The Reason the ELCA is Dying
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a dying denomination. People have been leaving in droves. In 1989, the ELCA had 5,251,534 baptized members. At the end of 2015, the ELCA had 3,668,034 baptized members. (see here) Members who actually go to their churches number much less than that.
A new study, "Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy," seems to confirm my belief, and that of countless other Bible-believing Lutherans, as to the reasons for the downfall of the ELCA. The study’s lead researcher, David Haskell, reports that growing churches "held more firmly to the traditional beliefs of Christianity and were more diligent in things like prayer and Bible reading," compared to churches where membership is in decline.
Additionally, Mr. Haskell states that “conservative believers, relying on a fairly literal interpretation of scripture, are 'sure' that those who are not converted to Christianity will miss their chance for eternal life. Because they are profoundly convinced of (the) life-saving, life-altering benefits that only their faith can provide. They are motivated by emotions of compassion and concern to recruit family, friends, and acquaintances into their faith and into their church." (read here)
Most ELCA congregations, their pastors and upcoming ELCA seminarians are in accord with the liberal stand on Scripture and Bible-twisting theology that the ELCA champions. (I provide proof of this throughout this website.)
Below is a different survey from Pew Research Center showing how infrequently Mainline Lutherans (ELCA) read scripture. Over half of the respondents said they “seldom/never” read the Bible.
The next chart shows that only 17% of Mainline Lutherans (ELCA) say Holy Scripture should be taken literally. Thirty-two percent say Holy Scripture is “not the Word of God,” and 10% say "other/don't know."
The ELCA has a Bible problem. When you teach and treat Scripture the way of the ELCA, it is not a surprise that people who know differently will leave congregations, and a pastor will be left with people who hold Scripture in low regard, all thanks to the ELCA pastors' poor teaching.
11/26/2016 12:07:09 pm
I would like to think that what's happening to the ELCA is the same thing that happened in our Presidential election. The non-coastal, non-urban folks were tired of being ignored and spoke up voting Trump in. Maybe the ELCA can see the parallel in ignoring the same and realize the error of their ways. Well....I can hope.
10/1/2021 12:07:11 pm
Wow, your comment is still correct. Now the ELCA is going full Woke! They lost me! Most of us are looking for a church that is accepting of all groups but don’t keep rubbing your nose in it. How about emphasizing the teachings of Jesus without the fundamentalist dogma, too. Somewhere in the middle - that’s where most Americans are in 2021.
1/18/2023 11:37:44 pm
… you are right on. The church has become a political ringside seat where seldom is scripture taught unless it is to pose a political intention. We woke, we left…
8/27/2022 10:33:27 am
Martin Luther was a horrid individual. Actually the Nazi's followed his thinking to a T, and treated the Jews as such. I would say Satan is in that religion.
9/30/2022 10:45:04 am
Martin Luther spoke in hyperbole and yes said some awful things about the Jews. But He also tried to correct the False Gospel of his day. He opened the scripture to the common man which is one of the greatest gifts in the world you can give to a person. In those scriptures you find the simplicity of the Gospel. Not strange doctrines which have nothing to do with simple Christianity. He was flawed and basically a man of his day. Very easy to judge people in the past with today's standards.
11/26/2016 08:53:12 pm
It is not that I am "sure" that we must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved, but how dare we risk the souls of others by erring on the side of indifference?
11/28/2016 07:55:22 am
11/27/2016 10:24:08 pm
It's not what the members say regarding their interpretation of scripture, it's that they are not reading it. Not everything is literal. Jesus did not want us to pluck out our own eyes, the trouble is on both extremes. When nothing is literal nothing really matters when it's all literal and ultra fundamentalist, it perverts the message by limiting the meaning. There are two different creation accounts told back to back, and the facts don't match. That is not and should not mean that yo dis not the creator, likewise we know that Gods ways are not out ways and therefore that does not mean we have to limit the earth creation to seven of our days. Both extremes are wrong, but folks are not willing to let scripture interpret scripture because it is hard work. It much easier to just live at an extreme position. The ELCA does this with universalism. We have no evidence in the scriptures of that, but we do know God favors love and grace, so if it up to him he could allow anyone in but the ELCA can't know that! and therefore should not bend the word that way. Yet we know there are some lost, the aborted, the never reached, while we don't have specific proof God in his own divine way could have a provision for that. But that is only Gods knowledge. As believers we need to hold fast to what is born out in the holy scriptures as that is all we have.
6/11/2022 05:58:07 pm
I am convinced that the ELCA has fallen ìnto the ways of the world, delighting in their own interpretation of the Word ( Logos), that He was all about love( He was!) and less about response and responsibility . We do not get to chose to be gods by misrepresenting His words, playing with the meaning, so that we may justify our choices.
12/15/2016 03:36:13 pm
This logic doesn't hold. The LCMS is about as conservative as they come (most are scriptural literalists), yet according to their website they lost 14% of their membership in a single year (2014)! Why is the NALC (which is somewhat more conservative than the ELCA) hemorrhaging members so rapidly that their bishop is afraid to even report membership statistics? And about two years away from financial insolvency?
1/16/2022 11:23:58 pm
My mother and father brought me up in LCMS, from my experience looking at present time , non denominational churches that are wide spread all over our nation but are isolated to if at most 2 to 3 congregations only in one area, not even close to matching up to denominations, , we still have more to offer from the original, standard ways of worship wich I had come costumed to in the 60s and seventies, the new hymnals since then are not as instrumental and instructional, non denominational churches are like comfort food for the soul with their lights and sound systems and bands instead of choirs and beautiful pipe organs, I have been going to non d churches for quite some time and feel that the scripture is scripted, it's real scripture but it is woven and spun into giving of money ultimately, I am but a small part of somthing way bigger than me and just want to get back to the way it as when growing up, I pray for this.
Richard Joseph Armendariz
2/22/2022 09:21:35 pm
Did not Luther himself advocate for ‘Sola Scriptura?’ Scripture Alone is one of the doctrines Lutheranism has preached. Lutherans, no matter their affiliation, should be reminded of this belief to move forward and get grounded in ‘the word.’
5/19/2022 12:09:00 pm
It appears the ELCA has abandoned the very principles upon which the Lutheran religion was founded.
6/18/2022 11:16:57 pm
I see that political views have crept into the conversation. Sad! Being saved has no political prejudices!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
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.
If you have been helped and blessed by Exposing the ELCA's ministry, please help us continue to proclaim the truth of God's Word to ELCA members who need to hear it.
Give online by clicking the "donate" button below:
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11