(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
The latest edition of Living Lutheran, the official magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, deals much with "environmental justice" and the dangers of global warming. One article quotes Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA program director for environment and corporate responsibility. Who knew the ELCA had such a position? The number of missionaries being sent out by the ELCA is down, but this environmental position has been created. Also in this issue is an article by Bishop Guy Erwin, the ELCA's gay bishop who has a "husband."
Eaton's article talks about dangers to the environment, mentions Earth Day, and then she gives this disturbing definition of the Gospel:
"Here's the gospel. Human beings are part of the creation. Human beings are connected to everything in the cosmos. Human beings are connected to God. We are not doomed to alienation. That God is more present than we are to ourselves gives us a path to reconnect with God, each other and all of creation. The judgment is that we do not even perceive that the One who created all things is intimately present. The promise is that the One who created all things is intimately present. We--all created things--are family."
No, that is not the Gospel. The Apostle Paul defined the Gospel in I Corinthians 15:1-5: Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Paul doesn't say the Gospel is that "we are connected to the cosmos." Eaton's "gospel" in this article does not mention Jesus or the cross.
This is the strange, new world of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination far removed from Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, but closely allied with liberal politics, the LGBT movement, and "environmental justice".
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
The State of Israel passed a new law this year. The law denies entry of anti-Israel activists, those who support the boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israel. The authors of the bill explain its purpose saying, "Over the past few years, calls for boycotts against Israel have grown louder. It seems to have become a new battlefront against Israel and the State has yet to be able to duly counter it. This bill seeks to prevent private individuals or those representing companies, associations or organizations that support boycotting Israel from promoting their agenda on Israeli soil." (see here)
ELCA leaders and even members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) should be very concerned that they will be denied entry into the Jewish State. They are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which has been actively working to harm Israel. (see here and here)
Last year the ELCA approved two resolutions aimed at Israel. One calls on the United States government to end all aid to Israel until a list of ELCA demands are met. The other resolution is titled “Justice for the Holy Land through Responsible Investment.” The resolution’s main aim is to stop investments in Israel and select companies that do business with Israel. (See here and here)
An article titled “Evangelical Lutherans Divest from Israel over 'Settlement' Activity” speaks to last year’s votes by the ELCA. (see here)
During an interview in 2014, before the 2016 resolutions, the ELCA’s highest bishop outlined the different actions the ELCA had taken concerning Israel. This is what she said:
- “We've urged our government not to engage in grants to the state of Israel while the settlements are going on.”
- “We also support that the blockade of Gaza be lifted.”
- “We also engage in selective purchasing. So we not only try to trade with the Palestinian Authority, but we do not purchase products made in the illegal Israeli settlements.”
- “...We are contacting the Congress, the President and saying that the illegal settlements must stop. We’re hoping that people are listening to us. I'm not sure that the government of Israel is listening to the United States when we ask for these settlements be stopped. But we have to keep trying.” (see here)
In 2017 the ELCA, by way of its top bishop, signed a letter to congress stating its opposition to the "Israel Anti-Boycott Act." It said "we collectively affirm and defend the right of churches and organizations to use economic measures in the specific case of Israel-Palestine." (see letter here) The ELCA, which boycotts (they use the words "selective purchasing") parts of Israel, is defending churches and organizations that boycott Israel. The letter is advocating for the United States Congress to reject the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” which "prohibit support of international state-sponsored boycotts of Israel by U.S. citizens engaged in interstate or international commerce." (see article here)
As you can see, the ELCA is involved in and supports divestment, boycott and sanctions against Israel. Anyone associated with the ELCA should be prime candidates to be denied entry into the Jewish State. ELCA leadership and bishops should be forbidden entry into Israel. ELCA pastors and missionaries should be denied. And anyone who is an ELCA member should be denied entry to Israel, because they have chosen to be part of an organization that actively seeks to harm Israel.
There is a precedence for this. In 2016, an Israeli government directive resulted in an “Associate General Secretary for the World Council of Churches (WCC)” being “blocked from entering Israel because of her work with the group to malign Israel and damage it through an economic boycott.” (See here) There is also this, “Presbyterian Official Denied Israel Entry Amidst Divestment Tension.” (See here)
Top it all off with the fact that the ELCA sends “missionaries” to “the Holy Land” who take part in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) (see here, here and here) “which brings activists to the Jewish State to create publicity material alleging that Palestinians are oppressed.” (read more about EAPPI here)
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pushes policies that are harmful to Israel. ELCA employees should no longer be allowed to come to Israel until the denomination rescinds all their anti-Israel policies, actions and rhetoric.
