What is interesting and disturbing about this ELCA hire is that Jill Braithwaite is a graduate of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (see here and see her thesis here). It is a seminary where many Unitarian Universalist pastors-to-be go to study. (See here) It also has a good number of faculty and staff who are Unitarian Universalists. (See here)
Add to that the fact that Jill Braithwaite has preached at least a couple times at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis (see here and below), and as of 2014, she was a member at the Universalist church and served on the church's board of trustees and welcome team.
Unitarian Universalism is not Christian, as the they study, follow and teach from many and various religions. On the Unitarian Universalists website on pastor writes, "I do not believe Jesus is the sole revelation of the Divine, and I do not know, but seriously doubt, if he was raised from the dead..." (see here and see this page for additional comments about Jesus). It is obvious that most do not see Jesus as Lord and Savior, as the Son of God, as Messiah.
Instead of going into more details, here are a few additional links if you would like to know more about Unitarian Universalists. See how they describe what they believe here, what they are based on here and another article about their beliefs here.
What is going on in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that makes it acceptable to hire someone with a Unitarian Universalist background? Are the teachings of the Unitarian Universalist church compatible with that of the ELCA?
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here. At the end of his article, you will find a few additional comments by me.)
Elizabeth Eaton, the head Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said in an interview that there may be a Hell, but she thinks it is empty. Contrast that to the teaching of Jesus, who said in a number of places that there is a Hell and there will be people going there (Luke 16:19-31, for example). Bishop Eaton is tragically wrong. Is it any wonder that Bishop Eaton spends time talking about transgender rights, racism, immigration, etc. but to my knowledge has never talked about the need to believe in Jesus to be saved from Hell. Some time ago she was quoted to say that it is not the business of the Church to save souls, that is God's job. Yes, Bishop Eaton, but Jesus has given that job to the Church in His last words on earth (Matthew 28:19) to "Go ye therefore and make disciples".
As long as liberal Protestant leaders like Eaton disbelieve Jesus' words on Hell, liberal mainline denominations will be all about political causes, and will neglect the main thing Christians are called to do: preach the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation (Acts 16:30-31).
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
Here is the response from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton when she was asked, "Is there a hell?" -
Eaton: “There may be, but I think it is empty.”
Interviewer: "Why is that?"
Eaton: “Well, Jesus was clear in John chapter 3 that when He is raised up he will draw all people to himself. And if we take a look at salvation history, ever since we got booted out of the garden, it has been God’s relentless pursuit to bring His people to God. Now, people wonder “can you say no?” I imagine you can say “no” to God. I don’t think God is going to give up on us. And if God has eternity, than God can certainly keep working on those folks. So that might be a little bit of a heresy along the lines of Origen, but no, I don’t think God gives up.”
If you doubt that the ELCA teaches universalism, here is the ELCA's presiding bishop making it clear. If hell is empty, all people are saved. That is universalism. It is a dangerous heresy, a false teaching, which puts individuals' eternal destiny at risk: faith in Christ is not needed. Live it up, worship other gods, reject Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will still go to heaven according to the ELCA's top bishop.
Of course, the Bible directly says this is not so. Heaven and hell are real and people and angels will populate both. It is time to flee this false-teaching denomination. They are playing with people's eternal lives. They are not telling them the truth of how to be saved. This could not be more serious. Tell your friends and family so they are not led astray either. Share this and pray they will read it and see the truth.
(The following article was written a few days ago by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
"Celebrating our Oneness in the Divine, an Interfaith Evening of Peace" will be held April 30th at Advent Lutheran Church in Osseo, Minnesota, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The pastor at Advent Lutheran gives this invitation: " Are you growing weary of all the "us/them" rhetoric going on? Are you discouraged by all the division, lack of respect, even hatred?...There's a reason for that! Your soul (the real you) bears the image of its Creator God; the One source that flows in and through everything and everyone. When your soul encounters division rooted in fear its energy is lowered and diminished. You can feel this within you. It responds this way because it...intuitively knows that we are all one. I have the perfect antidote for you! Love yourself and do yourself a favor by attending...The following local communities will be gathering...: The Ja'afari Islamic Center, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Noble Academy,...the Hindu Temple of Minnesota, and Advent and Westwood Lutheran Churches. Each community will offer music and spoken word from their traditions celebrating our Oneness... "
1. The Apostle Paul teaches that heathen gods are not the same as the one true God, they are "demons" (I Corinthians 10:20). To imply that Krishna, Vishnu, Allah, are "one" with Jesus Christ is blasphemy.
