Universalism is the false teaching that all people will be saved, regardless of faith in Christ. This heresy is negated by Christ Himself (John 14:6) and the Apostles (Acts 4:12). So it is troubling to see the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America try to get away from Bible's teaching that those who reject Christ will be lost. Below is an excerpt from an article written by an ELCA seminary professor in the ELCA's official magazine "Living Lutheran".
"At first glance...phrases like “Christ alone” can sound like salvation and wisdom belong to “Christians alone.” That is not what this phrase means. Many New Testament verses tell us that Jesus knows the people of this world better than we do. Jesus has sheep in other pastures (John 10:16), he promised salvation to the honest thief on the cross (Luke 23:43), and he welcomes into heaven those who never knew that they were serving him (Matthew 25:34-40). From this perspective, “Christ alone” is not a way to keep people from God. Instead, “Christ alone” is a word of freedom...When religious people—including our churches—want to define who is in or out of God’s kingdom, we recall that “Christ alone” is the good shepherd and merciful judge."
My response: The "other sheep" Jesus was talking about in John 10 were the Gentiles who were to come to saving faith in him. He is not referring to people of non-Christian religions. And, it not "religious people" who define who is in and who is out of God's kingdom. The Bible itself does this many times (for instance, John 3:36). The professor should support these religious people who are following the Bible, not criticize them.
Martin Luther, following the Bible, taught that we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. It is sad to see an ELCA Lutheran professor try to redefine what that means.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
(See the Living Lutheran article here. It is written by Martin Lohrmann, who is an assistant professor of Lutheran confessions and heritage at the ELCA's Wartburg Theological Seminary.
His article was posted by the ELCA Facebook page eight hours ago and has garnered 290 "likes." It has been shared 106 times and many of those sharing it are ELCA churches. See below)