Former ELCA head bishop: Jesus was hurtful and mean to Syrophoenician woman, but He changed His mind
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
I have reported before on Elk River Lutheran Church in Elk River, Minnesota, and their gay pride worship services. It makes sense that they have twice invited former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mark Hanson, to speak since it was during his leadership in 2009 that the ELCA voted to perform gay weddings and ordain practicing homosexuals. In his sermon, Hanson defended “children who are transitioning” (to the opposite sex). Hanson then preached that Jesus was mean and hurtful in His response to the Syrophoenician woman. Gratefully, according to Hanson, Jesus changed His mind and showed mercy to the woman.
Also, Hanson stated that the woman’s daughter was not really demon possessed in Matthew 15:21 but instead she had a mental illness.
Hanson could have pointed out that Jesus was challenging and testing the Syrophoenician woman’s faith and then He rewarded her faith. Instead, Hanson stated that Jesus used despicable language to her. Hanson states that he was “flummoxed” by the way Jesus treated her (start about minute 35:24 below).
But if Jesus sinned against this woman, then He would not be the innocent Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. If Jesus sinned, He would have to die for His own sins and could not die for ours. For this reason, the New Testament insists that Jesus was sinless (I Peter 1:18-19, 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, I John 3:5). Sadly, this former head bishop of the ELCA did not insist on that point.
Pastor Tom Brock
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a dying, pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-transgender, anti-Israel, sanctuary denomination, that teaches universalism (all people go to heaven), that often refers to God as "she" and refrains from using male words for Him, dismisses many Biblical accounts, does not evangelize but advocates for the most liberal social causes.
Mike Housholder is an ELCA pastor at the ELCA's largest church, Lutheran Church of Hope (West Des Moines, Iowa). Rev. Housholder and Lutheran Church of Hope embrace their affiliation with the ELCA. They even hosted their ELCA synod's assembly 2 months ago. I have not come across one public statement by Pastor Housholder or his mega church, in the last 10 years where he speaks a word of correction, pleads with or calls for repentance of the ELCA for its wickedness. That should tell you a lot.
Earlier this year, in a sermon, Pastor Mike Housholder lifted up an ELCA leader, who was instrumental in bringing approval of same-sex marriage to the ELCA, yet spoke condemnation of people Housholder labeled as "self-righteous fundamentalist(s)."
Cambridge Dictionary defines "fundamentalist" as "someone who believes in traditional forms of a religion, or believes that what is written in a holy book, such as the Christian Bible, is completely true."
Just before addressing the "fundamentalist(s)", Housholder shared a very peculiar story in his sermon, where he relayed an account of his observing an atheist's warmhearted comments in reaction to seeing the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar."
Then bizarrely, Rev. Housholder puts on a grotesque face and mockingly shares how a Christian may "badly" witness to the said atheist (see video below at the 13:30 minute mark). I believe this is an interesting precursor to what followed next, with Pastor Mike Housholder's comments about fundamentalists.
As the sermon continues, the mega church pastor references the death of former Presiding Bishop Herbert Chilstrom of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and how Pastor Housholder did not like some people's reaction to the news to Chilstrom's death, whom Rev. Housholder disdainfully labels fundamentalists. He says:
"This last week a bishop in the Lutheran Church died. He was the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, back in the day. I was directed to a Facebook page, and on that Facebook page, which is operated by some real strong self-righteous fundamentalist-type Christians, they posted that this bishop died, and they didn't like him because he didn't share their theology, he wasn't a fundamentalist. He didn't fit in with the very narrow, precise self-righteous boundaries they have. And they said he died, and then I looked at all the comments underneath it; there were about 15 comments, and they were like, 'Good, I hope he likes hell,' 'I hope he likes burning there,' 'That will suit him right.' I thought, no wonder, no wonder Christians are so bad at sharing the light and the love and the good news, the good news of Jesus Christ. Because we approach it with the wrong heart and the wrong passion. And we look at people who maybe disagree with us, this is not an atheist, this is a believing Christian bishop who just didn't agree theologically with these folks. But they took some solace in self-righteously proclaiming that they believe he is in hell now. Because he didn't believe exactly the way they believed with their narrow definition of theology" (See here or below at the 14:30 minute mark). Rev. Housholder then says "Jesus had problems with people like that too. They were the Pharisees and the Scribes in his day."
