Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director for congregational and synodical mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) recently attended a meeting designed “to maintain religious dialogue and seek action together for peace” between "Iraqi Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Turkmen and Kurdish religious leaders." The ELCA news service reports that at the gathering Rev. Stephen Bouman said “A second tenant [sic] is that no one gathered has special access to God; there is no absolute inside track to God.” (see here) Maybe Rev. Bouman has never read or doesn't believe what Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Please follow/like Pastor Brock on Facebook by going here and twitter users here.
In the October issue of The Lutheran, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's official magazine, the editor writes an article calling for civility. He talks about the "rudeness if not downright hostility found in commentary directed at the magazine and the ELCA...angry put-downs". I am guessing he gets a lot of letters from upset, traditional Lutherans who are tired of The Lutheran regularly pushing ...universalism, homosexuality, and the de-sexing of God language. The article which closes the October issue is written by the head bishop of the ELCA in which she states "the church can model respectful dialogue" where "disagreement doesn't devolved into discounting."
Let's read what is in between these two articles, an article written by Kaethe Schwehn who teaches English at the ELCA's St. Olaf College. "In college I took a class on feminist theology but refused to go to daily chapel because they didn't use inclusive language for God." She withdrew from chapel attendance for a time so that "You don't have to deal with the idiots who still think God is a man, who still think marriage is just about men and women, who want to preach...damnation instead of grace."
Whew! In the November "The Lutheran", God bless the reader who responded in Letters to the Editor: "To have a young woman insult me...is the last straw. Who does she think she is to pass judgement by calling us "idiots" for believing God is a male, marriage is between a man and a woman, etc.?"
Gratefully, the editor made a note under her letter "The magazine apologizes for not editing the pejorative from the article."
If you are an ELCA Lutheran and believe unapologetically in Father, Son, Holy Spirit language for God---and you're not embarrassed to call God "He"...if you believe that Jesus is who He said He is, the only way of salvation (John 14:6)...and if you believe that marriage is for a man and a woman, then I strongly encourage you to consider joining a denomination other than the the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
House for all Sinners & Saints (HFASS) is an ELCA church in Denver, Colorado. It is the church of controversial ELCA pastor/speaker/author Nadia Bolz-Weber and receives financial support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Last week the church released a statement that is stunning, telling visitors to stay away. They write:
“A statement from HFASS.
House for all Sinners & Saints is hoping for some grace as we struggle with how to express something our congregation is faced with:
After having moved to two services on Sundays (to accommodate the approximately 2,000 one-time out-of-town visitors we had in a year's time) we are returning again to having one 5p service, starting this Sunday. Why? Because the people who make up this community miss each other.
Having two services had a negative effect on our little congregation. While having an extra service on Sunday made it easier to accommodate out-of-town visitors, youth groups, and worship committees, it also made it harder to connect with each other and more difficult to identify who the local visitors are who might be looking for a church home. We know there is a lot of curiosity about HFASS -- we love it too and totally understand why--and since we can no longer accommodate as many people, we are hoping to make a video available soon that shows what worship is like here so that people who are curious about HFASS can see for themselves...
Our congregation is generous in sharing our Pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, with the broader church, so for those looking to meet her, please check her speaking schedule here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2014/10/my-2015-speaking-schedule/. We humbly ask that we have her as our pastor, and not a public figure, on Sundays.
Thank you to all those who have joined us in their travels. It was an honor to have you with us, and if we are ever in a situation where we have more space, we will let everyone know. We know it may seem weird to ask for fewer visitors, but for the time being we are choosing to err on the side of just trying to be a congregation rather than on the side of being a destination church. Perhaps we are making the wrong choice, but after two years of being inundated with people visiting us because of our famous pastor, we just need a little space to be together again.
In peace and with thanks,
House for all Sinners and Saints” (read here)
Read more about ELCA Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber here.
