ELCA Lutheran pastor denies Jesus died in our place, says 'We do not need to be saved from a wrathful God'
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
Pastor Jeff Marian is lead pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minnesota, a large congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He denies that Jesus died in our place for our sins. He believes "All people are "saved" from God's perspective". Pastor David Lose, pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, one of the ELCA's largest congregations, also denies Christ's substitutionary atonement.
The problem for these pastors is that the Bible does indeed teach that Christ's blood saves us from the wrath of God (see Romans 5:9). The Apostle Paul puts all people under God's wrath in Romans chapters 1 and 2, and then saves us from that wrath by Christ's atonement in Romans chapter 3 (Romans 3:23-26). The Bible, even the Old Testament, teaches Christ substituted Himself and took our place for our sins (Isaiah 53:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24-25, 3:18). In love, Jesus gave His life as a "ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28, I Timothy 2:6). To deny this is to deny what the Apostle Paul says is of "first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures... (I Corinthians 15:3)". (For a complete list of verses teaching substitution see Leon Morris' book "The Cross in the New Testament).
You may read Pastor Marian's entire article below. It is a tragic example of a pastor eloquently denying one of the basics of Christianity. And, no, all people are not "saved from God's perspective". Jesus taught that Hell is real and it is only through faith in Him that one can be saved (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
(See Pastor Marian's article here)
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
The Bible teaches, and the Church has always believed, that Jesus died in our place for our sins. But some liberals in the Church today are saying "No, that would be divine child abuse." They teach that God is love and God doesn't need to punish sin, and God did not punish Jesus for our sins. However, Jesus Himself said "The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45) and other verses in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53:5) and New Testament agree (Romans 5:8-10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 2:24, 3:18).
In the tragic article below, a president of an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seminary denies Christ died in our place to pay for our sins. Because the ELCA is shrinking, his seminary is now merging with another ELCA seminary and Dr. Lose is no longer president of the newly formed seminary. But, sadly, his new position will be the senior pastor of one of the largest ELCA churches in the country, Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.
It is tragic enough that the ELCA allows this kind of false teaching, but to put it at the forefront of a seminary and now one of its largest churches, is incredibly sad. The Bible--and Martin Luther's writings--have no trouble proclaiming the basic truth that Jesus died in our place for our sins. In fact, the Apostle Paul goes so far as to say "Christ died for our sins" is the most important teaching of the Christian Church (I Corinthians 15: 3).
It is this attack on basic Christian doctrine that is causing the ELCA and other liberal mainline denominations to shrink in numbers and financial giving, as true believers take their membership and money to more evangelical churches which joyfully proclaim the Gospel message: Jesus died for our sins.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
(Here is the article)
The Bible is God’s Word. It is true, it is right, it is accurate, it is without error, it is God-breathed. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a denomination that constantly denies Scripture, throwing its truth out the window in favor of their own thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
God’s Word tells us that Christ "'himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed'" (1 Peter 2:24, NIV). This idea is found throughout the Bible in such places like Isaiah 53:5, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Colossians 2:14, Hebrews 9:28 and Romans 4:25.
So what do we find being taught by an ELCA seminary president?
“(T)he cross is not about punishment for sin either. Not for Jesus’ sin, certainly, but also not for ours.” So says David Lose, President of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. David Lose, who previously was a professor at the ELCA’s Luther Seminary goes on to say:
“That is, of course, a tradition interpretation of the cross: that because God is just, God has to punish sin, and because God is loving, God beats up on Jesus instead of us. But I have a hunch that this understanding of the cross says more about our inadequate understanding of justice than it says about God. In contrast to this theory, I’d suggest that the cross is not about punishment but is instead about identification, solidarity, and love.” (read here)
This is against the witness of Scripture.
And please take note who seminary president David Lose is addressing as he writes. He begins his blog with “Dear Working Preacher,”
“Dear Partner, what might we say to people this Sunday?”
“That’s what we can tell our people, Dear Partner, and this, at last, is all promise. Thanks for sounding that message.”
President Lose is instructing pastors into this teaching and telling them to preach accordingly, indoctrinating the people in their congregations. That is scary. He is teaching something against God’s Word, to ELCA pastors who will take that false-teaching to the pulpit. Is there any wonder why so many Bible-believing Christians are calling on ELCA members to leave the denomination?
A couple of people challenged Lose in the comments section of this article saying,
“’The cross is not about punishment.’ Really? Then what of ‘sacrifice,’ ‘scapegoat,’ ‘passover lamb,’ and ‘without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness’?”
