Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Spirit of Truth

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth has transpired within the membership of the ELCA since the adoption of a doctrine designed to justify the reinterpreting of God’s Word to meet their goal of social justice. Some of the ELCA biblical scholars believe and are teaching that the Bible is an outdated collection of anecdotes and stories written by simple, uneducated men specifically for the people of that time. Some say that the Word is clouded by the attitudes and perspectives of a people that were culturally predisposed to prejudices against practices that were acceptable in other societies. These misguided opinions have supported the ELCA’s attack on Scripture and are the principal rationale used to defend their effort to supplant Scripture with man’s more enlightened version. This modern and secular interpretation of God’s Word has brought us the doctrine of bound conscience.

Many of the activists that have fought for the full inclusion of the LGTB community in the church are still angry that many traditional Lutherans continue to believe that homosexuality is sinful and that the actions of the 2009 ELCA assembly violate God’s law. Simple inclusion without the acceptance of their lifestyle is not sufficient enough.  This sinful traditional Lutheran knows of no congregation that prohibits anyone from the LGTB community to worship and have full communion with the church. As a matter of fact, no sinners are prohibited from fully participating in worship, fellowship and Communion at any Lutheran church. We need to remember that we are all sinful beings and need to regularly ask God for His forgiveness. Most of us are not proud that we fail our Lord on a regular basis and realize that our Lord suffered greatly for each and every sin we commit.

Unfortunately, the ELCA has invented doctrine that allows one to disregard language in the Bible if one only has an opinion contrary to God’s intent and further, allows it’s membership to engage in acts that defy God’s law. In doing so, their selfishness and arrogance separates them from our God. That the ELCA would voluntarily adopt doctrine that, by its nature, distances us from our Lord is beyond belief. There are many excuses one can use to justify engaging in sinful behavior. With bound conscience, the ELCA provides a doctrine that legitimizes that excuse for anyone to engage in sin if only they believe in their own interpretation of Scripture. It is when we deny our sin that we betray ourselves, convincing ourselves that we are indeed good and have no need to confess to the Lord. We need to realize that we are all equals as sinful human beings. No sinner is better than or worse than any other. No sin should cause any brother or sister in Christ to be rejected or treated any differently than any other child of God.

Then why is there so great an outcry about the actions of the 2009 ELCA assembly? This dispute should not be exclusively about human sexuality. The fact of the matter is that the new doctrine of bound conscience elevates man to a position to be in authority over Scripture and, as such, places all of God’s word in jeopardy. Argue about the other matters all you want, but when it comes down to the ultimate authority, God has the final word, not us. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ told his disciples in John 15:26-27, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” and John 16:13-14, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” The testimonies of the Apostles are, indeed, the inspired Word of God, received from the Holy Spirit as directed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Peter testified, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” All Scripture, in this instance the Old Testament is the subject of Peter’s testimony, is God’s Word and therefore, His truth and law for us.

It is more than unfortunate that some of God’s children believe it to be appropriate to disregard our Lord’s word and replace it with the words they long to hear. It is heartbreaking that some of God’s children feel the need to place their sexual identities above their love of our Lord. Our salvation was paid for in Jesus’ blood and suffering. Those that refuse to obey our Lord and cling to their own selfish desires will only place their salvation at risk. The leaders of the ELCA that encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to ignore God’s Word are leading others away from the Lord and jeopardize their own salvation as well.

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