson had to say about Christ being born of a virgin:
“Focusing on the virgin birth issue, we need to remember that accounts of virgin or miraculous births were not uncommon antiquity. However, we also need to remember that such accounts were intended to express something about the character of the person born. They were a ‘character reference’ or ‘credentials.’ They were not intended to explain where the individual got 23 of his or her chromosomes. An understanding of fertilization and pregnancy in antiquity was, let’s say, ‘agrarian’ at best.” (read in the same article linked above)
Toward the end of his blog/article Rev. Carlson gives this advice to pastors: “tell the old mythic story in a way that. . . it is heard anew”. In order to prove his points in the blog, the Assistant to the Bishop recommends a discussion of the birth narratives by the controversial Marcus Borg. (find out more about him here)
Pastor Steve Shipman, director of LutheranCORE addresses those who teach like Rev. Carlson. Rev. Shipman wrote:“If a person chooses not to believe the Virgin Birth, they are free to do so. But they have no right then to claim to be a teacher or believer in Christianity. The faith once delivered to the saints is not a cafeteria from which we can pick and choose what pleases us.
If Jesus were born in the usual way, then what does it mean that He is 'the Word made flesh'? How can God be his Father in the way the Church has always proclaimed, if he is biologically the child of both Mary and Joseph (or even, as certain blasphemous legends suggest, of Mary and some other man)? Some early Christians made arguments for what is called ‘adoptionism,’ which taught that Jesus wasn’t born Son of God but was adopted into that role at his baptism by John. This was quickly rejected as heresy, because then the good news of the Incarnation simply can’t stand.
And it does matter for our salvation that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.’ It does matter that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ If Jesus is just a good human being, even a perfect human being, He cannot save us but would only have saved Himself. But because He is God among us, taking our humanity into the life of the Holy Trinity, we have a marvelous hope for this life and the next.” (read here)
What I am reporting isn’t just one ELCA leader preaching heresy. No. Rev. Carlson’s article was posted on the website and blog of Michael Rinehart, bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bishop Rinehart is responsible for the article’s posting on his blog and he is culpable for what it says. ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, the ELCA’s Church Council and all high-ranking ELCA leaders are also responsible and culpable for what he (and others) say and/or for allowing theologically false-teaching to be preached. Allowing this heresy is the same as promoting it yourself. They are accomplices and are leading people away from God’s Truth and way from Christ.
People who don’t believe basic Christian truths and historic stories in the Bible are running the ELCA, teaching in the seminaries, preaching in the pulpits and “teaching” you about Christianity. Honestly, I believe Satan has infiltrated the ELCA and placed his people in leadership positions.
Here’s some more information on Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Dr. Don Carlson:
- Some of Rev. Carlson responsibilities as Assistant to the Bishop are “Call Process, Candidacy, Theological Education, Leadership” (see here).
- Carlson, a gay man, has been pushing homosexuality issues in the ELCA for years. (link provided upon request)
- As Exposing the ELCA has reported, Rev. Carlson has said a number of unBiblical things in the past (see here and here)
ELCA Pastor number one:
A few days ago, Liliana Stahlberg, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided to comment on Exposing the ELCA’s facebook page. Her comments came in response to a linked article entitled, “UCC Minister Enlists Help of Anti-Semitic Publication to Get Message Out.” Rev. Stahlberg said “Good for him!” Just after her praise for this UCC minister’s partnering with a Jew-hating publication she said, “Why do you guys waste your time hating people?”
On another section of our facebook page Rev. Stahlberg commented, "Exposing the ELCA is the true apostate church along with word alone, lutheran core and the likes...you are truly sad people!”
Liliana Stahlberg is the pastor of Highlands Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado. (see here) Looking around on Highlands Lutheran Church’s facebook page (see here), I found a great deal of praise for many theologically questionable emergent church leaders. One post said “Highlanders, join me and others for this outstanding event where Brian McLaren a present day prophet speaks on how to turn hostility into hospitality! HE IS AMAZING!” and another post said “Bolz-Weber is preaching this Sunday at HLC! Come one, come all!”(read about Rev. Bolz-Weber here) Rev. Stahlberg’s church also shared articles on their facebook page by Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne.
