The ELCA's Portico Benefit Services Questionnaire (and Gender Altering/Abortion Coverage)
Portico Benefit Services says, "As an ELCA ministry, Portico offers health, flexible spending, retirement, disability, and survivor plans to help rostered leaders and lay employees strengthen their well-being." (See here)
In a questionnaire, Portico asks ELCA employees "How do you describe yourself?" The first two choices are "Man" and "Woman." The next choice is "Transgender" and the forth choice is "Do not identify as man, woman or transgender." Seriously? What is going on with this denomination? See the screenshot below.
Since we are talking about Portico Benefit Services, if you haven't heard before, this ministry of the ELCA "will cover services including . . . hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery..."
What about abortion? In the following email sent by Portico Benefit Services they say "the ELCA health plan does cover a range of procedures that includes those for abortion, up to 20 weeks gestation." Portico also states they cover abortions that fall after 20 weeks of pregnancy, "when the life of the mother is threatened; or...when the fetus has lethal abnormalities indicating death is imminent."
ELCA Seminaries Hosting a 'Queering the Path' Discernment Retreat For Prospective Pastors
A discernment retreat called "Queering the Path" is being hosted by the "Seminaries of the ELCA" and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) at the ELCA's Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in April 2019.
The retreat is for LGBTQIA+ individuals who are considering going into public ministry.
"The Seminaries of the ELCA" are working with a LGBT supportive ministry to find future pastors. Is there any doubt where the ELCA stands on homosexuality? They are actively seeking lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people to become pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
ELM calls itself a "professional community for publicly identified gender and sexual minority ministers and candidates."
More on the ELCA and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries:
The ELCA's Sierra Pacific Synod Vice-President wrote how they are honored to represent the synod at the "Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries 'Extraordinary Callings-Holy & Queer Resistance in the Lutheran Church' exhibit..."
ELCA Seminary Student Defends the Polyamorous Lifestyle, Offers the Idea that Jesus 'Proposed' to the Disciples At the Last Supper, and sadly more...
This all began with a podcast about polyamory. "Polyamory...is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved." (See here)
Invited to speak on the podcast was "theologian" J.D. R. Mechelke, an ELCA Luther Seminary student who is getting his M.A. and is also a high school youth minister for an ELCA church.
The headlines are numerous with this one so let's dive in and take a look at what this ELCA seminary student had to say, beginning with this blasphemous quote:
- "Some would say that the Last Supper, Jesus is proposing to the 12 friends and so it's very gay and very polyamorous."
Here is J.D. Mechelke's full statement beginning with a question from the podcast host:
More from the ELCA seminarian:
- "In the evangelical world, there are a lot of the songs and prayers that are used talk about, there's this very intimate, individualistic relationship that people have with God and it's very erotic sometimes. My favorite example is this old song. It's not old, but '90s, "In the secret and the quiet place, I want to touch you. I want to see the--"
"You start to think, 'That's kind of erotic and yet it's evangelical.' It's that we're doing that, which is fine. There are queer theologians that are taking that and saying, 'Maybe we have this erotic thing going on with Jesus.' Also thinking about it, 'This is my body.' You're taking somebody's body in your mouth, and so there's some phallic-."
- "There's this idea of the polyamorous crisis that's gained traction, but usually the safe way to say it is that God loves everybody. This isn't very safe to say, but God's a total slut in that sense."
- "Oh, God, I love when Jesus says 'bush'...I don't think of the burning bush, I think of something else."
(I believe the ELCA seminary student misspoke or there was a transcribing error in the second paragraph, and the first sentence that should say "...there's this guideline for pastors basically that says you can [not] have sex outside of marriage.")
If you are wondering what church would be most welcoming to polyamory, J.D. Mechelke answers:
"If a church is openly for gay and queer folk, my guess is that you probably won't have that much push back (on) polyamory..."