There are many problems with Rev. Housholder's statements. Chief among them is that he did not disclose, but minimized the Presiding Bishop Chilstrom's "theology." The Minneapolis Star Tribune describes some of Chilstrom's theology this way,
“From early in his tenure as presiding bishop, Chilstrom worked to bridge gaps and build relationships with other denominations and faiths. He became a powerful advocate for the full participation of gay and lesbian members and pastors in the church, and fought against a proposed ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota.” ("With gentle wisdom, he led the ELCA into the modern era," Feb. 7 print edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.)
So Presiding Bishop Chilstrom encouraged same-gender relations. Something God lovingly warns us to not do nor encourage. Think of all the harm Bishop Chilstrom caused to people who have same-sex attraction, and to those who have had to compromise their belief in God's Word by trusting this ELCA leader. But Rev. Mike Housholder describes it as "he didn't believe exactly the way they believed with their narrow definition of theology."
The ELCA is making its own rules, like the Pharisees did. Rules that are not Biblical but in fact are in opposition to God's directives. Lutheran Church of Hope is an ELCA church. Rev. Housholder is an ELCA pastor. Saying that others are Pharisees in the light of his own denomination is projection.
People who sit in Lutheran Church of Hope should be gravely concerned over this and the church's support of the ELCA, whose theology is so often in complete opposition to God's Word. Why would people who believe Scripture attend and support any ELCA church?
A “fundamentalist friend" responded to Rev. Housholder's comments/sermon saying,
There are two issues Housholder brings up: one about which he is rightly indignant and the other one he glosses over, never fully explaining what the issue is except to condemn “fundamentalists” who take issue with Chilstrom.
Housholder's right to condemn those who confidently declare that Chilstrom is in hell (none of us knows that) and gloat over it if he is. No right-minded Christian would hope for or rejoice over eternal damnation, especially for someone who professes to be a Christian.
Here’s where Housholder glosses over the real problem: “They (fundamentalists) didn't like him [Chilstrom]. He didn’t fit in with their really narrow self-righteous boundaries. Chilstrom wasn't an atheist. He was a believing Christian bishop who just didn’t agree theologically with these [“fundamentalist”] folks.”
Here are Housholder's implications: Chilstrom was a “believing Christian bishop" and a presiding bishop, no less, so we’re given to understand that there’s nothing fundamentally — or dangerously -- unbiblical about his beliefs. And if he did make theological pronouncements that others disagreed with, it’s their fault for being “narrow and self-righteous” and not extending a “live and let live” genial tolerance toward any and all of Chilstrom's beliefs, which Housholder never identifies.
Chilstrom could well have been saved, and I’ve heard nothing about his rejecting, e.g., Jesus’ divinity or other foundational Christian tenets. Here’s what Chilstrom did, though, that Housholder never identifies:
[The author of this letter then quotes a letter of David Barnhart]
“You, Bishop Chilstrom, and the ELCA leadership were responsible for relentlessly driving this [homosexuality-endorsing] agenda in the ELCA over the past 22 years. It was you and liberal ELCA leaders who initiated studies, costing millions of benevolence dollars, in order to reeducate ELCA members that homosexuality should be fully accepted by the church, in total contradiction to the teachings of Scripture. Because the Bible clearly identifies homosexuality as sin and an abomination before God (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, Jude 1:7), ELCA leaders gathered theologians and teachers to write books, papers, and articles that would ‘prove’ numerous biblical passages that identify homosexual acts as sin do not really mean what the text declares.” [https://davidbarnhart.blogspot.com/2011/03/bishop-herbert-chilstroms-letter-to.html ]
So even assuming Chilstrom was a believing Christian bishop, did he in fact spearhead a movement in the ELCA to recategorize and denominationally endorse (at the Convention of ’09) Bible-proscribed sexual sin that the Apostle Paul unequivocally states will eternally damn the unrepentant participant in that sin? If Chilstrom did, then he’s pointing ELCA parishioners toward damnation, not salvation. And the Apostle Paul, who denounced homosexual acts as death-dealing sin, is also a “narrow-minded fundamentalist” for disagreeing with Chilstrom.
