What does the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America believe about the Bible?
We can tell by what they say, by what they promote, by what they deny, by what they preach. (I document this throughout this website)
This month the ELCA's magazine, Living Lutheran, published an article titled "The Story Behind the Story: Finding Greater Truths Behind Bible Tales". (Read here) As you read this article you will see the ELCA cast doubt on the Bible's account of historical events such as the Biblical six-day creation account, the miraculous parting the Red Sea, David fighting and killing Goliath, and Jesus walking on water.
Here are some quotes from the ELCA article:
- (Talking about the Biblical creation account and other culture's creation stories) "I can appreciate the beauty and poetry of these mythical details without taking them literally— and still worship the glorious Force that created the universe in ways I still don’t understand."
- "Many ancient civilizations had flood stories similar to the Genesis story of Noah’s ark, but that doesn’t take away from the core message: God loves us and will not let us be extinguished. God’s word, God’s promise of protection, can be trusted. So in a profound way that story is true."
- "Even the dramatic encounter between the little shepherd boy David and the giant Philistine Goliath may be misunderstood, says author Malcolm Gladwell. If it did actually occur..."
- "Jesus turning water into wine and walking on the sea? Modern physicists hoping to prove or disprove the first story have written scholarly papers breaking down the chemical elements of both wine and H2O. Critics of the second posit that Jesus might have been treading on a thin sheet of ice. To me both miracles beautifully symbolize Jesus’ care for us, however they came to be."
- "What Bible stories do you question? Which have strained credulity and even been stumbling blocks to belief? Why not let go of a desire to force these old, old stories into a rigid mold they may never have been meant to fit?"
Pastor Tom Brock writes this about the ELCA article, "But in Living Lutheran magazine, a person’s subjective opinion about what may or may not have happened in the Bible trumps the Bible’s claim to historical accuracy." (See here)
The Dean of Students and professor at an ELCA seminary told me personally that not one ELCA seminary professor believes Adam and Eve were real people.
When the ELCA chose this article for publication, they validated it. This is a teaching that is embraced by the denomination.
Denial of the Truth of God's Word is the root of the the problem, the source of evil, that has made the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America what it is today. It is a faux Christian church that embraces evil, that cast doubt on what God says, much like Satan did in Scripture.
Jessica Harren is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (ELCA). Pastor Harren proposed the following in one of her sermons:
“Here is an idea for you…Adam is basically the word for human…so this is the first human. So Adam, may very well have been intersex. Adam being the only human would have encompassed male and female and all the genders in-between. Because there was only one human.” Listen to more of her thoughts in her sermon here.
Our God, as we see in Scripture, knows the future. God knew He would make both Adam and Eve before He did it. Claiming Adam was intersex is foolish and self-serving. That is the ELCA for you.
Rev. Jessica Harren is a bisexual person, serving as a pastor, (see here) who "is passionate about LGBTQ* inclusion in the church, decolonizing Lutheranism, and learning to be anti-racist with true allyship. She is working on decolonizing her brain, undoing her own internalized oppression, and writing.” (See here)
You can also see the above post here.
The second post is a tweeted video of ELCA pastor Jason Chesnut giving the middle figure (x2) to you. This is a pastor ordained by the ELCA who is paid by offering dollars, money intended for God and His Work.
And for good measure.
(Updated March 2018 - Original blog was written March, 2011)
One would think that ELCA pastors, bishops and teachers would believe Scripture. However all one has to do is read, “The Clergy Letter - from American Christian clergy: An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science,” to find that most do not.
Over 2400 ELCA leaders signed this letter which states,
“the overwhelming majority (of Christians) do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth.”
Make no mistake, what these Christian leaders are saying is that they do not believe what the Bible actually says. They are calling the story about creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s ark, lies. These ELCA leaders think they know better than Jesus, the Old and New Testament writers, and 2000 years of Christians, who knew these stories to be true. (read more here)
The letter goes on to say, “We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as ‘one theory among others’ is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.”
Really? So those that believe God’s account of creation, are “ignorant?” Maybe these religious elites should read from the following website of the many scientists who are skeptical of Darwinism. (read here and download the list of scientists who signed "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.")
The Clergy letter also says, “We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.”
Let me get this straight, now these “Christian” leaders, who say that the Biblical account of creation is not true, are now telling us that if we believe God’s account of creation we are REJECTING God’s Will?
Finally the letter says, “We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge.” (read here)
Here are “Christian” leaders urging school boards to have the teaching of evolution be a “core component of HUMAN knowledge.” These are the people teaching us and our children about Jesus and the Bible?
