(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
Recently I read an article by a liberal Lutheran pastor entitled "11 Reasons I Am Proud to Pastor in the ELCA". Permit me to do the opposite. Here are 11 reasons everyone should leave the ELCA.
1. The ELCA pays for abortion for any reason in its health care plan – which is funded by offering dollars.
2. The ELCA's health care plan has recently decided to pay for sex change operations.
3. The ELCA has a hard time referring to God as "He" and references to God the Father are rare. The ELCA's hymnal has removed all masculine references to God in the Psalms. The ELCA's "The Lutheran" magazine also avoids masculine pronouns for God.
4. The ELCA allows for the worship of "the goddess" and pagan deities like Asherah at an ELCA congregation called Herchurch (check out the false teaching for yourself at herchurch.org). When people have shared concern about this congregation, the ELCA has defended Herchurch instead of disciplining it.
5. The heresy of universalism, which teaches that all people will be saved regardless of faith in Christ, is being taught at ELCA seminaries. The ELCA's "The Lutheran" magazine also has articles promoting universalism. This is done even though the ELCA's founding documents teach that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.
6. The number of ELCA missionaries has been reduced dramatically since the ELCA's founding in 1988. If universalism is true, why send out missionaries?
7. Some ELCA pastors, like the popular ELCA speaker Nadia Bolz–Weber, deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ, which teaches that Jesus died on the cross in our place to pay for our sins. This central Christian teaching is rejected as "divine child abuse" by some in the ELCA.
8. The ELCA ordains practicing homosexuals as pastors. The ELCA now has a male bishop with a "husband" who rode in a gay pride parade in California.
9. The ELCA recently has ordained transgender pastors.
10. Basic Christian teachings like the Virgin Birth of Christ are denied by many seminary professors in the ELCA.
11. The ELCA regularly advocates for liberal political causes, but does little to nothing to advocate for the unborn. This is understandable since the ELCA pays for abortions with offering dollars.
Need a good alternative to the ELCA? The Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, Lutheran Churches in Mission for Christ (LCMC), the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran church, and the Association of America Lutheran Churches are all options which provide good Biblical teaching for those seeking to live out their Christian faith.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
2/22/2016 06:05:24 am
What the ELCA is: NARAL, Planned Parenthood, NOW, Greenpeace, GLAAD, Democratic Party
2/22/2016 10:38:46 am
ELCA = PCCA. Maybe I'm a dreamer, but it is not the Church....
Curt - North
2/22/2016 01:42:38 pm
I feel lost, I'm a member of an ELCA church and even sit on the church council. I don't support ANY of the things going on in the ELCA, but our local church really doesn't ever discuss that, we keep things local. Yet I fully realize that some small portion of my offerings go to Chicago, I get that. We've been members for years now, we love our local Pastor, my kids go on youth trips, but how can I reconcile supporting the edicts coming from ELCA in any way? I feel lost, I get headaches when I go to church, the more I read of the ELCA the more I find myself disgusted, but this is the church and Pastor who helped me walk back to God, to re-find Jesus Christ as my savior, I really just want a prayer or two coming this way.
2/22/2016 06:44:06 pm
Curt - North
2/23/2016 07:11:57 am
Thank you for that story Dakota, so glad it all worked out for you! Sounds like you made the right call early on.
2/22/2016 09:44:03 pm
I'm praying for you also, Curt. May God give you wisdom.
Carl W Baggett Jr
2/23/2016 11:31:07 pm
Curt, I left the ELCA after the 2009 Assembly. In 2003, a friend(LCMS pastor) urged me to dig deeper into what was happening on Higgins Road. I, too, was very pleased with my local congregation, but my investigation caused me to conclude that the ELCA was heading down a dangerous path. It, actually, was not the homosexual issues that urged my decision to leave as I've always considered it a symptom of a greater problem in the church. It was the so-called bound conscience doctrine which turned out to be a way of silencing critics rather than engendering diversity in the church. Everything was fine as long as confessional congregations and pastors toed the line; however, to point out the obvious hermeneutical flaws of the ELCA leadership's pet doctrines was a crime of the highest order. Quite literally, we were told our objections merely parroted right wing talking heads in the editorial section of their national periodical. There is life after the ELCA. One's best bet is to forgive them, shake the dust from one's soles, and move merrily along. Trust me; you'll be MUCH happier!
