Monday, September 27, 2010

Father Knows Best

After decades of political infighting, the ELCA has, with a total disregard of Scripture, altered doctrine to allow practicing homosexuals to be ordained and same-sex unions to be blessed. There are so many that are all worked up over this issue alone. For some this is the overriding factor when deciding whether or not to break fellowship with the ELCA. Some in the LGTB community are still angry that there are those that cling to Scripture and continue to disapprove of their lifestyle. Anyone who stands up for God’s Word is derided and mocked as a homophobe, hateful or hypocritical by those who state that they only want to be loved and accepted for what they are, God’s children. When one reads from some of the progressive blogs, there is so much anger in the LGTB community that one would be led to believe that the 2009 Church Wide Assembly voted NO! Brothers and sisters know this, the evil one is in utter bliss over what has transpired within the ELCA. Sex is not the major issue. It is only the tip of the iceberg in the ELCA’s misguided assault on the Christian faith! We all fall short of the glory of our Lord and we all fall into sin regularly. Yes, all of us! But, we are no longer under the law-we are under God’s grace. If we simply fail to obey His law, we will not fall from the path of salvation because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sin. His ultimate sacrifice was the final atonement that permanently paved a path to our salvation, as long as we truly believe. No matter what we do, so long as we truly believe, that path will remain open for us.

But, when one truly places Christ at the center of his or her life, that person will gladly obey His law and live one’s life according to God’s will. Our selfish desires, whatever they may be, will lessen in importance. We will do whatever we can to please our Lord and begin to live our lives to give glory to Him. When we look to prop up our selfish nature by using our “bound conscience” to believe what we want, contrary to God’s intent, we commit the gravest of sins against our God. We place ourselves above our Lord and worship, not the God of all creation, but ourselves, our identities and our accomplishments. Thou shall have no other gods before me. Matthew 22:37-38, “Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.” This just may be the deal breaker for our Lord. How sad this is for those that accept and are led astray by this false gospel. Man’s law forbids certain behavior and if you choose to disobey, you get arrested and go to jail. Our Father’s law forbids certain behavior, but now we are told that we can disregard His law because some ELCA scholars believe that God is telling us something new. But, because God loves us so much, He forgives us and invites us to live with Him in His house despite our willful disobedience. The leadership of the ELCA has, by adopting the doctrine of bound conscience, placed man in authority over God. These petulant children, the leaders and scholars of the ELCA, think they are more enlightened and know better than God, who can with a word, create the universe or destroy it. It appears that they are playing with fire here.

Nothing that is happening now, has not happened before. Our Lord has dealt with His disobedient children all too often. When the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Scripture, it was all part of His plan for us. His plan is made known to us through the Scriptures. Those that choose to ignore God’s Word do so at great peril. The ELCA is called to safeguard our church's doctrine, or that which we believe and profess, not question the long held truths of the Christian faith. The ELCA is called to enforce discipline against those that teach false doctrine and to guard the historic and orthodox Christian faith, not adopt doctrine that contradicts Scripture. As the leaders and scholars of the ELCA question the long held truths of the Christian faith, their arrogance betrays them. The leadership of the ELCA is engaged in this self-destructive pursuit of secular values while denying the very God they profess to worship. Luke 17:1-3, “Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.” Unfortunately, there are those that are falling prey to these heretical teachings. Pray for those unaware of these destructive teachings, that their hearts and minds be opened to resist this false gospel. Pray that those true to the Spirit awaken and rise up to leave this misguided denomination. Continue to reach out in Christian love to all our brothers and sisters so that all will come to believe and know the Lord.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Slippery Slope

In an effort to more accepting of other cultures and religions, ELCA scholars have concluded that faith in the Risen Christ is not necessary to ensure one’s salvation. This concept of “universalism” that is being promoted by the ELCA is based on the premise that God is a loving God that freely grants His grace and offers salvation to everyone, regardless of one’s belief. This, as many of the ELCA’s more modern doctrinal shifts, contains only a part of the truth. Yes, God does freely offer the gift of salvation to everyone, but the caveat is that one must accept and believe that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, suffered and died for us as a final atonement for our sin. There is no other way. John 14:6-7, ”Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” The ELCA teaches and believes that there are many ways to God, but that Christianity is a “better” way. Apparently, Christians will get upgraded accommodations in our Father’s house.

They also teach and believe that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. This again is also a half truth. Both religions do, in fact, worship the God of Abraham and Moses, but the Islam faith denies Jesus Christ as  Savior and son of God. Furthermore, Islam rejects God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, believing in God (Allah) alone. Since there is no Savior in the Islamic faith, they remain under the law and reject God’s grace. John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Those that remain under the law continue to be under the penalty of original sin. Without our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, there is no atonement for their sin and those under the law are due the penalty for that sin. But, because the leadership and scholars of the ELCA wish to portray themselves as enlightened and all accepting, they endorse the principle of receiving God’s grace and salvation without our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So, according to this concept of universalism, our Savior is optional and everyone is saved no matter what they believe or do. If we choose this path, for what purpose would we worship our God? If it doesn’t matter, why should we believe, pray or worship at all? We may as well enjoy life to the fullest and experience any and all that there is in this world. This is just more evidence that the leadership of the ELCA is greasing the skids on a pathway to hell, in a headlong rush to lead their membership away from the Lord.

