Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don't Kill the Messenger

When a church strays so far from it foundational beliefs that action is necessary, don’t place the blame on those that expose the truth. Many are angry at those that are speaking out for the Lord and informing their congregations about the doctrinal shifts of the ELCA. Those that are upset are concerned that this “unbelievable” information will “upset the apple cart’ and cause strife and division within their congregations. Some just want this to all go away and “Can’t we just go on as always” because their congregation is true to the Word and the message from their pulpit is sound. When the enemy is at the gate, ignoring him will not cause him to go away. As the doctrinal shifts of the ELCA become more and more radical, traditional congregations remaining within the ELCA are at risk. Doctrine that has been in effect for hundreds of years is slowly being eroded away by the doctrine of “bound conscience”. The leadership of the ELCA has the responsibility to protect and support sound doctrine, not eliminate it and replace it with human reason and opinion.

“It is the duty both of preachers and of hearers first of all and above all things to see to it that they have a clear and sure evidence that their doctrine is really the true word of God, revealed from heaven to the holy, original fathers, the prophets and apostles, and confirmed and commanded to be taught by Christ Himself. For we should by no means ever let doctrine be manhandled according to the pleasure and fancy of the individual who adapts it to human reason and understanding. Nor should we let men toy with Scripture, juggle the Word of God, and make it submit to being explained, twisted, stretched, and revised to suit people or to achieve peace and union; for then there could be no secure or stable foundation on which consciences might rely.” - sermon by Martin Luther

It is hard to believe that this Synod, that has been so influential in our faith journeys, has drifted so far away from the traditional Lutheran teachings. This is not supposed to happen in the church. We hold an innate trust in those that have been elevated to the leadership positions in our church. That they would choose to disregard God’s word and replace it with their own modern sensibilities is almost unfathomable. The ELCA that we grew up to love and trust is an entirely different animal now. Now those that have witnessed the pagan rituals at Synod Assembly services, the minimizing of sin by the elimination of confession and absolution, and discovered these troubling shifts in doctrine are questioning why their church is leaving God behind. Committees have been put in place to investigate the doctrinal shifts of the ELCA and when they report back to their congregations some respond with anger, derision, and accuse committee members of “preaching” to them. Who then is responsible to inform? Our pastors are afraid to speak out against the ELCA, lest they become subject to discipline. That responsibility now lies with the laity. Yes, those that for all these years chose to stay in the background and let “someone else” attend Churchwide Assemblies. Yes. we bear much of the blame, due to our failure to get involved, for allowing these dramatic shifts away from Scripture and it is imcumbent upon us to take on the responsibility to expose this false doctrine.

All the information detailing these shifts in doctrine is clearly posted on the ELCA’s own website. There is no need to place our opinions in the investigative reports. The positions of the ELCA are there for all that choose to open their eyes, minds, and hearts. These reports are not intended to cause division in the church, only education. Those that refuse to listen to the truth are harming no one but themselves. Jeremiah 5:21, “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but do not see; who have ears, but do not hear:” These doctrinal shifts of the ELCA are not simply morality issues, these shifts will affect the salvation of those who choose to accept these new doctrines. Know this; the ELCA that you grew up in is ceasing to exist. Those of you afraid of change and think that by remaining in the ELCA will allow you to “keep the good times rolling” are in for a big surprise. Those that remain will eventually be affected by all the doctrinal shifts and things will change, and not for the better. If one really wants things to continue as they are, with sound Christ centered doctrine and traditional preaching from the pulpit, they will need to move to the more traditional alternatives to the ELCA. Do not be foolish; open your eyes, minds and hearts to hear God’s word. Discuss and reach out to each other in true Christian love and listen to everyone’s concerns. Fellowship is important, but our allegiance remains with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, not with a church denomination.

2 Timothy 2:14-16, 22-26, “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” Explain the truth with patience and understanding.  Engaging in foolish arguments will only cause the truth of the matter to be lost.  Teach and explain the Word, and listen to questions with respect.  Let those in opposition be heard and in turn they may listen to the truth and be drawn back to the Lord.  Matthew 13:16, Jesus said "Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear."  Let's all open our eyes and ears to embrace the truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


  1. I have to be blunt: the next time the current ELCA's leadership listens to the laity will also be the first. Recall that in 2004 the ELCA did a survey of its members during the Journeying Together Faithfully process and found 57% opposed changing the teachings on homosexuality (only 22% supported it). You can see how much good that did.

    The irony is exquisite. The ELCA tried to put Biblical truths to a popular vote; yet when they lost they rammed their beliefs down everyone's throats anyway. There is no reason to believe they will suddenly start to behave in an honest and open fashion now that they have elevated their own god created in their own image.

  2. I sent a link to some of my former fellow congregants at an ELCA church (we are an LCMS family now) a few weeks ago, and yesterday, one responded with as vile and bitter a personal attack as I have ever seen. After exchanging a few e-mails, this individual 'fessed up to the fact that he is, in fact, an atheist, and happy that the ELCA is a social club.

    I resisted the urge to thank him for disabusing me of any doubts that I had left about our decision to leave.

    Nice reference to Asimov, RL!