(Updated March 2018 - Original blog was written March, 2011)
One would think that ELCA pastors, bishops and teachers would believe Scripture. However all one has to do is read, “The Clergy Letter - from American Christian clergy: An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science,” to find that most do not.
Over 2400 ELCA leaders signed this letter which states,
“the overwhelming majority (of Christians) do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth.”
Make no mistake, what these Christian leaders are saying is that they do not believe what the Bible actually says. They are calling the story about creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah’s ark, lies. These ELCA leaders think they know better than Jesus, the Old and New Testament writers, and 2000 years of Christians, who knew these stories to be true. (read more here)
The letter goes on to say, “We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as ‘one theory among others’ is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.”
Really? So those that believe God’s account of creation, are “ignorant?” Maybe these religious elites should read from the following website of the many scientists who are skeptical of Darwinism. (read here and download the list of scientists who signed "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.")
The Clergy letter also says, “We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.”
Let me get this straight, now these “Christian” leaders, who say that the Biblical account of creation is not true, are now telling us that if we believe God’s account of creation we are REJECTING God’s Will?
Finally the letter says, “We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge.” (read here)
Here are “Christian” leaders urging school boards to have the teaching of evolution be a “core component of HUMAN knowledge.” These are the people teaching us and our children about Jesus and the Bible?
Someone may ask, “What’s the big deal?” “Who cares if ELCA leaders and pastors don’t believe what the Bible says about creation?”
Here are a few quotes that highlight why we should care:
"More cases of loss of religious faith can be traced to the theory of evolution--- than anything else." - Martin Lings, quoted in Christian Century July, 1982
“Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.” - Noted evolutionist, Professor Will Provine, in “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life.”
"Any creationist lawyer who got me on the stand could instantly win over the jury simply by asking me: 'Has your knowledge of evolution influenced you in the direction of becoming an atheist?' I would have to answer yes and, at one stroke, I would have lost the jury." - Noted evolutionist, Dr. Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2008) p. 93
While I was studying at an ELCA seminary, the Dean of Students told me that not one ELCA seminary professor in the United States believes Adam and Eve were real people. I have no doubt that statement is true. Sadly, seminary professors’ beliefs are being picked up by their students, who are the current and future ELCA pastors.
Linked at the end of this blog is the list of current and retired ELCA pastors, ELCA seminary professors, ELCA college professors, ELCA seminary presidents and ELCA Bishops who agree with this letter and signed it. Some of the notable signers are: Bishop Tom Aitken (Northeastern Minnesota Synod), The Rev. Hans R. Arnesen (Associate to the Bishop of the New England Synod), Bishop Allan Bjornberg (ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod), Bishop Paul J. Blom - Houston, Texas, Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, The Rev. Stacy Boorn (herchurch), The Rev. Michael Cooper-White, D.D., (President - Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA), The Rev. Jean DeVoll-Donaldson (Assistant to the Bishop/Director for Evangelical Mission Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod), Bishop Ralph W. Dunkin (West Virginia -Western Maryland Synod), The Rev. James Kenneth Echols, Ph.D. (President - Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago), The Rev. Paul W. Egertson, Ph.D. (Bishop Emeritus - Southwest California Synod), The Rev. Jim Hazelwood (Bishop of the New England Synod), The Rev. Anita C. Hill, The Rev. B. Penrose Hoover (Bishop - Lower Susquehanna Synod), The Rev. Robert L. Isaksen, (Retired ELCA Pastor and Bishop of the New England Synod), The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, Kevin S. Kanouse, (Bishop Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod), Paul R. Landahl (Bishop Metropolitan Chicago Synod), Bishop April Ulring Larson (La Crosse Area Synod), The