By Pastor Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. Facebook users can follow Pastor Brock by going here and twitter users here.
Pastor Peter Marty writes a monthly column in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's national magazine The Lutheran. In recent months he has espoused the heresy of Universalism which teaches that people can be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ. In this month's article he urges the Church to move beyond seeing God as male:
"...we can certainly give fresh effort to finding new words for knowing this great God of ours, who as Father and Mother to us reveals the best of parental love." (see here)
I recently attended a United Church of Christ worship service in which the Lord's Prayer was changed to "Our Mother and Father who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name..." I got justifiably angry – who is this church to correct Jesus' words? Do they know more than Him? The United Church of Christ has shrunk hugely in members, and so has the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA's most recent hymnal has changed the original wording of the Old Testament and desexed all of the Psalms in order to get rid of masculine references for God. Churches which tamper with God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit deserve whatever losses they get. May we ever worship the wonderful God which Jesus revealed to us in His last words on earth: "Go… baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." (Matthew 28:19).
Pastor Tom Brock
If you are Lutheran, you have probably heard of Lutheran Social Services (LSS). In fact, your church may support Lutheran Social Services. Many orthodox, conservative Lutheran churches as well as liberal, non-Biblical Lutheran churches financially fund them.
Lutheran Services in America (LSA) says it is an “alliance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (and) The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod" and these two denominations are "active in LSA's governance, provide grant support, designate staff liaisons to LSA, and collaborate programmatically with LSA.” (read here) Lutheran Social Services operates in many states and are member organizations of LSA. (read here)
With that said, you need to know what you and/or your church may be supporting.
I suggest each of us ask our pastor and church council if our church or denomination supports or cooperates with Lutheran Social Services. If they do, share this blog with them.
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.
The non-Biblical teachings of the ELCA continue and Biblically knowledgeable readers of the ELCA's official magazine, the Lutheran, are letting the denomination know what they think. Here are some recent letters that were sent to the magazine -
"Peter W. Marty’s advocacy of the old heresy of universalism is heartbreaking (March, page 4). If the editor believed in the doctrines of the church, he would suspend Marty immediately. If the presiding bishop loved her church she would start the process of defrocking him tomorrow. Neither of these will happen. The leaders of the ELCA are so lukewarm and lazy that they will sniff at their critics and pretend that they are not tolerating a debilitating old heresy but are actually breaking new theological ground.
“It appears that Marty accidentally submitted his “Who gets saved?” column to The Lutheran when he surely must have intended it for publication in a Unitarian Universalist periodical. How careless.
The Rev. Elna L. Stratton
“Marty tells us in January (page 3) that God does not answer our prayers, and in March that Christians have no special place with God over any other religion. In between, Erik Heen tells us in “Predestination” (February, page 14) that all will be saved. These articles would be more appropriate in a Unitarian magazine. They do not seem Lutheran to me.
Richard N. Bergesen
West Chester, Pa.”
“I was dismayed to read Marty’s column in March (page 3), which appeared to embrace universal salvation. Christ did, indeed, die for everyone. However, an individual must accept Christ as savior to receive the gift of eternal life. I was born into a Jewish family, circumstances over which I had no control. Although I love my heritage, I was not saved and assured of heaven until I accepted Jesus as the messiah 35 years ago. This is a scriptural fact, not an 'exclusive club' mentality.
“In her April column the presiding bishop mentions German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am currently reading my fourth book on Bonhoeffer, his Letters from Prison. If Bonhoeffer were alive today, I think he would question the ELCA and the direction taken by our beloved church during the past 20 years. In fact, he would flee in the opposite direction.
Ober J. Anderson
Bonus letter -
“Clearly the ELCA should warmly welcome people of all races (February, page 50). There are also other types of diversity. Wikipedia states that the ELCA is a broad denomination containing socially conservative and liberal factions that emphasize liturgical renewal, confessional Lutheranism, charismatic revivalism, moderate to liberal theology and liberal activism. Divergence (a form of diversity) on gay ordination has led to another Balkanization (a potential result of diversity) of American Lutherans. Politically, surveys indicate that the laity splits evenly between 45 percent Democrat and 43 percent Republican, yet clergy are 69 percent Democrat and 19 percent Republican, revealing another diversity gap within the ELCA.