2. Christians, as opposed to Hindus, are not pantheists. Pantheism teaches that everything is God and God is everything, therefore pantheists worship everything. The above smacks of pantheism in saying God flows in and through everything and everyone. No, God does not flow through the devil or through pagan gods. Christians believe in a transcendent God who is separate from His creation. Romans 1:25 condemns religions which worship "the creature rather than the Creator."
I had the misfortune of visiting Advent Lutheran Church a few years ago (it is near my house) and was grieved when the above pastor during a sermon put a picture of Meher Baba on the screen and quoted him. Meher Baba was an Indian spiritual master who said he was the Avatar, God in human form.
Please pray about the above event. My prayer is that many parishioners at Advent Lutheran will say "Pastor, what are you doing? What about the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods? What harmony has Christ with Belial? What agreement has the temple of God with idols (2 Corinthians 6:15-16)?
Well, tomorrow we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Buddha did not rise, Mohammed did not rise. Only one religion worships a living Savior. May you have a wonderful day worshipping Him!
In our risen Lord Jesus,
Pastor Tom Brock
Here is another example of the Scripturally ignorant, false teaching pastors the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has placed in ELCA congregations.
Karen K. Torrez is a pastor in the ELCA. She posted this cartoon on her Facebook page.
There is a lot wrong with the cartoon the ELCA pastor posted. Those reading it could deduct false doctrines:
- all of the "gods" of other religions are equal to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- belief in Christ is not necessary.
- all religious teachings are the same.
- all religions point to the same god.
- "love" is what is most important.
- Mohammad was about "love."
...To name a few.
The ELCA allows pastors who believe this evil garbage to pastor in their denomination.
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him in your house and do not give him a greeting: for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deed. - 2 John 9-11
Could this ELCA synod be talking about conservative and/or Bible-believing Christians?
They don't like you, but I would bet they will still gladly take your money.
The belief in universalism is strong in the ELCA, as you know if you frequent this website. Here is another example -
“I believe God is big enough to have many ways to be reached; although I confess Christianity, I also believe there are many other paths to God.” – The Rev. Patt Kauffman on ELCA clergy Uncensored Facebook group. The link goes to the Closed group, which only those in the group may view. (here)
An ELCA news story about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut does not mention the Islamic faith of the terrorists. (see here) I wonder why the ELCA is so free to condemn Israel (falsely, I might add) but they can not state the facts and motivation behind the terrorists actions we are seeing worldwide.
Wartburg College, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) school, shared a video of their “Weekday Interfaith Chapel” (Sept. 30, 2015) in which a Hindu prayer was offered by the guest speaker. (see video here. View the video dated Sept. 30, 3015)
Exposing the ELCA has written extensively about the dangerous and non-Biblical belief and acceptance of the teaching of universalism ("a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved") within in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Just last week well known ELCA pastor/author and highly sought after speaker, Nadia Bolz-Weber revealed that she believes all people will be saved.
Rev. Bolz-Weber was interviewed by the online journal Religion & Politics:
“R&P: Would you consider yourself a universalist? Does everyone get saved in the end?
Universalism is a dangerous teaching. (Read here) But once again we see a leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America professing it. (not to mention ELCA websites and publications that do the same)
Check out what ELCA pastor Bolz-Weber then says when asked “Do you think the future of the Church involves synthesis with other faiths?”
“Syncretism has always been part of Christianity. There’s a reason why the Virgin of Guadalupe is huge in Mexico, and it has to do with the goddess religion that existed before that. I don’t think it’s something to fear. I think it’s the way that Christianity has survived. It lends itself in a sense towards it. And that’s why it can exist in so many different places in so many different forms.”
Adhering to other religions (which are false) or mixing other religions with Christianity is not a problem to people like Bolz-Weber because their understanding is that everyone will go to heaven anyway, according to their universalistic belief.
All this being said, (and all that we have reported on Nadia Bolz-Weber in the past – see here and scrolled down) Rev. Bolz-Weber still calls herself “orthodox.” From this article, Rev. Bolz-Weber says “I’m this really orthodox Lutheran theologian.” Oxforddictionaries.com defines “orthodox” as “Following or conforming to the traditional or generally accepted rules or beliefs of a religion, philosophy, or practice.” I, for one, wouldn’t call Nadia Bolz-Weber orthodox.
Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director for congregational and synodical mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) recently attended a meeting designed “to maintain religious dialogue and seek action together for peace” between "Iraqi Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Turkmen and Kurdish religious leaders." The ELCA news service reports that at the gathering Rev. Stephen Bouman said “A second tenant [sic] is that no one gathered has special access to God; there is no absolute inside track to God.” (see here) Maybe Rev. Bouman has never read or doesn't believe what Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Pastor Brock by going here and twitter users here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the most liberal of the Lutheran denominations, has a history of inviting radical speakers to its ELCA's youth conventions. As they prepare for the 2015 youth convention they tell us this:
We will announce speakers as contracts are finalized, but probably not ...before registration opens this fall. At this time, we ask you to trust the track record of the planning teams who have brought you speakers including: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, President Jimmy Carter, the Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo...
