Matthew 18:6 - "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
The ELCA will have to answer to God for their wickedness. They continue to encourage Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction to act on their sinful desires. In 2009 the ELCA essentially declared homosexuality good, that it was not sinful but the way God created some people. At the 2013 churchwide assembly the ELCA passed three more memorials centering on homosexuality.
The articles by ReconcilingWorks, a Lutheran LGBT rights organization explain the memorials from their point of view:
Also at the 2013 ELCA CW Assembly the newly-elected Presiding Bishop let it be known that she believes the 2009 ELCA homosexuality votes were the right decision (read here) and the man voted to be the Secretary of the ELCA is a vocal advocate for homosexual marriage. (read here)
While we are on this topic check out the letter 3 ELCA Bishops in California wrote affirming the right for ELCA churches to perform gay marriages. Of course ReconcilingWorks applauds the statement. (read here)
The ELCA... leading people deeper into sin.
The 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly elected William Chris Boerger the new secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Rev. Boerger is the former bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod, a position he held for 12 years. He made a name for himself, over those twelve years, showing himself to be a vocal gay rights, liberal activist. So let me tell you more about the man the ELCA has voted to hold the second most powerful position in the denomination.
The Homosexual Rights Activist:
Here is a statement made by Bishop Boerger to the Washington state Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee:
"Mr. Chairman, I am Chris Boerger, the bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Church in America . . . In 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to commit itself to find ways to allow congregations who choose to do so, to support and hold publicly accountable lifelong monogamous same gender relationships . . .One of the people who had questions about our doing this said, "Bishop, isn't that marriage?" And my response is, "Well, in everything but name." The reality is, the Lutheran church has always held that it is the state that defines what marriage is; it's the church that then blesses people who enter into that relationship. We have now stated our desire to bless those who are publicly accountable in lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships. We can't call it marriage, you can . . . we ask for that freedom." (see here, beginning at the 1:12:20 mark)
The Lutheran LGBT rights organization ReconcilingWorks celebrated the election of Rev. Boerger to his new office and Executive Director, Emily Eastwood said, “Pr. Chris Boerger has been an ally for full participation for many years. His prophetic witness in favor of civil marriage equality for same-gender couples before the Washington State legislature was remarkable in its clarity. Chris ordained our own regional director, Pr. Kari Lipke, and has been an avid supporter of clergy in same-gender relationships as their bishop...We applaud his election and look forward to the ways in which we may partner with him in the years ahead.” (read here)
ReconcilingWorks also reports that in 2012 “Bishop Chris Boerger said in his remarks closing the synod assembly that he pledged to continue speaking in favor of civil marriage equality until it became the law of the land in Washington State.” (read here)
At a retirement party/roast for Bishop Boerger “Jan Nesse said that in this unique time to be the church she and the Bishop had more talks about sex than in all the years she taught sex education.” (read here)
The Anti-Israel Activist:
Bishop Boerger and Presiding Bishop-elect Elizabeth E. Eaton were two of 58 ELCA bishops who signed a letter to President Obama in 2009 concerning Israel and Palestinians. In the letter it was written, “We express profound concern at the stalemate that persists and at the fading hopes for a two-state solution due to the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.” And “We urge the U.S. to insist upon an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land...” and “ The ELCA has long called for a halt to settlements, and we reiterate that call now with a deep sense of urgency.” (read here)
The Environmental Activist:
“ELCA Bishop Chris Boerger (NW WA) stated that it 'is “blatant sin” for human beings to fail to protect creation' (ELCA News Release 11/23/2010). Boerger represented ELCA bishops as leaders from 56 denominations and faith-based organizations called on the US Senate to leave intact the power of the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollutants.” (read here)
“Chris Boerger, who serves as bishop for the Northwest Washington Synod, came to Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation of senior religious leaders to speak to members of Congress and to Obama administration officials about a proposed gold and copper mine, which threatens the world’s largest wild salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska.” (read here)
The numbers are in and they are not good for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Yet they do show that a faithful remnant have placed God's Word over their affinity for the ELCA.
The 2012 numbers show that there are now 9,533 ELCA congregations. (this includes “155 congregations under development”) In 2011, the ELCA had 9,638 congregations. That means there has been a loss of 105 ELCA congregations (happening for a variety of reasons) in one year.
The total number of baptized members in the ELCA as of 2012 is 3,950,924. This is significant in that the ELCA is no longer a denomination of 4 million members.
In 2011, the membership total was 4,059,785. That equals a loss of 108,861 members or -2.68% in one year.
Only 2,515,205 ELCA members are classified as “Active Participants.”
The total ELCA church attendance at worship each week for 2012 is 1,092,279, compared to 2011 which was 1,123,071. That is a year's loss of 30,792.
Analyzing this further, when we look at the years 2009 (the year of the ELCA's homosexuality decisions) through 2012, the ELCA has lost 682,963 members (14.7%) and 863 congregations.
Consider also that when the ELCA was formed in 1987 they had: 5,288,048 members and 11,133 congregations.
