By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Pastor Brock by going here or twitter users here.
Rachel Swenson is a 2013 graduate of the ELCA’s St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. This year she is serving in Vryheid, South Africa, with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program. She recently wrote an item for the ELCA’s blog “Living Lutheran” (find it at www.elca.org/en/Living-Lutheran/Blogs/2014/02/140220b-On-accompaniment). Here is part of what she said:
For those of you who are unaware, accompaniment is the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission buzz word. While my technical job title is missionary of the ELCA, I am not a traditional missionary. The job of the 60 YAGM scattered across the globe is to accompany — to walk with the people in our new communities, to share their sorrows, their victories…
Yes, she said “God in all her splendor.” If you read her entire article, she doesn’t mention the word “Jesus.” There is no word about evangelism or bringing people to saving faith in Christ. Its all about “accompaniment.” Put this alongside the fact that the ELCA’s national magazine “The Lutheran” recently printed an article by Pastor Peter Marty called “Who Gets Saved?” His answer is that pretty much everybody is saved, whether they believe in Jesus or not. Little wonder young adult ELCA missionaries are confused and unable to share the Gospel.
For the record, Lutherans believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). At least we have believed that for 500 years, but things are changing in the ELCA.
A report from the 2014 ELCA Conference of Bishops reveals that at least one ELCA bishop is using deceitful tactics to subvert churches' wishes to not have a homosexual pastor. ReconcilingWorks, a liberal Lutheran LGBT rights organization reports -
“Later that day, one bishop told me about the challenges of placing a qualified gay candidate. Instead of giving up, he's getting creative, introducing this future pastor to potential churches through supply preaching.” (read here)
What happened to respecting a congregation's view of Scripture and their desire to not have a pastor who is proudly living in sin? If you are in a church that stayed in the ELCA, thinking homosexual issues wouldn't affect you, think again. The ELCA is hitting congregations over the head with this issue, and now there is evidence that at least one bishop is going to extraordinary lengths to get practicing homosexuals in your pulpit.
ReconcilingWorks and other LGBT advocacy organizations were invited to speak to the gathering of ELCA bishops and ReconcilingWork's goal was to convey to the bishops “the need to support LGBT candidates and to encourage congregations to call them.”
The ELCA Upstate New York Synod describes the discussion at the Conference this way -
“The Placement of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer candidates for ministry.
Guests who are part of Proclaim and the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries joined the bishops for conversations about how placement is going across this church and to share best practices as well as concerns.” (read here)
The ELCA is showing that they do not respect a congregation's desire to adhere to God's Word on homosexuality.
ELCA Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo of the Metropolitan New York Synod announced last week that he will be officiating a same-sex wedding this summer. To my knowledge, Bishop Rimbo will be the first ELCA bishop to do this.
Jesus tells us, “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life” (Matt. 7:14). God then warns us of false teachers that teach contrary to God's Word, leading people the wrong way and down the broad road to destruction (Matt. 7 +). Bishop Rimbo and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are acting contrary to Scripture and are leading people into bondage to sin. Bishop Rimbo's actions and words tighten the chains of bondage around people who are embracing their sinful desires and are being affirmed in them with the blessing of clergy and the Church. The ELCA and Bishop Rimbo are those whom Jesus warned us about.
Last week Bishop Rimbo was featured in a Wall Street Journal article, where we learned of his intentions to officiate at a same-sex wedding. It is greatly disappointing to read of the extent to which Bishop Rimbo will go to embrace worldly values which go against God's Word.
Readers of the article also learned a lot more about the high-ranking ELCA leader – like his unique, gospel-less ways to try to “rebuild his flock.”
Here are some highlights from the article:
Throughout the whole article there was not one mention of Jesus or God.
Five years ago Bishop Rimbo was quoted by a reporter saying, "After years of personal struggle, of study, of conversations, I believe that people who are gay are created that way. Who am I to deny something that God has created?” (see here)
Bishop Rimbo's personal belief goes completely against Scripture. Who is he to deny what God has said in His Word?
Pilot Douglas Corrigan, in 1938 filed a flight plan saying he was going to fly to California but he somehow ended up in Ireland. He later said that he must have made a navigational error and flown the “wrong way.” (see here) This incidence earned Douglas Corrigan the nickname “Wrong Way.”
Much like Corrigan, Bishop Rimbo and the ELCA leadership, who are supposed to lead people to Christ, are leading their flock and all those listening to them the wrong way, down a road that is broad but leads to destruction. ELCA Bishop Rimbo and his denomination, in my view have also earned the nickname, “Wrong Way.”
Read more about Wrong Way Rimbo here and here -
By Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Rev. Brock by going here or twitter users here.