Jimmy Carter has written that Jesus is not the only way of salvation. Desmond Tutu also believes many roads lead to God, and he endorses homosexuality. He has said "I would not worship a God who is homophobic...I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven.... I mean I would much rather go to the other place." Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber uses the "f" word in her speeches and in her most recent book. More tragically, she denies the substitutionary atonement, namely, that Jesus died in our place to pay for our sins so that God's holy wrath could be satisfied and we could be forgiven. She thinks this makes God "some kind of divine child abuser." She also held a "re-naming service" in which a transgendered person received the blessing of God in changing to another sex.
Given their track record, I encourage anyone who has youth in the ELCA (and who believes in Mark 9:32) stay away, far away, from the 2015 youth convention. And tell your friends. And please say a prayer for these youth and the ELCA.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
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:-)
Universalism, the belief that all people will be saved, is prevalent in the ELCA. But an article in the ELCA's official publication, The Lutheran, shows us that universalism has gone from “a” belief, to “the” belief of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA has announced to its readers that the universalism is the doctrine the denomination is now built on.
The ELCA article “Who Gets Saved?” is written by pastor Peter W. Marty and he writes:
Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock responded to The Lutheran article on Facebook saying, “If anyone doubts that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pushes the heresy of universalism--the teaching that all people will be saved whether they believe in Jesus or not--see the article...from The Lutheran, the ELCA's official magazine. Tragic what the writer does with John 14:6, turning the teaching of Jesus on its ear. The author's point is that you don't really need faith in Christ to be saved. John 14:6, Acts 4:12 and 16:31 teach otherwise. No wonder the number of missionaries the ELCA sends out has gone down. If everyone is saved, no need to send missionaries.”
The other day a came across another ELCA pastor publicly proclaiming universalism. ELCA pastor Scot Ruffatto in Mukwonago, Wisconsin (former missionary of the ELCA to the Central African Republic) writes this on his church's blog:
People will be going to hell for eternity because the ELCA has embraced the teaching of universalism and as a result are not proclaiming the Truth of God's Word which says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” - John 3:16-18
See more documentation of the ELCA teaching universalism. (here and here)
An ELCA pastor wrote the following on an ELCA facebook page which was discussing the movie "Son of God" -
"Not a great title in this era of increasingly aware inter-faith-sensitive folks who see Christian History as a history of violence done toward peoples of other faiths because Christians believed that their spokesperson or prophet was the Son of God (misunderstood to mean that Jesus was God). Son of God was originally attributed to Ceasar. The Christians wanted all to know that their allegiance was NOT to Ceasar, but to the Holy One to whom this itinerant Rabbi pointed. The One who sent me, Jesus would say. In other words, we need to make a theocentric move here in order to show consideration for our Muslim, Jewish, Hindhu, Buddhist....and all other friends. These kinds of Christocentric obsessive movies just continue to give the rest of us Christians a bad name." (reported by Lutheran CORE here and originally post from a closed ELCA facebook group here)
It is this pastor and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that give Christians a bad name, but worse than that, they are leading people away from Truth, God's Word and Faith in God the Son.
ELCA 'Star,' Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, Believes and Teaches Wiccan Goddess is Another 'Aspect' of Christian God
ELCA pastor and author Nadia Bolz-Weber is held in high esteem among the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is asked to speak at many large denominational gatherings and high-profile ELCA services indicating how she is revered in the denomination. The ELCA's Metropolitan New York Synod posted on Facebook that “Pastor Nadia is the closest thing the ELCA has to a rock star.”
Rev. Bolz-Weber was involved in Wicca before going to an ELCA seminary to become a pastor.
On a Bolz-Weber book publicity tour, Nadia read to the audience from her memoir about this time of her life saying, “I had never stopped believing in God, not really. But I did have to go hang out with His aunt for awhile. She is called the goddess. My first experience with Wicca . . .”
The ELCA 'rock star' goes on -
“The goddess we spoke of never felt to me like a substitute for God but simply another aspect of the divine, like God's aunt or something. When I tell other Christians of my time with the goddess I think they expect me to characterize it as a period in my life when I was misguided and that now thankfully I have come back to both Jesus and my senses. But it's not like that. I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. I can't image that God doesn't reveal Godself in countless ways outside of the simple system of Christianity. And in a way I need a god who is bigger and more nimble and more mysterious than what I could understand or contrive.”
