Posted on the internet by a Lutheran pastor -
I'm looking for resources on the dangers of inter-faith dialogue that can help me explain at a basic level to my parishioners why it is not bigoted or unloving to say on the basis of scripture that faith in Christ Jesus is the one and only way to salvation.
This month I teach all the women's circles in my congregation and once again I'm dismayed at the ELCA women's study. This first month is about the conversion of Paul and focuses on an analysis of the human experience of conversion, lifting up examples of other faith conversions, Jewish, Buddhist, Islam with the implication that these are all legitimate paths to God.
The author compares the influence of Paul and Augustine and their influence on the Christian church with a middle ages Muslim named al-Ghazali who "influenced Islam and helped Muslims relate to God both intellectually and emotionally."
She goes on to give another example of "a person who grew up Lutheran was taught that only Christians are "saved" joins a Jewish-Christian weekly Bible study and comes to appreciate the worth of other paths to God, while remaining a loyal Lutheran."
My first impulse is to rave and rant but I know the best course is to teach them out of error. Any suggestions? Please pray for me:-)
Interesting numbers related to the declining, dying Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -
You read some interesting things when you peruse an ELCA clergy Facebook page. Here are a few dandies from pastors in the ELCA:
(About the Truth of Scripture)
(Again about the Truth of God's Word)
(About what Christ said in Scripture)
(About what God has said in Scripture about creation)
(Again about God's creation account)
The above quotes come from a closed Facebook group and some of them can be viewed at this link (here) if you are a member of the group.
Critical comments from readers printed in The Lutheran to the ELCA/publishers of the magazine:
"Not buying it
I am all for elevating people out of poverty (July, page 16). But I do not share your cheerleading enthusiasm that paints economic inequality as demonic injustice. Nor do I share your animosity toward the so-called '1 percent.' I thought the Bible was a staunch critic of envy. Oh, I forgot this is all Democratic Party talking-points. Carry on.
The Rev. John R. Thompson
Treasure Island, Fla."
Marty’s article distracts from, rather than enriches, our worship of God. Why would it bother anyone to think of God in masculine terms? Is God ever referred to in the Bible as anything but 'he'? We cannot make God over to fit our human terms because God is God. Traditional hymns in Evangelical Lutheran Worship have already been reworded to avoid masculine pronouns for God. Now this. Enough.
Hildegard P. Lamparter
The recent visit by ELCA bishops to Congress (May, page 4) reminds all yet again of church leaders’ devotion to a politicized, self-absorbed gospel. Peter advises Christ’s followers to 'always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.' Confident believers answer by boldly confessing Christ crucified and raised from the dead. But our bishops’ hope centers on convincing lawmakers to spend other people’s money on the ELCA’s lofty causes. Cheap grace indeed.
“Law and gospel
Once again Marty shows that neither he nor this denomination is in any way, shape or form Lutheran (May, page 3). Instead of discussing 'The Ten Words' as the law, which serves as a curb, a guide and principally a mirror, he denigrates obedience to them (which sinners can never fully achieve). Funny how Jesus told those whom he healed to 'go and sin no more.' God does command us to do things we cannot do. That’s why God fulfilled the law himself for us (the gospel).
Los Alamos, N.M."
"The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell." - William Booth
So it is with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
A recent article by long time ELCA seminary professor, author, speaker and current ELCA president of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), Rev. Dr. David J. Lose, is proof to William Booth's point. Addressing the concept of hell, Rev. Lose tries to dismiss the belief by saying “as you read the rest of the New Testament there are very few references to hell (outside similar parables) and in the Old Testament next to nothing.” (read here)
Truth be told, “hell” is specifically addressed fifty-five times in Scripture (King James Version, see here) and that does not include other references to it or the use of different words and phrases for “hell” like “lake of fire” and “everlasting punishment.”
Hell is a major problem for the liberal leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America because it stands contrary to their belief and teaching that all people will be saved (universalism).
The ELCA seminary president goes on, in his article, to say “For the last few decades at least, you see, 'hell' has stopped being a particularly lively or compelling topic in mainline preaching and conversation. Given it’s relatively scant place in Scripture, that may be a far more faithful treatment of the topic than many on the far right of the religious spectrum would guess. But while many of us have a harder and harder time imagining the God we know in Jesus consigning someone to a place of eternal torment and therefore applaud this development, I have wondered from time to time if we’ve figured out exactly what is a good substitute for hell.
What, that is, is the motivation for our gathering, our giving, our serving and volunteering? At least things were pretty clear when you had heaven as the carrot and hellfire as the stick. But what now? Even heaven seems increasingly difficult to talk about, as we perhaps too narrowly defined it as, well, the opposite of hell. So if we don’t have the mother-of-all reward-and-punishment schemes to fall back on, have we figured out exactly what we’re offering people.”
Rev. Lose then states, “I don’t miss hell...”
The Son of God, Jesus the Christ, spoke of hell more than anyone else in Scripture. So Rev. Lose and the ELCA's attempt to deny the existence of hell is blatantly a satanic lead assault on truth, Scripture and salvation.
“The friendly preacher who fails to warn of the reality of Hell, betrays the Son of God with a kiss.” - Ray Comfort
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, in a painfully pathetic response (that only Neville Chamberlain could appreciate) believes that talking and reasoning with ISIS is the way to stop the vile Muslim terrorist army from committing their evil atrocities and get them to lay down their arms.
The ELCA's leader was asked by a television interviewer: “Bishop Eaton, as you know you asked for a political solution in Syria. A political solution needs two parties and the two conflicted parties need to believe in a political solution. If one for example, ISIS, is killing people in Iraq, crucifying people . . . what political solution is possible between a political party and a party that uses killing as a tactic?”
Here is the heart of Presiding Bishop Eaton's answer:
“. . . It's not just two sides, there are many sides to all of this, and so just countering that with military force doesn't seem to be as effective as trying to get people together to have conversations together. And maybe we'll have to form unusual alliances. People who are not naturally considered to be allies. Maybe in the name of humanity and in the name of the hope that we have together in God say, we must put aside our differences, in order that, we can together come and reason with people who don't really want to have any sense of reason. But it is possible to have conversations. We use to be enemies with many people with whom now we are allies.” (see here beginning at the 26:30 min. mark)
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.
If you have been helped and blessed by Exposing the ELCA's ministry, please help us continue to proclaim the truth of God's Word to ELCA members who need to hear it.
Give online by clicking the "donate" button below:
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11