Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa is the largest ELCA church in the nation and has numerous satellite locations, that are also ELCA churches, in surrounding communities. Lutheran Church of Hope hosted the ELCA's 2019 Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly at their church. Lutheran Church of Hope and senior pastor Mike Housholder has been hosting ELCA synod assemblies for many years, which we will be detailing in a future blog. From a conversation I had years ago with an Lutheran Church of Hope pastor, their church also pays for many of the expenses that normally would be the responsibility of the Southeastern Iowa synod.
It is disturbing and I would suggest, a sin against God for Lutheran Church of Hope to be aligned, aiding and abetting a denomination that preaches universalism (that all are saved), is pro-abortion, uses feminine words for God, demonizes Israel, encourages homosexual relations even with their pastors, allows goddess worship, pushes liberal policies, ordains transgender individuals, twists and ignores Scripture and rejects God's clear historical account of creation recorded in Genesis.
If you are a member of Lutheran Church of Hope or any ELCA church you would be wise to find a new church that is not be part of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's battle against the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Disturbingly, there were two resolutions at the 2019 assembly, held at Lutheran Church of Hope, seeking funds from the United States to be given to the Palestinians. (See here)
On May 8, 2021, the Sierra Pacific Synod of the ELCA elected transgender pastor Megan Rohrer bishop of their synod.
Thrilled with the news, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America issued a press release with posts on their website, Facebook page and their magazine Living Lutheran announcing the historic action of the ELCA's "first openly transgender bishop..." (See below)
The news has been picked up by many national news outlets including this one from NPR.
The ELCA mocks God. They mock God's Word. They lead others astray and they twist the Truth. The ELCA:
I can no longer have any respect for anyone who remains in the ELCA. That includes churches that remain too, from the very smallest to the biggest (the ELCA's Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines and Nazareth Lutheran in Cedar Falls, to name a few). Shame on you for staying in a denomination that is not faithful to Scripture but is leading people into sin and away from Jesus. Your participation is your shame and you have no excuse. You can not justify being part of this evil, faith-destroying denomination.
(See the new release the ELCA published where they brag "Rohrer is the first transgender bishop in the ELCA" here)
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
ELCA leadership has rejected the creation account that God has given us in Scripture (see here and here). Does Lutheran Church of Hope agree with their denominational leaders? We see and hear the answer in a sermon preached at the megachurch when questions from the congregation were answered:
“How can I fit my beliefs in God with physical science, evolution, etc.?”
Senior pastor and founder of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) megachurch, Mike Housholder, answered first, saying “…if you look at the pattern of creation in Scripture and you line that up with scientific views of the order how things happened, there is a lot of alignment and there isn’t nearly as much conflict as a lot of people would suggest” (See video below or here).
Rev. Housholder speaks as if all science agrees on the time-frame and order of creation; they do not. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that shows the Earth to be young (here, here and here are a few).
Claiming that God's creation account lines up with the most popular scientific conclusions like those of the Big Bang Theory and the macro-evolutionary time-frame, is completely false (See here and the Answers in Genesis chart above).
Dr. Caroline Boehnke-Becker, who was part of the team of three Lutheran Church of Hope pastors/leaders answering questions from the congregation, confirmed Pastor Housholder's answer, that evolution and the Bible fit together saying, “...you can not ask the ‘how’ question of the Bible.” “I see no problem…the more I delve into science. It makes so much sense from a faith standpoint. And the more I delve into the Biblical text, it all makes sense and it all comes together.”
So Lutheran Church of Hope is teaching that God, through His Word, is not communicating to people how He made everything, how creation came into being, despite that clear reading of Genesis. God is in fact doing that.
ELCA Pastor Mike Housholder also replied “I've never understood those who turn it into an 'either' 'or.'" Rev. Housholder continued on by lifting up scientist Francis Collins, who is a theistic evolutionist. (Read about Francis Collins here). Francis Collins "founded and served as president of The BioLogos Foundation, which promotes discourse on the relationship between science and religion and advocates the perspective that belief in Christianity can be reconciled with acceptance of evolution and science, especially through the advancement of evolutionary creation" (See here).
Pastor Michael Mechsner viewed the Lutheran Church of Hope sermon, questions and answers and commented, “The problem with 'theistic evolution' is that it allows for DEATH before the fall. Death is the result of sin. That is the real problem for 'theistic evolution.' Jesus CONQUERED death which is what defines mankind's SIN” (See here).
Biblical creation champion Ken Ham addressed the compromise of God's Word on evolution and God's Genesis account, like what you see at Lutheran Church of Hope:
A couple of Christian articles address the pattern this way:
- "there is simply no way to merge theistic evolution with the witness of Scripture as to what actually happened in history. They are incompatible." (See here. “Lesson 4: Adam, Eve, & the First Sin” from the Is Genesis History? Bible Study.)
