I know a charity that gives shoebox gifts to children. If you are still wondering whom the ELCA synod is referring to they clear things up on their Facebook page. Along with posting their own article the Northeast Iowa synod included another article that was critical of Operation Christmas Child (a program by Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse). The title of that article was “Operation Christmas Child Denied Accreditation For CRC Offerings.” (see here)
“The cheap toys that people are encouraged to buy and put in the box may be made by exploited or even slave labor. Some are even made by children. Remember that we want to help children and make their lives better. Exploiting children or families is the opposite of what people want to do when they are looking for Christmas giving projects. Even if the toys are ethically produced, many of them are not culturally appropriate.”
“Some of these organizations will add pamphlets with religious messages contrary to how we understand the Gospel. Many of them also have images with racist, sexist and culturally insensitive stereotypes.”
“If we support organizations that contradict what we say about the Gospel, this can be confusing and even damaging to people’s faith.”
It is true that Samaritan’s Purse has a different view of the Gospel than most leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Samaritan’s Purse wants to share the love and truth of Christ, dying on the cross for our sins and rising from the dead three days later, having victory over death so that those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior (by grace through faith) will have eternal life. Whereas, the ELCA does not do this because the ELCA consensus is that “all will be saved” no matter what they believe. (see more on the ELCA’s universalism here) That is truly a dangerous and false belief, putting individuals' eternal life at risk if they believe that and do not believe in Christ.
Yes, there is a different Gospel shared by Samaritan’s Purse than that of the ELCA. Which message do you agree with and what organization do you want to support?