This is an ELCA church, an ELCA pastor and his wife holding a "blessing" for their son who they say is a transgender girl. The son's mother (pastor's wife) said the gathering was to affirm "her" (the boy's) "forever name." This is the way today's society is going and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seems to be leading the way.
The ELCA 2012 National Youth Gathering is going on as we speak. Over 30,000 youth are estimated to be in attendance. After reading some disturbing reports by a number of orthodox Lutheran pastors about opening night keynote speaker Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber’s message (read about her here) I went to the ELCA’s website to view it myself.
Here are some quotes from Rev. Bolz-Weber’s address and some comments:
Rev. Bolz-Weber starts out mocking the “fundamentalist” church that she grew up in, at one point saying, “They thought they were the only Christians.”
She told the youth that as a teenager she hated Christianity. “I hated it. I hated the smallness. I hated that fact that we had to reject everyone that was not just like us. I hated the narrow-mindedness. That was the only form of Christianity I knew existed and I knew I didn’t like it.”
The main subject of Rev. Bolz-Weber’s address was herself.
Of course there were the obligatory mentions of “gay” persons and even “transgender kids.”
Throughout the message there was a lot of bragging about being “Lutheran.” Bolz-Weber said, “Here is what you need to know about this thing you have, this Lutheran liturgy and this Lutheran theology, and this whole tradition. It is a feast, and it is a feast to be shared, and I’m here to tell you, people are hungry. People are hungry. And you have a feast entrusted to you, and they are ready for it.” And “That’s what it looks like to be a Lutheran!”
I have to ask, do we Lutherans worship Martin Luther or Christ? We are to lift up Christ and not our church.
Near the end of her speech she said, “. . . some of your parents and some of your pastors were really upset that I was your speaker tonight. They felt like I was somebody who should not be allowed to talk to tens of thousands of teenagers. And you know what I have to say to that? They are absolutely right . . . I should not be allowed to be here talking to you. But you know what? That’s the God we’re dealing with, people.”
Rev. Bolz-Weber referenced Jesus, saying, "Who from the cross did not even lift a finger to condemn the enemy, but instead said, 'I would rather die than be in the sin-accounting business.'"
Fact is, orthodox theology is clear that Jesus is all about the sin-accounting business. His death on the cross was exactly that. Jesus dying to account for our sins. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:8-9. Additionally, we know with confidence, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” - John 3:16
The very heart of the gospel was not spoken to the youth listening. Our young people need to know that if they do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, their sins are not forgiven, and if they do not receive Jesus their eternal salvation at risk.
I don’t remember hearing anything in Rev. Bolz-Weber’s address about repentance, turning from sin or forgiveness. But she did tell the youth, “I swear like a truck driver.”
The kids at the ELCA National Youth Gathering 2012 got a big dose of the “gospel of affirmation” in the Rev. Bolz-Weber’s keynote address. It is a false gospel.
Dennis E. Marks explains “gospel of affirmation” as: “instead of changing people, God simply affirms people how He finds them.” (read here) Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (Richfield, WI) explains it this way, “This teaching suggests that the good news is that God loves and affirms everyone, regardless of their faith, life style choices, etc. There never is a need for real repentance because God is never angry with us.” (read here)
Based on the video of Bolz-Weber’s address (see here click Wednesday) and on her husband’s blog (see here), the youth ate it up.
Universalism is a teaching that is widely held in the ELCA. (see here) It is very apparent to anyone who isn’t blindly loyal to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (Richfield, WI) is in the process of voting to leave the ELCA. I would like to direct you to a document they produced in which they answered this question, “Has the ELCA really changed the basic message of the Christian faith?”
Here is Shepherd of the Hills Church's answer:
“While the official teaching of the ELCA is sound,
the actual teaching seen in our seminaries, church
publications, and pronouncements by pastors and
leaders is often very different. Gradually, the ELCA
has de‐emphasized the basic message of sin,
repentance, faith, and salvation through Jesus
Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, and on
Easter, victory over Satan and death (2nd Timothy
1:10). In its place, we read and hear several
One popular ELCA message is the gospel of
affirmation. This teaching suggests that the good
news is that God loves and affirms everyone,
regardless of their faith, life style choices, etc.
There never is a need for real repentance because
God is never angry with us. Another misleading
teaching common in ELCA sources says that Jesus
hgives us the example, and the Holy Spirit gives us
the power, to build the Kingdom of God on earth ‐
‐ by fighting hunger and poverty, promoting
peace, fighting racism, sexism, hetero‐sexism, and
other oppressions, and building brotherhood and
sisterhood on earth by honoring all sincere faiths
as paths to God.
The ELCA has lost focus on our five‐hundred year
old Law/Gospel balance by over‐focusing on the
Gospel (Saved by Grace ‐ Eph. 2:8) at the expense
of the Law (The 10 Commandments). The classic
view is that the Law convicts us of our sin and the
Gospel is the good news that God saves us from
the punishment we deserve by the sacrificial
death of Christ. Grace is defined as “undeserved
love.” Today grace is being redefined to say that
God is always affirming us, and nothing else. This
distorts a biblical understanding of love, where
love includes the “tough love” that prunes our
rebellious hearts into greater Christ‐likeness.
We find evidence for this in the fact that most
ELCA produced Sunday school curriculum,
catechism materials, adult bible studies, the
Lutheran magazine, ELCA website, etc., fail to
plainly explain that we are sinners, doomed to
death, unless we receive Christ with faith. This
shows us that the working theology of the ELCA is
universalism – blanket salvation for everyone,
regardless of whether they know Christ.”
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church will be taking their second vote on leaving the ELCA June 2011.
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