“…biblical writers’ clear use of the model of the sacrifice of lambs (John 1:29; Hebrews 9, etc.). Paul employs often the substitution concept, to stand in our place under the law, to take the punishment we deserve (Galatians 4:4, Romans 3:21-26), and of course the familiar “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ came to take our place, to take unto himself our guilt, sin, and death, to give his li(f)e as a ransom (Mark 10).”
Because of those comments, Lose wrote another article where he says,
“I found our exchange in the comments last week kind of fascinating. You probably don’t read the comments, so I’ll recap briefly. The exchange centered on how we understand the cross and was prompted by a statement I made that ‘the cross is not about punishment for sin.’ Several folks questioned that, referencing Anselm’s substitutionary theory of atonement and the attendant Scriptural passages associated with it…Anselm’s view – echoed later by Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and Reformed theologians in North America – is one of the primary ways the Church, particularly in the West, has understood the cross and, indeed, is perhaps the dominant view today.
And yet all that notwithstanding, I have to say I find it utterly unconvincing and, indeed, rather off-putting and out of character with the God I know in Jesus.” (read here)
The most popular and beloved liberal ELCA pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber has a similar belief saying, “And just to be clear: The cross is not about God as divine child abuser sadly sending his little boy off to be killed because we were bad and well, somebody had to pay." (read here)
ELCA leaders continually walk in opposition to God’s Word.
Find out more about substitutionary atonement and why it is Biblically correct here.
ELCA Leaders and Speakers
The woman who works for and writes the tweets for the Northern TX-Northern LA Mission Area of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, according to the synod's twitter page (see here), describes herself as an “angry feminist, former teacher, former blogger. Mom to 1 son and 4 cats.” (see here)
This women has written 2 or 3 dozen tweets and retweets this week supporting abortion. Below is one tweet she wrote, in response to someone else who tweeted this, "Abortions aren't 'cool' nor anything to be proud of. I'm disgusted that #ShoutYourAbortion is even a thing. Where is Jesus in our world?" -
Kristin Berkley-Abbott is a frequent writer for the ELCA's website Living Lutheran - see here. (Exposing the ELCA just posted a blog about one of her articles - see here). The following paragraphs by Berkley-Abbott will give you a little insight into the type person (with terrible theology) the ELCA is comfortable having write for their website.
"I don't really want to unpack my pastor's idea this morning--it's a little too close to troubling aspects of atonement theology, with which I don't agree. I think that Jesus died on the cross not to save us from our sins, but because he was a threat to the established social order, and crucifixion was the punishment for people who posed that threat to Empire. Enough of that unpacking.
But the idea of reconciliation appeals to me. I agree with theologians like Marcus Borg who says that Jesus came to show us what is possible for a human life. And reconciliation is one of our chief tasks." (read here)
The Rev. Lamont Wells is in the position of Director for Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop of the ELCA's Metropolitan New York Synod. If you go to his Twitter page, see here, you will find that every day Rev. Wells tweets his (I assume) horoscope. Most of his Twitter page is filled with these horoscopes. God's Word warns us to stay away from fortune telling and astrology. (see here) Yet here is a high-level leader in the ELCA doing just that.
The ELCA's Trinity Lutheran Seminary will host extreme liberal Brian McLaren. Trinity Seminary's website announced -
“This year’s Trinity Days will take place on September 24 and 25. Brian McLaren, named by Time magazine as one of America’s top 25 evangelicals, will be the keynote speaker. Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, pastor and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists. He will speak on the theme 'Christian Identity and Mission Tomorrow.'” (see here)
Causing Youth To Stumble: The Liberal ELCA Youth Leadership Asks Us To Trust Them
By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Pastor Brock by going here and twitter users here.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the most liberal of the Lutheran denominations, has a history of inviting radical speakers to its ELCA's youth conventions. As they prepare for the 2015 youth convention they tell us this:
We will announce speakers as contracts are finalized, but probably not ...before registration opens this fall. At this time, we ask you to trust the track record of the planning teams who have brought you speakers including: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, President Jimmy Carter, the Rev. Dr. Tony Campolo...
Jimmy Carter has written that Jesus is not the only way of salvation. Desmond Tutu also believes many roads lead to God, and he endorses homosexuality. He has said "I would not worship a God who is homophobic...I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven.... I mean I would much rather go to the other place." Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber uses the "f" word in her speeches and in her most recent book. More tragically, she denies the substitutionary atonement, namely, that Jesus died in our place to pay for our sins so that God's holy wrath could be satisfied and we could be forgiven. She thinks this makes God "some kind of divine child abuser." She also held a "re-naming service" in which a transgendered person received the blessing of God in changing to another sex.
