Sunday, February 22, 2009

No Longer Lutheran; No Longer Christian?

This past week, it was with profound sadness that I read the proposed "social statement" from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) "Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality". Entitled, "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust," this proposed social statement, along with its companion document, "Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies", has the potential to take the ELCA far outside of the boundaries of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Christian Church. And it will most certainly do so if adopted by a Churchwide Assembly (CWA) to be held in Minneapolis in August 2009. What is being proposed is nothing less than idolatry, placing human desires and deviant currents in modern society in the place of God. A reading by any informed laity in any orthodox Christian church exposes the utter bankruptcy of the ELCA - intellectual, scholarly, theological, and moral bankruptcy.

Though hardly the first of the so-called 'mainline protestant churches' to go down this path, for me this step by the ELCA is especially tragic, since I was for many years a member of various ELCA congregations. However, when the ELCA abandoned the gospel of Jesus Christ by deciding that it could re-interpret the Holy Bible whenever it seemed convenient to do so, and by entering into full altar and pulpit fellowship with denominations that do not stand on the firm foundation of the plain Word of God as revealed in Holy Scripture, I was forced to recognize that what I had for so long thought of as "my church" had left me. I diligently sought out a church that affirms God's plan of salvation in Jesus Christ alone. There remain many wonderful Christians in ELCA congregations. However, they must now think seriously, as I did several years ago, about this very important question: by continuing their relationship with the ELCA, will they be denying the the Lord Jesus Christ and entering into idolatry?

What is in the documents released by the ELCA on February 19, 2009? A denial of the plain meaning of God's Word as received by his church through Holy Scripture, and a substitution of human reason and personal preferences over the Word of God. This is a violation of the First Commandment - ignoring God in favor of following after human desires. The ELCA proposes to allow homosexual marriages to be blessed within its congregations, to allow practicing homosexuals to be admitted to its rostered ministry positions, including that of called pastors and bishops, and to condone sex outside of marriage. This is only a partial list of what is implied by the proposals that have been offered to the ELCA by its Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. Rather than calling sinners to repentance and dealing with sin pastorally, the ELCA proposes to reject God's Word and tell sinners that they should remain in their sin and celebrate it as a gift from God. One must be especially concerned for the generations of youth who will be confused and led into sin and error by the very people who should be leading them to trust God. These ELCA leaders are promoting their manipulative social and political agendas over God's Word!

The reasoning and biblical interpretation tricks used by the Task Force logically lead to condoning and celebrating plural marriage, incest, bestiality, and a host of other sinful perversions. Though strenuously denied in the proposals they put forward, the same logic and techniques of biblical interpretation that allowed the Task Force to recommend celebrating homosexuality and fornication, if followed to their inevitable conclusions, would essentially destroy the doctrine and concept of sin. Whatever an individual feels necessary to "experience one's sexuality" becomes permissible. "Bodies do not suddenly become sexual at puberty..." - what logically follows from this? Some sort of elementary school classroom instruction in masturbation and intercourse along the lines of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"? The Task Force appears to envision a continuum of sexual activity for adolescent (and pre-pubescent?) children, beginning with casual touching and moving on toward sexual intercourse as "trust and commitment develop"... between how many people or people of what gender is rather vague. Developing and maintaining a healthy body image, promoted by being sexually active, appears to trump the Ten Commandments.

If you take the time to read the documents presented by the Task Force, and the supplemental documents available on the ELCA website (www.elca.org/faithfuljourney), the duplicity and selective use of resources in order to achieve a pre-determined conclusion will be readily apparent. Among approximately 100 pages attempting to justify the "politically correct" conclusion, only one page is provided for the dissenting opinion, and that is followed immediately by a one and a half page dissent calling for even more radical and unbiblical actions to promote the homosexual agenda in the ELCA. (See the the "Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies") An excellent resource that refutes the conclusions reached by the ELCA Task Force, and which is based on sound and faithful biblical interpretation, can be found at following site: http://www.lcms.org/ca/worldrelief/resources/insights/The_Contemporary_Debate_on_Homosexual_Clergy.pdf

It is almost impossible to overstate the damage already done by the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. However, its recommendations have several hurdles to clear before it becomes the official policy of the ELCA. The ELCA Conference of Bishops will review it during thier March 5-10 meeting. The ELCA Church in Society program committee will review it during their meeting on March 13-14. Their comments and recommendations will be considered by the ELCA Church Council, which meets from March 27 through March 29. After that, the next step will be consideration by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly during its August 17-23, 2009, meeting. The ELCA has been working up to this point for decades. But that should not stop all faithful Christians from being in prayer during the coming weeks and months, asking that God would send the Holy Spirit to change the hearts and minds of the heterodox leadership of the ELCA and call them to repentance and a rejection of these sinful and idolatrous proposals.

If the worst happens and the ELCA adopts the proposals, or amended proposals that accomplish substantially the same ends, Christians then must view the ELCA in the same manner that they view the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) - as pretenders to the name "Christian" - wolves in sheeps' clothing that are leading many to eternal damnation. In introducing its proposed new social statement and ministry policies, the ELCA of course recognizes that the risk of schism is enormous. Faithful Christians will realize that they must separate themselves from the apostasy of their leaders. Thus the numerous pleas for ELCA members not to leave over this issue. Such pleas are likely to be in vain. True Christians cannot remain in a church that is no longer Christian. Using pretty phrases such as, "respect for the bound consciences of others", the Task Force would have the ELCA toss an anchor rather than a life preserver to their drowning neighbors. As Christians, we are called to hate the sin, but love the sinner. When we encourage our neighbor to remain in their sin, rather than to repent and be forgiven, we are acting hatefully toward them. It is not the "conscience bound belief of the neighbor" that determines what is sin - it is the Word of God that tells us plainly what sin is, and calls us to repentance. A church that places its opinions and current fads over the Word of God is no Christian church.