Someone may ask, “What’s the big deal?” “Who cares if ELCA leaders and pastors don’t believe what the Bible says about creation?”
Here are a few quotes that highlight why we should care:
"More cases of loss of religious faith can be traced to the theory of evolution--- than anything else." - Martin Lings, quoted in Christian Century July, 1982
“Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.” - Noted evolutionist, Professor Will Provine, in “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life.”
"Any creationist lawyer who got me on the stand could instantly win over the jury simply by asking me: 'Has your knowledge of evolution influenced you in the direction of becoming an atheist?' I would have to answer yes and, at one stroke, I would have lost the jury." - Noted evolutionist, Dr. Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2008) p. 93
While I was studying at an ELCA seminary, the Dean of Students told me that not one ELCA seminary professor in the United States believes Adam and Eve were real people. I have no doubt that statement is true. Sadly, seminary professors’ beliefs are being picked up by their students, who are the current and future ELCA pastors.
Linked at the end of this blog is the list of current and retired ELCA pastors, ELCA seminary professors, ELCA college professors, ELCA seminary presidents and ELCA Bishops who agree with this letter and signed it. Some of the notable signers are: Bishop Tom Aitken (Northeastern Minnesota Synod), The Rev. Hans R. Arnesen (Associate to the Bishop of the New England Synod), Bishop Allan Bjornberg (ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod), Bishop Paul J. Blom - Houston, Texas, Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, The Rev. Stacy Boorn (herchurch), The Rev. Michael Cooper-White, D.D., (President - Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA), The Rev. Jean DeVoll-Donaldson (Assistant to the Bishop/Director for Evangelical Mission Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod), Bishop Ralph W. Dunkin (West Virginia -Western Maryland Synod), The Rev. James Kenneth Echols, Ph.D. (President - Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago), The Rev. Paul W. Egertson, Ph.D. (Bishop Emeritus - Southwest California Synod), The Rev. Jim Hazelwood (Bishop of the New England Synod), The Rev. Anita C. Hill, The Rev. B. Penrose Hoover (Bishop - Lower Susquehanna Synod), The Rev. Robert L. Isaksen, (Retired ELCA Pastor and Bishop of the New England Synod), The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, Kevin S. Kanouse, (Bishop Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod), Paul R. Landahl (Bishop Metropolitan Chicago Synod), Bishop April Ulring Larson (La Crosse Area Synod), The Rev. Duane H. Larson, PhD., (President - Wartburg Theological Seminary), The Rev. Felipe Lozada-Montanez (Bishop of the Caribbean Synod of the ELCA), Bishop Brian D.Maas (Nebraska Synod - ELCA), Bishop John S. Macholz (Upstate New York Synod - ELCA), The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Mansholt (Bishop Central States Synod), The Rev. Robert W. Mattheis (Bishop Emeritus, Sierra Pacific Synod), The Rev. George Paul Mocko (Bishop Emeritus, Delaware-Maryland Synod), Bishop David G. Mullen (Sierra Pacific Synod), Bishop Dean W. Nelson (Southwest California Synod), Bishop Margaret G. Payne (New England Synod), The Rev. Dr. Ted Peters (Interim President - Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary), The Rev. Dr. Jerry L. Schmalenberger (Retired President - Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary), Rev. Robin J. Steinke, Ph.D. (President Luther Seminary), Bishop David R. Strobel (Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod), The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Thomforde (President - St. Olaf College), Bishop Ron Warren (ELCA Southeastern Synod), The Rev. Dr. Howard E. Wennes (Retired Bishop ELCA), The Rev. Paul M. Werger, (Bishop Emeritus - Southeastern Iowa Synod), The Rev. Eric G. Wolf(Assistant to the Bishop of the South Carolina Synod, ELCA), The Rev. Dr. Herman Yoos (Bishop - South Carolina Synod) and Bishop David B. Zellmer (South Dakota Synod).
More than 14500 American pastors signed this letter and over 2400 of them are Evangelical Lutheran Church in America leaders.
Here is a list of all the ELCA leaders who signed the Clergy letter.
To read more about creation, intelligent design or evolution see:
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An incredibly disturbing article was written a few days ago about Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary, North Carolina. But even more disturbing than the content of the article, was the fact that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America proudly shared this article (multiple times) to all of their followers on Twitter and Facebook.
