Universal salvation, the view that all people will be saved, is taking over the ELCA as the prominent belief regarding salvation, thanks to the leadership of the denomination. (see here and here) This anti-Biblical, dangerous belief is thriving and leaders in the ELCA are not only doing nothing to stop it, but they are promoting it. All at the expense of billions of souls.
Truth be told, there is no reason to be preaching and teaching universal salvation. First and foremost, it goes against God’s truth revealed to us in the Bible (see here ). Secondly, if it was true, a person would be saved no matter if he/she believed in universal salvation or not.
We know that universal salvation is unfounded and false, yet the ELCA is promoting this belief. The ramifications of this wrong teaching have eternal consequences. 1) Because those that believe this are not telling people about their need for our Savior. 2) People do and believe whatever they want because they think they are “saved know matter what.” Sorry, but universal salvation in the gospel of Satan.
Sadly here is another ELCA leader preaching and teaching universal salvation. Mark Thomsen, Visiting Professor of Mission, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), writes,
“It would appear that if one takes Jesus seriously, faith in the finality of Christ necessarily includes the recognition of God's creative saving work outside of hearing and believing in Jesus Christ!”
“God's universal transforming work identified in the resurrection of Christ has saving significance for the whole of creation and the whole human family, not just for those who hear and respond to the gospel.” (read here)
The universal salvation believing leaders have taken over the ELCA. In our seminaries you have professors that teach pastors, who in turn, affect eternity for millions of people as well as future generations.
Exposing the ELCA has documented that the ELCA’s official website supports and promotes Universal Salvation, the belief that “everyone will be saved.” Within a section called “What We Believe,” on a page dealing with “Salvation” the denomination states:"Because Jesus is the unique and universal Savior, there is a large hope for salvation, not only for me and others with the proper credentials of believing and belonging to the church, but for all people whenever or wherever they might have lived and no matter how religious or irreligious they may have proved to be themselves. It is clearly God’s announced will that all people shall be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4)."
(ELCA webpage has been taken down but an internet archive website has it here)This is not the only mention of this false teaching on the ELCA website. On “The Resurrection” page, is a subheading “Resurrection for all?” The ELCA document, after first saying that most of the verses in the Bible say not everyone will be saved, goes on to say, "(B)ut ELCA members also look to New Testament texts that go beyond those parameters . . . Lutheran theologian Joseph Sittler coined the phrase ‘Cosmic Christ’ in his 1952 address to the New Delhi assembly of the World Council of Churches, saying, ‘It is now excruciatingly clear that Christ cannot be a light that lighteth everyone coming into the world, if he is not also the light that falls upon the world into which everyone comes.’"
A little later it states, “For ELCA members, the resurrection that completes the victory of Christ over sin and death is not intended for Christians alone.”
The article continues,
causes us to bear witness that Christ, the principal of creation, is also the principal of the new life initiated by his resurrection for all creation. For St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:19, ‘in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.’
- our belief that Christ came into the world to redeem the world (John 3:17)
- our belief in the proclamation that God has ‘a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,’ (Ephesians 1:10)
- our trust in God’s righteousness
ELCA members believe that, being ‘entrusted’ with this message of reconciliation, we are to proclaim this salvation intended for all humankind, this redemption of the whole world, this resurrection to new life.” (webpage has been taken down but an internet archive website has the page here)
This is on the ELCA’s official website, and it is contained in a section called “What We Believe.” Is there any doubt the ELCA is preaching Universal Salvation?
To read more evidence that the ELCA teaches and promotes Universal Salvation see 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
New Horizons Lutheran Church in Falcon, CO is "a congregation being developed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)." (read here)
After reading the universalist type language on New Horizons website, I wrote and asked the the ELCA church's pastor if he could explain his church's view on universal salvation, and more specifically if everyone was "saved."
Rev. Timothy P. Singleton responded saying, "Everyone will eventually be saved. Everyone is not saved right now, but eventually all that is -- seen, unseen, past, present, and future -- will be redeemed by the grace and love of God.
I am what you would call a Trinitarian Universalist."