The statement below is written by an ELCA pastor who posted this on an ELCA facebook page -
“After last night I am close to despair. There are so many now who will be out of the scope of concern in policy and practice. More time will be wasted trying to take new health insurance from those newly covered. Keystone will probably be approved to the detriment of the land, creatures and people from whom it will be taken. National parks and sanctuaries will be in danger. Safety nets will be cut to pay back the money poured into this election. Any new Supreme Court justices will be anti Roe v Wade and pro Citizen's United. Global climate change is now in the hands of people don't believe in science and creationism will be supported in science classrooms.... These are the platforms that our newly elected politicians won on. I am so disappointed that we are the self elevating, it's all about me, to Hell with the poor nation owned by money.
Here is Iowa we now have Steve King and Joni Ernst in Washington.
As John Steward said, last night money won. Ideas lost.
As advocates for the least among us we will need to be vigilant and even more counter cultural. Kyrie eleison.”
60 ELCA people “liked” this post.
Anybody else have problems with this ELCA pastor's lament?
By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Please follow/like Pastor Brock on Facebook by going here and twitter users here.
Back in 1979 I graduated from what is now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Luther Theological Seminary. It was moderate to liberal back then, it has become much more liberal now. A person I know who has taught at Luther told me he believes much less than half of the Luther faculty believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ. I just looked at the upcoming chapel preachers who will speak to the seminarians. One is a practicing lesbian pastor. Another is the Minneapolis Area Synod Bishop who spoke at the Minnesota State Fair opposing the marriage amendment which would have kept marriage as one man and one woman. Yes, she spoke against that, and now we have homosexual marriage in Minnesota. Another chapel speaker is Reverend Peter Marty who writes articles in the ELCA’s official magazine “The Lutheran”. He poo-poos the idea of hell and teaches that one does not need to believe in Jesus to be saved. And he endorses the homosexual movement in the ELCA.
Since the ECLA’s 2009 decision to ordain practicing homosexuals, Luther has had to cut many faculty. Both money and enrollment have gone down at Luther Seminary. The old saying “You reap what you sow” is slowly but surely being played out in liberal, mainline denominations and their seminaries. The good news is that denominations and seminaries that uphold the authority of Scriptures tend to grow and flourish.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
The Lutheran magazine published an article called “The Hauntmaster’s Dream for Halloween: ‘Bigger, badder, faster, stronger’” (read here) highlighting a Halloween haunted house experience run by a young person in New York.
The ELCA magazine tells how the teen has been “producing the Halloween event for the past four years,” and that “calling the house an asylum lends itself to stunts. 'There’s lots of banging on the walls.'
“The most popular scenario is sure to be the 'Butcher Shop,' noted this Eagle Scout candidate, who likes to give back to the youth group since it was such a big part of his life. 'Last year I used a lot of butcher props on loan from a friend in Warren, Pa., like foam feet, arms, legs, heads, all covered in lots of blood and put on festive decorated trays.'”
We also learn that “School friends and youth group members also play spooky parts, like working a chain saw, running around covered in cobwebs, wielding axes and being the hooded guides.”
But don't worry, the haunted house with all its scenes of blood, gore and killing, meant to instill fear in young and old alike, will give all its proceeds to the church. Jesus would be proud.
By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Pastor Brock by going here and twitter users here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the most liberal of the Lutheran denominations, has a history of inviting radical speakers to its ELCA's youth conventions. As they prepare for the 2015 youth convention they tell us this:
We will announce speakers as contracts are finalized, but probably not ...before registration opens this fall. At this time, we ask you to trust the track record of the planning teams who have brought you speakers including: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Desmond Tutu, the
Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, President Jimmy Carter, the Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo...
Jimmy Carter has written that Jesus is not the only way of salvation. Desmond Tutu also believes many roads lead to God, and he endorses homosexuality. He has said "I would not worship a God who is homophobic...I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven.... I mean I would much rather go to the other place." Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber uses the "f" word in her speeches and in her most recent book. More tragically, she denies the substitutionary atonement, namely, that Jesus died in our place to pay for our sins so that God's holy wrath could be satisfied and we could be forgiven. She thinks this makes God "some kind of divine child abuser." She also held a "re-naming service" in which a transgendered person received the blessing of God in changing to another sex.
