The following letter and article are written by John Myers, who spent most of his adult life as an ELCA member. John has graciously allowed us to share his writings here, which were also sent to a number of ELCA leaders. John cares deeply for people in the ELCA and hopes this will provide an avenue for open dialog with those in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Letter to leadership - ELCA
I am a lifelong Lutheran, who has left ELCA. I was baptized, confirmed and taught. I am certain I am not alone in saying I was misled by leadership, that the present Lutheran church would be unrecognized by my parents and grandparents, that the foundational leadership would be sickened by what has become of the principles of the church, that Luther himself would not want to have his name attached to it, and that its saints of the past like Bonhoeffer would not include ELCA in his confessing church and would want nothing to do with it.
The key issue in this departure, in my opinion, is the abandonment of Luther's Principle of Solo Scriptura and the failure to apply scripture as being the inerrant Word. I embrace Christianity as it was practiced in the early church of Acts. This simply means worship, edification with scripture, proclaiming Him and His gospel. All the idols of this world - money, power, politics, false virtue signaling, fall away as unimportant when one is focused on God and His world instead of this world. Bonhoeffer called it Cheap Grace, that we claim we are following Him but are far from Him, that we say we have accepted Christ and then do things that are not of Him. This is what I see in modern Lutheranism.
Do not misunderstand the intent I have for this letter. It is a love letter, not a hate letter. This is a call for repentance. Repentance is not something modern Lutheranism embraces. Modern Lutheranism points to people as victims, and directs people to love to solve victim-hood. Nothing about our sin and Gods coming judgment, and the need for us to repent, to embrace and apply Gods verbatim Word in our world. God is a jealous God, who will not stand for the idols we place in front of ourselves in this world. We are to love God with everything we have, and because we are human we are sinners, all of us, and we all must repent of those sins or there is no hope for us. No matter how you twist His Word, the things you embrace are sin. They are not to be glorified.
The madness must stop. We are mutilating our children for profit without parents involved and paying for it with taxpayer dollars. Those medical facilities that children should be trusting with medical guidance are instead, by any normal definition, wickedly using them and abusing them. Anyone can easily understand God intends the nuclear family for us and any other lifestyle does not glorify Him. He demands we value life, and we do not glorify Him by taking innocent life in the womb while calling it healthcare. These are not hard concepts, yet we mock Him. Do not be part of the crowd outside Lot's house. Judgment will come, it always does. Repent. Honor Him and His Word.
So I ask that you seriously consider my words. I seek to open a dialog in which we can have discussion. I really would like to understand how you can support current Lutheran positions on these issues, how these positions will make a better world, and finally exactly how God is glorified by what you are doing. I believe in this life that we are to glorify God and to serve God. I write this letter in this and I ask that you accept it as such. My contact information follows:
150 Rockland Road
Westminster, Md 21158
This Watchman Speaks
The Prophet Ezekiel was a watchman for the lost sheep. In Ezekiel, Chapter 3, V17-18 the prophet states he is called to warn. I am not Ezekiel, I am just a man but I also feel called to warn.
All truth starts with Gods Truth, the Bible. If you believe only scripture that fits your worldview, you do not actually believe any of it. Ephesians 5:11 says not only are we not to have anything to do (no fellowship) with the evils of this world, but we are to expose them - especially when found in the church. Matthew 18:17 tells us to speak to a sinning brother of the evil he practices. If he refuses to hear it and continues in his way, we are to treat him as if he is no longer our brother.
Martin Luther founded the protestant reformation on the principle of "solo scriptura". Luther insisted that the Bible is the "Inerrant Word of God". This means every word is true and is what God meant for us to live our lives in faith. I remind on this because today Luther's church is mocking God. It's pastors are false teachers, they are wolves dressed as shepherds (Matt 7:15) carrying out satan's plan. Lutheran seminaries teach false doctrine.
Why do I say this? God's plan for marriage is plain. In Mark 10:6–8, our Lord details it. One man and one woman. Further, it is a picture of so much more - the church itself. It is foundational. ELCA endorses, affirms, embraces, and ordains homosexual marriage. ELCA teaches that God approves, that bishops and pastors - the appointed leadership - proclaim these unions as God ordained. This is false teaching.
Homosexuality is a sin. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that it is sin and an abomination. This is but one of many instructions consistently saying the same. It is not something to hold up as God ordained behavior no matter what the world around us would have us to believe. It is evil to teach there is no need to repent for this behavior. We are not to hate those who engage in this, we are taught to view it as sin like others that all of us have carried since the eviction from Eden. There is no scriptural basis for any other position. Many would retort that Jesus had no direct teaching forbidding homosexuality, as an excuse - but this is satan speaking.......Is Jesus not God? Jesus told us He was there at the beginning. John 1:1 tells us He is the Word and the Word is eternal. The Word He gave us includes the OT, and He came to fulfill it, not to negate it. It is impossible to embrace the Word and also embrace sinless homosexuality. We must embrace repentance from this sin, not embrace pride in it.
