Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shake the Dust from your Sandals

Many congregations within the ELCA are prayerfully discerning where the Lord is leading them. Many of those traditional congregations are struggling with the direction that the ELCA is heading and many believe that they are leaving our Lord behind. The things of this world seem to be held in a much higher regard than our Lord, and the “J” word has little to do with Jesus. God’s work, our hands, is proudly proclaimed as “Our Brand” by the ELCA. Unfortunately, there is little emphasis on reaching out to our brothers and sisters who do not know Jesus. Good works and the acknowledgement of those doing them are nothing without declaring that we do these things in Jesus’ name. The ELCA introduces false doctrine and disregards God’s law in order to more welcoming, accepting and tolerant. God’s Word is amended by Biblical scholars and passed by the votes of His children, using their imperfect love in the name of God’s perfect love. When do children’s opinions take precedence over their Father in heaven?

Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus said, “If a brother or sister sins, go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Jesus teaches that we should try to correct our brother or sister, but if they continue to refuse to listen, we are to treat them as a pagan or tax collector. Tax collectors, for one, were reviled in Jesus’ time, since they were typically dishonest and considered traitors. Our Lord introduces, in this teaching, that those that fail to respond to the church’s discipline should be excommunicated. Further, in 2 Thessalonians 3:14, “Take special note of those who do not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as fellow believers.” These verses are meant that the disassociation with the believers in error, will cause them to realize their error and come back to the Lord. This is not meant to be a punishment, but an avenue to repair the fellowship with those in error. In regards to disassociation with the ELCA, there have been fellow believers that have tried over and over to lead the ELCA back to the Lord and the ELCA continues to pursue this path of promoting a false gospel. Would it not be appropriate in Christian love to turn away, hoping that this will awaken the ELCA and bring them back to the Lord?

1 Corinthians 9-11, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy or swindlers, or idolators. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with any who claim to be fellow believers but are sexually immoral, or greedy, idolators, or slanderers, drunkards, or swindlers. With such persons do not even eat.” In these verses Paul refers to those affiliated with the church that are engaging in immoral conduct. Calling oneself a Christian while leading an immoral life is reprehensible and by doing so they give false testimony to Christ. If Christians associate with other Christians that continue to disregard God’s law by engaging in immoral conduct, non-believers will see this and assume that this is the proper way for a Christian to conduct himself, dishonoring the name of our Lord. Does not the ELCA promote immorality by condoning the homosexual lifestyle? Is placing the social justice agenda above our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ tantamount to idolatry? When the leaders of the ELCA complain openly about the loss of revenue, causing reductions in staffing and compensation, does that not fit the definition of greed? When we are told that we don’t need to turn the hearts of non-believers to Jesus and all are saved regardless of their faith in the risen Christ, we truly need to pray about our continued affiliation with this Synod. We need to continue to prayerfully discern where God is leading. We need to dwell in His Word and let His will be done. If enough of God’s children turn their backs on the ELCA, it may just be enough to open their hearts and bring them back to the Lord. If SOTH decides to remain with the ELCA as it continues on this path, we will not only be guilty by association, but we may be just as well be guilty of dishonoring our Lord.

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