Living Lutheran is an online publication of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Last month, in the “Ask a Pastor” section of their website this question was posed:
“What happens to people of other faiths? My husband and I try to discuss, but not very successfully, the point that we are saved through Jesus Christ alone. Well, how about people of the Jewish faith, or all our friends or family who do not practice any faith or even my son, who is atheist. Can’t they be saved? I believe in my heart that they can, but I can never explain it.”
This question was asked by Helen, a member of an ELCA congregation in Venice, Florida. The ELCA website chose Rev. Monica M. Villarreal as one of the three pastors to respond to this question. She said,
“Dear Helen and husband, what a deep and relevant question. One of my favorite books on the subject is 'Christ Crucified: A 21st-Century Missiology of the Cross' by Mark W. Thomsen. At the risk of being a heretic and with the hope of reclaiming the profound Lutheran understanding of God’s salvific work on the cross, I contend that God in fact saves the whole world and all peoples through Jesus Christ alone and that this salvation extends to all, including Jews, Muslims, agnostics, atheists, etc. For where there is love, there is God. Scripture says, we cannot love God whom we cannot see if we do not love our neighbors whom we can see (1 John 4). At the core of our Christian faith is love. And at the core of God’s work of salvation is love. I believe in a God who loves all his created beings — regardless of religion, creed or disbelief. So, why be a Christian? Christians/Lutherans have much to offer to this hurting world by building relationships of love — the love that we experience in Jesus.”
The ELCA website offered this information about Rev. Villarreal:
“Monica M. Villarreal is a mission redeveloper and pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Flint, Mich. A 2011 graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and 2007 graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in cultural anthropology and specialization in peace and justice studies, she enjoys practical theology, cultural studies, and is an avid bowler. She is passionate about people, inner-city ministry and social justice. Her congregation will tell you she is always asking, 'What is God up to? What is God calling us to?'” (read the “Ask a Pastor” article here)
That fact that this official ELCA website wanted to include Rev. Vallarreal's answer to Helen's question is proof that the ELCA is “welcoming” of the dangerous, unbiblical belief of universalism. By posting this answer the ELCA is telling their readers that faith and belief in Christ is not necessary. The ELCA is leading people astray and they will be held accountable for any reader's eternal damnation. "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” - Mark 9:42.
More evidence of the ELCA promoting universalism here and here.
6/22/2013 05:40:45 am
Ms. Villarreal should have been around to set Jesus straight. If He'd known what she preaches, He wouldn't have needed to die on the cross, nor would He have said, "Unless you believe that I am He [the Messiah], you will die in your sins." Jesus also would have lightened up on the Pharisees -- and their ELCA descendants -- by eliminating, "in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
6/22/2013 03:53:46 pm
They love the Love Disciple, don't they? John is the guy who wrote "God is love." And he wrote the famous John 3:16, and John 3:17 is about how Jesus came not to judge but to save the world. Did they stop reading there in seminary? John 3:18, "People who believe in God's Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God's one and only Son."
6/23/2013 05:27:45 am
While the "answer" this pastor has given is certainly wrong -- or at best, very misleading -- the issue is not easily explained. About a month ago, Pope Francis waded into the matter and was accused of Universalism. However, the picture the ELCA is painting -- love, love, love -- is clearly overly simplistic to the point of heresy. The ELCA has turned the church into a club for social work -- belief optional.
6/23/2013 10:12:48 am
"Really? Everyone is saved? Then refund my money I gave to Missions!"
6/23/2013 01:48:48 pm
Amazing how the secular, academic world has worked so hard to prove the Bible to be irrelevant. We are saved by faith not works..... however, faith without works is irrelevant. Let us walk by faith first and our works will reveal God's grace with meaningful results.
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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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