"They won't be expecting that!” Unless they have read and trust God’s Word.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
What do you know . . . An ELCA leader doesn’t believe what the Bible says; this time its about Jesus’ birth. Surprise and Merry Christmas! (Do they celebrate Christmas in the ELCA any longer?)
Here is what was said by Rev. Dr. Don Carlson, Assistant to the Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, concerning the two accounts of Jesus’ birth in the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke:
“They are very different stories which are quite incompatible with one another. . .I certainly do not believe they are ‘historical’ in any modern understanding of historicity. . .I think that the stories are made up. (I’m retiring at the end of May anyway so don’t waste time with the heresy accusations.) They are myth” (read here).
Here is what Rev. Carlson had to say about Christ being born of a virgin:
“Focusing on the virgin birth issue, we need to remember that accounts of virgin or miraculous births were not uncommon antiquity. However, we also need to remember that such accounts were intended to express something about the character of the person born. They were a ‘character reference’ or ‘credentials.’ They were not intended to explain where the individual got 23 of his or her chromosomes. An understanding of fertilization and pregnancy in antiquity was, let’s say, ‘agrarian’ at best.” (read in the same article linked above)
Toward the end of his blog/article Rev. Carlson gives this advice to pastors: “tell the old mythic story in a way that. . . it is heard anew”. In order to prove his points in the blog, the Assistant to the Bishop recommends a discussion of the birth narratives by the controversial Marcus Borg. (find out more about him here)
Pastor Steve Shipman, director of LutheranCORE addresses those who teach like Rev. Carlson. Rev. Shipman wrote:
“If a person chooses not to believe the Virgin Birth, they are free to do so. But they have no right then to claim to be a teacher or believer in Christianity. The faith once delivered to the saints is not a cafeteria from which we can pick and choose what pleases us.
If Jesus were born in the usual way, then what does it mean that He is 'the Word made flesh'? How can God be his Father in the way the Church has always proclaimed, if he is biologically the child of both Mary and Joseph (or even, as certain blasphemous legends suggest, of Mary and some other man)? Some early Christians made arguments for what is called ‘adoptionism,’ which taught that Jesus wasn’t born Son of God but was adopted into that role at his baptism by John. This was quickly rejected as heresy, because then the good news of the Incarnation simply can’t stand.
And it does matter for our salvation that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.’ It does matter that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ If Jesus is just a good human being, even a perfect human being, He cannot save us but would only have saved Himself. But because He is God among us, taking our humanity into the life of the Holy Trinity, we have a marvelous hope for this life and the next.” (read here)
What I am reporting isn’t just one ELCA leader preaching heresy. No. Rev. Carlson’s article was posted on the website and blog of Michael Rinehart, bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Bishop Rinehart is responsible for the article’s posting on his blog and he is culpable for what it says. ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, the ELCA’s Church Council and all high-ranking ELCA leaders are also responsible and culpable for what he (and others) say and/or for allowing theologically false-teaching to be preached. Allowing this heresy is the same as promoting it yourself. They are accomplices and are leading people away from God’s Truth and way from Christ.
People who don’t believe basic Christian truths and historic stories in the Bible are running the ELCA, teaching in the seminaries, preaching in the pulpits and “teaching” you about Christianity. Honestly, I believe Satan has infiltrated the ELCA and placed his people in leadership positions.
Here’s some more information on Assistant to the Bishop Rev. Dr. Don Carlson:
The ELCA’s Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio concerning the recent news of Luther Seminary, the denomination’s largest seminary, having extreme financial difficulties.
Here is one section from the interview -
Interviewer: “You are the head of the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, the ELCA. And as you know, you’ve lost about 600 or so congregations after that controversial decision allowing openly gay and lesbian pastors to service. Is a drop in seminary enrollment a refection of that decision at all?”
Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson: “I don’t, I don’t see that. In fact, many young adults that I encounter, that I am on Twitter with and that I’m constantly in conversation with, in fact see that as a source of hope for this church and something that is drawing them into the life of this church.” (listen here)
Under Mark Hanson’s leadership, perversion was promenaded into the church with joyous celebration. Sinful acts against God have been declared good. When a church turns its back on God, godly men and women will leave and take their tithes with them. But as we read above, the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is living in denial by not seeing that the disregard for God and His Word is the main reason for it being a dying, financially-challenged denomination.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s largest seminary, Luther Seminary in Minnesota, sent shockwaves through the denomination with the recent admittance that they are facing extreme financial difficulties. The president of Luther Seminary abruptly stepped down from his position as a result. Luther Seminary published a report stating, “While we continue to function at a high level, we are facing a difficult combination of challenges, not unlike those faced by many other institutions of higher education. These challenges include deferred maintenance charges related to aging buildings, the costs of delivering a wide variety of educational programs and a nationwide drop in the number of students attending seminaries . . . this transition comes at a time when the financial performance of the seminary has lagged expectations.” (read here)
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Luther Seminary, “announces search for new president after losing nearly $4 million last school year.” The report said, “The president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul has resigned amid rising maintenance costs and declining enrollment . . . Enrollment is down from 822 nearly five years ago to 764 students this year.” Board chairman Jim Lindus said, "We had a lower investment performance than we were expecting, and education costs in general are going up. And we're trying to figure out how do we adjust to that in a church that ... has become smaller." (read here) The article also points out that “Other ELCA seminaries nationwide are also dealing with ‘very challenging times.’"
An ELCA pastor, blogging about the news concerning Luther Seminary said, “the ELCA and many of her associated enterprises - Luther Seminary among them - has taken its eye off the ball. We are told that we are to be missional - but missional about what? A vast cohort of students, faculty, and staff (and therefore pastors, bishops, and synod staff) get more worked up about personal pronouns for God than personal relationships with God. We are taught that to ‘want people to come to church on Sunday morning’ indicates a lack of understanding that God works outside the church. We are taught that the Church, and Word & Sacrament, are nice, you know, but so are justice and advocacy. I spent more time in seminary learning about ‘family systems’ than I did sacramental theology. No, for realz. I was assigned more papers about why we shouldn't evangelize, than about how and why we should.”
This ELCA pastor goes on to say, “certain individuals and departments spend ridiculous amounts of seminary funds on high-end coffee and cookies every day of the week. There are flat-screen TVs in every corner of Northwestern and the OCC. NW and OCC have both recently undergone major asthetic remodels, while the dorms and apartments battle bedbugs and mold year-round.” (read here)
The ELCA is led by self-serving, Bible-denying, and apparently wasteful leaders. Because of their wandering away from the heart of the Gospel, to make disciples, the denomination itself is withering.
The other day, on my personal facebook page I wrote a message of praise to God because a church, that is near to where I grew up, voted to leave the ELCA. A facebook “friend” who it seems is an ELCA supporter, responded to my comment saying, "Sounds like you are praising the Devil, not God.” I challenged his comment and he responded by “unfriending” me.
This kind of thing is not uncommon. I regularly received comments and emails from ELCA supporters who do not like me or Exposing the ELCA. Here are a few examples that I have gotten in the last few weeks -
One person responded to my blog about using Ouija boards at an ELCA college (see here) said, “Dont point to the spec in your neighbors eye when there is a log in your own.” Another person said, “If you've left the ELCA, stop worrying about them. It is not your job to judge, it is God's. Worry about your own business. As a Christian, and a graduate of Concordia College, I am embarrassed for you. And may I just add that the 'devil worshiping, doors of hell opening' haunted house at Concordia was probably a great time, I wish I could have attended.” That same person also wrote, “Are you guys serious? Do you not have anything better to do with you time other than come up with reasons why the ELCA is a sinful organization? I think you're missing the whole point of the gospel. God loves the world. Done. End of story. Get over yourselves.”