Just today Rev. Stahlberg returned to Exposing the ELCA’s facebook page to share more of her anger saying, “How arrognat of Dan Skogen to think he knows what God's word really is? he has never heard of Christ obviously!” and “Why are you guys sooooo homophobic? What are you afraid of? Why do you let your reptilian part of the brain take over the cortex that makes you human?”
Surely this woman is destined for greatness within the apostate Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
ELCA pastor number two:
Retired ELCA pastor, John-Otto Liljenstolpe, recently sent a comment to Exposing the ELCA in support of ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, when he came across a blog of mine entitled, “What is Bishop Hanson's Motivation?” I decided to do a little research on Rev. Liljenstolpe and found out he is a 9/11 truther. Rev. Liljenstolpe signed a petition on a website called, Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth and he penned this statement found on the same website: “I agree that the official conspiracy theory offered us by the Bush Administration appointed committee is not credible. I therefore demand that a panel be appointed involving physicists, engineers, architects, pilots, former intelligence officials, and military officers, historians, journalists - some of these being from other nations to evaluate the 9/11 WTC incident in the light of the available facts.” (see here)
I also came across a video of Pastor Liljenstolpe leading a prayer for protesters at Occupy Seattle.
I’m beginning to think the only requirement for being an ELCA pastor is to deny Biblical Truth. Anything else is fine.
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.
I recommend you take a look at the latest Lutheran CORE newsletter. There are four articles that deal with the ELCA. (see the newsletter here)
Look for these articles -
Farewell words from Pr. Mark Chavez (p. 1)
Lutherans Reform! — South Central Pennsylvania (p. 4)
Why I am a member of Lutheran CORE (p. 5)
One congregation’s journey (p. 7) - (be sure to read this one!)
Exposing the ELCA is on twitter. Follow us by going here
WordAlone Ministries, a stalwart in calling the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America back to its Biblical and Confessional roots, has decided to halt its ministry due to financial reasons. For twelve-plus years WordAlone has faithfully carried out God’s calling. Undoubtedly, their work lives on, as WordAlone has been instrumental in the forming of the LCMC, LutheranCORE and Sola Publishing.
Exposing the ELCA is saddened to see WordAlone Ministries close its doors, but we praise God for the work He has done through this faithful organization. Please keep the WordAlone leadership and staff in your prayers as they seek His direction for what is next in their lives.
Read WordAlone Ministries Announcement here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wants to change the rules. They want to make it much harder for orthodox, traditional, Scripture-believing ELCA churches to leave the denomination.
Read all about it on the front page of Lutheran CORE's newsletter (here). The proposal will be voted on in August 2011 at the next ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
How are these proposed amendments acceptable? Is this an example of Christian love? Did God give the ELCA leadership a 'new revelation' to 'do whatever possible' to take away congregations' free will? The ELCA gives lip-service to respecting our "bound conscience," but in reality their intentions and motivations are only self-serving. Sadly, the ELCA is trying to force you to partake in their heresy, false teachings and false gospel. My advice - Get out now!
After exposing an anti-Israeli resolution being voted on at Metropolitan Chicago Synod Assembly, (read here) I am happy to tell you that the good people in the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod are standing up to the ELCA, while they boldly stand for truth and God's Word.
Below are a number of the resolutions that will be voted on.
Item One: Conference [One] Teaching Statement
We, the members of Conference One of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA teach and believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and sexual activities belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage.
Item Two: Memorial on the Teaching of Marriage
BE IT RESOLVED that this synod teach and [confess] that marriage is between one man and one woman and sexual activity belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage.
Item Three: Memorial to the Synod Assembly
WHEREAS, the decisions of the 2009 CWA in regard to the implemented resolutions of rostered leaders in Publically Accountable Life-long Monogamous Same-sex relationship have wounded the collegial relationships within our synod, therefore be it,
RESOLVED, that the 2010 Assembly of the Southwestern PA synod of the ELCA censure (to critize severely, to blame, as from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) the decisions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly in adopting the Social statement, ”Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” and the four resolutions on Ministry Policies (CA09.05.23-24-26 & 27) as violations of the Confession of Faith, Chapter 2, of the ELCA Constitution, and be it further
RESOLVED, that the ELCA Church Council be advised of this resolution.