It appears that the ELCA has entered its death spiral, and this is truly a tragedy for all of Christendom. However, God is greater than the egos of all of those who are perverting his Word. Perhaps a reinvigorated church will rise out of the ashes of the ELCA. Jesus Christ, who went willingly to the cross to pay for the sins of all the world, and who rose from the dead triumphant on the third day, loves our Christian brothers and sisters of the ELCA, and desires that all would repent and be saved. This must be our prayer, as well.

Cross-posted By Owen Davis at Owen's World

Join Christians Against Leftist Heresy

10 comments:

  1. A lot of churches are watering down their theology, trying to fit in with the modern world. Methodists, and I think Lutherans, all have one central governing body. That's one reason that I like the Baptists, at least Southern Baptists.

    We have no central body that dictates what the individual, local churches believe. The churches themselves decide. We choose our own pastors etc. Of course there are the basic beliefs of the Christian Faith that Baptists believe, but when the Southern Baptist Convention veers off what a local church believes to be true, we are not forced to go along with it.

    Debbie Hamilton
    Right Truth

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  2. Yes I have developed a great admiration for the Baptist faith, especially the Southern Baptists. This is their saving grace!

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  3. I personally attend an Anglican church, although I hardly consider myself to be one.

    While not actively promoting such heresy, their habit is just to avoid talking about it and just preach very idealistic sermons.

    Plus the church itself never seems to take much of a stand against anything, even after terrorist killed one of my country men and continue to try to do so.

    Their silence is just as damning as any heresy in my opinion.

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  4. I have been a Lutheran since I was 25 years of age. I will be 68 in May. I must renounce my membership in the ELCA and leave what I feel has become an apostate church.

    I have been warning my fellow members this would happen but no one wanted to see what was right in front of their faces. I leaned on my family until I have been able to get every member of my family out of the ELCA except my wife and I can't get her out. I do not know what else to do.

    I have been thinking for some time of joining a Missouri Synod church. The problem is the closest one to me is 50 miles away. In fact I have been sending my tithes to them for years now, ever since it became obvious to me the ELCA was going to do this. Also, I stopped attending services at my ELCA church at the same time. I am "inactive", as they say.

    I would very much like to cross post this on my site at: www.csadispatch.blogspot.com/

    You are right on the money with this commentary.

    May God bless you and heal both our badly bruised hearts!

    J. D. Longstreet

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  5. When we moved to Tennessee, I was a little leery of the church I started attending. You can't throw a rock around here without hitting a church. :) I was a member of a WELS church in Wisconsin.

    I am so unbelievably grateful that I was led to walk through that door. Our pastor tells it like it is, not how some folks would like it to be. I'm now a very proud member of that church, which is, by chance, Southern Baptist. :) He preaches straight from the Bible, never minces words, and if folks don't like it, they are more than welcome to find someone who will preach what 'they want to hear, and not what they need'.

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  6. Been a Lutheran most of my life but with the churches adoption of more liberal ideology I renounced the church several years ago.
    Many of my friends, including an ordained Lutheran minister have followed suit.

    I am in the long process of converting to the Catholic church. Specifically the Tridentine, pre-Vatican II Catholic church, which does not support liberal ideology.

    Liberal ideology has infested every major institution in this country including Christian churches. It's a sign of the times we live in. May God have mercy us.

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  7. On the positive side, we Christians of many different denominations have come together to fight this issue of Leftist Heresy. Our differing denominations were once at war over the many doctrinal differences, which still do exist. But, by the power of the Holy Spirit through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have come together to fight this, the greatest heresy of our lifetime. Let us celebrate our new found union in Christ and go forward with a renewed joy in our hearts. These sad churches have left us but we remain faithful to the Word and we will persevere.

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  8. Well said, all.

    Isaac: When I was in Seminary we used to joke that Episcopalians could believe whatever they want, just as long as they do it in good order. (It's not so funny anymore.)

    Like Debbie, I belong to a congregational tradition. (Congregational traditions insist on the authority and responsibility of the local church to directly obey Jesus, as Head of the Church. Denominational affiliations are non-authoritarian, as a matter of ecclesiology (theology of the church), though both the Southern Baptist and United Church of Christ national HQs have more recently been tending to make pronouncements on behalf of their churches, in contradiction of their ecclesiology. The UCC has been far more egregious in this regard, and far more leftist/apostate, than the So Baptists.)Congregational churches believe God speaks directly to the individual, draws the person into the local community of like-minded believers, and unites like-minded communities through the Holy Spirit into the Church Universal. That's the bottom-up, "democratic" tradition brought to the American shores by the Mayflower Pilgrims; it undergirds our nation's democratic traditions - grounding them in God's Word and Will - and it helps prevent denominational leaders exercising human authority in-between the individual and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Doesn't prevent apostate beliefs. In fact, it makes it easier in some ways for individuals and churches to waunder off the Way. But it also prevents a few misguided leaders from deflecting a whole network of churches.

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  9. tbascom,
    I was much too young to remember, but my family told me that one of my church's former pastors, had a argument with the heads of the Anglican church.

    I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, he told them where they could stuff their ideas.

    It may have seemed rash, but from the way the church operates, and the way I hear the story, I am extremely inclined to support his decision.

    Not to mention, my own small neighbourhood church is following the main church more than actually doing much of their own thinking.

    Plus A LOT of their practices are making me rather uncomfortable.

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  10. Came across this little tidbit while snooping the web this evening.
    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Church/Default.aspx?id=426110

    I also left the Presbyterian church a long time ago, when they decided murdering babies was ok.

    I pray for the soul of our country. Evidently, there are too many churches that don't.

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