Here’s what confessional Christian “fundamentalists” say to homosexuals:
[again quoting Barnhart’s letter]
“To all homosexuals, we say — We love you enough to tell you there is a Savior who is able to redeem, forgive and totally transform your life, if you turn to Him in faith and repentance. Don’t listen to those who tell you that you can’t change or be changed. Come to the Savior and be made whole."
And here’s the hope that the Apostle Paul extends to repentant homosexuals:
“And such *were* some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Is anyone in the post-Chilstrom ELCA preaching Jesus’ lifesaving power to transform ALL sinners who obey His command to “Repent and believe the gospel"? Is anyone in the ELCA fearlessly standing against “..a ‘cheap love’ [that] allows us to let others slide deeper into sin, self-confident that we’ve loved them by never pushing-back for their good”? https://breakpoint.org/what-is-love/
Sermon from January 26, 2020
(The following article was written last year by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
Bishop Herbert Chilstrom was my bishop for years before he became the first presiding bishop of the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America back in 1988. My heart sank back then when he became head bishop because I knew of his liberal views. He later became a champion for the acceptance of homosexual relationships in the ELCA. And his view won the day in 2009 when the ELCA voted to ordain practicing homosexuals and to allow gay "weddings". Near where I live is an ELCA church where the male Lutheran homosexual pastor has a "husband" who is an United Church of Christ pastor. This is the new world of the ELCA.
This month Living Lutheran, the ELCA's national magazine, is presenting a five-part series by Chilstrom on the authority of the Bible. His first article says this:
"If the Spirit of God is alive and at work in the church in every age, should we not expect that new insights into our understanding of the Bible will emerge in our own generation—or from the experience of believers in the world?"
These words remind me of a conversation I had years ago with a liberal Lutheran pastor on the subject of homosexuality. I pointed out the clear teaching of Romans chapter 1 forbidding homosexual behavior. His response: "The Holy Spirit is leading us to a higher consciousness on this issue than the Apostle Paul had in the First Century." In other words, the Holy Spirit today is contradicting what He inspired the Apostle Paul to write in the First Century.
The most liberal Protestant denomination is the United Church of Christ whose motto is: God is still speaking. I'm afraid this means "Yes, God spoke against certain things in the Bible long ago, but God is saying new things to the Church today." This understanding of Scripture allows you to get around any Bible verse that you don't like. And it is tragic, perhaps near blasphemy, to say that the Holy Spirit is the one leading the liberal, mainline Protestant denominations to embrace the world and reinterpret Scripture.
The answer to all this, of course, is to remember the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible and He will not contradict Himself 2000 years later. The Lutheran Reformation was founded upon the Latin phrase "Sola Scripture" which means "the Bible alone" has the final authority. Would that liberal Protestant leaders remember that and not try to imagine a Holy Spirit who contradicts the very book He has inspired.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
See the article quoted above here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) beloved and notorious pastor, author and speaker continues to show the world why to stay away from ELCA pastors and their churches.
A couple of days ago, ELCA Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber sent out this Tweet,
Masterpiece Cake Shop, which made national news, is the business that was taken to court for not baking a cake, and thereby not endorsing, celebrating and participating in, a same-sex wedding.
The Tweet, which looks to have been taken down by Rev. Bolz-Weber, has caused an uproar, even bringing some criticism from people who support the radical pastor (see here).
