A self described universalist and Christian gnostic (listen here) is freely preaching to and teaching youth in the ELCA. Neil Christopher is an ELCA youth pastor at Rejoice Lutheran Church (ELCA) of Frisco, TX. (see here)
While speaking on a podcast Pastor Christopher said,
" . . . We believe in the fact that salvation is grace and grace alone and that it's freely given, and that it's given to
all . . . whether they accept that grace or not, or like whether they have even heard the message or not, or full on reject it. So we don't do altar calls and we don't tell people that they are going to go to hell, and we don't have any kind of teaching that is based on guilt or shame or any of that."
"Right now I am a ELCA youth minister and I am very very happy with the Evangelical Lutherans," says Pastor Christopher. When speaking of his future, Pastor Christopher said, ". . . I could actually, at one point be very responsible for what a whole generation of new Lutherans are going to be learning. . . so maybe the next 20 to 50 years of Lutherans are going to be basically being brought up in the kind of way we carve it up to be at this moment. And that's amazing." (listen here - 31 min. mark to 34 - note: foul language used)
Pastor Christopher, on his own website, tells us a story of that happened during one of his junior high mission trips. He says, "(t)here were also some references over the week to a born-again salvation experience and I had to take time to explain to my kids, who have only been exposed to Universalism, what the heck was going on. This also led to one of my favorite moments on the mission trip…
Part of the reason why we chose a missions trip where we give back to a community and work was because of our theology. Like I said before: 'We are not here to convert anybody; we are simply here to include them into our lives.' However, others from different denominations saw things differently, and especially after one certain event my kids asked me what was going on with this whole salvation, hell, born-again thing.
I took a moment to think my response over and then simply asked them two questions:
1. Who are God’s children?
2. When Christ died, who did He save?
To the first question my kids said 'everyone'. To the second question my kids said 'everyone.'
I smiled, and was so proud of them at that moment, and so proud that they had been brought up in a church that was so entirely different than the ones I was exposed to as a youth.
I then explained to them that not all churches or Christians feel the same way they do about this matter. My kids looked confused at this 'new theology' and said it was crazy. 'Do they not read the Bible?' 'Where do they even get this kind of stuff?' 'Wait a minute! Do they actually think our God is going to send His children to hell?!'
Like I said — one of the proudest moments of my life."
This teaching is wrong and it puts people's eternal destination at risk of going to hell. It also stops people from sharing the "good news" of Jesus with others, because in the universalist's mind, "everyone is going to heaven anyway." Not sharing the truth of Christ with people condemns them to eternity in a place no one would want to be.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 -
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the LORD Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our LORD Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the LORD and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America not only allows universal salvation to be taught, but they teach this heresy. The belief of universal salvation is being preached from the official ELCA website, ELCA publications, in many of its churches and by many ELCA pastors. (see here) The ELCA's own words and allowances implicate them. Pastor Neil Christopher is teaching a belief of which the ELCA is very comfortable.
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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Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11