If you’re in a dead dying church, don’t quit going to church, just quit going to your church. And go find a church that’s alive & is teaching the conservative true word of God.” – Rev. Robert Jeffress
Every once in awhile, in the comment section under an article or blog you come across a comment by someone that is so good you want to share it. That happened to me this week while I was reading a Michael Rinehart, Bishop of the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, blog. Bishop Rinehart is extremely liberal politically and theologically. Under a recent death penalty focused blog by Bishop Rinehart I found this gem:
Linda writes "...The fundamental issue is that the ELCA is a political and social activist group with a specific cultural agenda. The ELCA pastors are required to pledge loyalty to the organization itself as well as to the rightly preaching Gospel and rightly administering the sacraments. When they find those two at odds, there is tremendous pressure placed upon the pastor with a threat of taking him off the roster and never issuing another call. If a faithful Lutheran pastor disagrees with the Synod bishop, he runs the risk of being labelled schismatic and pulled from the clergy roster if he won’t toe the mark. The hierarchy manages that change and advocates for it, and waits for the orthodox to leave (without their buildings, and preferably quietly) or just to age out. The ELCA seminaries teach symbolic and allegorical reading of Scriptures, although they don’t call it that, and they have an agenda of radical feminism and full participation for homosexual practitioners to be pastors and administer and take part in the sacramental life of the church.
Surveys are undertaken of the congregations not to determine what the faithful need to be reminded of or grounded in, but to change church teaching based on what people are already doing and already believe in practice. We actually had a young 30-something woman who was a member of our former small ELCA church state that she believed we could get more members if we didn’t require our members to be baptized as our constitution provided. Indeed. Let’s be so inclusive that we are no longer the Lutheran or even a Christian church at all. Radical hospitality. My brother calls it the Burger King of churches: have it your way at ELCA.
At present the ELCA is having congregations read and participate about what they believe and practice regarding Holy Communion. I believe this will eventually result in a policy statement which captures what most people believe and are already doing, rather than the ELCA actually bothering to catechize the faithful with confessional Lutheran teachings and correct any errors in understanding and/or practice regarding the sacrament. They will not want to reinforcing Lutheran teaching that Holy Communion is a sacrament for the baptized who believe, and that even believers must be rightly disposed to participate or should refrain (or be denied the sacrament if the pastor has knowledge).
Now the saying goes that the ELCA practices radical hospitality – ALL means ALL regardless of their understanding of Holy Communion. No matter that Scripture teaches that when you eat and drink of the Body and Blood of Christ without being properly disposed that you are bringing judgment onto yourself. That’s just one example, albeit a pretty big one, I know.
Asking people what they already practice and believe to ok it is hardly Evangelical.
Not calling them to learn or abide by the confessions is hardly Lutheran.
Advocating worldly social and political agendas is not being Church.
About the only word of truth left in the ELCA, then, is the last one. America.
It is true that it’s located in the United States of America.
I am waiting for the call for the Gospel rightly preached to be deemed hate speech by the culture at large. It’s coming. ELCA will soon follow and the rightly preached Gospel, the fullness of the Word, will be silenced within the ELCA churches by discipline of individual members by the Synod (this used to be done at the congregational level. In 2013 the ELCA changed the constitution to provide that the Synod now undertakes that discipline. Apparently the congregations can no longer be trusted to administer such member discipline any longer. After all, they may not toe the party line at the congregational level. But the Synod surely will.
All the beautiful Lutheran language in the well-drafted and crafted ELCA constitution has been relegated to symbolic and/ or ceremonial status in the church. Many ELCA...are persons of good faith, but it’s just not the Lutheran or the Christian faith except in name and symbol and outward ceremony. The substance has been stripped. Nobody preaches about original sin or even sinning unless its about “sinful structures” that promote some -ism, take your pick. Like patriarchy in our culture. That is a sinful, oppressive thing that only radical feminism can make right. It’s all about inclusivity, moral relativism and the historical-critical method which sounds like a good contextual way to read the Bible and allow its truths to come through. Instead, it is the leadership’s way of teaching seminarians to dismantle Biblical truths one by one in study, all in favor of the wisdom of the age.
By the resounding failure of pastoral and theological leadership in the Human Sexuality study, I fully expect gender fluidity and gender bias studies to be commissioned within the ELCA. After much time and money expended by a future task force the ELCA will teach...that God did NOT make them male and female, and that the term eunuch in the Bible is a pejorative term that refers to and perpetuates fear of the stranger or 'other' from biblical times and perpetuates transphobia. If you disagree you will be called transphobic, even though the only thing you fear is that the Gospel is no longer rightly preached in your church.
I only wish that I were writing this tongue-in-cheek. It’s the reason we led our church out of the ELCA and joined the LCMC. Peace and blessings to you." (read here)
I highly recommend watching this video (not the big Hollywood movie about Noah).
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Bishop Tom Aitken (Northeast Minnesota Synod) recently met with the members of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crosby, MN, over the congregation's concern about the troubling teachings, beliefs and policies of the denomination.
The Brainerd Dispatch newspaper reports that during a question and answer session "one person asked for scriptural support for positive affirmation of same-sex relationships, to which Aitken simply replied, 'There are not any.'" (read here)
We all know that that is the correct answer, and this bishop admitted it.
We can rightfully say that the ELCA made a calculated decision to go against God with the denomination's 2009 decisions to "unsin" homosexual relations. If the ELCA can, with full knowledge, tell God He is wrong. . .why would any Christian congregation continue to be yoked together with them?
(Update: Thanks to the wonders of the internet the Dig Deeper section of the ELCA's webpage, that they remove, has been saved for all to see. Here is the main page in their Dig Deeper section - https://web.archive.org/web/20101030072822/http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/New-or-Returning-to-Church/Dig-Deeper.aspx
And here is a blog detailing some very troubling claims and teachings that the ELCA's Dig Deeper section revealed. And it includes the working links to the sections listed below. - http://www.exposingtheelca.com/exposed-blog/read-the-elca-articles-that-caused-a-huge-uproar )
The ELCA recently removed their heresy filled 'Dig Deeper' pages from its website. (read about it here) But they can still be viewed by using google's "cache." I don't know how long they will be listed there so I advise you to save them to your computer if you need them for any reason. Here are a number of the more troubling pages.
If anyone has saved this page - http://www2.elca.org/questions/Results.asp?recid=4, please let me know.
Luther Seminary is an ELCA school which educates over 1/3 of all future ELCA pastors. Recently the school decided it will no longer require their students to take the Bible Proficiency Exam (BPE).
Luther Seminary posted this statement on their website, "As of July 1, 2010, the BPE will no longer be required of students who are entering Luther Seminary. It will also be removed from the list of non-degree requirements for current Luther Seminary students. BPE holds on current student records will be removed by the Registrar."
Students who had holds placed on them because of failure to take or pass the exam, are now free to get their Master of Divinity degree.
Rev. Jamie Strickler, a student at Luther Seminary was told that the BPE is "not important to a theological education." Rev. Strickler went on to say, "(s)tudents were once required to score an 80% or higher after their first year. If this isn't an example of the ELCA's view of scripture I don't know what is."
'See!' he said to all the people. 'This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the LORD has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.'
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