If you do not know a whole lot about ELCA Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, we have a collection of information about this pastor who is admired by many ELCA bishops. (see here)
Bill Gohl, bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in America officiated the wedding of a transgender person (who is a vicar at an ELCA church and an ELCA seminary student) and well known ELCA pastor Emily Scott. Rev. Scott was a keynote speaker at the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering. (see here beginning at 2:23:20 and read more about her here)
Are there any Biblically led leaders in the ELCA anymore?
ELCA Bishop Makes Gay Pride Video Saying 'Join Me in Thanksgiving to God for the Open Minds and Open Hearts that Have Helped our Churches Let Go of Ancient Prejudices'
ELCA bishop, Guy Erwin, who is himself gay, recently filmed a video in honor of Pride Month 2019.
In the video, Bishop Erwin shares his twisted view of Scripture and the Christian view of homosexuality saying:
"...the main purpose of the bible (is) bringing us the message of God's love for all humankind, shown in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we resist efforts to use it as a prop for prejudice and hate."
"We oppose all efforts to use our ancient scriptures as a tool to condemn others or separate them from us. We believe God calls us to resist such prejudice, even when it comes from 'religious people' or claims the name of Christianity. And so we support the LGBT+ community as it observes Pride month this month and every month and every June."
"My husband and I give thanks to God for the changes that have led us finally to be able to marry."
"My church, both nationally and here in Southern California, celebrates its LGBT+ members."
"The election of a second gay bishop in the ELCA this summer...is cause for joy for me and the whole church."
"I invite you, whoever you are, to join me in thanksgiving to God for the open minds and open hearts that have helped our churches let go of ancient prejudices. To see the grace of God unfolding in new places."
It seems that the ELCA bishop is saying:
- If you hold to the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is wrong/a sin, you hold to "ancient prejudices" and to "hate."
- And the national church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, celebrates LGBT+ members. That is similar to saying one celebrates its lying members, drunk members, adulterous members. It is good that all are members, but the church should not be celebrating members' sins and their gatherings aimed at celebrating sin.
The North Carolina Synod of the ELCA sent out their newsletter March 5, 2019. It reveals a lot about the synod and where it stands on LGBTQ issues.
One section of the synod newsletter announced Reconciling Sexuality Week, which will be held at the ELCA's Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS). See below.
Additionally, the North Carolina synod shared an article titled, "In this to the end," which speaks to the recent vote by the Methodist Church on gay marriage. The synod email reprinted part of the article which states, "'We're in this to the end,' sang LGBTQ United Methodists and their allies. They prayed. They hugged. They pulled out more chairs as people packed a worship service hosted by the LGBTQ-affirming Love Your Neighbor Coalition on Wednesday morning (Feb. 27) in a meeting room at the Holiday Inn, a day after a three-year-long push to make their church more inclusive had been blocked. Many at the worship service committed to staying in a denomination that voted Tuesday (Feb. 26) to reiterate language in the Book of Discipline, its rulebook, saying LGBTQ people could not marry or be ordained in its churches."
The synod also gave this invitation, "Join us for Theology on Tap weekend" for a "weekend of craft brews."
Previously, Rev. Kevin L. Strickland was the Assistant to the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA and Executive for Worship. He is married to another man.
Bishop-elect Strickland was recently featured in an article by ReconcilingWorks, a LGBT organization where he recounts:
"For many years, I felt like I was 'broken' as I fought the internal struggle to come out and say that I was gay and to not only do that but then to continue being able to serve as a pastor in this church. I felt shame, brokenness, sense of not being right. Then a dear friend and pastor, reminded me, I was exactly what God created and even in what may feel broken to me, God calls it beautiful. I now can claim that I am a beautifully and wonderfully created child of God who is gay. Being broken-open means I now live free as the person that God created me to be. In that broken-openness, there is such beauty." (See here)
In the ELCA, and world, it is common for people to say that "God made me gay." This is a lie. It diminishes who God is. God does not call sin beautiful. What is beautiful is God's grace and forgiveness in view of our sin.