See here for transcript or see the video below)
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
The latest edition of Living Lutheran, the official magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, deals much with "environmental justice" and the dangers of global warming. One article quotes Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA program director for environment and corporate responsibility. Who knew the ELCA had such a position? The number of missionaries being sent out by the ELCA is down, but this environmental position has been created. Also in this issue is an article by Bishop Guy Erwin, the ELCA's gay bishop who has a "husband."
Eaton's article talks about dangers to the environment, mentions Earth Day, and then she gives this disturbing definition of the Gospel:
"Here's the gospel. Human beings are part of the creation. Human beings are connected to everything in the cosmos. Human beings are connected to God. We are not doomed to alienation. That God is more present than we are to ourselves gives us a path to reconnect with God, each other and all of creation. The judgment is that we do not even perceive that the One who created all things is intimately present. The promise is that the One who created all things is intimately present. We--all created things--are family."
No, that is not the Gospel. The Apostle Paul defined the Gospel in I Corinthians 15:1-5: Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Paul doesn't say the Gospel is that "we are connected to the cosmos." Eaton's "gospel" in this article does not mention Jesus or the cross.
This is the strange, new world of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination far removed from Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, but closely allied with liberal politics, the LGBT movement, and "environmental justice".
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
The Golan Heights, Jerusalem Holy Sites and the Gaza March of Return: The ELCA Stands Against Israel Again
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), along with a number of mainline denominations, released a statement last week "rejecting President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights." (see here and an article by the PC(USA) titled "Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and other denominations oppose Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights" here)
Israel won the Golan Heights, along with additional land, in 1967, against countries that wanted to destroy the Jewish state. But true to form, the ELCA has sided with many Jew-hating countries and individuals who use the Golan Heights acquisition as an instrument to attack Israel.
The ELCA has a long list of examples, as well as history, of taking positions in opposition to Israel. (see here)
Last month the ELCA made another of the endless calls for action against Israel, this time wanting people to pressure Congress to urge Israel to allow access to the city holy sites. Because of violence, Israel temporarily denied access to the sites, but the ELCA doesn't say that. They pressure Israel, use bias words, and in the below statement, inflate sentiment to their own viewpoints benefit. For instance, saying "the international community's insistence that East Jerusalem is an occupied area." Many in the international community to do not agree with that. And then the ELCA saying "U.S. churches have consistently supported a shared Jerusalem as capital for Israel and as a capital for a Palestinian state..." I'm pretty sure more U.S. churches do not support dividing Jerusalem making East Jerusalem a Palestinian capital. But most ELCA leaders do.
Finally, the post below shows the ELCA advocating for people to attend the anniversary events of "Gaza's March of Return." The idea is that people whose relatives once lived in Israel have a right to return to live in Israel. The "march" has been happening for over a year, with Palestinians gathering on Israel's border, rioting, rushing the boarder fence, and perpetrating violent acts. I believe this link shows the "congressional briefing" the ELCA is wanting U.S. senators and congressional representatives to attend. Of course, the anniversary events are supportive of "Gaza's March of Return."
Chris Brown is an ELCA pastor in Solvang, CA. On Twitter, Pastor Brown responded to a gentleman who listed seven statements of which he believes. Pastor Brown disagreed. The dialogue is quite interesting:
(or see here)
Most ELCA pastors would agree with Pastor Chris Brown in his denial of Biblical inerrancy. And the ELCA constitution does not claim that the Bible is inerrant.
The ELCA Presiding Bishop made a similar claim, as Pastor Brown, concerning hell, last year saying if there is a hell she believes it is empty. (see here)
And as we have seen over the last decade, the vast majority of ELCA pastors do not view homosexuality as sin or sinful.
This is the disturbing reality of the ELCA. Their view of God's Word allows them to pick and choose what parts they believe. Sins, of which people should repent, are celebrated as God-honoring. And their belief about hell, which ties to the belief that all people will be saved, results in no evangelism, no seeking to save souls. (See more on the ELCA's view on hell here and universalism here and here)
To shed some more light on ELCA Pastor Chris Brown, his Twitter page is mostly filled with angry tweets about Republicans, President Trump and those who support him. (See here)
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