The figures show that the ELCA is a dying denomination. Here are some more figures:
“The statistics below are through the end of 2012 and reflect disaffiliations since the Churchwide Assembly in 2009.
• 947 congregations have taken a total of 1026 first votes to disaffiliate
• 713 first votes passed
• 313 first votes failed (33 percent)
• 689 second votes have been taken
• 654 second votes passed
• 35 second votes failed (5 percent)
• 643 congregations have been officially removed from the roster of congregations in the ELCA”
“The settings of disaffiliating congregations also vary widely. More than 67 percent are in rural settings or communities of less than 10,000. At the same time, the ELCA has lost 21 percent of its congregations worshipping 800 or more.”
Sources for the information and quotes in this blog originate from
It should also be noted that the ELCA budget continues to reflect the exodus of Bible-believing Christians from the denomination:
“Voting members of the 2013 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)...
Approved the ELCA churchwide organization budget for fiscal years 2014-2016. The budget includes current fund spending of $70,541,740 for 2014, $68,552,280 for 2015, and $67,920,675 for 2016.” (see here)
There is a new bishop in town, a new leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The old bishop, Mark S. Hanson, has been sent packing and none too soon. Under Bishop Hanson's watch, the ELCA has:
- decided God was wrong, so they “unsinned” homosexuality
- taken no step to protect the lives of the unborn
- continued to gender neutralize God and also invented female names for Him
- taken no steps to end goddess worship happening in their churches
- continually called on government leaders to take actions that would harm Israel and seek to turn the Christian community against the Jews
- placed social justice over Jesus' great commission
- raised up leaders who do not believe much of what is said in the Bible
Will that change with newly-elected Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton? It doesn't look that way.
During an interview this week Bishop Eaton said this about the ELCA's positions on homosexuality, “We took a difficult decision in 2009 and it did have an impact on our attendance because we decided that when God said 'everybody' God meant 'everybody' could serve.”
A few minutes later she said, “We are not doing any of this to catch a wave in populate culture or to get more people to come in. We are doing this because we felt motivated by our understanding of Scripture and of our own confessional tradition that maybe this was something that God was doing that was new and it would be important for us to allow this kind of inclusion.” (see here)
So the ELCA decided to contradict Scripture because “maybe” God was doing something new? WOW! I'd think a Christian denomination should know “without a doubt” 100% that God wanted them to go against His written Word before they would do it.
Yet on March 10, 2010 -
An interesting fact being reported is that Bishop Eaton's husband, Rev. Conrad Selnick, is an Episcopal priest. The Episcopalian church is even more non-orthodox doctrinally than the ELCA.
I was reading a forum that was discussing the new Presiding Bishop and came across this from a pastor who knows her. Rev. Norman E. Dew writes:
“Having served in the Northeastern Ohio Synod while Eaton served as bishop, not much will change. She talks about making sure that the ELCA doesn't slide into just another liberal Protestant denomination but she's not tolerant of Lutheran orthodoxy in matters of sexuality. As an interim pastor, I was told that she was the pastor of the congregation I served. I served in her stead. She did not like the fact that I allowed the congregation and leadership of the church to investigate the happenings that were occurring in the church as a result of the 2009 CWA. She came close to accusing me of leading the congregation out of the ELCA. I did no such thing despite some disapproval of those in the congregation who thought I should be outspoken. When I finally determined that my future as a pastor in the ELCA was over I moved to the NALC and resigned as interim pastor.
So the ELCA, under Presiding Bishop Eaton, will remain the same. They will continue to cruise down the road of secularism and heresy. They will continue to distance themselves from the God of the Bible. They will continue to lead people down the path of destruction.
Last year Exposing the ELCA posted a report concerning the battle that was waging between the ELCA and St. John Lutheran Church in Summerfield, Florida. (see here)
Here is an update from a member of the congregation:
In Sept. or October 2012 I wrote to you about a Central-Florida church whose pastor had been defrocked by the FL-Bahama Synod. The hypocritical reason for doing this (plus a host of other charges that were dropped) outraged the vast majority of congregants, who refused to obey the Synod ruling. They answered by dual-affiliating with the bible-centered ELCM, which granted a provisional rostering of the pastor, and then voted by super majority to keep him as their pastor. This action provoked no response from the Synod for several months until a minority of 40-50 members wanted the associate pastor to take his place, she was a recent seminarian and this was her first church, and she was 100% ELCA. That did not happen and she resigned some months ago. Appeals to Chicago Hdqtrs. and Tampa bishop to reconsider feel on deaf ears, his sin was too terrible to be forgiven. However, a homosexual pastor in the pulpit since 2002 in the Ft. Lauderdale area, 7 years before the 2009 approval of such pastors, seemed not a big deal to the ELCA hierarchy, he was after all in a committed monogamous relationship. What has since transpired in the past 6 months is this: The minority requested adjudication with the bishop and concerned parties. It was discovered that a minority delegation held a meeting with the bishop BEFORE the scheduled adjudication, the church council then declined to attend the adjudication meeting, it appeared to them that the outcome was already decided. Then a member of the congregation minority filed a lawsuit stating that the ELCA is a hierarchical church, the majority's action was unconstitutional and demanded the church be turned over to them. Their numbers have since dwindled to a mere handful, with most joining other area churches. There is no possible way they could keep the church viable and it would surely close. I guess the church and the bequeathed $2 million dollar, lake-front property would become the property of the ELCA. Now the GOOD NEWS, On July 2, 2013, the court DISMISSED the suit, stating the plaintiff had no merit and was not authorized to file a suit. He has 20 days to appeal the decision. Since the Synod has let him do the dirty work and spend his own money, it remains to be seen if they will go on any further. The Synod Council deferred all authority on the Executive Committee to handle the matter. The bishop retires on Aug. 31, 2013. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit has taken an interest, there have been many unusual and fortuitous things that have happened since this all started, and we all thank God for his help. Our situation closely parallels the church in Eau Claire, WI., and we hope they succeed. We must fight the good fight for our Lord, no matter the outcome. God is in control, the final victory will be His.
