“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
(From Dean Kallenbach)
Below is the address Grace-Eau Claire president Anne Carter delivered to the congregation Sunday morning.
Friday afternoon both Pastor Nestingen and Pastor Irgens were informed by letter that Bishop Duane Pederson has removed them from the ELCA roster of clergy. Their removal is effective March 22, 2013. He reasons that both pastors have engaged in schismatic activity by allowing Grace Lutheran Church to dually affiliate with the LCMC. He also claims that they have defied the Synod Council's decision and the civil courts. He does not claim that our pastors have preached falsely or told untruths. I will not take the time here and now to dignify those letters with much more of response. Pastor Irgens will follow my comments with some of his own. I encourage anyone to ask questions of the pastors or Council especially at our Tuesday night meeting.
(Pastor Irgens spoke of his responsibility to his call to the congregation of Grace Lutheran Church. Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession explains how he is bound to this church as we are to him. God placed him among us and until the congregation rescinds his call, he will serve as our pastor. Pastor Nestingen and Pastor Irgens will remain in their positions and the congregation of Grace Lutheran Church will support their ministry among us. Jesus Christ is head of the church. We will honor Him.)
Bishop Duane Pederson removed both pastors stating that he has the authority to do so. I take this opportunity to remind you of some of the other things that Bishop Pederson has said.
In a letter to churches in the NW Synod dated December 1, 2011:
“ELCA bishops have very limited authority; primary authority resides in congregations, especially regarding matters of employment and property. Congregations call pastors; pastors do not work for the bishop. Congregations own church property; the synod does not. This means that Lutheran bishops cannot intervene in the way that bishops from other denominations can, and most disputes in congregations are settled within the local community without the involvement of the bishop or the synod.”
From an article in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram dated March 18, 2013 regarding Grace:
“The synod and denomination will encourage and support efforts of healing and reconciliation.”
His comments raise some questions: What kind of a man says one thing and so obviously does the complete opposite? How does this action support healing and reconciliation? How is this encouragement when it appears to be an attempt to silence ordained ministers of Christ during Holy Week? How can a Christian leader deny the preaching of Christ crucified and Christ risen to a Christian church at Easter?
Now I know that when many of us hear these things we cringe, our hearts clutch and our stomachs churn. We don’t like to be in the middle of controversy. We would like church to be peaceful and calm and quiet. We don’t want conflict. But we have the right to ask questions and expect civil discourse with church leadership. Our inquiries should not be met repeatedly with insult. The church is not a private club where only a few have the rights and privileges of membership. But I must remind you of the words of Paul to the Phillippians: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”
On that first Palm Sunday people lined the roadway and sang praises to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. The institutional church of that day told Jesus to instruct the people to be quiet. Jesus told them that if the people were silent the rocks of the ground would break forth in praise. I pray God that the members of Grace will never be silent but will sing the praises of Jesus loudly and boldly. May we, with the saints of old and the saints to come, joyously proclaim:
Hosannah in the highest!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!!
Don’t be afraid. Don’t lose faith. With God nothing is impossible.
Easter is coming!!!
Anne Carter 3.24.13
After Lawsuit Verdict Forces WI Church to Stay in the ELCA, Bishop Kicks the Church's Pastors Out of the Denomination
(From Dean Kallenbach)
This note was forwarded yesterday to members of her congregation by Grace Lutheran-Eau Claire president Anne Carter. Please continue to keep Grace and its pastors in your prayers....
NEW DEVELOPMENT UPDATE
March 22, 2013
This afternoon both Pastor Nestingen and Pastor Irgens were informed by letter that they have been removed from the ELCA roster of clergy. Their removal is effective March 22, 2013. Bishop Duane Pederson removed both pastors. He reasons that both pastors have engaged in schismatic activity by allowing Grace Lutheran Church to dually affiliate with the LCMC. He also claims that they have defied the Synod Council's decision and the civil courts.
Bishop Pederson's actions do not meet the criteria for removal of pastors as outlined in the constitution of the NW Synod of Wisconsin.
Grace has been dually affiliated for almost two years. Bishop Pederson has been presiding bishop during that time. This fall he announced that he would not seek re-election and instead will be leaving March 31 for a new position.
No response has been determined at this time. 'But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
'But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.' Jude 17-21
Thank you for your continued prayers for Grace Lutheran Church.
(This update comes from Dean Kallenbach)
Folks...a couple of days ago I shared the email that Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire (Wisconsin) president Anne Carter shared with her congregation breaking the news of the court decision that went against the congregation on Friday after protracted proceedings spanning nearly a year-and-a-half. Following is the address Anne made to the congregation during Sunday services, which fleshes out the ramifications (and the opportunities) the decision brings.