New York City”
In an effort to reach more people with the truth about what the ELCA teaches regarding salvation, Exposing the ELCA has created this video highlighting universalism being taught by ELCA leadership.
Universalism, the belief that all people will be saved, is prevalent in the ELCA. But an article in the ELCA's official publication, The Lutheran, shows us that universalism has gone from “a” belief, to “the” belief of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA has announced to its readers that the universalism is the doctrine the denomination is now built on.
The ELCA article “Who Gets Saved?” is written by pastor Peter W. Marty and he writes:
Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock responded to The Lutheran article on Facebook saying, “If anyone doubts that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pushes the heresy of universalism--the teaching that all people will be saved whether they believe in Jesus or not--see the article...from The Lutheran, the ELCA's official magazine. Tragic what the writer does with John 14:6, turning the teaching of Jesus on its ear. The author's point is that you don't really need faith in Christ to be saved. John 14:6, Acts 4:12 and 16:31 teach otherwise. No wonder the number of missionaries the ELCA sends out has gone down. If everyone is saved, no need to send missionaries.”
The other day a came across another ELCA pastor publicly proclaiming universalism. ELCA pastor Scot Ruffatto in Mukwonago, Wisconsin (former missionary of the ELCA to the Central African Republic) writes this on his church's blog:
People will be going to hell for eternity because the ELCA has embraced the teaching of universalism and as a result are not proclaiming the Truth of God's Word which says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” - John 3:16-18
See more documentation of the ELCA teaching universalism. (here and here)
Three readers stand up for truth and correct falsehoods published by the ELCA's official magazine saying -
- "There is a way to God
I strongly disagree with the Rev. Dave Daubert's statement that 'there is no way to God' (October, page 28). In John 14:6, Jesus clearly states that he is the way. Ephesians 2:8 reminds us that we are saved by grace through faith. The faith response is absolutely essential — that is 'the way.' That may take the form of baptism, confirmation or a simple prayer expressing faith ('Lord, I believe, help my unbelief') and so on. Everyone's faith journey is unique and there is no set 'formula,' but there has to be a commitment to an ongoing relationship with our Lord. To say that we don't have a part in the equation takes away the personal responsibility we all have and dangerously implies we can just sit back, do nothing and all is OK.
- "Inconsistent ethic
The Rev. Bernard K. Kern's article about the death penalty (September, page 49) was well written and logical. But it is hard to get motivated on that subject while we continue to kill our children at a rate of about 23,000 per week. The sin of silence in the ELCA on abortion is very grievous.
- “More than social work
The study guide “Activism: 'Doing church' a new way" (November, page 26) seems to be saying that social work can be the main purpose of the church. The church is not just another social service agency. Its main purpose is to praise God, which is both our duty and our joy. It is also there to bring up children in the faith through baptism, Sunday school, worship services, communion, confirmation and youth groups, and to evangelize, as well as to do good works in the community and the world. If you get the faith right, it will produce good works, which is the evidence of faith. If works isn't there, go back and look at the faith of the church. It doesn't work the other way around — works doesn't lead to faith.
Richard N. Bergesen
West Chester, Pa.”
The leadership of the ELCA ignores and maligns the Word of God. The above three readers expose this truth. As the evidence of a great deal of research within the work and writings of Exposing the ELCA reveals, those in leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lack the ability to lead a Christ-following church. We want to acknowledge the challenging work of those, like the contributors above, who have spoken out courageously!
ELCA 'Star,' Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, Believes and Teaches Wiccan Goddess is Another 'Aspect' of Christian God
ELCA pastor and author Nadia Bolz-Weber is held in high esteem among the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is asked to speak at many large denominational gatherings and high-profile ELCA services indicating how she is revered in the denomination. The ELCA's Metropolitan New York Synod posted on Facebook that “Pastor Nadia is the closest thing the ELCA has to a rock star.”
Rev. Bolz-Weber was involved in Wicca before going to an ELCA seminary to become a pastor.