Given their track record, I encourage anyone who has youth in the ELCA (and who believes in Mark 9:32) stay away, far away, from the 2015 youth convention. And tell your friends. And please say a prayer for these youth and the ELCA.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
A Sad Walk Through An ELCA Seminary
(I received this the other day. It's written by Pastor Tom Brock) -
Today I walked through my old alma mater, Luther Theological Seminary in St Paul, Mn. It is known as probably the most conservative of the ELCA seminaries. You wouldn’t know it from the number of gay/lesbian bumper stickers in the parking lot. Upon entering the main building a sign was up promoting a new book at Luther’s Bookstore, “Pastrix” by ELCA Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. She was a favorite speaker at the ELCA Youth Assembly and a few months ago spoke at the historic Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis—using the “f” word in her speech. I flipped through her new book and she repeatedly uses the “f” word, referring to the 12 disciples as a “bunch of “f” ups”. Former ELCA Head Bishop Mark Hanson praises the book on the dustcover. Even more disturbing is that Bolz-Weber in a sermon on Christ the King Sunday denied that Christ died in our place to pay for our sins. To quote:
And just to be clear: The cross is not about God as divine child abuser sadly sending his little boy off to be killed because we were bad and well, somebody had to pay.
Can someone deny the things of “first importance” as Paul puts it in I Corinthians 15:3, and still be a Christian? Yet she is a favorite speaker at ELCA events.
This attack on Christ’s substitutionary atonement is also going on at the ELCA’s Wartburg Seminary. Professor of New Testament David Lull wrote this:
" . . .I can’t get past the idea that God had a thirst for innocent blood that had to be quenched, or that God’s justice required a death-penalty for sinners until Jesus’ death satisfied God’s wrath. Even if Bible passages can be made to support these ideas, I can’t get past the idea that God had been unforgiving before Jesus died. That’s not the God I find in the Bible."
“Even if” the Bible teaches it, Professor Lull rejects it.
So now the day has come that the ELCA allows pastors and professors to deny the central teaching of the Christian faith: that sinless Jesus Christ died in our place to pay for our sins so that we could receive the forgiveness of God.
Like I said, a very sad day walking through Luther Seminary.
Why would a Christian denomination pay a lecturer to speak at their events who does not believe Jesus physically rose from the dead? Why would the same denomination recommend and use that lecturer's teaching resources when he doesn't even believe God exist? Those are good questions every lay person should be asking the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The lecturer I am referring to is John Dominic Crossan, co-founder of the Jesus Seminar (read about it here) and popular New Testament scholar. Let me first show you the multitude of ways the ELCA has sought Crossan and provided access to his teachings, then we will document some specifics of what this man teaches and believes.
What does John Dominic Crossan teach and believe?
“Crossan says Jesus was an exploited 'peasant with an attitude' who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.
Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan” (read here).
The following are quotes by John Dominic Crossan from his book Who Is Jesus? (found here) "Do I personally believe in an afterlife? No, but to be honest, I do not find it a particularly important question one way or the other."
"Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."
"Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets.' Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."
"In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life." “The second coming will not be literal. The second coming is what will happen when we Christians accept that there was only one coming and get with the program.” (see here)
During this debate, we find out Crossan doesn't even believe in the actual existence of God -
“(Dr. William Lane) Craig: But surely that’s not a meaningless question. It’s a factual question. Was there a being who was the Creator and Sustainer of the universe during the period of time when no human beings existed? It seems to me that in your view you’d have to say no.
Crossan: Well, I would probably prefer to say no because what you’re doing is trying to put yourself in the position of God and ask, 'How is God apart from revelation? How is God apart from faith?'” (see here)
More Crossan quotes -
“In conclusion, what is the historicity of the burial account [of Jesus]? From Roman expectations, the body of Jesus and of any others crucified with him would have been left on the cross as carrion [dead and putrefying flesh] for the crows and the dogs. From Jewish expectations, would not Deuteronomy 21:22-23 have been followed? Maybe, but only the barest maybe…
But, even if it was, the soldiers who crucified Jesus probably would have done it, speedily and indifferently, in a necessary shallow and mounded grave rather than a rock-hewn tomb. That would mean lime, at best, and the dogs again, at worst.” (Who Killed Jesus?, 187, 188) by John Dominic Crossan
“The tales of entombment and resurrection were latter-day wishful thinking. Instead, Jesus’ corpse went the way of all abandoned criminals bodies: it was probably barely covered with dirt, vulnerable to the wild dogs that roamed the wasteland of the execution grounds.” John Dominic Crossan as quoted in Richard N. Ostling, “Jesus Christ, Plain and Simple,” Time, 10 January 1994.