Rev. Khader El-Yateem, an ELCA pastor says, “I support BDS. And I will say this publicly, I say it to everyone.” (See here)
The ELCA's Peace Not Walls program is an initiative of the ELCA to implement their Anti-Israel agenda. (See here)
Here is an excellent response to an article about the two anti-Israel ELCA resolutions:
“How does one distinguish between the ELCA’s actions as being anti-Semitic as opposed to merely anti-Israel? Well, because in presenting and arguing the proposed boycott the major proponent, an organization called Isaiah 58, characterized the history of Israel’s presence in the Middle East as nothing but a land grab. They characterized the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations as nothing but apartheid. They said nothing about why Israel came to exist, i.e. the Holocaust; they said nothing about the fact that Israel has had to defend against four wars from hostile Arab neighbors; they said nothing about the constant threat of terrorism that plagues Israel on a daily basis. They invited no one to speak to the Israeli side of the issue. From an ELCA standpoint, Jewish Lives Don’t Matter. When an organization cherry picks facts in order to support a position of discrimination as the ELCA did in this case, goes out of its way to not hear any evidence or meaningful argument which doesn’t support its agenda; when an organization fails to consider that the BDS movement undoes 50 years of engagement between Lutherans and Jews; and when an organization fails to realize the…BDS movement serves as a justification for hate crimes against Jews everywhere from Portland and Los Angeles to Brussels and Marseilles; that probably qualifies the organization’s actions as unambiguously anti-Semitic.” (See comment section here)
Exposing the ELCA has compiled an enormous amount of information about the ELCA and their harmful work against the Jewish State. (See here and scroll down here)
As you look through these links you will find that the ELCA continually takes the Palestinian position on the conflict, uses the Palestinian talking points, calls for Israel to divide Jerusalem and never condemns the Palestinians for their violence, terrorism and hatred toward Israel.
From Portico Benefit Services, the ELCA’s largest institutional investor we learn that “New SIF Investment Creates Jobs and Housing in the Holy Land.” No, they are not investing in Israel, they are investing in Palestine. (See here)
(The following two articles were written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
Still waiting for one ELCA prayer for the lost
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's weekly "Prayers of the Church" printed in the bulletin are less than evangelistic. Prayers are regularly made for the environment, but I am still waiting for one prayer asking God to "save the lost" or "bring unbelievers to Christ". Instead, this Sunday we prayed:
"... For coastlands and mountains, rivers and deserts, prairies and valleys; for wilderness and cities, lakes and oceans; for farmlands and pastures, forests and rangelands; and for orchards, vineyards, and gardens. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer."
There was a prayer for the Church, pastors, bishops, teachers and missionaries, but that is as close as we get to pleading for God to bring people to Christ. Wouldn't a prayer like the following be great?
"Lord, bring Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and all kinds of people to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, and use our missionaries to save the lost."
But we never hear an ELCA prayer like this. Instead, we often pray for plants. I fear part of the reason is that many in the ELCA hold to the heresy of universalism, namely, that all people will be saved, regardless of whether they believe in Christ. The number of missionaries the ELCA sends out has gone done dramatically since its founding in 1988. Head bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the ELCA was quoted to say "The work of the Church is not so much saving souls, that's God's work." It is God's work, but it is a work that Jesus has given into the hands of the Church in His last words (Matthew 28:19-20). Until the ELCA realizes that Jesus' main command is to "go ye therefore", I am afraid there will be more prayers for "lakes and oceans, vineyards and gardens."
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
More ELCA prayers to save the planet, not the lost
Again, today's prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Augsburg/Fortress Press that are used in ELCA worship services had no mention of praying for the lost to be saved. Instead we asked the Lord to "preserve the whole creation so that animals, plants, and land flourish. Protect endangered species and renew polluted waterways....Lord, hear our prayer."
"Endangered" grabbed my attention. Do we care that human souls are endangered with a Christ-less eternity? Or do we care more about "endangered species and polluted waterways"? Years ago, when I was still in the ELCA, some conservative pastors and I offered a resolution reaffirming the Bible's teaching that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). It lost. But a statement warning church coffee drinkers about the dangers of the non-biodegradable styrofoam cup was received warmly. I got to the microphone and pointed out that if we cared half as much about the dangers of Hell as we do about the dangers of styrofoam cup, there might be hope for the ELCA. That was years ago. The number of ELCA missionaries has gone down dramatically since.