2/25/2016 06:38:31 pm
You are not alone! Several years ago, our church fought this battle and left ELCA. This divided our church: those that recognized the false teaching of the ELCA and those that wanted to cling on. During one of our final congregational meetings as ELCA, someone made a comment about how we could even imagine leaving the ELCA. The answer was, "Do you worship the ELCA or God?" Ask have to ask yourself the same question and pray: pray first, pray last, pray always. You should feel filled up and empowered going to church - that's why you go!
4/5/2016 05:34:41 pm
Our church was started by people who left the what was then the LCA now the ELCA over doctrinal issues - in 1965. It has been going on since then and has only gotten worse. In 1965 it was a Sunday School curriculum that taught that the miracles never happened, that they could all be explained in earthly terms. They fled their old churches, and by the grace of God built a new church, and named the road where the church was built as Pella Ave., as in where the Christians fled to during the destruction of Jerusalem. They started the church as an independent Lutheran church, but we now are a member of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.
12/5/2022 11:31:18 am
Hello. I know your initial comments were posted a few years ago. Still, I wish to respond...2022. I could give you a ton of Bible verses but won't. Here's the deal...read the Pauline epistles in the N.T....in so many places are condemnations of false teachers and false beliefs. God condemns them. Either He is the God of the Bible or He is not. He is. But, you cannot believe the teachings of these "fake churches" and truly be a Christian or serve God. Get out of the ELCA. I did in 1980, got saved (i.e. personally received Christ as Savior), and then began attending a Bible-teaching church. Our city has a number of "fake churches". I would NEVER EVER attend them of send someone to them.
Curt - North
12/7/2022 07:02:24 am
If your comment was for me, read below that I made the decision to leave the ELCA, this happened in June 2019.
2/22/2016 06:24:16 pm
My church is a member of the NALC. I did not see it mentioned in your alternatves. Is there a reason for that?
Curt - North
2/23/2016 07:09:26 am
Thank you all for your words and prayers, I feel it. Mike Cooper, the NALC is definitely on my own personal radar, we don't have one in our town, nearest is an hour drive. I understand the NALC is made largely from former ELCA congregations? At least it sort of started that way, but I see it growing like crazy. I checked out the NALC website and I like what I see there. I realize the Missouri Synod is a vibrant church as well, and we have one local, it's big and full and a growing place, lots of energy. In the end it's all in Gods hands, I do listen, I pay attention to promptings, and my wife and I discuss these things, it's not just in my heart, it's in hers as well I think. I don't want to get into too many details, but she has a long-standing family connection to this church, this particular building even, very tough for her to walk away. Right now if our Pastor were to leave, that'd probably be it for us here, but we LOVE this man, our kids babysit his young ones even. And we love our fellow church members here, just so much to walk away from locally, honestly it's difficult to imagine ourselves in a different church. The ELCA stuff in Chicago, that stuff is easy to walk away from, it's the local connection that would be truly missed.
2/24/2016 07:52:00 pm
Prayers for your household's discernment. If there are others of like mind, consider forming a house church. The NALC can provide info.
2/24/2016 07:47:46 pm
My question is the same as Michael Cooper's. NALC belongs in the list, IMH&FO.
2/22/2016 09:03:25 pm
I would also suggest those seeking a church home that is Christ centered, mission driven, traditionally grounded, congregationally focused, and grounded in its belief of scripture as God's Word, check out their local North American Lutheran Church congregation.
Dave from Minnesota
2/23/2016 08:15:44 am
I would like to add a 12th point, and that is the ELCA's support of anti-Semitic groups in the mid-east. For example, on the ELCA's web site, there is a fake map, showing that there were virtually no Jews living in modern-day Israel pre-1945, but that there were many Arab towns. This is totally false.
3/19/2016 10:53:51 am
Thank you. I couldn't believe some of the anti-Israeli resolutions they had signed on to.