“In fact, I felt guided by god the whole time I sojourned outside of the church. The divine source of my life and my identity perhaps knew that I needed to bask in the female face of god for a good long while outside the church before I could ever return to it whole and able to see the divine feminine in my own traditional.” (see here)
Wicca is a religion of witches, witchcraft and pentagrams. The Christian Bible is not God's Word, according to this idolatrous religion, and they do not worship the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Wiccan deity is completely different from the God of the Bible. Yet the ELCA's “rock star” believes that the goddess worshipped by witches is just another dimension or persona of the God of the Bible. The female side of Him. Christians know Jesus as God's Son, but according to Bolz-Weber, the Wiccan goddess is his close relative. Another aspect of God. Like the fourth member of the Trinity?
This is heresy.
Bolz-Weber is a heretic. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lifts up this pastor as a leading teacher in the denomination. How could they do this? It's easy really; this is an acceptable teaching in the ELCA. The current issue of the official magazine of the ELCA, The Lutheran, states this clearly:
“And sometimes we’d wonder just what God was up to in this religiously plural world. Perhaps — here’s a specifically Christian way of putting it — our learning from our neighbors of other faiths might just be giving us glimpses into dimensions of Christ’s lordship, and the saving activity of God the Trinity, that we hadn’t been expecting.” (read here)
Read more about the life and teachings of ELCA pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber (click here and scroll down).
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?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is inundated with pastors who preach universalism.
Below you will find commentary by Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, an associate professor of New Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, explaining how universalism is not Biblical. (the information below comes from Dr. Gagnon's facebook page here) Read it and then try to explain how any ELCA leader in their right mind could teach that everyone will be saved.
Professors at Wartburg Theological Seminary (ELCA) are known to promote and teach universalism. Dr. Duane Priebe, Professor of Systematic Theology at Wartburg wrote this in the first printing of the Augsburg Fortress Lutheran Study Bible, “Jesus includes in salvation people who do not believe in him or ever know about him (5:3-10; 25:31-45).” page 1658. Wartburg professor Dr. David J. Lull, Professor of New Testament, published an article where he said, "Jesus did not have to die as a condition of God’s forgiveness of sins. Mark knew that Jesus knew that God had always forgiven the sins of 'many/all,' and that God would keep on forgiving their sins." (see here)
Today we will look at and quote from a sermon given at Wartburg Theological Seminary, in the chapel, by Rev. Dr. Craig Nessan. Dr. Nessan is the Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology at the ELCA seminary.
On February 27, 2013, during Dr. Nessan's sermon, he went into a strange diatribe on salvation, saying that some people think they know who will be saved. At one point Dr. Nessan, in my view, seemed to be mocking God with a number of statements including this, “God knows who deserves to live and who deserves to die.” This was Dr. Nessan's way of setting up his view of salvation for those listening (future ELCA pastors).
The scripture readings for Dr. Nessan's sermon came from Luke 13:22-31 and 2 Chronicles 20:1-20, to which he called the later “texts of terror.” Luke 13:29 says, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” From this verse Dr. Nessan switches to the 2 Chronicles passage concerning the country of Judah and tells the students that the people to the east, west, north and south are the Ammonites, Philistines, Syrians, and Moabites. This was another step in Dr. Nessan's leading his listeners in his universalist way of thinking, by associating these peoples, who worship false-gods, with those who would inherit salvation.
Completing his plan, teaching and leading the seminarians toward universalism, Dr. Nessan refers to Luke 13:24 where Jesus says, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door . . .” and Dr. Nessan concludes, “It makes me wonder, what is the shape of that narrow door? Who gets in if the narrow door is shaped like the cross? Who gets in if its shaped like the 'loaf?' Who gets in if its shaped like the 'cup?' Who gets in when it is given and shed for you, to the east? And given and shed for you to the west? And given and shed for you to the north and to you to the south? Given and shed for all for the forgiveness of sins?” (listen here)
Dr. Nessan failed to proclaim and uphold God's Truth revealed in Scripture. He taught heresy to future pastors and untold lives will be adversely affected because of this. God clearly tells us his plan for salvation and how one is saved. John 3:36 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 1:12 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.” (Also see Romans 10:9-10, Romans 3:21, John 8:24.) God tells us we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and it is not Dr. Nessan's dangerous false-doctrine of universalism.
After hearing the sermon, one seminarian on Facebook said, “Chapel at WTS messed me all up today. I think that is a good thing.” Responding to the seminarian's comment, an ELCA pastor said tellingly, "Jesus Christ is present in . . . religions."
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