Exposing the ELCA found a couple of statements in the article noteworthy. The Standard-Examiner reports
1) The bishop “. . . said the synod supports 240 full-time missionaries, which is half the number of two generations ago. However, Bjornberg said a lower number is not a bad thing. ‘We did the job well,’ he said, noting that more missionaries are not needed.”
2) The bishop “. . . said fellowshipping continues to be at the heart of the church.” (read here)
Bishop Rjornberg is the chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops. For someone with such a high standing in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to believe that the ELCA doesn’t need any more missionaries because the denomination has done such a good job, is incredibly telling.
Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
There are 6.8 billion people in the world today and 2.1 billion claim to be Christian. That means 4.7 billion people do not know Christ and are at risk of eternity in hell. Yet despite this, Bishop Rjornberg thinks the ELCA has been so effective in whatever it is that the ELCA tells the missionaries to do, that the denomination doesn’t need to send out any more missionaries.
I suppose when the teaching of universalism is the prevailing view of the ELCA, 240 missionaries are more than enough. “Fellowshipping” can be a central purpose of the denomination then. Sounds fun.
I doubt Jesus and the 4,700,000,000 people who are “lost” will agree.