Top o’ the Morning to Ya and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day,Friday afternoon Judge Molly GaleWyrick entered a decision with the court in the lawsuit filed against Grace Lutheran Church. I have met with our attorney and with Pastor Nestingen briefly to discuss the decision. The decision made by Judge GaleWyrick is 4-1/2 pages long. A copy will be available in the church office tomorrow if anyone would care to read it. As with any legal document, there are terms unique to the legal profession and may not be easy to understand.
Before I tell you the specifics of that decision, I want to go over some of the timeline of this suit. In November 2011, Amazing Grace ELCA, Inc. filed suit against Grace claiming that dual affiliation effectively split Grace into two entities – one was ELCA and one was LCMC. The suit claimed that authority in the church resided with Amazing Grace who claimed ELCA loyalty. They asked the court to overturn the current Council and turn over control of the assets of the church to them. We had 30 days to respond, and on January 6, 2012, we filed a motion to dismiss the suit claiming that the courts did not have the right to impose membership or governance on a church body. Once the lawsuit and our motion were filed, we had to follow the schedule of the court and the authority of a judge.
In the meantime, Amazing Grace asked Bishop Duane Pederson to arrange adjudication on their behalf. The bishop arranged for a hearing before the Consultation Committee which resulted in a decision by the Synod Council on January 16, 2012. Grace Lutheran Church was then involved in two separate actions. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that Drew Ryberg, attorney for Amazing Grace, brought the two together by including the Synod Council’s decision in the lawsuit and asking the court to impose that decision on this church by removing our Council, turning over assets, evicting us from this building, etc.
So, to simplify and to paraphrase the decision:
Those directives briefly are:
The judge has ordered that Drew Ryberg draft an order in conformity with the decision and submit it to our attorney for approval. That is the court’s way of saying that the attorneys agree with each other about what the judge has ordered and write it up for her approval. After an order has been mutually agreed upon, the judge will sign it. That order is to be submitted by April 8, 2013. So, what does all this mean? I know that there are many questions. The court can only declare the directives to be final so we have to refer to the directives themselves to understand the practical implications of this decision.
Will our Council be replaced? NO. The present Council was duly elected by Grace Lutheran members and will continue as our leadership. I have been recognized by the NW Synod as the president of Grace and will remain in that position. The Synod Council’s decision does not address our leadership.
Do we lose control of our assets? NO. Our bank accounts still belong to Grace and will be maintained by present Council. The Synod Council’s decision does not address control of our assets.
Do we have to vacate the building? NO. Despite the interrogatory that demanded to know our computer codes and the location of the keys to our building, we are not going anywhere.
Will the pastors be forced to leave Grace? NO. Pastor Nestingen and Pastor Irgens were called by this congregation to serve God in this place and will remain our pastors for the duration.
Will Amazing Grace members be able to vote on Grace matters? Yes. Those Amazing Grace members who are members of Grace Lutheran Church are currently classified as voting members. Their voting rights were restored last May in accordance with the Synod Council’s decision.
Will Amazing Grace members be coming back to worship at Grace? I can’t answer that question. They have always been welcome here. It has been their choice not to worship here for almost two years. It has always been their right to choose a church that best fits their own personal desires and needs.
Do we have to pay any monies to the ELCA to support their programs and policies? NO. There is no prescribed amount of money that a church must pay to the ELCA. We currently send no money to support the ELCA general budget.
Will we always have to be an ELCA church? NO. The Synod Council decision reiterates our constitutional right to disaffiliate from the ELCA. This congregation has the right to determine its own future affiliation.
If we are forced to be solely affiliated with the ELCA for the time being, does that mean that we owe some oath of fealty or loyalty to the organization? NO. We owe it something much bigger. We owe it the truth, and the truth is that leadership in the ELCA have been found guilty of embezzlement and fraud. The ELCA is involved in several lawsuits appropriating land and assets from congregations across the country. Long-standing ELCA institutions are in danger of collapse due to financial mismanagement. Scriptural divergences that used to be isolated have now become mainstream.
Is this decision a bad thing? NO. We will soon be out of the jurisdication of the court and be able to plan and course the future of this church without interference.
Were the last two years a waste? NO. Over the last two years we have seen that the warnings we made about the ELCA have come true. Over the last two years God has shaped us and molded us into a new church. We have come to a truer understanding of what it means to be in relationship with Him.
And what kind of relationship is that? We are children of God who are members of God’s family here in this place called Grace. In this place we learn and study and grow and sing and give praise. We are disciples of Jesus Christ and with that comes responsibility. We are to be like the Christians in Berea who studied God’s Word to make sure that Paul was preaching the truth. We are to be watchdogs to let other ELCA members know the danger the church is in. We must call leadership to account. We must ask God’s people to repent.