The ELCA is in rapid descent into darkness, and this becomes more and more evident every week. They brazenly place their own view over that of God and His Word. God is calling His people out of this depraved denomination; if you are remaining, will you heed His call?
Before Rev. Strickland was elected Bishop of the Southeastern Synod, the ELCA's first homosexual bishop, Guy Erwin, tweeted:
ELCA Synod Bishop Kevin Kanouse came out as a homosexual while he was bishop.
Below is Rev. Tom Brock's response to the ELCA election of Kevin Strickland:
ELCA’s New Proposed Standards for Pastors: Bishops Apologize for Offending LGBTQIA Community, Straight and Gay Pastors Should Marry their Partners, Cohabitation is Forbidden, but is Sex Outside of Marriage?
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and speaker at the ELCA Youth Gathering, has stated publicly that she enjoys having sex outside of marriage with her boyfriend. She signed a statement by a group of ELCA leaders called “Naked and Unashamed” which wants to overthrow the old 1990 ELCA rules that said pastors should not have sex outside of marriage.
The ELCA bishops are presently working on a new set of standards for ELCA clergy to reflect the fact that the ELCA now ordains practicing homosexuals. The bishops state::
“We express our profound grief and deep regret for the times when Vision and Expectations (the 1990 rules) has been misused to single out, marginalize, and block people seeking to be leaders in this church when their peers were not always held to the same vision and expectations. This has caused considerable pain that has disproportionately been borne by those who have been historically marginalized or excluded from leadership in the church because of their gender, sexuality, race, or status. We apologize to those whose treatment under this document has made them feel targeted and less than the beloved children of God that they are.”
I think this means, in part, that the bishops feel bad for not supporting practicing homosexual pastors and their partners in the past. That all changed in 2009 when the ELCA voted to allow non-celibate homosexual pastors.
The proposed new statement reads that “Those who serve as (ELCA) pastors and deacons reflect a variety of sexual orientations and diverse gender identities…the greatest sexual intimacies should be matched with marriage. Pastors and deacons, as public witnesses to this church’s respect for marriage, are therefore to live in accordance with the understanding that deepening degrees of sexual intimacy are aligned with deepening levels of commitment to one another and the relationship. Such relationships are to be exclusive, monogamous, consensual, and in the ELCA, require marriage before cohabitation for those serving as pastors and deacons.”
Thus, in this new statement, cohabitation (living together) is forbidden for ELCA pastors. I believe this means that a homosexual pastor living with a partner in a sexual relationship now needs to get “married”. This is tragic. What if the homosexual pastor gets “married” and then later comes to realize that homosexual behavior is sin? But now the pastor has been saddled with a “marriage” at the insistence of the bishops of the Church. This is the strange new world of the ELCA.
And what about a heterosexual pastor like Bolz-Weber who engages in sex with her boyfriend, presumably in a “loving, monogamous relationship”? Since only cohabitation is explicitly forbidden by the proposed statement, is she allowed to continue to be sexually active and face no discipline?
The statement is in its rough draft form and hopefully the language will eventually make it clear that both cohabitation and fornication are forbidden. But we shall see. I believe the greatest error of the statement is telling homosexual pastors they must “marry” their sexual partners.
Back in 2009 the ELCA agreed that the conservative view regarding homosexual behavior would be honored alongside the liberal view. Where is the conservative view being honored in the ELCA today? What if an ELCA bishop were to say “I hold to the conservative view and I refuse to ordain a practising homosexual”? Would such a bishop be allowed in the ELCA?
