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."
The television mini-series, The Bible has been a ratings winner for the History Channel (over 12 million people watching the final show) and has been the talk of media outlets, twitter and the general population. Franklin Graham said, "This mini-series will cause many people to take an interest in the Bible that otherwise might not have." How awesome is that? God's Word portrayed on television drawing people to Himself!
But in typical ELCA fashion, the ELCA-wide group, Women of the ELCA (WELCA) does not like the high impact mini-series, The Bible, which is no surprise based on the way the denomination seems to view the actual Bible. The other day I come across a post on Facebook by WELCA (April 1st) pointing to a blog on their website blasting the show. The post said,
“Today's blogger takes a critical look at the History Channel's series 'The Bible.' Popular, yes? Accurate, no.” Then WELCA provided a link to their article (see the WELCA facebook page here)
So what was the WELCA blogger's problem that caused her to claim, “The mini-series 'The Bible' retold one of the most heinous lies”? Reading the article we find that the blogger doesn't like the skin color of some of the actors. That's right. The blogger admits, “I only watched the first episode” but then says, “I didn’t need to see any more after the blonde Noah spoke with something between a Welsh and Scottish accent. That was enough because watching that first installment was like witnessing a reckless April Fool’s Day joke.”
She continues, “I don’t need to watch White producers and actors stretch an old lie into the future” and “We are not supposed to lie.” Going into a full-on rant she says, “Jesus was not White. Noah was not White. Adam was not White. No one in ancient biblical times was White. And there were only a few 'Gentiles' in the New Testament and they were not Northern European Gentiles. Wake up!” (see here)
Really!! Does this author know the skin color of Adam? (if she even believes in a historical Adam, that is) Does she know what Noah and Jesus looked like? Does it matter?
I find it interesting that Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America says the people associated with the mini-series are perpetuating lies (and I reject that claim) while WELCA itself is part of a denomination that believes the Bible is filled with lies.
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
Why would a Christian denomination pay a lecturer to speak at their events who does not believe Jesus physically rose from the dead? Why would the same denomination recommend and use that lecturer's teaching resources when he doesn't even believe God exist? Those are good questions every lay person should be asking the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The lecturer I am referring to is John Dominic Crossan, co-founder of the Jesus Seminar (read about it here) and popular New Testament scholar. Let me first show you the multitude of ways the ELCA has sought Crossan and provided access to his teachings, then we will document some specifics of what this man teaches and believes.
- The Southwest California Synod promotes Crossan's lecture in their “Synnouncements” mailing. They write “John Dominic Crossan Lectures in Solvang. Bethania Lutheran Church. . .Solvang, CA. . .will have the honor of hosting Dr. John Dominic Crossan at our Farstrup-Mortensen Lecture Series from February 22-24, 2013. The theme for the lectures is: 'Jesus and the Kingdom of God.'" (see here)
- This event was promoted by the ELCA's East Central Synod of Wisconsin. They wrote, “Wisconsin Council of Churches presents their 2014 Winter Forum at Wisconsin Dells. This year’s Inaugural Winter Forum Lecture Series is The ABBA Prayer of Jesus: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer Dr. John Dominic Crossan.” (see here)
- Here we have the ELCA website promoting a book written by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. (see here)
- The official ELCA website promoting video series presented by Crossan - “First Light: Jesus and the Kingdom of God" (see here)
- ELCA website recommending a Crossan study guide. (see here)
- Advertisement for Crossan DVD series in the ELCA's Lutheran-Partners magazine. (see here)
- The ELCA's Seeds recommended a Crossan work for the Lenten season. They wrote, “Several of our pastors recommend The Last Week: A Day by Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. . .Peter Gomes, Brian McLaren, Barbara Brown Taylor and others say this is a ‘must read’ for clergy and lay leaders alike.” (read here)
- ELCA's ministry of publishing is selling a book featuring Crossan. (see here)
- Many ELCA churches are conducting studies using Crossan's materials. This is just a few of them. (see here, here, here and here)
- Crossan speaks at Lutheran Professors and Graduate Students Breakfast Sponsored by Augsburg Fortress (ELCA publishing company). (see here)
- A search of just one ELCA Synod (the Eastern North Dakota Synod) found them offering 8 different resources from Crossan. (see here)
- Crossan lecture at First Lutheran Church, Greensboro, NC - 2006. (see here)
- Four lectures at St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wauwatosa, WI, 2008. (see here)
What does John Dominic Crossan teach and believe?
- Four lectures, sermon, and Adult Education at Messiah Community Church Denver, CO 2009. (see here)
“Crossan says Jesus was an exploited 'peasant with an attitude' who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.
Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan” (read here).
The following are quotes by John Dominic Crossan from his book Who Is Jesus? (found here) "Do I personally believe in an afterlife? No, but to be honest, I do not find it a particularly important question one way or the other."
"Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."
"Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets.' Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."
"In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life." “The second coming will not be literal. The second coming is what will happen when we Christians accept that there was only one coming and get with the program.” (see here)
During this debate, we find out Crossan doesn't even believe in the actual existence of God -
“(Dr. William Lane) Craig: But surely that’s not a meaningless question. It’s a factual question. Was there a being who was the Creator and Sustainer of the universe during the period of time when no human beings existed? It seems to me that in your view you’d have to say no.
Crossan: Well, I would probably prefer to say no because what you’re doing is trying to put yourself in the position of God and ask, 'How is God apart from revelation? How is God apart from faith?'” (see here)
More Crossan quotes - “In conclusion, what is the historicity of the burial account [of Jesus]? From Roman expectations, the body of Jesus and of any others crucified with him would have been left on the cross as carrion [dead and putrefying flesh] for the crows and the dogs. From Jewish expectations, would not Deuteronomy 21:22-23 have been followed? Maybe, but only the barest maybe…
But, even if it was, the soldiers who crucified Jesus probably would have done it, speedily and indifferently, in a necessary shallow and mounded grave rather than a rock-hewn tomb. That would mean lime, at best, and the dogs again, at worst.” (Who Killed Jesus?, 187, 188) by John Dominic Crossan
“The tales of entombment and resurrection were latter-day wishful thinking. Instead, Jesus’ corpse went the way of all abandoned criminals bodies: it was probably barely covered with dirt, vulnerable to the wild dogs that roamed the wasteland of the execution grounds.” John Dominic Crossan as quoted in Richard N. Ostling, “Jesus Christ, Plain and Simple,” Time, 10 January 1994.
What others say about John Dominic Crossan
- Hank Hanegraaff, Christian radio host says this about Crossan - "Jesus Seminar cofounder John Dominic Crossan claims that there were dozens of virgin birth stories circulating in Greek and Roman mythology during the first century. Says Crossan, 'They’re all over Greek and Roman mythology, so what do I do? Do I believe all of those stories, or do I say all of those stories are lies except for our Christian story?'" “The truth of the matter is that historical evidence for the veracity of extrabiblical virgin birth stories is nil.” (read here).
- Dennis Ingolfsland writes this of Crossan -
“Jesus was a 'peasant Jewish Cynic,' who never thought of Himself as the Jewish Messiah, much less the Son of God or the Savior of the world. This is the view held by John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar, reputed to be one of the world’s leading experts on the historical study of Jesus. According to Crossan and others who share his view, Jesus was simply an itinerant preacher who taught that the kingdom of God had to do with how the world would be run if God sat on Caesar’s throne. Jesus’ ministry had nothing to do with helping people find God, salvation, or heaven.” (see here)
- Father Robert Barron, writing about Crossan says -
“How does Crossan explain the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? They are, he says, essentially 'parables,' figurative representations of the disciples’ conviction that Jesus’ way was more powerful than the Roman way. They were never meant to be taken literally but rather as poetic inspirations for the succeeding generations of Jesus’ followers.
How does he explain the church’s dogma of Jesus’ divinity? It is, essentially, a misleading overlay that effectively obscures the dangerous truth of who Jesus really was: a threat to the cultural, religious and political status quo.” (see here)
- Video of Dr. William Lane Craig answering a question about John Dominic Crossan's view on the resurrection of Jesus. (only 5 min. long)
- Here is a review of Crossan's book JESUS - A Revolutionary Biography by KIRKUS REVIEW
“Here, we get a politically correct Christ stripped of all mythology, a revolutionary social leader who taught 'radical egalitarianism' but performed no miracles, except that of awakening social consciousness (Crossan reads Jesus' casting out of demons as a blow against colonialism). This is, then, the Jesus of liberation theology, not of the Christian scholarly mainstream (up to now, Crossan has been best known for another unconventional and little-accepted theory, positing the existence of a 'cross gospel' that predates the passion narratives of the canonical texts). As usual, Crossan's scholarship is good, with a command of cultural anthropology, Greco-Roman history, and textual analysis. Eyebrows will rise often, though, as he goes beyond facts into conjecture: Jesus `did not and could not cure...disease' despite his laying-on-of-hands; Jesus never met Pilate or Caiaphas; the Barabbas tale is fiction (a dismissal based largely on Crossan's subjective reading of Pilate's personality), as are the Last Supper, the Raising of Lazarus, the Virgin Birth, etc. Moreover, at his most extreme, Crossan suggests that Jesus' body, far from being resurrected, was probably buried in a shallow grave and eaten by dogs.” (see here)
- Mark Allan Powell writes -
“Most Christians are aware that Jesus does many things in the New Testament that fulfill prophecies of the Old Testament. Skeptical scholars suggest that, in some instances, the Gospel writers are creating facts about Jesus in order to have him fulfill the prophecies. Thus, they invented the story of the virgin birth because Isaiah 7:14 speaks of a virgin bearing a son, and they decided to say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Micah 5:2 indicates the Messiah will be born there. While a number of scholars may allow that such influences come into play here or there, John Dominic Crossan thinks that much (most?) of the Gospel accounts of Jesus came about this way--including everything in his last week of life.