God made only man and woman. Transvestism is called out in Deuteronomy 22:5 as an abomination. It is a sin. ELCA is affirming, embracing, or celebrating this behavior. Women who present themselves as men, and men who present themselves as women are living a lie. They need our sympathy and help with their condition, not enabling and normalizing this behavior. Spiritually, it is sin and we must call for repentance. Those afflicted are mutilating themselves with abominable surgeries and living in misery. At least one ELCA church is currently hosting VBS in Baltimore with a 'drag queen' promoting gender fluidity and questioning for young children. It is simply child abuse to present this and normalize this behavior, and ELCA is not only complicit but is promoting it. There is no scriptural basis for this. It is evil.
You have become satan's agent in denial of God's word to those in your care. During Covid, you closed sanctuaries from worship, a denial of compassion to those in genuine fear. Yes, we are to render to Ceasar that which is his and respect our leaders-but, not deny God. Acts 5:29 instructs us to obey God rather than men. In Hebrews 10:25 God tells us not to forsake regular assembly for corporate worship. In this, you chose men over God. You are not worshipping God, rather you worship idols of this world as in Isaiah 57 - the idols of abortion (v5), sexual immorality (v8), perverted leadership (v11), all the while mocking God. God will not be mocked (v13). Lutheran church leadership is lifting up false idols for worship. You propose to judge God, twisting scripture to fit this world.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, stop.
(The following is a letter to ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton from Gary Eliason. Mr. Eliason gave Exposing the ELCA permission to post his letter.)
I feel the need to communicate with the larger ELCA that our family is choosing to leave the denomination. More correctly, that the denomination has left us! I was born and raised in an ALC family. As most kids in that situation, I attended Sunday School, confirmation, Bible camp, worked at Bible Camps for many summers and travelled with a Lutheran mission team for a year and a half, and naturally when the ELCA formed, joined that.
I grew to love the foundation of the church focusing on Grace alone, Word alone and Christ alone. However, in my estimation, the church has been drifting more toward Humanism and choosing to conform to this world, rather than be transformational to those that are in the world.
We are told from ELCA pastors, that it doesn’t matter which god you believe in, as long as you believe. We are told that there is no hell or place of judgement. From a seminary professor we are told that Jesus’ death on the cross was not as atonement for our sins, but rather an example of how we should live our lives.
Regarding the subject of sexuality, the church’s teaching seems to harken back to a rallying cry of the Hippie era, “If it feels good, do it!” I’m not sure how that coincides with lessons from living a disciplined life, or choosing the narrow way. I am not anti-gay, and I do believe everyone has his/her own rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, Biblically I have found no reference to same sex marriage. Marriage always seems to be referenced in the context of a man and a woman. If 2 people of the same sex choose to live together, I see no reason for them not to, with a civil agreement and legal holdings of traditional marriage, but I find it troubling that we take the sacred meaning of one word and apply it to another circumstance in order to fit our thought pattern, and again, conform rather than transform.
Along the same lines, to have openly gay pastors, and to celebrate a trans individual as a church leader is not a concept I find in Scripture. Yes, we must accept all people seeking salvation to be an active part of the church, for we are all sinners, but how can it be justified to say that we are a welcoming church, and that we celebrate all life as holy, but then not welcome or celebrate the life (or as stated “the neighbor”) growing in the womb of the mother into that same church. The neighbor? I can only think of the lesson from the Good Samaritan.
Is any abortion justified? While I believe it is the last resort in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother, it is interesting to note that the only other 2 countries that have laws as liberal as the US regarding abortion are China and North Korea, where Christianity is banned! The 3 types of cases I referred to account for less than 2% of all abortions, and in fact, 85% of rape victims choose to bring their child to term.
To say that the ELCA bases its current views about abortion on a document from 1991 comes full circle to the reason Martin Luther rebelled against the Catholic church. Their teachings relied more on church doctrine and tradition than on the Word alone.
I am truly saddened to see that nearly 1.5 million people have chosen to leave the ELCA. Could it be that because the church has tried to stand for everything, it has ended up standing for nothing? In wanting to validate every lifestyle, much of pop theology, yet failing to say yes, yes, and yes to unborn children, it shows no differentiation from itself and much of modern culture. What once was a city on a hill, is now just another house in the subdivision.
I am praying that I will be able to find a church that will not leave me again.
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