You can read the entire proposed new statement in the link below at the very bottom. And I hope it will make you consider leaving the ELCA if you are still a member.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
PS If you want to read what ELCA Pastor Bolz-Weber said in a podcast about how great sex is with her boyfriend, I have edited out her foul language below. As you read it, keep in mind she is an ELCA pastor in good standing with the denomination and spoke to 31,000 ELCA teens last summer:
Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber: “But I get together with my boyfriend and start having sex and it was like 'holy s___,’ I was like, it felt like an exfoliation of my whole spirit. I'm like 'This is so good for my brain chemistry, and my body, and my heart. And I’m like f___ man, why in the world would the Church say ‘Don’t do this?’ Like I could tell it was what I needed, and it was so good.”
For new proposed standards for ELCA pastors:
ELCA Pastors Prayed for the Decision of 'Full Inclusion' In The United Methodist Church: Bishop Eaton+ Respond to the Decision
The United Methodist Church (UMC) met this week in what is called their General Conference. On the docket for this week was a vote to allow practicing homosexual pastors and gay marriage. Below are some social media posts by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastors posting their support for homosexual Methodists and for the same-sex marriage.
The vote failed. Methodists from many countries voted overwhelmingly to stand with God's Word, which calls homosexuality a sin and something of which one should repent.
In response to the UMC vote, ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton issued a statement where she talked about the ELCA's 2009 vote to "opened the way" for same-sex marriage and practicing homosexual pastors saying, "though a controversial decision at the time, our 2009 action has brought strength and blessings for our life and mission beyond what we could have imagined a decade ago. This church treasures the faithful ministries of those rostered leaders who help us witness to God's love and invitation for all people. Their ministries are integral to who we are as this church." (See here)
Before the Vote
After the Vote
An ELCA seminary:
An ELCA church:
Savanna Sullivan, an ELCA employee and the Director of @ELCAYoungAdults -
ELCA Pastor Melissa Bills -
Dan Glamann, Retired Assistant to the Bishop, Central States Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) -
An ELCA church:
ELCA pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber -
ELCA Pastor Norma Cook Everist, "Distinguished Professor of Church and Ministry emerita," Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. -
Published Jan. 31, 2019 in the Lake Mills Graphic
This letter is in response to the discussions happening over having same-sex marriages performed at Salem Lutheran Church, as there are two gentlemen seeking to be married there. God loves these two men immensely. That is 100% true. And He loves everyone reading this. We are undeserving of His love. Jesus Christ came to offer us all salvation and forgiveness of sin. We all need that forgiveness.
Sadly, the people encouraging same-sex marriages are encouraging people to embrace something God does not desire for them. God speaks specifically in the Bible, saying to not engage in same sex relationships. It is one of a host of sins of which God has lovingly warned us to refrain and from which to repent. That doesn’t mean He hates people with same-sex attraction, just the opposite; out of love He wants the best for them and that is not found in homosexual love.
Christ defined marriage to be between one man and one woman. God’s Word also says sex should not be between people of the same gender. He has defined what is good and what is not, for our good. When we sin, as all do, He says, “Turn away from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is near!” (Matthew 4:17) Repentance is “turning from sin.” I don’t know why some have same sex attraction and some are susceptible to other sins, but God desires to give people the power to refrain from it and wants us to help one another do so.
When we sin, there is forgiveness with repentance. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32), and in the New Testament book of Acts we read, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). As Christians, we should not enable or bless sinful behavior but lovingly encourage people to repent, to turn away from sin.
One of the foundational questions in this conversation is “What is the loving thing to do?” Love leads people to the Lord where we receive truth, promises, a relationship with Him, freedom and so much more. Love invites people to repent, of any sin, so as the verse from Acts above says, “our sins may be wiped out,” and we will be refreshed. That is love. That is grace. Those are promises that invite us to truly live.
It is out of love for the people of Lake Mills and of the LGBT community that I write this. Sadly, and discouragingly, those who share this Biblical understanding are often labeled as “not loving” and worse. I care about these two gentlemen, and it would not be right of me, Salem Lutheran Church or anyone else to bless or encourage people to embrace something God says not to do.
