People scoff when conservative Lutherans point to goddess worship happening in the ELCA. The scoffers either do not believe it or think it is very isolated. They are wrong. (see here)
Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, an ELCA Seminary. She is an ordained Episcopal priest who teaches the future leaders and pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (see her school bio here) In a Dr. Gafney blog dated February 11, 2013 the seminary professor compiled some questions she would like to ask the prophet Elijah. She said:
“When you killed the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal but not the four hundred prophets of Asherah was it because you really didn’t mind a little goddess worship on the side? Are we feminists right in saying that Asherah was just the Canaanite articulation of the Holy Spirit and not really another God?” (see here)
First, Dr. Gafney doesn't know if the prophets of Asherah were spared by Elijah that day or if they were even present at the referred to gathering. We do know that 1 Kings 19:1 says Elijah “had killed all the prophets with the sword.” So it seems more likely that they were killed with the prophets of Baal if they were there.
Secondly, and the reason for my blog, did you hear professor Gafney reveal that she believes: Asherah is the Holy Spirit, not another god? This is completely false. Yet that is what she publicly proclaims. I can not believe the ELCA would allow a professor who thinks this way to teach their future leaders.
The Bible says this about Asherah:
So, if it's wrong (and it is) why isn't the ELCA leadership stopping it and why are they letting people who believe it be instructors in their seminaries?
Imagine driving down the road and passing by a beautiful old Christian church. Now imagine that church has a huge painting of a bare breasted women/goddess on it for all to see. Not only that, the mural also includes an eight armed goddess named Kali. Kali is a Hindu goddess. Hard to conceive of, but that is what you will find beginning this November if you drive passed the ELCA's Ebenezer Lutheran Church (also know as herchurch) in San Francisco, CA. The church plans on placing this mural on their church tower for everyone to see.
The ELCA church's website tells us about the mural saying,
“The Goddess mural will rise 64 feet high with four basic symbolic representations of the divine feminine: The Earth Mother, the Black Madonna, the Christ-Sophia, and an androgynous Kali-Kundalini figure whose chakras merge with the phases of the moon and the universe. They will be surrounded by colorful and playful animals, birds, plants and earth’s elements.” (see here)
Here is a link that shows what the mural will look like (on the left hand side of the page).
A fundraising page for herchurch's project has this to say about the mural, “Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran (herchurch) refers to the Divine Presence through many names and metaphors. More than 50,000 years ago the sacred one was called mother. Breaking recent tradtion from male diety, this mural aims to herald the return of the feminine divine in modern Christian, interfaith and feminist spirituality.” (see here)
Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran has been worshiping pagan gods for quite a while now, with the full knowledge and approval of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I say this because it is a fact that ELCA leadership know what is being taught and what goes on at this church, and they allow it to continue. (see here, here and here) They have the power, authority and responsibility to stop it and they do not. A church leader from the ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop even spoke at a herchurch feminism conference showing the audience pictures of a female Jesus. (see here)
The fundraising page goes on to say the painting will be, “Attached via panels to the East face of the purple herchurch tower, this mural promises to be a focal point in the world famous San Francisco mural collection. . .The dream is to share the beauty to all who pass and prophetically envision our mission of rebirthing the divine feminine in ourselves, the church and the world.”
A Hindu goddess (as well as the other pagan gods) lifted up and worshiped by a Christian church is pure wickedness. They are blatantly breaking the commandment set by God, "You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) It is offensive, sinful, blasphemous and evil. ELCA members, know this: your leadership allows it!
What kind of God-honoring Christian denomination would do that? And what about the huge painting of a topless woman/goddess being placed on the church tower? Children will see it. Yet, many of you will still support the ELCA.
Think about it. Is this the kind of denomination you want to be part of? Sure it's no fun to leave your ELCA church, the one you have been going to for so long, the one that has so many of your friends attending. But remember, your church is part of the ELCA which allows goddess worship and openly stands against God's Word in so many areas. This is a denomination that has taught YOUR pastor.
So what is more important to you, going to your comfortable church or going to a church that believes the Bible and worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His Son Jesus Christ? One day you may need to justify your decision to God Almighty.
A lenten blessing from the ELCA worship planning resource Sundays and Seasons includes this gem (monstrosity):
“God our Father bless you and shield you.
Christ our Mother shelter you and carry you.
God the Holy Spirit guide your journey
+ both now and forever.
Seriously? “Christ our Mother?” The publishing company for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Augsburg Fortess) is suggesting ELCA churches use this blessing? The track record for this denomination shows that this is not an anomaly. The ELCA Director for Justice for Women, from the Office of the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA showed pictures of a female Jesus to a conference in 2011 (see here) Additionally, the ELCA has embraced calling God “mother” and eliminating the use of male pronouns for God as well as Christ's favorite name for God “Father.” (see here and here)
As far as Sunday and Seasons goes check out what else they have said in their liturgical resources here and here.
Members of the ELCA, do you really want to be taught, led and discipled by this denomination?
The following information is from a speech called "Equipping the Saints for Ministry: ‘These are the times that try our souls’ - by Pastor Gary Jepson from Puyallup, Washington.