Today (3/14/2014) I visited Wartburg College in Waverly Iowa, an official college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A poster was up advertising the college’s Lenten services. On the poster was a picture of Jesus taking a “selfie” photo. Another picture showed Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a dinosaur. The caption read “Hey, my name is Jesus. My interests are messing with Pharisees,... riding dinosaurs, hanging out in the Wartburg Chapel during Lent…”
Also on campus were a number of posters advertising Gayla Week and Wartburg’s upcoming Drag Show on March 22nd. The show is promoted on the official Wartburg College website (wartburg.edu) as follows:
“Have you ever seen a guy do a back flip in stiletto heels? Now you will. Wartburg’s annual cabaret/drag show has become a phenomenon…About 700 people attended the performance in 2010. The show brings in professional drag queens and kings from around the state of Iowa… Wartburg is an inclusive community…The (drag show) is meant to educate the campus in a fun way about the history of drag and its importance in the LGBT culture…The Wartburg cabaret/drag show honors how the gay rights movement in the United States first began…
The website makes clear that Wartburg College is supportive of students’ sexual orientations and gender expressions. According to the student newspaper, last year’s drag show brought in over $1600.
Lastly, I stepped into Wartburg’s “Reflection Room” which “provides a quiet place for reflection, prayer or meditation…please respect the diverse traditions that are presented in this space. Enter to listen, learn and receive”. In the room was a table presenting a Bible, a Koran, a Buddha statue, a Dali Lama book and a Mwimbieni Bwana book. I couldn’t help but get the not-so-subtle message that all religions are okay. Nowhere did I see any indication of the Bible’s teaching that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
Wartburg College was founded in 1875 by George Grossman, who was sent by a Lutheran pastor to establish a teacher training school for German immigrants. The college is named after Wartburg Castle in Germany whereMartin Luther translated the Bible into German. If the founders of Wartburg could see what has become of their college, I believe they would weep.
Universalism, the belief that all people will be saved, is prevalent in the ELCA. But an article in the ELCA's official publication, The Lutheran, shows us that universalism has gone from “a” belief, to “the” belief of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA has announced to its readers that the universalism is the doctrine the denomination is now built on.
The ELCA article “Who Gets Saved?” is written by pastor Peter W. Marty and he writes:
Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock responded to The Lutheran article on Facebook saying, “If anyone doubts that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pushes the heresy of universalism--the teaching that all people will be saved whether they believe in Jesus or not--see the article...from The Lutheran, the ELCA's official magazine. Tragic what the writer does with John 14:6, turning the teaching of Jesus on its ear. The author's point is that you don't really need faith in Christ to be saved. John 14:6, Acts 4:12 and 16:31 teach otherwise. No wonder the number of missionaries the ELCA sends out has gone down. If everyone is saved, no need to send missionaries.”
The other day a came across another ELCA pastor publicly proclaiming universalism. ELCA pastor Scot Ruffatto in Mukwonago, Wisconsin (former missionary of the ELCA to the Central African Republic) writes this on his church's blog:
People will be going to hell for eternity because the ELCA has embraced the teaching of universalism and as a result are not proclaiming the Truth of God's Word which says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” - John 3:16-18
See more documentation of the ELCA teaching universalism. (here and here)
(the following is from Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org)
The liberal-leaning Metro Lutheran in its March 2014 issue has a glowing, front page article about ELCA Lutheran congregations in Minnesota that let Muslims use their worship space. Here is the response I sent:
It was with sadness that I read your report of Lutheran churches offering their worship space so that Muslims can worship Allah. The rationale given by one of the pastors was "our Christian faith calls us to help our neighbors". But are we loving people by helping them stay Muslims? Jesus taught that He is the only way of salvation (John 14:6) and the Apostles taught the same (Acts 4:12). If we truly love people we will urge them to come to Christ for salvation, not help them worship Allah.
Can you imagine Martin Luther promoting the religion of Islam? Please pray for the ELCA. It's time people leave it for a more Biblical branch of Lutheranism.
Pastor Tom Brock
An ELCA pastor wrote the following on an ELCA facebook page which was discussing the movie "Son of God" -
"Not a great title in this era of increasingly aware inter-faith-sensitive folks who see Christian History as a history of violence done toward peoples of other faiths because Christians believed that their spokesperson or prophet was the Son of God (misunderstood to mean that Jesus was God). Son of God was originally attributed to Ceasar. The Christians wanted all to know that their allegiance was NOT to Ceasar, but to the Holy One to whom this itinerant Rabbi pointed. The One who sent me, Jesus would say. In other words, we need to make a theocentric move here in order to show consideration for our Muslim, Jewish, Hindhu, Buddhist....and all other friends. These kinds of Christocentric obsessive movies just continue to give the rest of us Christians a bad name." (reported by Lutheran CORE here and originally post from a closed ELCA facebook group here)
It is this pastor and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that give Christians a bad name, but worse than that, they are leading people away from Truth, God's Word and Faith in God the Son.
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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Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11