(See letter here)
A bit of background information:
- I know one of these gentlemen who is seeking the same-sex wedding. When the two men posted a video on Facebook talking about their hope to have a wedding at this ELCA church in which one of them grew up, it seemed that everyone who responded, encouraged them, and I wrote to them saying much of what was in this letter to the editor.
- I grew up in this town and went to this church for a few years before moving.
- The church, Salem Lutheran, has had a hard 10 years. After the ELCA's 2009 votes allowing homosexual weddings and pastors who are practicing homosexuals, this church voted to not allow gay weddings. But the church stayed in the ELCA. Now after a decade of turmoil, the church is revisiting the issue. In fact, I've been told by a couple people that the congregation recently voted to allow gay weddings.
- Let this be a warning to all ELCA churches who think they can ignore the heresy and false teaching in the denomination, believing that it will not affect them.
Rev. Steven P. Sabin was, up until a week ago, the pastor at Christ Church Lutheran in San Francisco, CA.
(See below and here)
In 1998, ELCA Rev. Steven P. Sabin was “removed from the ELCA clergy roster for being in a committed, same-sex relationship while serving as pastor at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Ames, Iowa.”
In 2010, Rev. Steven P. Sabin was "welcomed back" into the ELCA and to the ELCA clergy roster. This happened because of the ELCA's 2009 decision allowing practicing homosexuals to be pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
When reinstated, Rev. Sabin said, "For two decades, many have been grieved and alienated by the ELCA's exclusion of gay and lesbian pastors blessed with loving spouses. I hope and pray that they can, like me, lay aside the hurts and take hope from the gracious power of God to renew and direct the church into evermore faithful and effective proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that this will be the beginning of a new period of evangelical outreach for the ELCA aided by our new witness to the forgiveness and grace of God truly being for all people...Like the psalmist, I can only observe with awe and gratitude: 'This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.'" (see here)
Pastor Sabin served as one of the primary ordaining clergy in the ELCA's first ordination of a transgender pastor. See video below. Also participating in that ordination is the pastor of the ELCA's goddess worshiping church, herchurch.
Latest Living Lutheran magazine: Prayer can include coloring mandalas…and how to be a gay-friendly church
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
The most recent edition of Living Lutheran, the national magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has an article about “Seeking the Spirit Within”. It states “Prayer can include coloring mandalas, using beads, meditating over a piece of Scripture, walking a labyrinth or repeating a name or phrase.” A mandala is a ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe, which is used for the purpose of meditation and trance induction. So why is the ELCA promoting this? Repeating a name or phrase over and over is also part of Buddhist meditation (think “Om”), but where does Jesus ever teach us to say a word over and over in order to meditate?
This is called syncretism, taking non-Christian practices and beliefs and mixing them together with Christianity. It is what got the ancient Jews in trouble when they tried to mix Baal worship with the worship of Jehovah. The ELCA needs to remember the words of the First Commandment regarding syncretism: Thou shalt have no other gods.
June is gay pride month and Living Lutheran devotes a whole article to ways your church can be gay-friendly. Don’t talk in Sunday school materials about mom and dad since we need to “remember your same-gendered-married couples.” Get a gender-neutral bathroom in your church. Celebrate gender identity and transition (changing one's sex) in your fellow Christians. Don’t say Christian “brothers and sisters” since this excludes non-binary and transgender people.
It appears the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has swallowed the GLBT agenda whole. Living Lutheran no longer allows the conservative view on homosexuality to be even heard.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
A few weeks ago, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s NPR news station posted an article entitled, “The Politics And Ethics Of Pennsylvania's Proposed Down Syndrome Abortion Ban.”
The article’s reporters spoke to several people about the abortion ban. One of those interviewed was Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor Natalie (Gessert) Hall:
“Hall said she doesn’t know if she would be capable of raising a child with Down syndrome, which she said is why she might have considered terminating such a pregnancy.
‘I’m not convinced that I would have the care and support I would need to embark on caring for a child with Down syndrome,’ she said. ‘Or a child with any other significant developmental or physical difficulties.’
