(I received this the other day. It's written by Pastor Tom Brock) -
Today I walked through my old alma mater, Luther Theological Seminary in St Paul, Mn. It is known as probably the most conservative of the ELCA seminaries. You wouldn’t know it from the number of gay/lesbian bumper stickers in the parking lot. Upon entering the main building a sign was up promoting a new book at Luther’s Bookstore, “Pastrix” by ELCA Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. She was a favorite speaker at the ELCA Youth Assembly and a few months ago spoke at the historic Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis—using the “f” word in her speech. I flipped through her new book and she repeatedly uses the “f” word, referring to the 12 disciples as a “bunch of “f” ups”. Former ELCA Head Bishop Mark Hanson praises the book on the dustcover. Even more disturbing is that Bolz-Weber in a sermon on Christ the King Sunday denied that Christ died in our place to pay for our sins. To quote:
And just to be clear: The cross is not about God as divine child abuser sadly sending his little boy off to be killed because we were bad and well, somebody had to pay.
Can someone deny the things of “first importance” as Paul puts it in I Corinthians 15:3, and still be a Christian? Yet she is a favorite speaker at ELCA events.
This attack on Christ’s substitutionary atonement is also going on at the ELCA’s Wartburg Seminary. Professor of New Testament David Lull wrote this:
" . . .I can’t get past the idea that God had a thirst for innocent blood that had to be quenched, or that God’s justice required a death-penalty for sinners until Jesus’ death satisfied God’s wrath. Even if Bible passages can be made to support these ideas, I can’t get past the idea that God had been unforgiving before Jesus died. That’s not the God I find in the Bible."
“Even if” the Bible teaches it, Professor Lull rejects it.
So now the day has come that the ELCA allows pastors and professors to deny the central teaching of the Christian faith: that sinless Jesus Christ died in our place to pay for our sins so that we could receive the forgiveness of God.
Like I said, a very sad day walking through Luther Seminary.
The following information comes from a report on the ELCA Conference of Bishops held October 2013 -
(ELCA Secretary David) “Swartling also presented information about the number of congregations disaffiliating from the ELCA, reporting that 951 congregations have taken a total of 1,030 first votes; 717 first votes passed; 313 first votes failed; 693 second votes have been take; 658 second votes passed; 35 second votes failed. A total of 647 congregations have been officially removed from the roster of congregations of the ELCA.”
“Heard a report from the Rev. Linda Norman, ELCA treasurer, who shared that the ELCA churchwide organization had income in excess of expense of $2.5 million for the seven-month period ending Aug. 31, an unfavorable variance $0.6 million compared to last year at this time and favorable to the period budget by $5.6 million. Expenses during the previous seven months have increased by $2.9 million or 8.2 percent from the previous year. Income from congregations shared with synods and the churchwide organization in the form of Mission Support for the previous seven months was $26.7 million, a decrease of $0.5 million or 2 percent compared to this period last year. The revised annual Mission Support budget for 2013 is $49.4 million, about $0.4 million or 0.95 percent lower than the amount received in 2012. Norman said the churchwide organization is monitoring Mission Support trends, looking into 'the ecology of our giving.'” (read here)
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America promotes that everyone, worldwide, is saved by grace. This theological position flies in the face of sound Biblical teaching. That's why you will not hear ELCA leadership respond to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” with a Biblical answer like “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
This false understanding of salvation for all plays out clearly through the ELCA's policy for the very small number of missionaries that they send out. ELCA missionary Rev. Angela Zimmann lets everyone know what her job is NOT as a missionary of the church. She writes,
“My job as a missionary in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is not to convert anyone to anything. The 'accompaniment model' for missionary work, to which we subscribe, is defined as walking together in solidarity, practicing interdependence and mutuality.” (read here)
Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 27:19). Yet in complete opposition to the Prince of Peace, an official website of the ELCA churchwide published an article whose author clearly states,
“I usually associate evangelism with an effort to convert nonbelievers to Christianity, something that makes me very uncomfortable. Too often the desire to bring about conversions grows out of a belief that nonbelievers need to be 'saved' from eternal damnation by adopting the Christian faith.
To the extent that evangelism is about 'saving souls,' I want nothing to do with it.
I approach matters of faith and belief with humility, unwilling to assert the superiority of my own religious beliefs over those of others.” (read here)
Can it be true? The ELCA and its missionaries do not seek to bring anyone to knowledge of God and faith in Jesus? There is no doubt. The ELCA once again admits it on their website Living Lutheran -
“Today, missionaries with the ELCA serve in 48 countries. . .Most missionaries from Europe and North America are now lay people with special expertise, rather than clergy intent on conversion.” (read here)
I imagine that the enemy of God is very happy that the ELCA does not seek to save anyone who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior. So if ELCA missionaries and ELCA leaders are not interested in bringing the lost to Jesus, then what is the point?