We must continue to fight the good fight and inform those that are unaware of this false gospel promoted by the leadership and scholars of the ELCA. We must remain true to the Word of God and work to promote the Gospel to all nations. The Bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA stated in his address to the June 2010 Assembly that we don’t need to turn the heart of every Muslim to Christ. Jesus gave His final instructions to the Disciples in the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-19, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We must choose to obey our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim His Gospel to the world. For those without faith in our Lord remain lost in their sin. As disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility to expose the false teachings that are being promoted by the leadership of the ELCA. Too many souls are at risk to simply leave this denomination and turn our backs on those that choose to remain or those that are unaware. We must always reach out in Christian love in the hope that the Spirit will open their hearts and minds to lead them back on the path to salvation and away from the slippery slope of the false gospel of tolerance, justice and acceptance that is being promoted over the Gospel of Christ.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Suffer the Fools

Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Some declare that they see no problem remaining in fellowship with the ELCA and its’ diverse views of Scripture. There are those that maintain that differences in the varying beliefs and teaching in the ELCA are not so much of a dilemma for them as it may be for those that are not as tolerant of viewpoints that are different than their own. 2 Corinthians 11:4, “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” In this verse Paul is chastising the church in Corinth because they have been unquestionably tolerant of deceivers and false apostles in their midst and continue in fellowship with those deceivers nonetheless. As for those who continue to be unsure about breaking fellowship with the ELCA and its false teachings, are they as foolish as those Corinthians that Paul describes?

Some struggle with circumstances in their lives that cause anxiety and  undue fear, so they decide to abide by their own opinions and to not fully trust in the Lord. Know this; The ELCA is on a fool’s errand in an effort to increase their membership by being more welcoming, accepting and tolerant of everyone and everything by watering down or disregarding God’s Word. Some cast aspersions upon those that desire to obey God’s Word and advocate breaking fellowship with a church that no longer believes in the foundational principals of our faith. This only proves that those who claim to be more accepting are nothing of the sort. As their membership dwindles the leaders of the ELCA congratulate themselves and accuse their detractors of incivility, willful misunderstandings and bearing false witness. It is apparent that the position of the leadership of the ELCA is, to accuse those that adhere to Scripture and want to obey God’s Law, of spreading slanderous lies about the false gospel that they attempt to foist upon their membership. We are compelled to be faithful to God’s Will, not the bidding of those enlightened scholars and bishops that revel in revisionism.

Those that pretend to have the moral responsibility to maintain fellowship with this organization that casts doubt upon the very faith that they are charged to uphold, are engaged in much more that simple foolishness. Romans 16:17-18, “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naïve people.” Remaining in fellowship with a denomination that rejects, not only God’s Law, but questions the very truth of Jesus’ Resurrection, is a recipe for disaster. The heavy handedness of the leadership of the ELCA will eventually overtake and strangle any Scripturally based teaching. Remaining in the ELCA while this false teaching overtakes the pulpits of their churches and begins to indoctrinate our children, is too great a risk to not break fellowship.

As more and more of those that are true to Scripture leave, who will be left to impede the ELCA’s charge into the abyss? We are not to be so naïve that we will blindly accept the willful misinterpretation of Scripture that advances the leadership of the ELCA’s vision of a new Lutheranism. With no one left to question their head long rush to replace Scripture with their new modern and secular doctrine, the leadership of the ELCA will lead many of their membership away from God to follow their false gospel. Many more will wake up one day and find themselves nowhere near where the Lord wants them to go. Eventually, the ELCA will wither away, unable to meet its financial obligations to promote their secular aspirations. But, how many brothers and sisters will be lost to these false teachings in the mean time.

Then there are those that wish to remain because they claim that there is little in Scripture to guide them in the decision of breaking the fellowship of the church. This church promotes doctrine contrary to God’s Will. Our unity is not just with A church, our unity is IN Christ, first and foremost. If the church denies our Savior and rejects the Scriptures, for what purpose would we remain in fellowship, other than to save our brothers and sisters from these false teachings. Those that argue that they want to remain on the fence or not voice an opinion do nothing but bolster the line of reasoning that the leadership of the ELCA uses to support this false gospel. Those that feel that the doctrine of bound conscience will protect them from the greater ELCA’s new policies on ministry standards have another thing coming. ELCA pastors are already finding that the doctrine of bound conscience only goes one way. Those that preach the Gospel and question the ELCA’s new doctrine are facing disciplinary actions. As more scripturally bound congregations and pastoral candidates leave the ELCA, how long will it be before the social gospel of tolerance is preached from the pulpit of those faithful congregations that choose to remain?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Not About You

In this modern society of ours, satisfying one’s personal needs often takes priority over the things that really matter. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-25, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit your very self.” Our Lord expects that we deny ourselves in order to be His disciples. We must be obedient and totally dedicated to serving our Lord in our daily lives. How does one accomplish this daunting task in this modern, self serving world in which one can meet their every desire by the mere touch of a button? Philippians 2:5-8, “have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Even though Christ was one with God and fully God Himself, he subjected Himself to serve others in humility. Christ did not use His authority to assume earthly privilege or take any advantage that should be granted to Him as fully God.

When we place Christ first in our lives, we will live our lives to please our Lord and Savior. Earthly desires will no longer hold us hostage. Romans 8:5-8, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Our selfish desires are the sinful nature described by Paul. Our innermost selfish, sinful being is easily tempted to fulfill our own desires and neglect our Lord. Placing our own needs and desires before our Lord leads to disobedience and resentment and will only serve to make us unacceptable to God.

Which nature is served by the crusade for “full inclusion” and acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle by the ELCA? Is the Spirit leading the ELCA to use their bound conscience to reinterpret Scripture? Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Paul explains that we are obliged to live according to the Spirit and if we surrender to the Spirit, worldly desires will wane in their importance, and we will delight in following God’s law. If we fail to follow the Spirit, we will fall into sin and turn away from our Savior. We gladly submit ourselves to God’s law because we obey out of our love for Him. Simply obeying God’s law will not, in and of itself, bring us to salvation, but God provides us with our moral and ethical boundaries in His law.

This life on this world is not about us, it is all about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we finally surrender to the Lord and give our lives to Him, only then will we begin to truly live. Our sexual identities, occupations, and all the other worldly things will start to take their proper place in our lives, as secondary to our faith in our Lord, who took our sin and died for us, rose and defeated death so that we may live, forever with our Father in Heaven.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keep the Faith

In the parable of the weeds, Matthew 13:24-31, Jesus teaches us about the kingdom of heaven and compared it to a man who sowed wheat seed in his field. While the man slept an enemy came and planted weed seeds among the wheat. When the weeds grew, the man’s servants wanted to pull out the weeds. The man advised his servants to leave the weeds grow among the wheat, so that none of the wheat would be lost when pulling the weeds. He said that the weeds and wheat should grow together until harvest, when the weeds would be collected in bundles to be burned. Then the wheat would be harvested and taken into his barn. In Matthew 13:36-43, Jesus explains that the weeds are the evil doers of the world, planted by the evil one, and that they will be separated from the wheat, those judged as righteous, at the day of judgment. The field is meant to denote the world around us that is filled with evil. As we go about our lives in this world, evil is all around us. The evil one sows many seeds of discontent throughout our world and tempts us with worldly desires. At the final judgment, all who do evil will be cast into the burning fire of hell and the righteous will dwell in eternity with our Lord.

As this enlightened ELCA evolves, more and more of God’s Word is challenged, maligned and twisted to be more acceptable to their modern sensibilities. Often, the message that is underscored by the leaders and scholars of the ELCA is one of skepticism. The Bible is referred to as a book of faith, a collection of stories by authors trapped within their own time and influenced by their own opinions, traditions, and experiences and whose values and teachings are not suitable to the issues facing this current generation. Of course, how could someone from thousands of years ago have any idea of the dilemmas that 21st century humans would encounter? It is because that God himself authored, by inspiring those human writers, the very Scripture that the ELCA so conveniently cites when certain verses bolster their secular ideas and reject those verses that refute their secular desires. What they do not understand is that all of Scripture was inspired by our Lord, including those verses that provide evidence that the current doctrinal changes promoted by the ELCA are contrary to God’s Will.

Because modern science cannot justify the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the ELCA casts doubt upon the very foundation of the Christian faith. There is no need to understand the science, we only need to believe that there is nothing that God, who created the very universe that our world is a part of, cannot accomplish, despite what the learned scientific community or leadership of the ELCA believes. If our Lord’s resurrection and victory over death did not occur according to Scripture, we will have believed in vain and lost our salvation. How can those who have the responsibility to defend God’s Word and to safeguard proper doctrine, that in which we believe and profess, continually question the validity of Scripture? The ELCA is charged to enforce discipline against those that teach false doctrine and to guard the historic and orthodox Christian faith. How can the ELCA discipline any church when they promote doctrine that contradicts Scripture?

While the ELCA continues to sow the seeds of doubt in the field, how do we remain as the faithful wheat while remaining in fellowship with his wayward denomination? The Apostles taught that we should gather with other believers in order to keep our faith strong. We are taught to pray together and dwell in the Word. In His Word, our Lord has prepared a plan for us to keep our faith strong. We need to continue to grow in our faith with Bible study, prayer, and continued fellowship with believers, encouraging and supporting each other in our Lord’s name. Jude 20-21, “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”