I am at a South Dakota church camp today and attended the closest church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the liberal branch of Lutheranism). About 8 years ago I attended here one Sunday, during which the pastor had the congregation sing the hymn from the ELCA hymnal "Mothering God, you gave me birth." He then preached that he didn't know why people are so upset about referring to God as "Mother", must be 2000 years of sexism. He also said "Feel free to talk to me about this after the service." I did. I said "I think the reason Christians are not comfortable referring to God as 'Mother' is that Jesus taught us to pray 'Our Father who art in heaven.'" I could tell by the pained expression on his face that he didn't want to talk about it. I later googled him and discovered that his lesbian daughter was touring the county on the Soulforce bus trying to get churches to be open to homosexuality. He now serves a pro-gay church in another state.
Today a woman pastor preached. The service began with a wonderful hymn from the ELCA hymnal which was sadly changed to eliminate masculine references for God, making it difficult to worship. During her sermon she told the Dr. Seuss story of Yertle the Turtle, making the point that all are equal in Christ. "All people are children of God, whether you believe it or not, whether you know it or not, you and all people are God's children, all are welcome at God's table." Inwardly I was shaking my head. We are indeed all God's creatures, but we are not all God's children. In fact, the Bible teaches we all start out "by nature children of wrath, as the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:3). We only become "children of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). The universalism heresy, the teaching all people are saved regardless of faith in Christ, appeared to be where she was coming from (later I noticed she had a "Co-exist" bumper sticker on her car.) Then came the Nicene Creed, which was also altered. Instead of "Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary and was made man" we recited Jesus "became truly human." Many in ELCA leadership believe it is sexist to only refer to God in masculine terms which is why the ELCA hymnal de-sexes hymns and has de-sexed all the masculine God language from the Psalms.
Other than those issues, it was a good service. But that is like saying "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock