(The following article was written last year by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
Luther Seminary, a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is advertising the May 2019 Festival of Homiletics with numerous liberal speakers like Brian McClaren, lesbian ELCA Pastor Barbara Lundblad, and ELCA Pastor David Lose who denies that Jesus died in our place to pay for our sins. Last year liberal senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren addressed the Festival participants.
It is also offering yoga for attendees with this description:
"Yogadevotion...is an organic response to a deeply profound experience of God’s Presence following a vinyasa yoga class. The experience of God’s Presence through the practice of yoga... Some call it a time of prayer, some a time of worship, some a time to simply be present to God in a new way, and experience an increased sense of God’s Presence in the midst of busy lives."
As I have noted in previous posts, my alma mater Luther Seminary has embraced radical worship with chapel services featuring homosexual and transgender preachers, "deep breathing" meditation, and womanist/feminist worship, sometimes referring to God as "She" and "Mother". A few months ago President Robin Steinke of Luther Seminary announced that, due to financial problems, Luther is selling off a number of its buildings.
There is no sign that Luther Seminary has learned that unbiblical teaching will not grow a seminary. Sadly, I can recommend my old seminary to no one.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
Yesterday the ELCA Conference of Bishops issued a statement (see here) that coincides with the statement last month, by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, asking for the United States to pay $25 million in expenditures to 6 hospitals that treat Palestinians. One of those hospitals, the Augusta Victoria Hospital, is run by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), of which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a member.
The ELCA and LWF are very sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and antagonistic to Israel. And they want U.S. taxpayer money to compensate them, because the Palestinian people and their government are not paying the bills that they accumulate at the hospital.
The terrorist Palestinian state is manipulating the system, and the ELCA and LWF are willing participants who, up until this year, were passing the bill on to the United States.
The ELCA and LWF need to pay their own bills or demand the Palestinian government pay for their services received.
The United States has helped this terrorist, Jew-hating entity enough. The United States has given over $700 million alone to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in 2016 and 2017. (see here) It is time to stop paying their and the ELCA/LWF’s expenses. Doing so enables evil behavior.
Read more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s evil actions against the Israel here.
A letter written to the President of the United States, as reported in the article "More than 750 Faith Leaders and Faith Organizations Decry Low Refugee Arrivals" included the supporting signature of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The ELCA and the other signators want the United States to resettle “at least 75,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019” (see here). This is a great cost to the United States and its citizens, which is something the ELCA should realize when one reads the following article, by Ann Corcoran, who reports that the ELCA's Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is "95% funded by you—the taxpayers of America!" She reports that in 2014, LIRS received $55,341,275 in federal grants. (See here)
This seems self-serving. Wanting more refugees, one would think, means more tax money would be coming to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. That is just one of the problems I see with this.
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
When I graduated from Luther in 1979 it was somewhat liberal, today it is extremely so. In past posts I have written of Luther’s chapel services with de-sexed God language, “breathing meditation”, and homosexual and transgender preachers.
Luther President Robin Steinke has sent a letter asking for funds in which she states: “We’re leading into a new vision of an inclusive, counter-cultural, Christ-centered community. This semester, a representative group of students, faculty, and staff—including international community members, students of color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+…progressives and conservatives—collaborated on an intentional welcome statement that gets to the heart of who we are…”. Then she drops the bombshell “…we are planning to put the lower campus…on the market this summer.”
Thus Luther Seminary is in financial trouble and much of the campus has to be sold. The verse “You reap what you sow” comes to mind. A woman who watches our TV show and has been a contributor to Luther Seminary asked my opinion about giving to Luther. Even though I graduated from there, I told her that I cannot give Luther a penny because of the false teaching there.
A prayer that I regularly pray is: “Lord may these erring denominations turn around, but if they are going to keep leading people astray, may they shrink and die and may the people in them be moved into more Biblical denominations.” I believe God is answering my prayer.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
It is great to see at least one ELCA pastor publicly criticizing ELCA leadership.
“The Revd Paul Messner, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who serves at the Otsego County Lutheran parish, in rural Upstate New York, voted for Mr Trump as 'the lesser of two evils'. He says that opposition to the administration by his own denomination and other mainline Protestant ones is 'frankly irrelevant: they are "bleeding" members. Many in the Church on the Left relish their self-indulgent "prophetic’ role,"' he argues, 'and forget their pastoral role toward all in their congregations and communities.'” (see here)
Rev. Messner is correct that the ELCA is "bleeding" members.
“The ELCA saw its membership decline to 3.5 million members in 2016, down from 5.2 million in 1988 when the denomination was formed as a merger of three other smaller Lutheran groups. Today, 40 percent of its churches have between 50 and 100 worshippers each Sunday.” (see here)
The ELCA is a dying denomination. Any conservative, Bible-believing members still in the ELCA need to stop funding this liberal, radical, Bible-twisting and faith-destroying denomination and leave it for a God-honoring, truth preaching, Bibilical church.
