Still waiting for one ELCA prayer for the lost
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's weekly "Prayers of the Church" printed in the bulletin are less than evangelistic. Prayers are regularly made for the environment, but I am still waiting for one prayer asking God to "save the lost" or "bring unbelievers to Christ". Instead, this Sunday we prayed:
"... For coastlands and mountains, rivers and deserts, prairies and valleys; for wilderness and cities, lakes and oceans; for farmlands and pastures, forests and rangelands; and for orchards, vineyards, and gardens. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer."
There was a prayer for the Church, pastors, bishops, teachers and missionaries, but that is as close as we get to pleading for God to bring people to Christ. Wouldn't a prayer like the following be great?
"Lord, bring Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and all kinds of people to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, and use our missionaries to save the lost."
But we never hear an ELCA prayer like this. Instead, we often pray for plants. I fear part of the reason is that many in the ELCA hold to the heresy of universalism, namely, that all people will be saved, regardless of whether they believe in Christ. The number of missionaries the ELCA sends out has gone done dramatically since its founding in 1988. Head bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the ELCA was quoted to say "The work of the Church is not so much saving souls, that's God's work." It is God's work, but it is a work that Jesus has given into the hands of the Church in His last words (Matthew 28:19-20). Until the ELCA realizes that Jesus' main command is to "go ye therefore", I am afraid there will be more prayers for "lakes and oceans, vineyards and gardens."
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
More ELCA prayers to save the planet, not the lost
Again, today's prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Augsburg/Fortress Press that are used in ELCA worship services had no mention of praying for the lost to be saved. Instead we asked the Lord to "preserve the whole creation so that animals, plants, and land flourish. Protect endangered species and renew polluted waterways....Lord, hear our prayer."
"Endangered" grabbed my attention. Do we care that human souls are endangered with a Christ-less eternity? Or do we care more about "endangered species and polluted waterways"? Years ago, when I was still in the ELCA, some conservative pastors and I offered a resolution reaffirming the Bible's teaching that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). It lost. But a statement warning church coffee drinkers about the dangers of the non-biodegradable styrofoam cup was received warmly. I got to the microphone and pointed out that if we cared half as much about the dangers of Hell as we do about the dangers of styrofoam cup, there might be hope for the ELCA. That was years ago. The number of ELCA missionaries has gone down dramatically since.
Pastor Tom Brock