It’s obvious that most of the ELCA supporters who write to me do not know Scripture. These people make God in their own image, the way they want Him to be, which means the god they say they know, follow or worship is a false god. That brings me to this next ELCA supporter:
I’ve been receiving long messages from someone who is very supportive of the ELCA’s acceptance of goddess worship. (don’t believe me about the ELCA’s involvement and acceptance of goddess worship? See here) Check out a few of the things this person has sent Exposing the ELCA -
“Indeed, *herchurch* represents a denomination that God the Father *does* want to see being supported!
“You chose to believe your false interpretations of words in a book, edited & canonized by corrupt men with their own political-religious agenda of *controlling* the minds & beliefs of others. You chose this rather than actually pure-heartedly *seeking* Her Holy Spirit in your lives, to teach you "all things".”
“Praise Goddess that Her Spirit is so *alive* into this time! And *thank you* Heavenly Father for deciding that this is *Her* Time to come forth into history in the *Fullness* of Her Spirit, & that so many of us are privileged to be *alive* at this time to witness the beginnings of Your Further Revelations *as* Her.”
Not knowing, believing or following Scripture makes one susceptible to many things, including goddess worship.
Today, Luther Seminary posted on its facebook page that Pastor Andrena Ingram, a pastor known for giving out free condoms at her church, will be preaching at their chapel tomorrow. Here is what the Luther Seminary post said, "This week is HIV/AIDS Awareness Week. The Rev. Andrena Ingram will preach in chapel tomorrow at 11 a.m. Chapel will be followed by a conversation at 11:45 a.m. in the OCC Lecture Room (lower level)." (see here)
You should read the article Exposing the ELCA wrote about Pastor Ingram earlier this spring. (read)
ELCA Pastor number one:
A few days ago, Liliana Stahlberg, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided to comment on Exposing the ELCA’s facebook page. Her comments came in response to a linked article entitled, “UCC Minister Enlists Help of Anti-Semitic Publication to Get Message Out.” Rev. Stahlberg said “Good for him!” Just after her praise for this UCC minister’s partnering with a Jew-hating publication she said, “Why do you guys waste your time hating people?”
On another section of our facebook page Rev. Stahlberg commented, "Exposing the ELCA is the true apostate church along with word alone, lutheran core and the likes...you are truly sad people!”
Liliana Stahlberg is the pastor of Highlands Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado. (see here) Looking around on Highlands Lutheran Church’s facebook page (see here), I found a great deal of praise for many theologically questionable emergent church leaders. One post said “Highlanders, join me and others for this outstanding event where Brian McLaren a present day prophet speaks on how to turn hostility into hospitality! HE IS AMAZING!” and another post said “Bolz-Weber is preaching this Sunday at HLC! Come one, come all!”(read about Rev. Bolz-Weber here) Rev. Stahlberg’s church also shared articles on their facebook page by Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne.
Just today Rev. Stahlberg returned to Exposing the ELCA’s facebook page to share more of her anger saying, “How arrognat of Dan Skogen to think he knows what God's word really is? he has never heard of Christ obviously!” and “Why are you guys sooooo homophobic? What are you afraid of? Why do you let your reptilian part of the brain take over the cortex that makes you human?”
Surely this woman is destined for greatness within the apostate Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
ELCA pastor number two:
Retired ELCA pastor, John-Otto Liljenstolpe, recently sent a comment to Exposing the ELCA in support of ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, when he came across a blog of mine entitled, “What is Bishop Hanson's Motivation?” I decided to do a little research on Rev. Liljenstolpe and found out he is a 9/11 truther. Rev. Liljenstolpe signed a petition on a website called, Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth and he penned this statement found on the same website: “I agree that the official conspiracy theory offered us by the Bush Administration appointed committee is not credible. I therefore demand that a panel be appointed involving physicists, engineers, architects, pilots, former intelligence officials, and military officers, historians, journalists - some of these being from other nations to evaluate the 9/11 WTC incident in the light of the available facts.” (see here)
I also came across a video of Pastor Liljenstolpe leading a prayer for protesters at Occupy Seattle.
I’m beginning to think the only requirement for being an ELCA pastor is to deny Biblical Truth. Anything else is fine.
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