Rev. Duane H. Larson, PhD., (President - Wartburg Theological Seminary), The Rev. Felipe Lozada-Montanez (Bishop of the Caribbean Synod of the ELCA), Bishop Brian D.Maas (Nebraska Synod - ELCA), Bishop John S. Macholz (Upstate New York Synod - ELCA), The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Mansholt (Bishop Central States Synod), The Rev. Robert W. Mattheis (Bishop Emeritus, Sierra Pacific Synod), The Rev. George Paul Mocko (Bishop Emeritus, Delaware-Maryland Synod), Bishop David G. Mullen (Sierra Pacific Synod), Bishop Dean W. Nelson (Southwest California Synod), Bishop Margaret G. Payne (New England Synod), The Rev. Dr. Ted Peters (Interim President - Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary), The Rev. Dr. Jerry L. Schmalenberger (Retired President - Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary), Rev. Robin J. Steinke, Ph.D. (President Luther Seminary), Bishop David R. Strobel (Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod), The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Thomforde (President - St. Olaf College), Bishop Ron Warren (ELCA Southeastern Synod), The Rev. Dr. Howard E. Wennes (Retired Bishop ELCA), The Rev. Paul M. Werger, (Bishop Emeritus - Southeastern Iowa Synod), The Rev. Eric G. Wolf(Assistant to the Bishop of the South Carolina Synod, ELCA), The Rev. Dr. Herman Yoos (Bishop - South Carolina Synod) and Bishop David B. Zellmer (South Dakota Synod).
More than 14500 American pastors signed this letter and over 2400 of them are Evangelical Lutheran Church in America leaders.
Here is a list of all the ELCA leaders who signed the Clergy letter.
To read more about creation, intelligent design or evolution see:
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Below is an email reply with a friend, who is a pastor. I sent him a link to this website and he replied. This is my reply to him. I have done minor edits to clear up confusion and make it more understandable to the reader. To understand more of my points and views read more of my blogs and the links contained on this website -
And now, the email -
. . .I did not know your position on the issue but figured if you agree "great," if not I'd like to hear your thoughts as someone I respect. I find some of your thoughts helpful, and thank you for them. You may not find my site helpful, but the real intent behind it is to inform the regular ELCA members (like my grandmother) about the truth - what the denomination is teaching and doing, as well as to encourage them to take a stand for their churches.
(To answer your points)
I disagree with your statement on the August decision. The fact is the ELCA has allowed churches to ordain practicing homosexuals and bless their unions. That is an endorsement by the ELCA no matter how you look at it. They wouldn't allow it if they disagreed with it. The synod offices and positions will be allowing it, will they not?
I have a different idea about where authority should be, with God and his Holy word. But as you know, if you have read my links, that is the issue (the ELCA view on the Bible.)
1) I like and agree with your thought that I should claim authorship of the website by putting my name on it.
2) (concerning information on the tornado at the ELCA August meetings and if God caused it) The truth is that God does, at times, speak and use nature for his purposes. Think of Noah, the Red Sea, darkness during Jesus crucifixion, Jonah and the storm, etc. So it is possible God was doing the same here. The storm did not injure anyone, so I don't see any suffering because of it. If the ELCA doesn't take heed to God's Word and Will (that is stated so clearly in the Bible on homosexuality), or with conservative pastors' pleas not to vote for it, I don't think it is too far fetched to think He may use a less than F1 tornado to shake the voting ELCA representatives and as a way to try and convince them to obey His word. I don't believe all disasters are warnings from God, but some are. Isaiah 45:7, "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I the Lord do all these things". Also, Matt. 16: 2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
3) I do have a problem with the ELCA's stance on the Israel/Palestine issue. We both know Israel has a longer claim on the land. They have had a continuous presence for over 3000 years there. They also won that land when the arab world attacked them. As Yusef Diya al-Khadidi, Mayor of Jerusalem (1899) said, "Who can challenge the rights of the Jews in Palestine? Good Lord, historically it is really your country." There are 56 Islamic countries and just 1 Jewish country. In 1870, Jews were the majority population in Jerusalem.