It is one of the goals of this website and blog to continue to present evidence that the ELCA promotes and teaches universal salvation. (read here for more information)
A self described universalist and Christian gnostic (listen here) is freely preaching to and teaching youth in the ELCA. Neil Christopher is an ELCA youth pastor at Rejoice Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Frisco, TX. (see here)
While speaking on a podcast Pastor Christopher said,
" . . . We believe in the fact that salvation is grace and grace alone and that it's freely given, and that it's given to
all . . . whether they accept that grace or not, or like whether they have even heard the message or not, or full on reject it. So we don't do altar calls and we don't tell people that they are going to go to hell, and we don't have any kind of teaching that is based on guilt or shame or any of that."
"Right now I am a ELCA youth minister and I am very very happy with the Evangelical Lutherans," says Pastor Christopher. When speaking of his future, Pastor Christopher said, ". . . I could actually, at one point be very responsible for what a whole generation of new Lutherans are going to be learning. . . so maybe the next 20 to 50 years of Lutherans are going to be basically being brought up in the kind of way we carve it up to be at this moment. And that's amazing." (listen here - 31 min. mark to 34 - note: foul language used)
Pastor Christopher, on his own website, tells us a story of that happened during one of his junior high mission trips. He says, "(t)here were also some references over the week to a born-again salvation experience and I had to take time to explain to my kids, who have only been exposed to Universalism, what the heck was going on. This also led to one of my favorite moments on the mission trip…
Part of the reason why we chose a missions trip where we give back to a community and work was because of our theology. Like I said before: 'We are not here to convert anybody; we are simply here to include them into our lives.' However, others from different denominations saw things differently, and especially after one certain event my kids asked me what was going on with this whole salvation, hell, born-again thing.
I took a moment to think my response over and then simply asked them two questions:
1. Who are God’s children?
2. When Christ died, who did He save?
To the first question my kids said 'everyone'. To the second question my kids said 'everyone.'
I smiled, and was so proud of them at that moment, and so proud that they had been brought up in a church that was so entirely different than the ones I was exposed to as a youth.
I then explained to them that not all churches or Christians feel the same way they do about this matter. My kids looked confused at this 'new theology' and said it was crazy. 'Do they not read the Bible?' 'Where do they even get this kind of stuff?' 'Wait a minute! Do they actually think our God is going to send His children to hell?!'
Like I said — one of the proudest moments of my life."
This teaching is wrong and it puts people's eternal destination at risk of going to hell. It also stops people from sharing the "good news" of Jesus with others, because in the universalist's mind, "everyone is going to heaven anyway." Not sharing the truth of Christ with people condemns them to eternity in a place no one would want to be.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 -
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the LORD Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our LORD Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the LORD and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America not only allows universal salvation to be taught, but they teach this heresy. The belief of universal salvation is being preached from the official ELCA website, ELCA publications, in many of its churches and by many ELCA pastors. (see here) The ELCA's own words and allowances implicate them. Pastor Neil Christopher is teaching a belief of which the ELCA is very comfortable.
Check out what Lord of the Mountain Lutheran Church (ELCA church located in Dillon, Colorado) has to say on their website,
"LOTM MISSION STATEMENT
In the spirit of the Reformation, Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church continually seeks meaningful ways
of expressing our commitment to the life and teaching of Jesus.
We do this by...
*welcoming all people to full participation in our community of faith.
*Recognizing there are other ways to God than just our way."
If you didn't catch that, Lord of the Mountain's Pastor, Joseph Holub says this on his own website,
"1. I affirm that Jesus Christ is the emergence of God's ongoing gracious presence in the world, and that through Jesus relationship with God is experienced. Jesus is a doorway into the mystery of God." (find here - click on "Joe.")
"Jesus is A doorway." "There are other ways to God."
So the belief that all paths lead to God is OK according to the ELCA? We see the ELCA teaching universal salvation, which has a very similar result. (read here) Allowance of this teaching means acceptance, in my view.
For what it's worth, I also found these statements by Lord of the Mountain's Pastor, noteworthy.
