Marcus Borg is not a name many laypersons would know, but he is very popular with the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Mr. Borg has spoken at many ELCA functions and his books are well read throughout the denomination. But who is Marcus Borg?
Borg’s own website says, “Marcus J. Borg is Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Internationally known in both academic and church circles as a biblical and Jesus scholar. . .” (see here) He is the author of nineteen books. Mr. Borg is also a member of the Jesus Seminar, which has been described as “. . . a self-promoting, pretentious attempt to popularize a historical Jesus, which is more culturally appealing. While claiming to represent the mainstream of critical New Testament scholarship, the Seminar might be likened to a sideshow rather than the center-ring attraction.” (see here)
Marcus Borg is wildly popular with ELCA leadership, (which I will show you a little later in this blog) but first you should know what this man teaches and believes. The best way to do that is by hearing it from the man himself. Mr. Borg says:
“I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product. I learned that it is a human cultural product . . . As such, it contained their understandings and affirmations, not statements coming directly or somewhat directly from God"
"Seminary also introduced me to the historical study of Jesus and Christian origins. I learned from my professors and the readings they assigned that Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world"
"I cannot believe that God could have stopped the Holocaust but chose not to, just as I cannot believe that God responds to some prayers for healing and protection and not others...It is difficult to believe in such a God"
"The pre-Easter Jesus is the historical Jesus...The post-Easter Jesus is what Jesus became after his death. More specifically, the post-Easter Jesus is the Jesus of Christian tradition and experience..."
"Was the pre-Easter Jesus divine? NO...Is the post-Easter Jesus divine? Yes--the post-Easter Jesus of Christian experience and fully developed Christian doctrine is divine"
"As such, myths can be both true and powerful, even though they are symbolic narratives and not straightforward historical reports. Though not literally true, they can be really true; though not factually true, they can be actually true. The stories of Jesus' birth are myths in this sense. Along with most mainline scholars, I do not think these stories report what happened. The virginal conception, the star, the wise men, the birth in Bethlehem where there was no room in the inn, and so forth are not facts of history. But I think these stories are powerfully true...The stories of Jesus' death and resurrection contain a mixture of historical memory and mythical narration."
Wow!! It’s hard to believe that a leader in mainline Christianity can hold these beliefs. But amazingly, the same things Borg says in these quotes are beliefs that are growing by leaps and bounds in the ELCA.
Pastor John Bent and Pastor Ralph Boyer have this to say about Borg and the Jesus Seminar, in which he is part of:
“Marcus Borg, the professor referred to in Bishop Hanson’s Report . . . was a primary member of the Jesus Seminar. The Jesus Seminar was the group of scholars who concluded that only 18% of the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels were probably spoken by him. Things like the miracles of Jesus and the physical reality of Christ’s resurrection are dismissed as the words of ancient people who misunderstood what happened.
Scholars like Marcus Borg would say that they take the Bible seriously, but they do so in a very different way than Christians have for 2000 years, ways that discount many of the basic beliefs of Christianity and the life of Christ. Once you do that, questions of sexuality (and whatever issues come next) are no longer decided on the basis of Scripture, but on the basis of the powerful voices of the culture around us.” (read here)
This man, Marcus Borg, whose views are about as heretical as you can get, is a very respected scholar and highly sought after speaker by the ELCA leadership. Let me show you:
ELCA publication “Lutheran Partners” reviews Living the Questions 2.0 video series in which Marcus Borg is one of the contributors. (see here)
To which a letter to the editor responded:
“Geoffrey Scott's recent review and implied recommendation of the Living the Questions 2.0 education materials greatly alarms me. Once more I am left wondering if the ordained and lay leaders of the ELCA truly have any real partnership in the gospel together.
The Living the Questions curriculum is linked to the so-called "progressive Christianity" movement. The eight primary tenets of this ecumenical, loose affiliation of mainline Protestant congregations include the belief that all faiths lead to God apart from the unique atoning work of Jesus Christ in his life, death, and resurrection; that the unbaptized should be admitted to communion; and that the historic, biblical doctrines of Christianity are, in large part, no longer helpful or necessary. This "progressive Christianity" therefore stands in direct opposition to apostolic Christianity.
Moreover, among the authors of the Living the Questions materials are John Spong, Marcus Borg, and John Crossan. All three deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus and denounce many of the basic, creedal core beliefs of Lutheran Christianity and historic Christianity in general. Living the Questions presents a different gospel than the gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaimed in Scripture.
What then are we to make of the endorsement Lutheran Partners gives to this curriculum — indeed, to this heretical teaching? It leaves me to surmise that the key leaders of the ELCA would have local pastors and educators incorporate these materials into their teaching and education ministries. I can think of hardly anything worse.
As the Lord says to us, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15). Living the Questions is another example of that wolf. And such a wolf, if left unchecked, will eventually consume the whole flock.” (see here)
Why is Marcus Borg allowed to speak and teach at so many ELCA functions? Why are his books being used and promoted in the ELCA? It is because Marcus Borg’s teachings resonate with the leadership of the ELCA.
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