Pastor Tom Brock
The ELCA's Journal of Lutheran Ethics October 2015 issue was devoted to the topic of "#BlackLivesMatter."
An article by Rozella Haydée White, the Program Director for Young Adult Ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, perpetuates the falsehood that Michael Brown was murdered. She writes, “For many young people of color, the murder of Michael Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri tore the veil that covered the ugliest reality – lives of people of color, particularly young black people of color, are not seen as lives at all." (see here)
The definition of murder is "The unlawful killing of another human being without
justification or excuse." (see here) Michael Brown was killed in self-defense by Officer Wilson. The justice system of the United States confirms this.
Saying that lives of people of color are "not seen as lives at all" is another outright lie.
Then the ELCA Program Director for Young Adult Ministry writes, “The church has also been complicit in the ongoing separation and oppression of people of color. From global mission that was undergirded by the concept of conversion…”
So helping people know the One True God is called "oppression?" Leading people to faith in Christ is what we are all called to do. The ELCA is turning this "calling" into an evil act.
Another article in the October issue of Journal of Lutheran Ethics was written by Rev. Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane, bishop of the Maryland-Delaware Synod of the ELCA. He seems to be making a similar claim to the first article, that Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Wilson committed a crime in the shooting of Michael Brown when he writes, "Unlike other cities such as Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland where law enforcement officers were not held accountable in the deaths of unarmed civilians, the family of Freddie Gray will get its day in court as six police officers have been charged in the case." (read here)
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
Today is Reformation Sunday, the day Protestants praise God for Martin Luther's rediscovery of the Bible's teaching that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Sadly, many in liberal, mainline Protestant denominations no longer believe we are saved by faith in Christ alone. Many pastors and seminary professors have embraced the heresy of universalism which teaches that all people, whether they believe in Jesus or not, will go to heaven. The problem with universalism is that Jesus taught the opposite. Jesus frequently preached about Hell, more than anyone else in the Bible. Jesus insisted He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and those who reject Him are condemned (John 3:18). This was also the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 4:12).
But universalism has zapped the missionary zeal of the Church. The number of missionaries sent out by liberal denominations has fallen dramatically in recent decades.
Back to the prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Augsburg/Fortress Press. Today in church we prayed:
Reinvigorate those places that have become desolate through human
intervention or natural disaster. Breathe new life into
plants, animals and watersheds, Lord in your mercy, hear our
Nothing is wrong with praying for the environment, but when we pray regularly for the salvation of the planet and rarely or never for the salvation of unbelievers, something is wrong. I am waiting for one prayer from the ELCA that goes something like this:
Lord, we pray for the missionaries to bring the Good News to the
lost, that Jesus is the only Savior who can bring salvation
from Hell, forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who believe.
I have yet to hear the words "only Savior", "lost", or "Hell" in ELCA prayers.
In Jesus, the only Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
The following is by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.
The April issue of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's official magazine, The Lutheran, has on its cover "Helping Save the Earth". The articles inside are about saving the planet. Yes, we should be good stewards of the environment, but I got to thinking: When is the last time The Lutheran had a cover article "Saving lost human souls through the Gospel of Christ"? I have never seen such a cover. Maybe because the ELCA doesn't know if it believes people are really lost without Christ. The Lutheran has printed a number of articles espousing universalism, the heresy that faith in Christ is not necessary for salvation (ultimately everyone universally will be saved, Christian or not). Where in the ELCA is the zeal for saving lost human souls? Tragically, I believe it has been replaced with concern for saving the planet, changing immigration laws, Middle East politics, gay advocacy, etc. etc. Just go to ELCA.org and look at its "News releases". Its mainly liberal politics. Perhaps the reason the number of ELCA missionaries has dropped dramatically since the ELCA's founding in 1988 is because many in ELCA leadership do not believe in Hell anymore. And in the ELCA's hymnal, the line in the Apostle's Creed that Jesus "descended into hell" has been left out.
Years ago when I was still in the ELCA, some conservative pastors and I went to our Minneapolis Area Synod conventions every year and raised questions like: Why does the ELCA pay for abortion with offering dollars in its healthcare plan? Why is the ELCA promoting homosexuality? Why are we changing the Biblical "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" language for feminine images of God? One year we even had a resolution reaffirming the Bible's teaching that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). It lost.