Most importantly, we are to continue to honor Jesus. Jesus is not myth. Jesus is not a metaphor. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises made to us at the beginning. Jesus is not an image of us. He is the face of the Father. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is through Him alone that we come to the Father, and it is through the Father that we receive forgiveness and salvation. We have had quite a journey, and it is not over yet. But hasn’t this been fascinating? We have been given a privilege not many people get: We have been given a front row seat to watch God in action. We are witnesses to His transformative power. He has changed us. He has brought His light into dark places.
Is this over? The lawsuit, maybe. Or maybe this is just the beginning of a glorious and wondrous adventure with a loving Savior who trusts us enough to walk with us and allow us to work at His side.
One thing’s for sure: This is the day that the LORD has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!!
17 March 2013
Imagine driving down the road and passing by a beautiful old Christian church. Now imagine that church has a huge painting of a bare breasted women/goddess on it for all to see. Not only that, the mural also includes an eight armed goddess named Kali. Kali is a Hindu goddess. Hard to conceive of, but that is what you will find beginning this November if you drive passed the ELCA's Ebenezer Lutheran Church (also know as herchurch) in San Francisco, CA. The church plans on placing this mural on their church tower for everyone to see.
The ELCA church's website tells us about the mural saying,
“The Goddess mural will rise 64 feet high with four basic symbolic representations of the divine feminine: The Earth Mother, the Black Madonna, the Christ-Sophia, and an androgynous Kali-Kundalini figure whose chakras merge with the phases of the moon and the universe. They will be surrounded by colorful and playful animals, birds, plants and earth’s elements.” (see here)
Here is a link that shows what the mural will look like (on the left hand side of the page).
A fundraising page for herchurch's project has this to say about the mural, “Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran (herchurch) refers to the Divine Presence through many names and metaphors. More than 50,000 years ago the sacred one was called mother. Breaking recent tradtion from male diety, this mural aims to herald the return of the feminine divine in modern Christian, interfaith and feminist spirituality.” (see here)
Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran has been worshiping pagan gods for quite a while now, with the full knowledge and approval of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I say this because it is a fact that ELCA leadership know what is being taught and what goes on at this church, and they allow it to continue. (see here, here and here) They have the power, authority and responsibility to stop it and they do not. A church leader from the ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop even spoke at a herchurch feminism conference showing the audience pictures of a female Jesus. (see here)
The fundraising page goes on to say the painting will be, “Attached via panels to the East face of the purple herchurch tower, this mural promises to be a focal point in the world famous San Francisco mural collection. . .The dream is to share the beauty to all who pass and prophetically envision our mission of rebirthing the divine feminine in ourselves, the church and the world.”
A Hindu goddess (as well as the other pagan gods) lifted up and worshiped by a Christian church is pure wickedness. They are blatantly breaking the commandment set by God, "You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) It is offensive, sinful, blasphemous and evil. ELCA members, know this: your leadership allows it!
What kind of God-honoring Christian denomination would do that? And what about the huge painting of a topless woman/goddess being placed on the church tower? Children will see it. Yet, many of you will still support the ELCA.
Think about it. Is this the kind of denomination you want to be part of? Sure it's no fun to leave your ELCA church, the one you have been going to for so long, the one that has so many of your friends attending. But remember, your church is part of the ELCA which allows goddess worship and openly stands against God's Word in so many areas. This is a denomination that has taught YOUR pastor.
So what is more important to you, going to your comfortable church or going to a church that believes the Bible and worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His Son Jesus Christ? One day you may need to justify your decision to God Almighty.
Sayyid Syeed is the interfaith liaison for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In 2006 he was recorded saying, “[O]ur job is to change the constitution of America.” (see here) ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson calls Dr. Sayyid Sayeed a close friend and at the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly Hanson said the ELCA was committed “to walk together” with Syeed's organization, the ISNA. And they have. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a close interfaith partner with the ISNA. (See documentation here).
A recent article in FrontPageMag.com speaks of the ISNA's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and exposes the reasons behind the ISNA's desire for forming interfaith partnerships, like that which they have with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. FrontPageMag.com reports that a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memo,
lays out how the Brotherhood network must 'posses a mastery of the art of "coalitions," the art of "absorption," and the principles of "cooperation.”' It explicitly talks about using the 'hands' of the 'nonbelievers' to advance its agenda.