According to Crossan, all the Gospel writers knew about that last week was that Jesus got grabbed by the Romans and crucified (possibly, according to Crossan, he was just caught up in a mob of Jewish rabble that got crucified for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Gospel writers, Crossan thinks, made up the rest--the stories about Jesus’ trial before Pilate, about the release of Barabbas, about Simon of Cyrene, the thief on the cross, the centurion’s confession, the burial in a garden, and of course the resurrection--the Gospel writers made it all up out of nothing to show that Jesus had fulfilled a bunch of Old Testament prophecies.” (see here)
There we have it. ELCA leaders seek out this kind of teacher (and others who think similarly, like Marcus Borg – see here). Is it any wonder the ELCA leadership has abandoned Biblical truth for their own “truth” or is this just a result of it? Heretics have control of the ELCA leadership and they teach in their seminaries. Pray for them and also for the people sitting in ELCA pews who they are trying to influence and bring toward their heretical beliefs.
You are an animal, so says the leadership of the ELCA. This belief results from the rejection of the historical account of creation told in the Bible. Instead they believe in and teach the theory of evolution as truth. The February 2013 edition of the official magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran, contains an article where we are told that:
“the scientific evidence for evolution inspires some Christians to celebrate God's ongoing and oft-surprising creativity, but it deeply offends others.”
“For centuries humans regarded themselves to be distinct and above other animals and the material world. But evolution indicates full embedded-ness in nature. Unless one hears and believes that God is faithfully with us in our created, embedded state, one could sense that we might be abandoned animals cruelly subject to capricious forces.”
“When we waste our belief on other things besides God, it is what the Bible called idolatry, and Jesus also called foolishness. Likewise, disbelief of some things that are not God can be foolish and even idolatrous, on par with misdirected belief. . .one's 'disbelief' of evolution can mask resistance to the humility inherent in being a created, finite animal.” (read here)
This was written by ELCA seminary professor Gilson A.C. Waldkoenig of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.) and published by the leadership of the denomination in their official magazine.
So lets review what they are saying. We are animals. If you believe the Bible and not evolution, you are foolish, lacking in humility, and idolatrous. That seems backward (and evil) to me, and it should to anyone else whose eyes are not blinded by the enemy.
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.
This is telling - "Most white evangelical Protestants (73 percent), as well as 55 percent of white Catholics and 53 percent of black Protestants, say it is morally wrong to have an abortion. That compares with 36 percent of white mainline Protestants and just 20 percent of the religiously unaffiliated." (see here)
Most every member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America falls under the heading “white mainline Protestants.”
- I haven't heard of any ELCA bishops publicly standing against abortion nor have I seen the denomination supporting any pro-life initiatives.
- I had always believed the ELCA leadership to be pro-abortion (read here) but now I see that the majority of ELCA members also support the killing of children in the womb.
- A pro-life supporter worshiping in an ELCA church is a lot like a pro-life supporter working for Planned Parenthood.
This comes from the ELCA worship planning resource “SUNDAYS AND SEASONS.” - “Gospel, 1st Advent: God will fulfill God's purposes and, already, hidden signs of that fulfillment abound. On that great day there will be dismay, perplexity, confusion, and terror, but God's people shall be given strength to stand boldly and receive God's promised redemption.”Where are the pronouns? It seems like the resource is doing everything possible, in this instance, to avoid calling God “He.”
I thought the following video was worth posting. The hosts' answer a woman’s question, “Is it wrong in God's eyes to attend a church that doesn't follow the Bible?”
Here is part of their answer, “Are you born again? Seriously, are you a Christian? . . . Have you repented of your sins? Are you trusting in Jesus alone? Because if you are you will love God's word and you'll never ever support a church that is teaching error.”
Start watching at the 7 minute mark -
ELCA leaders worship the god of Muslims. At least that is the logical conclusion most would come to when they look into what ELCA leaders are saying.
The magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran, ran an article in the January 2013 issue about Muslims. The article was another attempt by ELCA leadership to indoctrinate its members into believing a heretical, blasphemous idea. The article included an argument supporting the claim that the God we Christians worship is the same god Muslims worship. Liberal heretics have been saying this for awhile now, and we will address this lie shortly, but lets first look at what The Lutheran had to say.
The magazine presented this statement to two ELCA experts: “Some people say 'Allah' is the name of a pagan moon god and isn't the same as the 'God' of the Bible.”