Click here for the 2013 Fall Exposing the ELCA newsletter.
Jim Hazelwood, Bishop of the New England Synod of the ELCA went to a youth camp this summer and taught the heresy of universalism to the 450 youth in attendance. The bishop held what he called, “Text and Talk with the Bish” where he invited the youth to text him any questions and then stood before them for 15 minutes and answered many of the texts he received.
Bishop Hazelwood blogged about his heretical teaching, sharing that one student texted, “Do you think god sends nonbelievers to hell?”
Bishop Hazelwood gave this answer to the youth, “No, I don't think God sends nonbelievers to hell, because God is not in that business. Plus it's not about what we believe, it's about the fact that God believes in us." (read here)
What kind of answer is, “God believes in us”? And it doesn't matter what we believe? Bishop, you are teaching the non-Biblical belief of universalism, the belief that all people will be saved.
People of the ELCA, do you see the damage this teaching will do to the 450 youth listening and the countless number of people who hear this belief that is constantly spouted within the ELCA?
Bishop Hazelwood's statement is downright false, deceiving, dangerous and against Christian teaching. God tells us in John 1:12, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
By the time most of you read this, Elizabeth Eaton will be installed as the new presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is getting a good amount of press these days because she will be the first woman to hold the position in the denomination. With all the press coverage, we are provided a great opportunity to learn more about the bishop, her beliefs and theology, as well as the ELCA at large.
During an interview on Chicago's ABC7, Eaton was asked, “But what do you say to your critics who say biblically, homosexuality is a sin and it's not of God. What do you say to those critics that say that should not be accepted in the church?” Eaton responded, “Well, Lutherans have a specific way of reading the Bible. We're not biblical literalists. I mean, there are different lists of disciples. The mustard seed isn't the smallest seed. That doesn't mean that our Lord didn't know what He was talking about. But whatever shows forth God's love as it was revealed in Jesus Christ, that's what's key. And there's a lot of stuff that really is not as important.” (see here)
Did you catch that? "There's a lot of stuff (in the Bible) that really is not as important."
Everything in the Bible comes from the God of the universe. How can a godly Christian leader say that much of what God says isn't really important? How arrogant and ignorant! This view of God's Word allows ELCA leaders, and their members, to ignore things they do not like in Scripture. That is exactly what she is trying to say here. She lists a of couple instances in Scripture that she believes the Bible got wrong, to make her point, that the ELCA rejects and discounts many parts of the Bible. Sadly, this is a commonly-held understanding of many in the leadership of the ELCA.
Notice also that she says Lutherans are not biblical literalists –another familiar saying among ELCA leaders.
Wikipedia defines biblical literalism as “the interpretation or translation of the explicit and primary sense of words in the Bible . . . The essence of this approach focuses upon the author's intent as the primary meaning of the text. Literal interpretation does place emphasis upon the referential aspect of the words or terms in the text. It does not, however, mean a complete denial of literary aspects, genre, or figures of speech within the text (e.g., parable, allegory, simile, or metaphor). Also literalism does not necessarily lead to total and complete agreement upon one single interpretation for any given passage.” (see here)
Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton is communicating to all, that if the ELCA doesn't like what the Bible clearly says, they will reject it or say “God's love” overrides whatever that part of Scripture says.
This is clearly shown in a second interview Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton gave this week with WTTW11 in Chicago. She is asked, “If you believe that God is at work in the world, do you believe that Satan is at work in the world?” Eaton answered “Do I believe there is evil in the world? Yes, absolutely. And maybe Satan could be personified as an individual being, but yes, there is evil in the world. The world is a dangerous place.” (see here)
Now the Bible, plain as day, tells us that Satan is a real individual being. He is mentioned 47 times in Scripture (see here), yet Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton can not even definitively say so. In fact, she simply leaves room for those who understand evil personified. If she believed God's Word, she would have answered, “Yes, Satan is absolutely at work in the world.” This is a major problem, people.
The ELCA questions or denies biblical facts such as the virgin birth, hell, how God created all that there is, that unborn babies are made in the image of God and deserve to live, that homosexuality is a sin of which repentance is necessary. (see here) The list goes on. ELCA missionaries do not seek to win people to faith in Jesus, many leaders preach universalism against the testimony of Scripture that says - “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him (John 3:36). An understanding that “receiving” Jesus is not necessary is widely held in the ELCA, but God tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).
The ELCA is a denomination that does not stand on the truth in the Bible. Sadly, this is modeled from the top on down through the leadership of the ELCA. Were you hoping for a brighter day in the future of the ELCA?
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