I, and many others, have been saying for years that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pays for abortions of those who are covered by the ELCA health insurance plan (ELCA employees and their families).
It is truly horrific that a church, claiming to be followers of Christ, would willingly participate in the killing of an unborn child. It is unfathomable that a pro-life person would be part of that church.
In order to shed more light on the vile policy and support of abortion happening in the ELCA, I wrote Portico Benefit Services, an ELCA ministry who administers the ELCA's health insurance, asking them about their coverage of abortions. Below is their response:
As you can see "the ELCA health plan does cover a range of procedures that includes those for abortion, up to 20 weeks gestation." Portico also states they cover abortions that fall after 20 weeks of pregnancy, "when the life of the mother is threatened; or...when the fetus has lethal abnormalities indicating death is imminent."
It has been said that the ELCA health plan will pay for abortions no matter the reason. If you look at the email you will see that "Portico Benefit Services does not collect data related to abortion claims." That seems to confirm the belief that all abortions, including sex-selection abortion and those because of Down syndrome, would be covered.
You can also find much of this same information stated in their 2013 ELCA Health Benefits Plan ELCA-Primary Coverage document. (see here, page 14)
The ELCA is in trouble. Besides the trouble we see surrounding the ELCA's heretical teachings, they are also dealing with a continual, yearly financial deficit, dwindling membership and a clergy shortage.
- Bishop James Hazelwood, of the New England Synod of the ELCA reports, "Several years ago, I presented a picture to the June Assembly of this synod. I explained that we were a synod of 40-100-40: Forty congregations in near crisis, forty healthy and one hundred in between trying to figure out which way they were going. Three years later, I’d venture a guess that this assessment is no longer accurate. In the last three years, we’ve had churches close, others merge, others partner with Episcopal congregations, and others go from full time clergy to part time. In 2017, I think we are now 20 functionally or officially closed, 60 in crisis, 60 in the middle and 30 that are healthy. These are challenging times.” (see here)
Despite the financial crisis in the bishop’s synod, he is/has taken two trips to Israel within a matter of months. (see here)
- The ELCA recently released their 3rd Quarter financials for 2017, and they do not look good. (See here)
- Then we learn from a publication of St. John's Lutheran Church in Summit, NJ, that, “Bishop Bartholomew of the NJ Synod has asked our pastors to be willing to occasionally serve as supply pastors in 2018 due to the lack of supply pastors in the Synod.” (see here)
- I also came across the following information online. If someone could help me find the source I'd greatly appreciate it. It tells of the enrollment problems happening at ELCA seminaries over the last 10 years. You can see additional ELCA seminary enrollment information here.
- A poster on ALPB Forum writes:
"In the Lutheran Forum (Winter 2017 Edition) there is a interesting chart on the enrollment at the 8 ELCA Seminaries for the 2016-2017 Academic year.
There was a total enrollment of 663 ELCA students studying for their Master of Divinity degree. This compares to 1274 ELCA students studying for the M.Div degree ten years ago. This amounts to a decrease of 611 seminarians in one decade." (see here)
God's Word in Matthew 4:17 tells us that Jesus preached the message, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
You will not hear ELCA leadership preach repentance of sin (unless it has to do with "Global Warming" or lack of being inclusive). They must believe Jesus was naive to think that people needed to repent or that hell awaited those that reject Christ as their Savior. Instead ELCA leaders succumbed to Satan's directives and are preaching their liberal social and political policies. Here are some examples:
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stands against the Congressional tax cut being voted on this month. They are spewing leftist propaganda saying it is a bill that "benefits corporations and the wealthy over lower and middle-income families." (See here and below.)
- Today the ELCA's Metropolitan New York Synod shared a post from a pro-LGBT organization about the case of the Christian baker from Colorado who was sued by two gay men because the baker would not use his artistic talents to make them a wedding cake. The article features an ELCA pastor condemning the Christian baker's claim of religious freedom (see here and below). In the case of gay men vs. a Bible-believing Christian, it is not a surprise with whom the ELCA synod is siding.
- Next is an article co-written by ELCA bishop William Gohl Jr. of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA. It condemns "current immigration policies" of the United States and says the "repeal of DACA would be morally reprehensible." He even says, "If we are to truly live out our faith, then we must...advocate that those who (are in the United States)...through DACA be allowed to stay." (See here)
- Gun regulations and laws are a favorite topic of many ELCA leaders. Here is some of what ELCA bishop Steven L. Ullestad of the Northeastern Iowa Synod is using to fill up his Facebook page:
- News from the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has them adopting the Israel-inspired (anti-Israel) investment screen that was passed at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in 2016. (read the summer blog here)
They also “declined the request for the ELCA to declare itself a sanctuary denomination, yet supported the spirit of the sanctuary movement by encouraging congregations to serve and support the protection of migrants in their communities.” (see here)
- Finally, I will end this with what is truly one of the most morally reprehensible positions held in the ELCA, the support of abortion. After someone posted this abortion-supporting article on an ELCA Clergy Facebook page, some challenged the thought. Then ELCA pastor Russell L. Meyer wrote the comment below:
The Northeast Iowa Synod recently shared on Facebook a blog they wrote in 2016 which encouraged people to NOT support certain (un-named) Christian charities, but instead give to ELCA-related organizations. (see here) And who might these Christian charities be? The synod says, “non-ELCA organization programs that involve putting small gifts and trinkets wrapped in boxes for children in other countries.”