What did pass one year was a resolution that we go back to our churches and encourage that we drink coffee out of ceramic cups because styrofoam cups are dangerous to the environment. I could take it no more and got to the microphone: "If we cared half as much about the dangers of hell as we do about the dangers of the styrofoam cup, there might be hope for this synod."
Well, in three days we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, when He triumphed over sin, death and Hell for us. And yes, according to the Bible and Jesus Christ Himself, Hell really does exists.
In the love of our Risen Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Pastor Brock by going here or twitter users here.
Rachel Swenson is a 2013 graduate of the ELCA’s St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. This year she is serving in Vryheid, South Africa, with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program. She recently wrote an item for the ELCA’s blog “Living Lutheran” (find it at www.elca.org/en/Living-Lutheran/Blogs/2014/02/140220b-On-accompaniment). Here is part of what she said:
For those of you who are unaware, accompaniment is the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission buzz word. While my technical job title is missionary of the ELCA, I am not a traditional missionary. The job of the 60 YAGM scattered across the globe is to accompany — to walk with the people in our new communities, to share their sorrows, their victories…
Yes, she said “God in all her splendor.” If you read her entire article, she doesn’t mention the word “Jesus.” There is no word about evangelism or bringing people to saving faith in Christ. Its all about “accompaniment.” Put this alongside the fact that the ELCA’s national magazine “The Lutheran” recently printed an article by Pastor Peter Marty called “Who Gets Saved?” His answer is that pretty much everybody is saved, whether they believe in Jesus or not. Little wonder young adult ELCA missionaries are confused and unable to share the Gospel.
For the record, Lutherans believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). At least we have believed that for 500 years, but things are changing in the ELCA.
Check out this blog about the coming ELCA statement on genetics and the infiltration of the ELCA by the environmental and animal rights movement.
When Faith and Farming Collide: Part 3 (read here)
The ELCA has become a gathering place of social and environmental activists which cloak their extreme views with the use of select and sometimes manipulated verses in Scripture. The intent is to make the Christians, who are still in the ELCA, think that the denomination is doing all these activities for God. Strangely enough, this “Christian” denomination conveniently ignores our main mission, the Great Commission.
Have you ever wondered why there are so few ELCA missionaries, there are only 100 or so of them, (see here) or why these missionaries do not tell people about salvation in Christ? And yet, notice how the ELCA’s leadership and some members (hundreds of thousands of them) are so boisterous about their pet causes?
Another thing to ponder: The ELCA leadership has been pushing the issues related to homosexuality for years, until it was finally passed. In doing so, the ELCA puts their view above God and the majority of ELCA Lutheran’s wishes. This forces Bible-believing Lutherans to accept it or leave. Now the ELCA is going to go after another huge section of ELCA members, rural people/farmers. Do they not realize that a large portion of their membership comes from Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, etc., all hugely agricultural states.
The ELCA leaders do realize this but they don’t care what you think, although they will pretend they do. The ELCA’s viewpoint and agenda appear to come before all else. They will give token lip service to God, and they hope you never realize what is really going on.
When the patients are running the asylum, it’s time to leave the asylum!
The Standard-Examiner newspaper, in Ogden, Utah, reported on a gathering at Elim Evangelical Lutheran Church with Bishop Allan Bjornberg of the Rocky Mountain ELCA Synod.
Exposing the ELCA found a couple of statements in the article noteworthy. The Standard-Examiner reports
1) The bishop “. . . said the synod supports 240 full-time missionaries, which is half the number of two generations ago. However, Bjornberg said a lower number is not a bad thing. ‘We did the job well,’ he said, noting that more missionaries are not needed.”
2) The bishop “. . . said fellowshipping continues to be at the heart of the church.” (read here)
Bishop Rjornberg is the chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops. For someone with such a high standing in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to believe that the ELCA doesn’t need any more missionaries because the denomination has done such a good job, is incredibly telling.
Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
There are 6.8 billion people in the world today and 2.1 billion claim to be Christian. That means 4.7 billion people do not know Christ and are at risk of eternity in hell. Yet despite this, Bishop Rjornberg thinks the ELCA has been so effective in whatever it is that the ELCA tells the missionaries to do, that the denomination doesn’t need to send out any more missionaries.
I suppose when the teaching of universalism is the prevailing view of the ELCA, 240 missionaries are more than enough. “Fellowshipping” can be a central purpose of the denomination then. Sounds fun.
I doubt Jesus and the 4,700,000,000 people who are “lost” will agree.
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