Today is Reformation Sunday, the day Protestants praise God for Martin Luther's rediscovery of the Bible's teaching that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Sadly, many in liberal, mainline Protestant denominations no longer believe we are saved by faith in Christ alone. Many pastors and seminary professors have embraced the heresy of universalism which teaches that all people, whether they believe in Jesus or not, will go to heaven. The problem with universalism is that Jesus taught the opposite. Jesus frequently preached about Hell, more than anyone else in the Bible. Jesus insisted He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and those who reject Him are condemned (John 3:18). This was also the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 4:12).
But universalism has zapped the missionary zeal of the Church. The number of missionaries sent out by liberal denominations has fallen dramatically in recent decades.
Back to the prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Augsburg/Fortress Press. Today in church we prayed:
Reinvigorate those places that have become desolate through human
intervention or natural disaster. Breathe new life into
plants, animals and watersheds, Lord in your mercy, hear our
Nothing is wrong with praying for the environment, but when we pray regularly for the salvation of the planet and rarely or never for the salvation of unbelievers, something is wrong. I am waiting for one prayer from the ELCA that goes something like this:
Lord, we pray for the missionaries to bring the Good News to the
lost, that Jesus is the only Savior who can bring salvation
from Hell, forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who believe.
I have yet to hear the words "only Savior", "lost", or "Hell" in ELCA prayers.
In Jesus, the only Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock