Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fear is the Devil's Best Friend

There are many in our congregation that are concerned and troubled about the actions that took place at the ELCA Assembly last August.  Differing opinions as to what direction we should take has caused some unrest and misunderstandings among us. Some are afraid of a future with the ELCA when the new doctrines are enforced, while others fear what will happen if we choose to leave and join a new denomination.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, the evil one loves fear and hides in the darkness to delight in tempting Christians to question their faith and cause dissent among them. John 3:19-21, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 All those who do evil hate the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But those who live by the truth come into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” It is best to share each other’s concerns regarding the challenges that this congregation will have to face in the future. We cannot let the evil one work behind the scenes to plant seeds of doubt, fear and internal strife in an effort to cause us to falter in our faith. We must open our spiritual hearts, eyes, and minds in order to recognize when we are unwittingly being exploited by the evil one.

There is much to pray about and discern regarding some of the new doctrines adopted by the ELCA. These new policies will eventually touch everyone in our congregation. Ignoring these issues will not make them go away. As long as we remain an ELCA congregation we have the responsibility to defend the infallibility of Scripture. The doctrine of bound conscience will eventually lead our congregation to make difficult choices; do we wish to disregard God’s Word and place our own opinion above our Lord or do we fight to uphold God’s Word and keep Him first in our lives? Like Pastor Jay said in his sermon Sunday, there can be no middle ground, either you accept the gift of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Gospel or you deny Him.  Martin Luther said, “You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.” Unfortunately, the ELCA scholars that invented this bound conscience did not consider this statement, nor did they consider numerous passages in Scripture that prove this new doctrine contrary to God’s Word.

Dr. Martin Luther King said it well, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Our faith and the Word of God matters. So do the millions of Christians that are members of the ELCA and are either accepting the direction the ELCA is taking them or are unaware of this errant doctrine. Will we sit on the sidelines and try to remain neutral, or will we stand up for our Lord and Savior. Those that accede to these false gospels that the ELCA is foisting upon its members, are no better than the persons responsible for concocting it. We are called to challenge the false prophets and protect God’s children from being led astray. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” Our Lord gives us the strength necessary to persevere in the face of hardship and persecution.

Ephesians 5:8-13, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Live in the light and proclaim the Word of God, everywhere and to everyone.

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