2/23/2016 12:07:02 pm
I do not mean to overstep a boundary, and I am not a troll, but I have a suggestion.... I left the LCA in 1974 for many of the same reasons many of you are expressing. At that time, I joined the local Catholic Church -- a large, old, beautiful church about 5 blocks from my home. Never regretted it. And now -- I can hardly believe my eyes -- most of what the conservative Lutheran Church is teaching is good ol' 16th-century "pure" Catholicism! Luther was right -- the Church needed reformation. That happened! Look at Pope Francis -- he is more Lutheran than many Lutherans!
5/13/2021 11:48:31 am
We left the Catholic Church, so much false doctrine; they changed the 10 commandments - they do bow to statues and had to change that. They worship Mary; she worshipped Jesus and had other children w/her husband. The bible says bow to NO MAN and call NO MAN the name FATHER. The catholics do all this. They do repeat prayers as the bible says - do NOT do. They have changed their rules many times - eat meat Fri. - go to hell. Now you can eat meat Fri. - no problem. The priests say they can Forgive Sins - The bible says ONLY GOD/JESUS CAN DO THAT. The bible says No one is saved except Through Jesus Christ. There is NO PERGATORY in the bible, just heaven and hell. Many priests are homosexuals/pedophiles- they have destroy thousands of young lives - they move the priests to cover for them. Get out, this is The Church of Satan as Martin Luther stated when he left, they charged people to forgive sins! The entire church is HORRIBLE.
6/8/2022 08:21:24 pm
There is really no church out there for a moderate such as myself. I believe women should be ministers , yet resent the liberal agenda being pushed by the ECLA. I certainly wouldn’t consider the Catholic Church with their centuries of hiding pedophile priests, abusing and killing indigenous peoples for refusing to give up their pagan religions and the abuses suffered by countless individuals at Catholic orphanages throughout the world. No thank you. The Southern Baptists have been hiding sexual abuse for years. The Mormons are a cult and treat women terribly. Maybe, I will start my own church.
6/9/2022 03:50:48 pm
Hi Debbie. There are still some good churches out there. If you are looking for a Lutheran denomination, the LCMC or the NALC might fit your needs. Both ordain women and teach the truth of God's Word.
6/10/2022 07:57:13 am
You're not alone in wondering about worshipping Christ outside of an organized church. House churches popped up here and there during the virus madness, when we saw many organized churches do the unthinkable - voluntarily shut down and literally turn people away.
2/24/2016 01:04:28 pm
Dear Sister in Christ Kathy,
2/24/2016 01:34:43 pm
2/24/2016 02:01:08 pm
Another good alternative for those seeking conservative/confessional Lutheranism is ULMA (the United Lutheran Mission Association). Small, but very faithful.
2/24/2016 04:33:44 pm
Curt - North
2/25/2016 09:12:48 am
JD - I have to agree with you on the RCC, and frankly I find the same problem with the Missouri Synod, that you need to be members of THEIR church to partake in the Lords Supper, meaning classes and paperwork for membership. This has always seemed restrictive to me, why in the world would you want to deny a fellow Christian the opportunity to partake in the Lords Supper?
2/25/2016 11:41:35 am
Curt - I don't want to be sounding anti Catholic either, just a view of why I am not big on RCC in which we agree. As for the Pastor leaving, don't be so quick on following suite. If the church council feels the same as you, that maybe the churches opportunity to leave the ELCA and join a different division like the NALC or the LCMC. Have you expressed your concerns to the council? My home church where I grew up in voted after the latest homo acceptance issue, and that was just one of the many reasons, and they voted with a majority to leave the ELCA and join the LCMC. The difference was that our Pastor followed us. Just some things to think about.
Sasha Bill Kwapinski
2/25/2016 04:47:10 pm
2/25/2016 08:59:01 pm
I want to compliment the discussion here,it makes me think of Paul's command in Ephesians 4: 1-5 "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." God bless everyone of you for showing grace to those whose comments you may not necessarily agree with.
2/26/2016 11:25:50 am
I hope you don't mind if I jump in again.... First, let me say that Dakota's comment brought a tear to my eye. It was beautiful. After all the rancor, insults, you-name-it, on internet threads, that was... well, beautiful.