In light of that information, read what Sayyid Sayeed said while speaking at the ELCA 2011 Churchwide Assembly, “(w)e have worked with your organization and leaders [and] we have seen this tireless leader of yours, who’s been here for hours and hours. But I’ve seen him in the corridors of power speaking the truth about issues … whether it is about peace in the Middle East or anti-Muslim bigotry in America. . . we are working together in shaping the new millennium. . .It is a new millennium – your leadership is critical, your understanding is critical not only for this country but for the entire globe. You have set certain standards of cooperation, of understanding, those are a great asset for us, and it’s with this kind of understanding that we will be moving forward. . .We pray God almighty to bless us and together deliver this mission that is ours.” (see here)
Bishop Hanson said this at the same gathering, “We share a deep commitment to our growing relationship and dialog, but not just in dialog, in our working together to build a more peaceful and just world both in this country and in places of tension throughout the world.” (see here)
Seems like the ELCA is a willing pawn, being used to help establish the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood.
I don't ever recall an ELCA publication or ELCA leader talking about witnessing to someone, who then calls on the name of the Lord and is saved (Rom. 10:13 and Acts 2). Maybe that's because they are busy doing other things, like this class that is being promoted in the electronic newsletter of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):
“Register Now for Islamic Literature Course in Evanston
Registration is open for 'Islamic Literature: From Sufi Poetry to Egyptian Feminism,' a four-week discussion series” (see here)
Or how about going to a lecture by a Muslim speaker at an ELCA seminary? The Southeastern Iowa Synod E-News mailing announced this:
“Free Lecture by Eboo Patel Kicks off
Two-Day Interfaith Conference at LSTC”
“On Sunday, March 10 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Eboo Patel will give a free lecture based on his recent book, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. with a free concert by The Salaam Shalom Music Project, made up of members of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and distinguished artists from the Chicago Arabic music community.” (see here and read more about Eboo Patel here)
I bet a lot of money and paid ELCA staff and seminary employees worked long hours putting this gathering together.
Christ Lutheran Church, Melrose Park, IL is closing. (see here)
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Are you involved with Women of the ELCA? Did you know that this organization is a vocal supporter of homosexuality? If not, prepare to be stunned. Last week, Women of the ELCA posted a comment on its Facebook page which associates Christ's arrest and crucifixion to gay rights. The comment said:
“Many of you know Mary Button for the resources she's written for Women of the ELCA or articles for Cafe. You also might remember art that Mary created last year during Lent that she shared widely. Mary's done it again, creating Stations of the Cross that depict the struggle of the LGBT community in the 20th and 21st centuries. Mary offers this art for your Lenten journey.” (here is Women of the ELCA's facebook page. You will have to scroll down the page to find the comment).
The outright support shown by Women of the ELCA for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) lifestyle included a link to the offensive LGBT Stations of the Cross artwork. (see artwork here)
Next to the piece, “Station 9: Jesus falls the third time” the artist writes:
“1978: Former Supervisor Dan White assassinates openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, along with Mayor George Moscone. Milk was the first openly gay politician to be elected to public office in California.”
Associating Christ sacrifice and redemptive work with any human being, not to mention Harvey Milk, is disgraceful. Harvey Milk at age 33 had a sexual relationship with a 16 year old boy, yet Women of the ELCA is promoting this. (see here)
For “Station 11: Crucifixion,” the artist compares the Romans crucifying Christ to psychologists helping those with same-sex attraction to change their desires.
On “Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross,” the artist places these words on her painting, "How many transgenders have (to) die before you get involv(ed)."
Under “Station 13: Jesus is taken down from the cross” the artist associates it with what she calls “homophobic legislative.”
For “Station 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb” the artist writes “Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller found the It Gets Better Project.” (read about Dan Savage here)
Really!?!? The ELCA has stooped to this? Christ is no advocate for gay rights. Christ is an advocate for all people, including gay people, seeking repentance for their sin and to follow him.
The ELCA leadership has been very vocal over the last three years, telling every member who disagreed with the ELCA endorsement of homosexuality that they would not be affected by it. That is a lie that served their own cause. ELCA synods, ELCA churchwide, ELCA leadership, ELCA publications, ELCA seminaries, ELCA colleges, ELCA Youth Gatherings and Women of the ELCA proclaim and publicize their support of homosexuality. Looking at ELCA churches, some of them perform gay weddings and support civil unions, some do not talk about the issue (their silence equates to acceptance), but relatively few ELCA churches continue to uphold God's Word on the issue; that it is a sin for which people need to repent. Homosexual approval and support rules the denomination. ELCA members are bombarded with it and those members are placing themselves and their children in a position of compromise by staying in ELCA.
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.
What does John Dominic Crossan teach and believe?
“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.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.
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