...Hall said she’s counseled women who have struggled over whether to have abortions. Ultimately, she said it’s a personal choice that’s made more difficult by a society that’s not very accepting or supportive of people with disabilities.” (see here)
And thus we have another public statement by an ELCA clergy person who is supportive of a woman aborting the baby who is growing and developing in her womb. This is a common position for ELCA leadership and is reason alone for pro-life people to leave the denomination.
But there is more to this blog than Pastor Hall's public statement about abortion. See, I am familiar with her. She “follows” me on Facebook. Rev. Natalie Hall, formally Natalie Gessert, was a part of Lutheran CORE for a time (I am assuming that is no longer the case). In fact, she held a leadership position with Lutheran CORE. Lutheran CORE is a "Network for confessing Lutherans...(and an) advocate for Biblical authority and confessional fidelity among churches of the Lutheran community..." (see here)
A Lutheran CORE publication said:
“Pr. Chavez recognized and
thanked the Lutheran CORE staff, all
but two of whom are part-time…Facebook Moderator Natalie Gessert." (Page 2 of
She was also involved in this project:
“The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther’s German Catechism.” “By the cooperative effort of Sola Publishing and ReClaim Resources this edition of the Small Catechism was produced in 2010 translators/authors representing Lutheran Core, WordAlone, LCMC, and NALC. The primary translator of the 2010 edition is Rev. Scott Grorud, with Rev. Thomas Jacobson, Rev. Natalie Gessert, and Dr. Gracia Grindal as translational consultants.” (see here)
So what happened to Pastor Natalie (Gessert) Hall? Why is this former leader in Lutheran CORE speaking out for abortion rights. Why is she posting on Facebook her support for homosexual marriage and rights? (see screenshots from her page posted on this blog). I do not know the answer, but I do know it is dangerous to place yourself in toxic cultures and environments. That is what you are doing by staying in the ELCA. It is dangerous and can bring about the compromising of your faith and Scripture. Sometimes when you are around someone long enough you succumb to their beliefs.
This is one reason I encourage people to leave the ELCA, pastors and members alike.
Below are additional interesting Facebook posts by Rev. Hall.
(The following article was written a couple years ago 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.)
Adam Philips is pastor at Christ Church in Portland. He says he is an evangelical and proud of it. He wrote in the Huffington Post that he believes the Holy Spirit led the nation to affirm gay marriage and the Church should do the same. He writes "I...leaned into prayer, I heard the Holy Spirit's call loud and clear: I am doing a new thing in your midst. Come. Taste and see."
That is much too close to the unforgivable sin, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible which says that homosexual behavior is a sin (for all the verses see my article "What does the Bible say about homosexuality?" at pastorsstudy.org). The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself. But this pastor thinks the Holy Spirit told him something new.
I remember years ago when I was still in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 1997 the ELCA voted to interchange pastors with the United Church of Christ. Before the vote a pastor publicly asked President Thomas of the UCC "Why does the UCC ordain practicing homosexuals?" He responded that the Holy Spirit led them to do this. I went up to President Thomas afterward and said that I wondered if that wasn't the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Yes, a "spirit" led them to do that, but it wasn't the Holy Spirit.
The Good News is that Pastor Philips' denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, has severed ties with Pastor Philips and his church. The Bad News is that his view can be preached and taught in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church in America and the United Church of Christ. And all these denominations are shrinking.
Pastor Tom Brock
Here is an example of it being taught in the ELCA. From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's official magazine it says:
“In 2009, we in the ELCA, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, found ourselves at a kairos moment to recognize more of God’s people under a bigger tent and a larger table when we adopted “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” the ELCA’s 10th social statement, with editorial amendments, at part of our churchwide assembly… The LGBTQIA community had always been part of God’s chosen people, and the Holy Spirit finally gave us the temerity to stand with them through our public proclamation.” (see here)
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