Curt - North
2/26/2016 02:49:01 pm
Kathy - Again thank you for your words, but at the risk of being negative in any way, let me gently say that we understand where you're coming from, you've expressed it very well. But to continue to push Catholicism on this, in this comments section...? Well we're pretty much all Lutheran on here I believe, and our struggle is/was with the ELCA, a Lutheran church. My struggle has nothing to do with the RCC. And to be more pragmatic, if I'm struggling with the ELCA partly because of its leftward leanings, why in the world would I be interested in the Catholic church considering some of its teachings? I probably speak for others when I say I have no interest in attacking the Catholic church on here, but the RCC really isn't the focus here.
2/25/2016 10:59:56 pm
Having been ELCA and LCMC, I would be very hesitant to suggest the LCMC as an alternative to the ELCA. Yes, they are somewhat more conservative than the ELCA, but they still retain much ELCA baggage. I know that LCMC was formed as a breakaway group, which first began with the WordAlone Network (WAN). However, WAN was a movement within the ELCA to reform it, and when that didn't happen, LCMC was formed. Unfortunately, LCMC is little more than ELCA-lite. Yes, it is slightly more conservative, but they still ordain women, and there is very little in terms of pastoral oversight. I was excommunicated by an LCMC pastor because I opposed the direction he was leading the congregation, which I believed was in violation of scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. That was over ten years ago. I have been in the LCMS since then, and have learned even more, such that I would not even consider returning to LCMC, much less the ELCA. If the LCMC were to finally discard its remaining ELCA baggage, they would have little need to exist, as they would be more like the NALC.
Curt - North
2/26/2016 08:33:31 am
Christopher - Your post demonstartes one of the problems I have, there are literally so many Lutheran branches and churches now, and som much change, that it's hard to keep up. I had to write down what each acronym stood for to keep it straight what you were talking about. I can't help but wonder what Martin Luther would have to say about what has been going on with the Lutheran church, seem like a LOT of change in the last generation or so. Maybe that's bad, maybe that's good...?
2/26/2016 11:23:32 pm
Actually Curt, there are way fewer Lutheran church branches now then there were earlier in the 1900's. When the ELCA was founded, it was a merger of 3 separate branches. Go back a few years earlier in history and you would learn that those three branches were actually mergers of several other Lutheran branches.
2/29/2016 06:38:59 pm
Yes, ELCA members, consider leaving. But also consider the choices of where to go. My amateur opinions of the possibilities: LCMS, WELS and ELS have changed little since the Reformation. I like that. AFLC and CLB were influenced by later reformers and by Pietism, and seem to have little problem with today's non-denominational evangelicals. I think some of that was also in the old ALC churches and those are the people leaving the ELCA and forming NALC and LCMC. I agree with those who note that those new groups may not be far enough from the ELCA in some doctrines and practices.
2/26/2016 09:11:30 am
3/24/2018 03:39:07 pm
Curt, I would encourage you to keep praying and listen for the Holy Spirits calling in your decision. Many of us truly understand the struggles in loving the people of your current church but knowing you need to move on. About 7 years ago about 65 of us left an ELCA congregation of about 1000. We formed a new church of the AALC and couldn't be happier with their beliefs and doctrine. I would take objection with the blogger who said you have to be a member of the LCMS before you can take communion. In the year that my husband and I were in between churches we visited a LCMS church in a neighboring town and were allowed to take communion. We spoke with the pastor before the service. When he realized our situation he just asked us what we believed communion was. It was no problem.
3/28/2018 07:20:16 am
Hi Becky, I must have clicked the email alert on this thread waaaaaay back when since I was notified of your comment.
6/11/2019 01:05:33 pm
6/12/2019 10:13:12 am
It's weird in a wonderful way that you would comment on this older post, as the entire issue of ELCA membership has flared up yet again, this time with the outright blasphemous abortion statement from ELCA bishop Eaton of May 30th this year.
6/12/2019 01:53:41 pm
Thank you for the update, Curt. I believe you are making the Godly decision. The ELCA has shown itself to be pro-abortion. That is reason enough to leave, IMO. There is a group of us that have formed and many of them have been through what you are facing. If you'd like to join us we are on Facebook, search for Exposing the ELCA group (as apposed to my other Exposing the ELCA page).
4/17/2020 03:45:44 pm
I loved my old church and its members, especially the choir, God only knows. I stayed there to worship, but knew in my heart and mind ELCA went out of the Word. It hurt to leave those I loved for 30 years.
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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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