David D. Grafton, ELCA missionary serving as the coordinator for graduate studies at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt replied: “This is a very old claim. It's similar to an old Christian argument about the 'God of the Old Testament' being distinct from the 'God of the New.' That, of course, was declared a heresy long ago.”
Michael Shelley, dean and vice president for academic affairs at the ELCA's Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, answered by saying that “Allah” was one of many gods in Arabia, before the Koran was written, and was considered “the creator.” Prof. Shelley then says, “Are Allah and the God of the Bible the same? Certainly the Quran contends they are. It says to Jews and Christians, 'Our God and your God is one' (Quran 29:46) . . . we are likely to have a more constructive conversation with our Muslim neighbors if we proceed on the assumption that we are talking about the same divine being.” (see here)
So The Lutheran tells its readers that we worship the same god as the Muslims. The ELCA's Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson has said the same thing in a letter to Muslims saying “(t)he one God whom we worship is a God not only of judgment, but of mercy and peace." (see here)
There are a number of reasons the ELCA does this. One reason, I believe, is because of the ELCA's acceptance of universal salvation, that all people will go to heaven no matter what they believe, who they worship or if they've placed their faith in Christ. The ELCA has walked away from leading people to a saving relationship with Christ which makes “working together” with “all people” the focus of why the ELCA exists.
Now there are a number of reasons we can say with confidence that the God of the Bible and the Muslim god are not the same god. I will give you three:
The ELCA's thinking and teaching is evil, and it blasphemes God. It is a teaching that comes from the pit of hell. I don't know how much longer God will allow the ELCA to mock Him.
- Muslims claim the teachings of their most holy book, the Koran, came from an angel. The Koran denies Jesus is the son of God. In Galatians 1 it indicates that gospels other than the gospel of the Bible are not from (our) God even if “an angel from heaven” preaches it.
- The Bible and the Koran contradict each other on major theological issues. If they were the same god there would not be these huge contradictions.
- The Bible and the Koran also portray very different and contradictory attributes of God. This again is a strong evidence that they are not the same God. (see here)
If you haven't read my blog “The ELCA is No Longer a Christian Denomination” you should. It could just as easily been titled “The God of the Bible and the God of the ELCA are not the same.”
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)
A news release by the ELCA News Service details the happenings at the recent ELCA Conference of Bishops. The news service reports that -
“David Swartling, ELCA secretary, who announced that he would not seek another term as secretary at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. In an earlier communication sent to the Conference of Bishops, (Presiding Bishop Mark) Hanson indicated his willingness to be available for another term.”
We also are told that ELCA treasurer, Rev. Linda Norman, announced “Financial contributions from congregations for the work of synods and the churchwide organization in the form of Mission Support for the first seven months in 2012 was $27.3 million, a decrease of $0.4 million or 1.3 percent from the previous year.”
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson also reported to the Council of Bishops at this time. In that report Hanson said, "If we lose our deep rootedness in Scripture, in the Lutheran Confessions, in the church and in Christ, we will lose confidence in the Holy Spirit. We will lose faith." (read here)
I don't disagree with Bishop Hanson's statement, but the irony in the ELCA leader’s words is the fact that the ELCA has already “los(t) our deep rootedness in Scripture” and continues to walk farther away from God’s Word. He is culpable and responsible for that happening.
The ELCA is not rooted in Scripture (or “in the Lutheran Confessions, in the church and in Christ.”) Sadly, Bishop Hanson doesn’t realize it. He needs to open his eyes and see the truth of the situation the ELCA is in and that they already have lost confidence in the Holy Spirit and have lost faith.
Bishop Hanson also made this statement. "We also have the opportunity and responsibility to ask, what does it mean to be deeply rooted in Christ and always being made new as we live in communities of increasing religious pluralism?" "With the recent increase in anti-Muslim incidents, the deadly shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and demonstrations and violence in the Middle East, we all need to be asking, what is a faithful, Lutheran evangelical witness in such a context?”
I find it perplexing that Bishop Hanson would highlight the incredibly rare problem of “anti-Muslim” incidents in his report. The statistics show this:
In the United States, “There were 107 hate crimes recorded against Muslims in 2009, compared to 931 anti-semitic hate crimes.” (read here)
“Law enforcement agencies reported 1,376 hate crimes motivated by religious bias. A breakdown of biases for these offenses showed:
70.1 percent were anti-Jewish.
9.3 percent were anti-Islamic.”
2009 statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice— Federal Bureau of Investigation (read here)
Here are some statistics from New York state:
“Anti-Semitic incidents, which made up 37 percent of the reported hate crimes, were up 15 percent in one year, from 219 in 2008 to 251 in 2009.”
“Crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment rose from eight to 11.” (read here)
The ELCA has a Muslim fetish and an anti-Jewish spirit that continues to manifest itself just like it did days ago in the ELCA’s attack letter to the United States Congress against Israel. (read here)