The article is titled “Amid decline, one Lutheran church strives to live up to its namesake’s spirit.” (See here)
The article begins by telling of a Bible study taught by ELCA pastor Daniel Pugh where he is “telling members of Christ the King Lutheran Church that one way to interpret the story of Adam and Eve is as a coming-of-age allegory about a pair of carefree teens caught red-handed having sex…In this, alternative reading of The Fall, the ‘forbidden fruit’ offered to Eve in Chapter 3 may be a metaphor for sex, he said, and the ‘serpent’ may be a metaphor for a penis.”
This is outrageous. And it is indicative of the warped, foolish and evil way the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America views Scripture. See below how the ELCA itself is sharing this news article. Why would anyone stay in a denomination that teaches this perverted way of viewing God’s account of creation? They treat God's Word with contempt.
Later in the article you learn that:
- Christ the King Lutheran Church’s senior pastor is Wolfgang Herz-Lane, the former ELCA Delaware-Maryland Synod Bishop.
- Pastor “Herz-Lane notified the church council that he planned to officiate at a same-sex marriage in Charlotte. Pugh, an associate pastor, performed one such marriage before coming on board…Herz-Lane now wants the church to declare itself a ‘reconciling’ congregation, meaning that it is welcoming and accepting of LGBTQ people.”
- The newly appointed minister for contemporary music is a gay man.
- “(C)hurch leaders want the congregation to take on more of an advocacy role…they want to start a local chapter of a national community-organizing network, the Industrial Areas Foundation, which could advocate for such things as health care, green energy, criminal justice or immigrant rights.”
- “Herz-Lane hopes members gain a deeper appreciation for Luther’s willingness to break the mold and try new things.” Rev. Herz-Lane concludes “We’re here for the sake of the world, not to preserve some silly tradition.”
Most Bible-believing Christians would be appalled by the anti-Biblical teaching, actions and “social justice” agenda of this church but the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is not. They proudly posted this article on their Facebook page.
And on Twitter:
And again, on the ELCA News account:
Below are some ELCA Synods posting and sharing this article:
There are few ELCA pastors that believe the Biblical account of creation (see here). Recently a discussion took place on a facebook page for ELCA clergy that began with an ELCA pastor writing this -
“After teaching introduction to the OT for a group of laypersons in our synod, I was disappointed that one of the ten persons blasted everything I taught about Genesis for her final paper and presentation. It took courage, I think, for her to make her presentation, but she basically said that, if you believe in any form of evolution or if you believe someone other than Moses wrote Genesis or if you believe that the days of Genesis 1 are not literal 24-hour days, you're a godless pagan who goes against scientific principles and sound reasoning. I'm still astonished... and a bit disappointed.”
The comments that followed were revealing:
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.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's website has a reoccurring column called “Ask a Pastor.” One recent question addressed by the denomination was this, “My kiddos go to a Lutheran preschool and we — me and my kids, ages 4 and 5 — are reading the Bible. How do you explain the very old ages of some of the people in the Bible (Old Testament)?”
These kind of questions are difficult to answer for a denomination that doesn't believe that what God tells us in Scripture is true. The ELCA casts doubt on Jesus being birthed by a virgin, that Jesus actually said what He is recorded to have said in the Bible, that hell or the devil are real or that God created everything in six days – all which is well-documented on this website. The ELCA even casts doubt or denies that Adam and Eve were actual real humans beings.
So the answer to the question, “How do you explain the very old ages of some of the people in the Bible (Old Testament)?” by ELCA pastor, Rosanne Swanson, is not a surprise. She writes,
“There are many theories about the ages recorded in the Old Testament — like years back then were not the same as years now so that there was a different counting system for years. Or, before the flood, people lived longer and after the flood they didn’t...” (read here)
How ridiculous that the ELCA even suggests that years may not have been the same as they are now.
Early church father and Christian theologian Augustine believed the genealogies written in Genesis to be literal chronologies. He believed what the Bible said, that pre-flood patriarchs lived to be around 900 years. (see Augustine, The City of God, Book 15, Chapters 11–12, pp. 436–440.)
Read just a few verses of Scripture on what God says about the age of people before the flood:
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.
When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died (Genesis 5:3-11).
ELCA leadership: God is wiser, bigger, more powerful, more intelligent than you are. Stop telling His children that God's Word is full of myths and can not be trusted. You are pushing people away from God, and He will hold you accountable for your actions and your misleadings.
Over the last two years we have exposed a widely held belief by leadership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that Adam and Eve are a myth. (see here and here) Just a few days ago, the Director of the Center for Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, Dr. David Lose, said, “Did Adam and Eve exist? No.” (read here) I have personally been told by the Academic Dean of an ELCA seminary that “not one professor in any ELCA seminary believes that Adam and Eve were real people.”