Last fall, I wrote an email to our ELCA Bishop, Mark Hanson, asking him if he was aware of the ELCA congregation in San Francisco, Ebenezer Lutheran Church. I was pretty sure that he was aware but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. If you are not aware of this congregation, look it up on the Internet – www.herchurch.org. In short, this is a congregation that has been taken over by a radical feminist element and pastor, and it practices “goddess worship.” It does not confess the Trinity as Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. They confess Mother, Christ Sophia, and Holy Spirit. If you go to their website you will be able to buy a rosary (strange enough in a Lutheran context, but not necessarily bad), a rosary, not with a cross (because that’s a symbol not of divine love, sacrifice, and salvation but of divine child abuse), but a rosary with a goddess figure on it. The goddess is the likeness of a fertility goddess from ancient Baalism. Baalism, of course, isn’t a problem for the leaders of Ebenezer Lutheran Church because all that stuff in the Old Testament condemning the Baal cult and fertility worship is in their view merely patriarchal paranoia in an effort to repress the feminine.
Now, I think all of us would agree that they have the right (as individuals and as a group) to believe whatever they want. They can even band together to start their own congregation, denomination, or religion. However, on the basis of their own posted statements, they claim to be an ELCA congregation. But they are in complete violation of the ELCA constitutional faith statement because they are completely at odds with the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.
And the pastor is completely at odds with the ELCA “Visions and Expectations” statement for clergy. How do they justify that? How do they justify hijacking a congregation founded and paid for by Lutherans?
So, I wrote Bp. Hanson and asked him what he was going to do about it. He, of course, did not respond to my e-mail (and I did not expect that he would), but his executive secretary did. He wrote something to the effect: “Dear Rev. Jepsen, thank you for sharing your concerns with Bp. Hanson. You are aware, of course, that the ELCA is organized into synods (Duh – I didn’t know that! I’ve only been a pastor for over 30 years!) and that it is therefore the responsibility of the local synod bishop to deal with these sorts of issues in his synod. And, do remember, the ELCA is an inclusive church.”
Of course I know the ELCA is organized in synods! What I wanted to know was whether or not Bp. Hanson was going to do anything about this situation to hold this congregation accountable, or to hold the synod bishop of the San Francisco area accountable for his failure to discipline the congregation and its pastor in terms of their violation of the ELCA faith statement and such.
You see, what we have here is a major violation of the fiduciary responsibility of the synod bishop and of Bp. Hanson to fulfill the responsibilities of their offices. And, if he’s going to do that, why on earth did we ever need bishops (overseers) in the first place? And why did we need the historic episcopate when one of the arguments for it was to strengthen the “magisterial” (teaching) office of the church in order to insure orthodoxy?!!?
Can you imagine the Apostle Paul allowing that? Or Martin Luther? Can you imagine Pope Benedict XVI allowing one of his bishops to deal so irresponsibly with a rogue congregation? And then just wash his hands of the matter!!! Frankly that’s not only a violation of Bp. Hanson’s fiduciary responsibility as Bishop, it’s also a violation of his ordination vows to preach and teach in accordance with the Scriptures and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church. Unfortunately, I was so disgusted with that e-mail that I deleted it so I cannot produce it as evidence. You have to trust my memory.
So, on this basis, we have a cynical commentary right out of ELCA headquarters on what ordination vows mean for our church. Little or nothing! What do the words of the ELCA faith statement mean? Little or nothing! Instead, in place of our ordination vows and faith statement we have some fuzzyheaded notion of “tolerance” and “inclusivity”! Because, if what I have described is accurate (and it is), then it appears that in the ELCA you can preach and teach heretical doctrine, thumb your nose at the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and so on (so long as you do liturgy correctly). Do all that and you will be welcomed in the ELCA with open arms because, after all “we are an inclusive church!” However, if you raise a question about heretical doctrine and improper procedure you will be virtually banished for “intolerance”, and treated as if you don’t exist!
At least the Roman Catholic Church of Luther’s day took him seriously enough to excommunicate him. The ELCA just banishes you, ignores you, and refuses to answer legitimate inquiry.
This is what happens when a church is seduced by the culture of death into cultural agendas and into cynical methods of interpretation when a church is not only in the world, but also too much of the world. Then it fails (by submitting itself to the heretical rubric of “tolerance”) to hold people accountable to its founding documents and statements of faith.
Whether intentionally or not, the very leaders we elected to lead and guide us in accordance with our founding documents have now, in effect, subverted those documents without any clear statement of why or where they are trying to take us.
Does this bewilder you as much as it does me? I am bewildered because I fail to understand the reason or the logic that enables them to justify their actions. In fact, there appears to be an abandonment of reason and rationality when it comes to these practices and trends. I suppose, in their thinking, logic and reason are just a vestige of patriarchy and its repression of the more holistic feminine embrace of feelings and intuition.
Read the full speech here.
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I find it very troubling that a leader in my denomination, straight from the headquarters of the ELCA and Office of the ELCA's Presiding Bishop, is mocking our Lord and Savior like this. How fitting that Dr. Streufert does this at a conference at which many of the teachers and speakers are priestesses of Isis or of other goddesses. Maybe even more troubling than Dr. Streufert’s blaspheme is the fact that the ELCA is allowing this.
I have to believe that showing images of a female Jesus is nothing new to Dr. Streufert. In Dr. Streufert’s book, Transformative Lutheran Theologies: Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Perspectives, she writes a chapter titled, “The Person of Christ from a Feminist Perspective: Human and Divine, Male and Female.” (see here)
Propagating a female Jesus is blasphemous. Changing Christ into a god of your own fashion and design, in opposition to the testimony of Scripture, is in reality, creating a new god. This female Jesus, which feminists in the denomination love to call “Sophia,” is not The Son, Jesus. It is a false god. The ELCA is promoting and involving itself in idolatry.
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