Item Four: Memorial to rescind the actions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly
WHEREAS the members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA regard the actions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly on Ministry Policies and the actions of the Church Council to implement them to be violations of the ELCA’s Constitution (Confession of Faith, chapter two) be it
RESOLVED, that the 2010 Assembly of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA memorialize the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly to rescind the four resolutions on Ministry Policies (CA09.05.23-24-26 & 27) and their implementation.
Item Five: Memorial to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly—Stand with Africa
WHEREAS the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in its April 29, 2010 press release declared:
“This church does not accept reasons offered by advocates of same-sex marriage and its legitimacy unless it is based on the Word of God and Biblical teaching; therefore, we reject inappropriate and false interpretations of scripture produced to justify the marriage of people of the same gender.
“This church encourages and supports all those around the world who oppose churches that have taken the decision to legalize same-sex marriage.
The statement goes on to say:
“Those supporting same-sex marriages have started to do all they can to destroy one Biblical passage after another in order to legalize homosexuality and affirm that marriage is not necessarily between a man and a woman. They do so by putting forward their new and wrong interpretation – one which displays an attitude and understanding which differs from that which has existed for many years in the Church regarding the meaning of marriage in accordance with the teachings of the Word of God.”
“Some Bible passages that have been misused and given another interpretation to defend same-sex marriage are the following: Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24, Matthew 19:5-7, Romans 1:26-27, Galatians 3:28, etc.”
The statement goes on to say:
“The ELCA and otherpeople worldwide who support our stand on the issue of opposing same-sex marriage believe that the Bible cannot be interpreted according to people’s wishes or according to other authorities of to culture. Rather, the Bible is self explanatory and is merely translated into various languages without altering the meaning.”
BE IT RESOLVED that we, the members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA stand in solidarity with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania’s statement.
Item Six: Conference [One] Declaration
We, the members of Conference [One] of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA declare this conference to be a Lutheran CORE Conference.
Link to the article.
Seems to me that the ELCA is trying to intimidate congregations that are or would consider leaving the ELCA, into staying. This is also an great example what the ELCA truly is about. They say it is ok to have differing theology on homosexuality, but in reality if a pastor or congregation disagrees with the ELCA positions, they will punish you.
There will be much more of this to come, I'm sure.
A lot of hot (and crazy) wind is blowing and it is coming from Philadelphia. Specifically from Lutheran Theological Seminary (ELCA) Professor Jon Pahl.
Jon seems upset. I don't blame him. He works for a denomination that has turned its back on God's word and is in danger of dying. People are leaving the ELCA in droves and Jon gets most of his paycheck from that dying denomination. So he is going on the attack.
Professor Pahl begins, "All in all, the core of Lutheran CORE is rotten."
He claims heresies abound in Lutheran CORE and that the organization is about "American imperial ambition."
"Its mostly white, male, clergy fear the loss of privilege that heterosexual orientation and male status have so faithfully (and profitably) delivered over the decades and centuries," says the professor. Jon should really stop there because this fit he is throwing will do nothing to persuade the bible-believing ELCA members to want to stay in the ELCA. But he doesn't.
"Informed largely by American civil religion, and seeking to preserve not the 'great tradition' of the church, but instead the 'traditional' values of heterosexual, white, male, privilege, it is my studied historical judgment that Lutheran CORE cannot, and will not, play a major role in the history of the church," says Professor Pahl.
Our good professor then says the way Lutheran CORE defines marriage does not come from the Bible or Lutheran Confessions but it does come from the "'Defense of Marriage Acts' that have emerged in federal and state legislation as efforts to keep gays and lesbians from the civil and economic rights. . . These laws are distinctively American" (meaning "bad"), "and they are unjust because they legitimize unnecessary violence."
Professor Pahl, thank you for helping to support the view that the last place anyone would want to call a pastor from nowadays, is an ELCA seminary.
Article, found on the official ELCA website. (readers, thank you for sending this article to me)