In a recent blog, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. talks about the importance of believing what God’s Word says about Adam and the truth that he was the first historical human being. Dr. Mohler, Jr. says, “(T)he denial of a historical Adam means not only the rejection of a clear biblical teaching, but also the denial of the biblical doctrine of the Fall, leading to a very different way of telling the story of the Bible and the meaning of the Gospel.” (read the whole blog here).
Think about this, the Bible, Old and New Testament, speaks of Adam at least twenty-one times. Scripture always speaks about Adam being a historical, actual individual. Yet the ELCA leadership teaches and believes that Adam and Eve are a myth.
The fact of the matter is that the ELCA leadership likes to deny historical accounts and Biblical teaching throughout Scripture. There is a great deal of documentation of the ELCA leadership questioning the virgin birth, Christ’s resurrection, the creation account, salvation in Christ alone for those that believe, historic Biblical accounts, the reality of hell and if the Bible is true (and those are just a few of the examples).
When we look at the evidence, it is easy to see that the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America does not believe much of what is written in the Bible!
What results from a view that holds such an arbitrary view of the Bible? A dying church which un-sins sin, doesn’t evangelize, disregards the law, denies God’s eternal covenant with the Jews, supports abortions, preaches a social gospel as opposed to the “Good News,” rejects using male terms for God, and decides for themselves what is truth.
I pray that the ELCA will repent of its ways, but until then, perhaps it is time to find a church that believes what God says.
Exposing the ELCA asked its readers this question:
Is it concerning that over 1500 ELCA leaders signed a letter saying they did not believe the Bible's account of creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah and the Ark?
The results were:
88.01% (257 votes) said “Yes”
11.99% (35 votes) said “No”
Total Votes: 292
Read about those 1500+ evolution believing, creation and Bible denying ELCA leaders here.
The ELCA’s official website tells us the denomination's position on the topics of creation/evolution/origin of life (it also reveals the ELCA's stance on Scripture.) Their website says,
"What is the ELCA official position concerning the origin of life and evolution? The ELCA has not officially taken a position about evolution. The ELCA teaches that the scriptures witness that all of life is a gift of God. However, the scriptures do not say, for example, how God's creating word, "Let there be...," brings creatures into being. Lutheran tradition has respected the work of the natural sciences in investigating phenomena in the natural world and explaining how they work and how they originated." (read here)
Why doesn't the ELCA take an official position on the origin of life? Scripture clearly says that God created everything in a 6 day, 24 hour period.
And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day. Genesis 1:3-5
Are these verses true or not? It says, "There was evening, and there was morning - the first day." Is God lying to us about that? The ELCA must think so if the denomination cannot agree with this clear statement. Or maybe the ELCA doesn't believe the Bible is from God, but just man’s writings. Either option is unacceptable.
If we look in the New Testament, Jesus statements back up the Genesis/Creation account.
If the ELCA believed in the actual, factual truth of the Scripture . . . if the ELCA believed that God did inspire and have His hand on the writing of all the books of the Bible, they would take an official position and say the Genesis account is in fact true. That is what the Bible clearly says, but as we've seen elsewhere, the ELCA likes to deny whatever parts of Scripture that do not fit their world view.
One author describes the ELCA's view this way, "The ELCA allows for the view that God used evolution to create things. This means that the account in Genesis 1 and 2 do not have to be true for the member of the ELCA. The ELCA teaches the historical critical method of interpretation of Scripture, which discounts the accounts as history and treats them more as poetry." (read here)
The ELCA likes to say they adhere to Scripture, but anyone who looks at the teachings, beliefs and policies of the ELCA can see they deny statements of fact in the Bible, place their own view over what Scripture says, and do not believe God had His hand in and inspired all of its writings.
This is just another example of a church made and run by man, following their own desires and paying lip service to the Creator of the Universe.
Read more about creation and evolution at the links below:
Read more about evolution’s claim to be scientific at:
The ELCA teaches there are errors in the Bible. That leads to the ELCA's "pick and choose" method where you take the parts of the Bible you believe and throw the rest away. Got to love it. Humans decide what is from God and what isn't. We know so much more than those mental lightweights who actual knew Jesus and wrote about him. We can tell what Jesus really said and what he didn't. We know Adam and Eve are not real, even though the Bible says they are and it talks about them in both the OT and NT. Jonah is not a true story, even though the bible says so. And Jesus said so. Look it up. (or read here) I could go on and on. But I will save that for a later blog .
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