On a Bolz-Weber book publicity tour, Nadia read to the audience from her memoir about this time of her life saying, “I had never stopped believing in God, not really. But I did have to go hang out with His aunt for awhile. She is called the goddess. My first experience with Wicca . . .”
The ELCA 'rock star' goes on -
“The goddess we spoke of never felt to me like a substitute for God but simply another aspect of the divine, like God's aunt or something. When I tell other Christians of my time with the goddess I think they expect me to characterize it as a period in my life when I was misguided and that now thankfully I have come back to both Jesus and my senses. But it's not like that. I can't imagine that the God of the universe is limited to our ideas of God. I can't image that God doesn't reveal Godself in countless ways outside of the simple system of Christianity. And in a way I need a god who is bigger and more nimble and more mysterious than what I could understand or contrive.”
“In fact, I felt guided by god the whole time I sojourned outside of the church. The divine source of my life and my identity perhaps knew that I needed to bask in the female face of god for a good long while outside the church before I could ever return to it whole and able to see the divine feminine in my own traditional.” (see here)
Wicca is a religion of witches, witchcraft and pentagrams. The Christian Bible is not God's Word, according to this idolatrous religion, and they do not worship the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Wiccan deity is completely different from the God of the Bible. Yet the ELCA's “rock star” believes that the goddess worshipped by witches is just another dimension or persona of the God of the Bible. The female side of Him. Christians know Jesus as God's Son, but according to Bolz-Weber, the Wiccan goddess is his close relative. Another aspect of God. Like the fourth member of the Trinity?
This is heresy.
Bolz-Weber is a heretic. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lifts up this pastor as a leading teacher in the denomination. How could they do this? It's easy really; this is an acceptable teaching in the ELCA. The current issue of the official magazine of the ELCA, The Lutheran, states this clearly:
“And sometimes we’d wonder just what God was up to in this religiously plural world. Perhaps — here’s a specifically Christian way of putting it — our learning from our neighbors of other faiths might just be giving us glimpses into dimensions of Christ’s lordship, and the saving activity of God the Trinity, that we hadn’t been expecting.” (read here)
Read more about the life and teachings of ELCA pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber (click here and scroll down).
Honestly, I'd like to write about something different, but I can't. When the ELCA continually presents false information, encourages destructive sins and makes hateful resolutions, it must be exposed. So here I am writing about homosexuality again. I've written about the ELCA and homosexuality so many times this summer it seems almost constant. But the truth is that the ELCA is obsessed with homosexuality and the ELCA glowingly writes about it and talks about it and forces their opinion of it down their membership's throats. (see here, here, here and here)
The September 2013 issue of The Lutheran, the official magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, had a big article on homosexuality again, which presented this false justification for homosexuality to their ELCA readership, “There is no Greek or Hebrew word that corresponds exactly to our word 'homosexual.' You may have participated in a Bible study where the term was used. But that's a modern application of the word. The category or classification that we may refer to as homosexuality did not exist in biblical times. The few scriptural references to lusting or exploitative sexual behaviors between same- or differently gendered people have nothing to do with the abiding personal companionship, enduring love, shared intimacy, and trusting commitment of gay and straight couples who cherish such qualities in our day.” (read here)
The ELCA hopes if they say homosexuality is “good” enough times, people will start to believe them instead of God's Word. The ELCA wants to indoctrinate church members into believing that the homosexual lifestyle is perfectly fine, that it is normal and the way God made those individuals to be. How else can you explain the ELCA's obsession with declaring to their members that homosexuality is to be considered normal? This plan has worked, to a great extent. When trusted pastors explain to their congregations that same-sex relationships are fine, people are going to believe them, especially those who have little Biblical knowledge. And when synod bishops say it, ELCA assemblies declare it, ELCA pastors claim it, ELCA seminaries and colleges teach it and ELCA publications expound on it, church members are going to start to believe it.
Maybe not all members believe it immediately. There are some who have stayed with their ELCA congregation who know what God says in Scripture about same-sex relationships. They thought it wouldn't affect them or their local church, but they are constantly being fed this line of cow dung by the denomination. A majority of these members will succumb to the lie and will eventually view homosexuality as good.