- "There are major contradictions between a straightforward reading of Scripture and the order claimed by uniformitarian/evolutionary ‘science’." (See here)
Lutheran Church of Hope has embraced the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). This is a denomination that preaches universalism (that all are saved), is pro-abortion, demonizes Israel, encourages homosexual relations even with their pastors, allows goddess worship, pushes liberal policies, ordains transgender individuals, pays for employee sex-change surgery/drugs and abortions, twists and ignores Scripture and rejects God's clear historical account of creation recorded in Genesis.
Members of the ELCA and of Lutheran Church of Hope should be ashamed to be part of this wicked, faith and soul destroying denomination.
Below is the Lutheran Church of Hope sermon. The question on evolution starts at 24:20 minute mark.
Evolution and the Big Bang theories do not fit with God's account of creation. It is ignorant and disingenuous to say they do. Martin Luther tells us:
“The days of creation were ordinary days in length. We must understand that these days were actual days (veros dies), contrary to the opinion of the Holy Fathers. Whenever we observe that the opinions of the Fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from the authority of Scripture for their sake.” - Martin Luther as cited in E. Plass, What Martin Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, 1991, 1523.
Luther further commented on this critical topic:
“When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.” - What Luther Says. A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, compiled by Ewald M. Plass, Concordia, p. 93.
Mike Housholder, Pastor of the Nation’s Largest ELCA Church, Wants More Refugees Brought Into America
Mike Housholder is the senior pastor of the ELCA’s largest church, Lutheran Church of Hope, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Last week Lutheran Church of Hope hosted the ELCA’s Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly where Pastor Housholder was one of five sponsors of a resolution which seeks to bring more refugees into the United States. Here are the main parts of Housholder’s resolution:
“RESOLVED that the Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly of the ELCA, encourage its bishop, pastors, and congregations to engage in a process of education, conversation, and prayerful discernment regarding the ongoing refugee crisis;
RESOLVED that the Southeastern Iowa Synod Assembly encourage members of the Southeastern Iowa Synod to live out our biblical mandate to welcome the stranger by advocating to their elected officials for an increase, rather than a decrease, in refugee arrivals to our nation and communities;”
“Respectfully Submitted by:
Luis Arredondo, Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines
Rev. Minna Bothwell, Capitol Hill Lutheran Church, Des Moines
Rev. Mike Housholder, Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines
Rev. Chris Olkiewicz, Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, Windsor Heights
Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott, Faith Lutheran Church, Clive”
The resolution was “adopted.” (see here and then click "Resolution 2." That link will take you to a document that must be downloaded to view)
As is noted in the resolution, this is about the "ongoing refugee crisis." Given recent world events and the current political climate (i.e. "the Muslim ban" discussion and legal battle), it’s troubling that Mike Housholder and the SE Iowa Synod are asking the U.S. government to bring more refugees into the United States of America. A major concern is that a vast majority of people leaving their homelands and considered “refugees” today are from pre-dominantly Muslim countries where Muslim radical groups continually advocate for death to Christians or Americans. (here is an article about the world's refugees)
The ideology of Islam, which many Muslims embrace, is that of its founder and the writer of the Islamic holy book, the Quran. What did the founder teach and practice? Forced submission to the Islamic faith, persecution or death. This is not just a former characteristic of this ideology, but we are seeing extremists of the Muslim faith continuing this all over the world today, most recently in Manchester, England where teenagers and parents were targeted at a concert attracting thousands of young people.
Knowing this, we have an ELCA pastor in Mike Housholder, whose church is growing so much that they have opened up satellite ELCA churches in nearby towns, advocating that the United States bring more refugees in our country--some whose religion teaches to persecute and kill Christians if they do not convert, treat women as cattle, kill homosexuals, hate Jews, celebrate the murder of “infidels,” perform female genital mutilation on young girls, arrange for child brides, advocate the hatred of dogs and practice and enforce sharia law over the law of the United States.
Look at all of the terrorist acts being committed in the world today and who is taking responsibility for them? Muslim extremists groups. And Pastor Mike Housholder wants to bring more refugees into the U.S. from countries that sponsor and harbor Muslim extremists? Have you seen the problems and crimes, including rapes and terrorism, happening by Muslim refugees in European countries? Check out the videos in this link regarding what is happening, in Germany alone, by Muslim "refugees."
And who will pay for all these refugees to come here, to live here? Mike Housholder and the SE Iowa Synod wants you, the U.S. taxpayer, to foot the bill by asking the U.S. government to accept more refugees. That will fall on you, the taxpayer to fund this endeavor.
Mike Housholder and the SE Iowa Synod are advocating for a policy that could put YOU and your family in danger, AND they want you to pay for it.
I recommend every member of Lutheran Church of Hope let Mike Housholder and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America know, in writing and in person, that they vehemently disagree with their refugee resolution (and the ELCA’s LGBTQ policies, transgender policies, pro-abortion policies, Anti-Israel policies, universalist beliefs, anti-biblical teachings and agenda of gender-neutral language for God, among others), and let them know you will not be part of their church and denomination any longer.
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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