"Since The Enlightenment especially, but even long before that Christianity has been preoccupied with doctrine – faith defined as a set of right beliefs. Christianity is spoiled, grossly distorted and loses its heart when it is turned into a set of correct doctrines that I must accept or else. I mean read the Apostle's Creed. There's nothing much there that really stirs the soul and lights a fire in one's heart. There's nothing there about loving one's neighbor or enemy or anybody else. Doctrines and correct beliefs don’t make disciples but eventually turn us into narrow and intolerant fanatics. Jesus is not a doctrine. He is the expression of compassion and radical inclusive love who invites us to follow him on an adventure called discipleship that just may cost us our lives as we give ourselves away in the pursuit of love, compassion and justice. He calls us beyond the narrow boundaries behind which we protect and isolate ourselves from others. What Jesus asks for is our faith defined as trust and commitment in his way of loving and living. Unfortunately somewhere along the line being Christian came to mean accepting beliefs about Jesus rather than actually following Jesus." (read here, click on "blog" and go about 3/4 down the page to a heading called "The Deficiency of Doctrine.")
Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church is an ELCA church that has some interesting, non-orthodox beliefs. This is of no surprise though because they are much like the beliefs that the ELCA leadership hold.
Holy Redeemer's website says -
"By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who:
1. Proclaim Jesus Christ as our Gate to the realm of God
2. Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the gateway to God's realm" (read here)
Elsewhere on Holy Redeemer's website they say this about the "New" church, which they claim they are part of,
"The 'New' Church is ...
Steeped in Theology
This is the "new" progressive ELCA church. Coming to a church near you, if it isn't there already.
- Doesn't adhere to a simplistic and literalistic version of scripture that doesn't make sense
- View scripture as true, and sometimes factual" (read here)
Exposing the ELCA asked it's readership to reply to this statement. "The ELCA should not be teaching universal salvation."
92% (243 people) answered "True" to the statement.
8% (22 people) answered "False" to the statement.
Thanks to all for participating.
No need to believe in Jesus. Believe whatever you want! ELCA seminary professor, David J. Lull, says you are going to heaven no matter what.
This is Part 2 (see Part 1) of an examination of Dr. David J. Lull, Professor of New Testament at Wartburg Theological Seminary series of lectures in January 2010 titled, "Preaching Lent and Easter."
The following are quotes from Dr. Lull's lectures -
"For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom [lytron] for many (Mk 10.45) - The term 'many' is not restrictive, as if it meant 'to give his life as a ‘ransom’ for some but not all'; rather, it is equivalent to 'all': 'to give his life as a ‘ransom’ for all.' And we know that 'all means all': not just Christians, or believers, or good people, but all people." (pages 6-7)
"We need to pause a moment to consider another reason why I’m skipping over the important ecumenical discussion of 'the doctrine of justification.' I have come to believe that, as important as that Reformation doctrine is, along with the partial rapprochement between Lutherans and Roman Catholics on that doctrine—to which the Methodists have added their affirmation—that doctrine’s vision of salvation is too limited. It isn’t big enough to encompass those who are sinned against: the innocent poor, especially the poorest among the poor; the innocent victims of violence in their homes, communities; innocent victims of war; innocent
victims of genetic malfunctions and disease; innocent victims of ordinary accidents; and innocent creatures who are victims of ecological injustice. The list could go on. These innocent victims do not need forgiveness for their plight!" (page 3-4)
"God’s salvation is for 'all.' The problem is that Paul wrote that 'if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.' Doesn’t that mean salvation is only for confessing Christians? But Paul also quoted Isa 28.16: 'No one who believes in him [that is, God] will be put to shame.'
And Joel 2.32: 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord [that is, God] shall be saved.' Also, remember that this section of Romans begins with 'the righteousness that
comes from faith says…' (Rom 10.6). For Paul, a monotheistic Jew, that means faith in God." (page 12)
"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." (page 9)
Dr. Lull teaches the future pastors of the ELCA, and has been for many years. If the students believe this teaching of universal salvation then when they are pastors they will not be telling anyone about the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ. The lost will remain lost, just as the devil wants.
The leadership and seminaries of the ELCA are teaching and believing heresy. I wish all ELCA members would come to knowledge that their/our denomination believes in Universal Salvation. Below is an interesting blog on the topic. (There is more to come on this topic also, as I am researching and putting together a blog on it, which should be ready in a week or two.)
Pastor Harrison's Convention Report