Given their track record, I encourage anyone who has youth in the ELCA (and who believes in Mark 9:32) stay away, far away, from the 2015 youth convention. And tell your friends. And please say a prayer for these youth and the ELCA.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
Last week I reported on actions the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are actively taking against the state of Israel (read here). The ELCA's Presiding Bishop outlines two of these steps in a recent interview this way, “We also engage in selective purchasing. So we not only try to trade with the Palestinian Authority, but we do not purchase produces made in the illegal Israeli settlements.” And “We've urged our government not to engage in grants to the state of Israel while the settlements are going on.”
In other words, the ELCA is boycotting products made by Jews living in Judea and Samaria (or what the ELCA calls the West Bank and Gaza) and stopping financial aid to Israel.
Earlier this year, a speech was given during a UCLA Undergraduate Students' Association Council meeting. The council was considering a resolution which called for the university to divest from businesses that, in their words, “profit from the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.” The following speech could have been and should be given to the leadership and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Here it is -
“My name is Ben Shapiro. I'm an alumnus of this university. I'm also a local talk show host on 870 [AM] in the morning, and I got out of bed and left my one month old baby there when I saw what was going on here tonight. I've never been more ashamed to be a Bruin. I've never been more ashamed to be an alumnus of this university than to see this divestment petition being considered at this level.
To pretend this is about occupation, to pretend this is about peace, to pretend that this anything other than vile, spiteful Jew hatred is a lie!
There is only one reason we are discussing Israel and not discussing Saudi Arabia. There is only one reason we are discussing Israel and not discussing Iran. There is only one reason we are discussing Israel and not discussing Palestine. There is only one reason we are discussing Israel and not discussing the vast bevy of human rights violations that happen every day in the Middle East, exponentially worse that what happens in Israel.
Any gay or lesbian that is targeting Israel in this room seems to have forgotten how high they hang gays from cranes in Iran. Every person of liberal bent who suggests that Israel is the problem in the Middle East seems to have forgotten that there is only one country in the Middle East that actually has any sort of religious diversity in it. The countries that are apartheid countries are those that are Judenrein (a Nazi term that means 'clean of Jews.') -- like, for example, Palestine.
So, for us to sit here and pretend that Israel is somehow on a lower moral plane is a direct manifestation of anti-Semitism. And to hold Jews to a different moral standard than any other country or group on the face of the earth represents nothing but an age-old and historic hatred for the Jewish people. All the folks here who are pretending that the B.D.S is about anything other than that, I would like to see a poll of those folks, and see how many of them actually believe in the existence of a Jewish state, qua-Jewish state, not as a state like any other, but as a Jewish state. They don't. They don't acknowledge that existence. They don't believe in that existence. They don't believe in peace. All this is about, pure and simple, is a desire to target the Jewish people.”
Here is a video of the speech -
The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently was interviewed on a Pro-Hezbollah TV station (see article here) and during the interview she outline the different actions the ELCA has taken to hurt the Israeli democracy and the Jewish people:
It should be noted that the term "illegal settlements" is a false notion but it is useful for those anti-Israeli actors who are trying to garner sympathy as they try to remove Israel from Israeli land. (read more about that in an excellent article here)
Here is the Presiding Bishop's television interview:
This was posted on a conservative pan-Lutheran facebook page about an ELCA church in the Portland, OR area.
“Yesterday, I went to a Lutheran church and we said a different 'creed': We believe in God, who is like a good mother or father, near to us, and strong to help us. We believe in Jesus Christ, in whom we see God: He is for us the way of truth and life. We believe in the Holy Spirit, whose life is in us, giving us new life and healing strength for our spirits. We believe our faith is a confident trust in the truth and goodness of God. We believe our hope is a power, to fill the present and the future with deepest meaning. We believe our love is the means by which this faith will be made real in our lives. Glory be to God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”
This post received many replies. Here are a few of them:
Later the person who wrote the original post about the church creed replied -
“...I should have realized that it was going to be a different type of service when the first hymn we sang was 'All Creatures, Worship God Most High!' (ELW 835) that included wording such as brother sun, sister moon, brother wind, sister water, brother fire, mother earth, and sister death.”