Sadly, many of the people have made an informed choice to stay in the denomination. They have known of the ELCA's departure from God's Word, but they have placed their lifelong loyalty, to a church building or friends, over what they know is true. They stay in churches despite knowing that the ELCA is teaching in opposition to Scripture. They justify it in their minds and they begrudgingly go down the path of acceptance because, after all, their parents and grandparents belonged to their church and are buried in the church cemetery. They can't leave their church, no matter what they are being taught. Whether we like it or not, followers end up emulating their leaders. Spiritual leaders have a great deal of influence. I do hope that people are willing to recognize how they are being influenced and take a stand for Truth, standing to their feet and walking out for the sake of what is far more important than tradition or generational loyalty, but instead out of obedience and allegiance to God.
The minutes of the ELCA - Southeastern Synod Council had this comment from Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson:
“We must start talking to our ecumenical partners about shared oversight. For example, we might have more bishops but fewer synods. A specific example might be to have three bishops in the same synod.” (read here on page 18)
Bishop Jessica Crist, current head of the ELCA Conference of Bishops is quoted in the Aug. 2013 The Lutheran commenting on the aftermath of the 2009 homosexuality votes: "Some congregations had been angry for years; and some were still angry about mergers prior to 1988...We are healthier and happy now."
“In some ways, Crist said, the losses were 'analogous to cleaning the rolls' of a congregation. 'We do not have the anger and hostility at synod assemblies that we had before...'”
The Lutheran writes that former Presiding Bishop Chilstrom claimed that bishops are telling him that “'it's a new day, with a more positive, upbeat spirit' as the dissent over the 2009 decision waned with the departure of the congregations opposing the decision.” (see here)
The loudest mouthpiece of the ELCA, The Lutheran magazine, had 5 pieces (articles or news stories) in which homosexuality was a prominent feature. The cover story, which contained the quotes above was one and another was the “My View” article. That was written by Amalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM). ELM describes its mission saying it “expands ministry opportunities for publicly-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people called to leadership in the Lutheran church as ordained pastors and rostered lay leaders.” (quote from here)
You can read her article here.
As evidenced in this last piece, the indoctrination of laypeople continues. For all congregations and people still in the ELCA, is it wise to continue in a denomination which seeks to lead you to affirm what God has called sin? Look at how many members have already succumbed to the ELCA's talking heads and the brainwashing put forth in all their entities.
The ELCA magazine The Lutheran recently reported on the happenings at this spring's ELCA Synod assemblies. It is no surprise that the synods of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who continue to become more liberal and less Biblical, are fixated on promoting homosexuality and denigrating Israel. The Lutheran reported on the 26 synod assemblies that took place in May 2013, highlighting some resolutions brought before those assemblies; it was not a comprehensive list. Of the resolutions highlighted, 22 were focused on and supportive of homosexuality and related issues and 11 dealt with Israel, promoting positions held by anti-Israel supporters. (see here)
Here are some of the anti-Israel resolutions mentioned in The Lutheran:
Here are some of the pro-homosexuality resolutions:
Also, in a recent news release by the ELCA addressing the upcoming 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA, they summarized the actions that the voting members at the assembly will consider this year saying,
“Proposals (known as memorials) from the ELCA’s 65 synods include topics such as gender identity discrimination, the Uniting American Families Act, community violence, ministering to same-gender couples and their families, immigration reform, hydraulic fracturing, and the Middle East.” (read here)
The Lutheran, an ELCA magazine, published a story this month under their section “Deeper understandings” and the topic was “Faith and science.” In a previous Exposed blog we dealt with this article's offensive comments and non-Biblical support of evolution. (see here) The same ELCA article also had some strong words on man-made global warming and a message for people who do not believe global warming is true.
ELCA Professor Gilson A.C. Waldkoenig of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.) referenced new scientific evidence for global warming in the article and stated, “human beings warm the atmosphere through relentless burning of fossil fuels and consumption of earth's habitat.”