The ELCA attacks Israel for its security fence and wants it taken down. The fence was built to prevent suicide bombers from walking into Jewish populations and blowing up innocent men, women and children. Many countries have fences and walls. The U.S., Turkey, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, India, Spain, Thailand, Yemen, etc.
The ELCA states it wants Israel to give up Judia, Samaria, and half of Jerusalem. God gave that land to Isaac and Jacob. The Bible says its for their descendants. (here is another point where the ELCA puts their will above what the Bible says.) Have you seen what Gaza is like with the terrorists in leadership? The same will happen in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If the ELCA cares so much about the issue lets ask one of the arab states to parcel off some of their land and create a Palestinian state away from Israel. That would be a more peaceful solution. After all, Hamas' charter says, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." I encourage you to read my articles listed about Israel and the ELCA. If those in Gaza are suffering greatly, it is because of the radical muslims there, for the most part, not the Israelis.
The ELCA uses bias terms such as "occupied" territory. Where are the calls for Palestinians to change their ways, to lay down their weapons, to stop teaching their children to hate the Jews, to put in their charter that Israel has a right to live there, to form a true democratic government (like Israel), to allow Jews to live in Gaza if they choose?
I am glad we all care about the Palestinians. Absolutely God loves them. But the way the ELCA has chosen to "care" for them is really to blame Israel. I don't see the ELCA confronting those countries that keep "Palestinian Refugees" in poverty and refugee camps and denied them citizenship, since 1948. Do they really care about them or does the Israel angle fit their agenda? I don't see the ELCA demanding Hamas stop using the billions in international money they get to buy weapons and benefit the few.
(concerning the ELCA using "mother" as a reference for God)
4) On "mother" God. I don't think most ELCA members would approve, and I want them to know about the ELCA's stance. Wasn't Jesus, God Himself, a man? Did Jesus ever call God "mother?" Did the disciples? Did anyone in the Bible? Why do we think we know better and understand more about God then them? If Jesus called God "Father" that is the term we should use, in my opinion. It seems to me the ELCA thinks they are so intellectual, they are so wise, and they know so much more than the authors of the Bible (God included) that they can decide what is true and what is not. What is real and what is not. What Jesus said and what he didn't. They can dismiss thousands of verses that talk about prophecy and things that will happen because they "know" it's not possible for someone to know the future even if it is God speaking through them. They have put their view above God's Word, which He is said to "inspire." If the ELCA's view of the Bible was right, don't you think Jesus would have said that? If it wasn't from God and true, don't you think Jesus would have said, "Hey everyone, the scriptures are just human's writings. They're not from God. And prophecy? It's a bunch of hogwash." The fact is, Jesus didn't say that and He read and viewed the writing as true and as God's Word.
Good connecting with you. If you have more comments and thoughts, I'd love talk with you about them.
The ELCA teaches there are errors in the Bible. That leads to the ELCA's "pick and choose" method where you take the parts of the Bible you believe and throw the rest away. Got to love it. Humans decide what is from God and what isn't. We know so much more than those mental lightweights who actual knew Jesus and wrote about him. We can tell what Jesus really said and what he didn't. We know Adam and Eve are not real, even though the Bible says they are and it talks about them in both the OT and NT. Jonah is not a true story, even though the bible says so. And Jesus said so. Look it up. (or read here) I could go on and on. But I will save that for a later blog .
Sometimes I have to laugh. The ELCA teaches that Jonah and the Whale is a myth intended for teaching a moral lesson. Really? The book of Jonah reads as if it is an actual historic event. It has details that would be un-necessary if it was a made up story. The city Jonah went to is Nineveh, which is an actual city in the world at that time. And to top it off, Jesus himself said it was an historic event! In Matthew 12:39-41, Jesus speaks, ". . .A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here."
How can the ELCA say Jonah and the whale is a made up story if Jesus said it happened (just like he will rise again in three days)? Oh Yeah . . . they don't believe Jesus really said what is in the Bible, PLUS they don't really believe the Bible. Yeah, that's the kind of church I want to belong too. How about you?
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