(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
This month a memorial service was held for Herbert Chilstrom, first head bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America when it was newly formed in 1988. Bishop Chilstrom stood for abortion rights and for the ordination of practicing homosexuals. Chilstrom chose former ELCA head Bishop Mark Hanson to deliver his funeral sermon. It was during Hanson’s tenure as bishop in 2009 that the ELCA voted to ordain practicing homosexuals, causing the largest church split in American history.
Bishop Hanson said this in his sermon regarding Chilstrom’s vision for the Church:
“Sometimes we will need to engage in public acts of repentance for that past, for the perpetuation of white, heterosexual, patriarchal systems of power and privilege￼ that continue to enslave both church and society today￼”. Hanson said Chilstrom had a vision for the church “in which those who identify as LGBTQAI+ are not just welcomed, but whether single or partnered, lay or ordained, you are leading congregations ￼ and synods and church-wide ministries...”.
Hanson’s sermon was reminiscent of his 2013 sermon when Hanson installed the ELCA’s first practicing homosexual bishop Guy Erwin. In that sermon Hanson “repented” of the churches prior teaching that practicing homosexuals should not be ordained with these words: “There is weeping for joy this day, because for too long many of you have wept tears of bitterness from the experience of being rebuked. Rebuked for believing that God could call you to the ministry of word and sacrament and to the vocation of marriage with your beloved Rob (my note: Rob is Erwin’s “husband”). Rev. Erwin, in your call to serve the gospel in the office of bishop, we as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are saying again and saying publicly and forthrightly, such rebuking shall not be what we as a church will be saying quite openly any longer. But let our public resounding 'no' to such shaming and bullying and rebuking also become our public repentance...”
At Chilstrom’s funeral, Mark Hanson also preached that Chilstrom’s vision “was of a nation not with fortified borders and barriers, not separating out families and keeping out immigrants and refugees and asylum seekers but the vision of a nation welcoming the stranger.”
Holy Communion ￼was served at Chilstrom’s funeral, but with a more liberal understanding of communion. Communion used to be reserved for those who repented of their sins and who had￼ faith in Christ. But at this service these words were said:￼. “Wherever you are in your journey you are welcome to take communion”.
Through the leadership of Bishop Herbert Chilstrom and Bishop Mark Hanson, the ELCA has become the extreme, heretical denomination that it is today, a denomination which pays for abortion for any reason with offering dollars and which ordains not only practicing homosexuals, but now also ordains transgendered people. The ELCA even promoted the acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism to 31,000 teenagers at its 2018 Teen Gathering.
But God is not mocked and he will have the last word. The ELCA continues to shrink in membership and donations. Two ELCA seminaries had to merge and another had to sell off some of its buildings.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
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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