What others say about John Dominic Crossan
- Hank Hanegraaff, Christian radio host says this about Crossan -
"Jesus Seminar cofounder John Dominic Crossan claims that there were dozens of virgin birth stories circulating in Greek and Roman mythology during the first century. Says Crossan, 'They’re all over Greek and Roman mythology, so what do I do? Do I believe all of those stories, or do I say all of those stories are lies except for our Christian story?'"
“The truth of the matter is that historical evidence for the veracity of extrabiblical virgin birth stories is nil.” (read here).
- Dennis Ingolfsland writes this of Crossan -
“Jesus was a 'peasant Jewish Cynic,' who never thought of Himself as the Jewish Messiah, much less the Son of God or the Savior of the world. This is the view held by John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar, reputed to be one of the world’s leading experts on the historical study of Jesus. According to Crossan and others who share his view, Jesus was simply an itinerant preacher who taught that the kingdom of God had to do with how the world would be run if God sat on Caesar’s throne. Jesus’ ministry had nothing to do with helping people find God, salvation, or heaven.” (see here)
- Father Robert Barron, writing about Crossan says -
“How does Crossan explain the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? They are, he says, essentially 'parables,' figurative representations of the disciples’ conviction that Jesus’ way was more powerful than the Roman way. They were never meant to be taken literally but rather as poetic inspirations for the succeeding generations of Jesus’ followers.
How does he explain the church’s dogma of Jesus’ divinity? It is, essentially, a misleading overlay that effectively obscures the dangerous truth of who Jesus really was: a threat to the cultural, religious and political status quo.” (see here)
- Video of Dr. William Lane Craig answering a question about John Dominic Crossan's view on the resurrection of Jesus. (only 5 min. long)
- Here is a review of Crossan's book JESUS - A Revolutionary Biography by KIRKUS REVIEW
“Here, we get a politically correct Christ stripped of all mythology, a revolutionary social leader who taught 'radical egalitarianism' but performed no miracles, except that of awakening social consciousness (Crossan reads Jesus' casting out of demons as a blow against colonialism). This is, then, the Jesus of liberation theology, not of the Christian scholarly mainstream (up to now, Crossan has been best known for another unconventional and little-accepted theory, positing the existence of a 'cross gospel' that predates the passion narratives of the canonical texts). As usual, Crossan's scholarship is good, with a command of cultural anthropology, Greco-Roman history, and textual analysis. Eyebrows will rise often, though, as he goes beyond facts into conjecture: Jesus `did not and could not cure...disease' despite his laying-on-of-hands; Jesus never met Pilate or Caiaphas; the Barabbas tale is fiction (a dismissal based largely on Crossan's subjective reading of Pilate's personality), as are the Last Supper, the Raising of Lazarus, the Virgin Birth, etc. Moreover, at his most extreme, Crossan suggests that Jesus' body, far from being resurrected, was probably buried in a shallow grave and eaten by dogs.” (see here)
- Mark Allan Powell writes -
“Most Christians are aware that Jesus does many things in the New Testament that fulfill prophecies of the Old Testament. Skeptical scholars suggest that, in some instances, the Gospel writers are creating facts about Jesus in order to have him fulfill the prophecies. Thus, they invented the story of the virgin birth because Isaiah 7:14 speaks of a virgin bearing a son, and they decided to say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Micah 5:2 indicates the Messiah will be born there. While a number of scholars may allow that such influences come into play here or there, John Dominic Crossan thinks that much (most?) of the Gospel accounts of Jesus came about this way--including everything in his last week of life.
According to Crossan, all the Gospel writers knew about that last week was that Jesus got grabbed by the Romans and crucified (possibly, according to Crossan, he was just caught up in a mob of Jewish rabble that got crucified for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Gospel writers, Crossan thinks, made up the rest--the stories about Jesus’ trial before Pilate, about the release of Barabbas, about Simon of Cyrene, the thief on the cross, the centurion’s confession, the burial in a garden, and of course the resurrection--the Gospel writers made it all up out of nothing to show that Jesus had fulfilled a bunch of Old Testament prophecies.” (see here)
There we have it. ELCA leaders seek out this kind of teacher (and others who think similarly, like Marcus Borg – see here). Is it any wonder the ELCA leadership has abandoned Biblical truth for their own “truth” or is this just a result of it? Heretics have control of the ELCA leadership and they teach in their seminaries. Pray for them and also for the people sitting in ELCA pews who they are trying to influence and bring toward their heretical beliefs.
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