Prof. Waldkoenig also commented:
“Many Christians look at findings about global warming as real and present reasons to repent and change behavior, and an invitation to walk humbly in God's shadow rather than proudly in front.”
Then addressing those who do not believe global warming is happening or that man is responsible for it, Professor Waldkoenig said “If you don't like some scientific finding you can re-test based upon more data, but data and scientific findings don't care if you believe them or not. . . When we waste our belief on other things besides God, it is what the Bible called idolatry, and Jesus also called foolishness. Likewise, disbelief of some things that are not God can be foolish and even idolatrous, on par with misdirected belief.
For example, if 'disbelief' of global warming protects arrogance that humankind has a right to destroy anything that exists, it is a kind of idolatry standing in the way of true belief and devotion to God, as well as a foolish approach to God's creation.” (see here)
Two thoughts; 1) the ELCA is using the inherent respect and trust given to religious leaders, by its members, to influence them toward the denomination's liberal positions and 2) even if you believe in man-made global warming, it is not right for a denomination to falsely call people foolish and idolaters because they don't hold to the liberal view of the denomination.
You are an animal, so says the leadership of the ELCA. This belief results from the rejection of the historical account of creation told in the Bible. Instead they believe in and teach the theory of evolution as truth. The February 2013 edition of the official magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran, contains an article where we are told that:
“the scientific evidence for evolution inspires some Christians to celebrate God's ongoing and oft-surprising creativity, but it deeply offends others.”
This was written by ELCA seminary professor Gilson A.C. Waldkoenig of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.) and published by the leadership of the denomination in their official magazine.
So lets review what they are saying. We are animals. If you believe the Bible and not evolution, you are foolish, lacking in humility, and idolatrous. That seems backward (and evil) to me, and it should to anyone else whose eyes are not blinded by the enemy.
The Exposing the ELCA Newsletter for this quarter is posted. You can read it here.
ELCA leaders worship the god of Muslims. At least that is the logical conclusion most would come to when they look into what ELCA leaders are saying.
The magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran, ran an article in the January 2013 issue about Muslims. The article was another attempt by ELCA leadership to indoctrinate its members into believing a heretical, blasphemous idea. The article included an argument supporting the claim that the God we Christians worship is the same god Muslims worship. Liberal heretics have been saying this for awhile now, and we will address this lie shortly, but lets first look at what The Lutheran had to say.
The magazine presented this statement to two ELCA experts: “Some people say 'Allah' is the name of a pagan moon god and isn't the same as the 'God' of the Bible.”
David D. Grafton, ELCA missionary serving as the coordinator for graduate studies at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt replied: “This is a very old claim. It's similar to an old Christian argument about the 'God of the Old Testament' being distinct from the 'God of the New.' That, of course, was declared a heresy long ago.”
Michael Shelley, dean and vice president for academic affairs at the ELCA's Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, answered by saying that “Allah” was one of many gods in Arabia, before the Koran was written, and was considered “the creator.” Prof. Shelley then says, “Are Allah and the God of the Bible the same? Certainly the Quran contends they are. It says to Jews and Christians, 'Our God and your God is one' (Quran 29:46) . . . we are likely to have a more constructive conversation with our Muslim neighbors if we proceed on the assumption that we are talking about the same divine being.” (see here)
So The Lutheran tells its readers that we worship the same god as the Muslims. The ELCA's Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson has said the same thing in a letter to Muslims saying “(t)he one God whom we worship is a God not only of judgment, but of mercy and peace." (see here)
There are a number of reasons the ELCA does this. One reason, I believe, is because of the ELCA's acceptance of universal salvation, that all people will go to heaven no matter what they believe, who they worship or if they've placed their faith in Christ. The ELCA has walked away from leading people to a saving relationship with Christ which makes “working together” with “all people” the focus of why the ELCA exists.
Now there are a number of reasons we can say with confidence that the God of the Bible and the Muslim god are not the same god. I will give you three:
If you haven't read my blog “The ELCA is No Longer a Christian Denomination” you should. It could just as easily been titled “The God of the Bible and the God of the ELCA are not the same.”
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