“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.