Update II - An appeal of the dismissal was granted with a Aug. 11, 2013 deadline.
I will let you know when I hear more.
Over the past day I've been getting a number of comments in support of Dr. Wil Gafney, an Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, an ELCA Seminary. The people writing recently found a blog I wrote back in May regarding a blog written by Dr. Gafney where she posted a picture of Jesus as a female. (read my blog here) Those who commented thought the picture was great. They expressed that Dr. Gafney is a wonderful professor and attempted to justify what she did and wrote. Many of them justified the female Jesus picture by pointing to the verse where Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” - Matt. 23:37. Somehow, because Jesus referenced a female chicken, these people think Jesus was a woman.
Some of the comments I received:
From an ELCA pastor – Dr. Gafney's “. . . teaching and preaching build up the faith and instill a deep interest in knowing more about our Scriptures, something you sadly know nothing about. Go and educate yourself.”
From another ELCA pastor - “Do you honestly have so little imagination that you cannot see that God is greater than gender, color or race? Your God is too small, too white and too male as far as I can tell.”
“I am so glad that ELCA pastors in training are being taught by Dr. Gafney. Too few seminarians are learning robust feminist and womanist theologies . . .”
“I think Dr. Gafney is one of our most gifted and prophetic voices in our church.”
“It troubles me that my beloved church may actually have paid for your education which you are now abusing in order to propagate such flawed and hateful statements. Shame shame on you.”
“Clearly the author of this reflection is at best novice and at worst ignorant of how social realities impact theological reflection. Please spend time doing something more productive than objecting to the scholastic innovation that comes from Dr. Gafney.”
“I think the Christa image is beautiful and thought-provoking.”
“The Rev. Dr. Gafney opens up, by her meticulous scholarship, access to images of God that are not only scriptural but deeply needed in a world that is increasingly polarized by racist, sexist and homophobic agendas.”
Most of the people who support Dr. Gafney's female Jesus picture are liberals who warp Christianity and Scripture to their own liking so much so that many of them do not even worship the God of the Bible anymore. In their lost-ness, they would likely still sing Dr. Gafney's praises even in view of the professor's belief that Asherah, a Canaanite goddess, is the Holy Spirit. (see here) I'm not joking. As you can see, that is what she believes. Is this thinking and foundation for teaching “scholastic innovation” and “meticulous scholarship?” No. It's heresy! People in the ELCA need to know what is happening in their church and what their leaders are teaching.
The minutes of the ELCA - Southeastern Synod Council had this comment from Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson:
“We must start talking to our ecumenical partners about shared oversight. For example, we might have more bishops but fewer synods. A specific example might be to have three bishops in the same synod.” (read here on page 18)
Bishop Jessica Crist, current head of the ELCA Conference of Bishops is quoted in the Aug. 2013 The Lutheran commenting on the aftermath of the 2009 homosexuality votes: "Some congregations had been angry for years; and some were still angry about mergers prior to 1988...We are healthier and happy now."
“In some ways, Crist said, the losses were 'analogous to cleaning the rolls' of a congregation. 'We do not have the anger and hostility at synod assemblies that we had before...'”
The Lutheran writes that former Presiding Bishop Chilstrom claimed that bishops are telling him that “'it's a new day, with a more positive, upbeat spirit' as the dissent over the 2009 decision waned with the departure of the congregations opposing the decision.” (see here)
The loudest mouthpiece of the ELCA, The Lutheran magazine, had 5 pieces (articles or news stories) in which homosexuality was a prominent feature. The cover story, which contained the quotes above was one and another was the “My View” article. That was written by Amalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM). ELM describes its mission saying it “expands ministry opportunities for publicly-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people called to leadership in the Lutheran church as ordained pastors and rostered lay leaders.” (quote from here)
You can read her article here.
As evidenced in this last piece, the indoctrination of laypeople continues. For all congregations and people still in the ELCA, is it wise to continue in a denomination which seeks to lead you to affirm what God has called sin? Look at how many members have already succumbed to the ELCA's talking heads and the brainwashing put forth in all their entities.
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