This truly was an ugly, shallow, uncharitable, self-serving piece by the Northeast Iowa Synod, which gives highly questionable “reasons” to not work with such organizations. The synod blog, written by Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson, said things such as:
“The cheap toys that people are encouraged to buy and put in the box may be made by exploited or even slave labor. Some are even made by children. Remember that we want to help children and make their lives better. Exploiting children or families is the opposite of what people want to do when they are looking for Christmas giving projects. Even if the toys are ethically produced, many of them are not culturally appropriate.”
“Some of these organizations will add pamphlets with religious messages contrary to how we understand the Gospel. Many of them also have images with racist, sexist and culturally insensitive stereotypes.”
“If we support organizations that contradict what we say about the Gospel, this can be confusing and even damaging to people’s faith.”
It is true that Samaritan’s Purse has a different view of the Gospel than most leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Samaritan’s Purse wants to share the love and truth of Christ, dying on the cross for our sins and rising from the dead three days later, having victory over death so that those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior (by grace through faith) will have eternal life. Whereas, the ELCA does not do this because the ELCA consensus is that “all will be saved” no matter what they believe. (see more on the ELCA’s universalism here) That is truly a dangerous and false belief, putting individuals' eternal life at risk if they believe that and do not believe in Christ.
Yes, there is a different Gospel shared by Samaritan’s Purse than that of the ELCA. Which message do you agree with and what organization do you want to support?
If you doubt the truthfulness of Mr. Van Zile's statement watch the following news discussion:
Below is a letter from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's director of the ELCA Foundation to a person who used their services. From what I was told, among the money invested by this person was a Charitable Gift Annuity. It is believed, in this one case, tens of thousands of dollars were lost because of the ELCA's poor management.
No doubt the ELCA has lost a lot of trust because of this indecent.
Portico Benefit Services, "a ministry of the ELCA," announced "Effective Jan. 1, 2016, ELCA-Primary health benefits will cover services including mental health therapy, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery..."
The ELCA health plan covers employees of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which includes "rostered leaders, lay church workers, retirees, and family members..." (see below)
The money which members give to their local ELCA church, intended for God's use, will now be used to pay for the sex-change operations of ELCA employees and their family members who want to change their gender. (a desire that is medically impossible)
Instead of helping struggling people embrace the way God made them, the ELCA wants you to pay the bill so a man can try to look like a woman, and a woman try to look like a man. Mutilating and abusing their body on your/God's dime.
Don't forget that the ELCA health insurance also covers abortions for ELCA employees and family members, a fact that has upset thousands upon thousands of members. Forcing Bible-believing ELCA members to pay for sex change surgery, etc. should do the same.
(Update: Below you will see a Portico Benefit Services document for 2017 stating more details of their transgender related coverage.)
Here is a closeup of the highlighted section about gender reassignment surgery that is covered:
Also, you can view the Executive Director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries comments about ELCA/Portico's decision here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America begs for YOUR money in a new video saying,
"When we launched 'Always Being Made New,' the campaign for the ELCA, we envisioned all of us, every synod, congregation and member coming together to achieve things we never thought possible."
The ELCA's Oregon Synod promotes the People's Climate March in Portland. (read here)
Guess what Lutheran Denomination is NOT served by Lutherans For Life? (find out here)
Showing their satanic inspired stupidity the World Council of Churches, of which the ELCA is a member, Demands Israel Release Terrorists. The article states “The World Council of Churches (WCC) is holding its annual 'World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel' (WWPPI) this week, calling on Israel to release jailed terrorists - despite the severity of their crimes and the abundance of terrorists immediately returning to terror.” (read here)
The ELCA launched a five-year fundraising campaign February, 2014 called "Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA." The goal of this fundraising effort by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is to raise $198 million. (read here)
These type of campaigns, sometimes conducted by congregations, are last ditch efforts made to alleviate catastrophic financial shortfalls that often are the result of year upon year of expenses exceeding income. They are an act of desperation. A hail mary pass.
The ELCA's magazine, The Lutheran, reports that “ELCA operating income ($72.3 million) for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2014, was $2.9 million ahead of $69.4 million in expenses, but $4.1 million behind the previous year. Mission support — income from congregations through synods — stood at $48.8 million, $1.1 million below the previous year.
'We’ve come out of those years of steep decline, but we are still in a period of relative decline,' ELCA Treasurer Linda Norman said” (see here).
How interesting that a denomination that leads people away from God and His truth is hurting for money.
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