Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Words do Matter

A misspoken word or phrase has damaged or ended many careers. Those in the political world and especially religious leaders and their churches are often the targets of the “word police”. The political correctness that permeates this society renders the old adage that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” all but obsolete. But, some words do matter. One needs to look no further than the ELCA website to find the words that matter to them. The Biblical scholars of the ELCA cast doubt upon the very foundation of our faith by disputing the Virgin Birth. The ELCA convicts itself with its own words on their official website. In referring to the Book of Concord, the Augsburg Confession III The Son of God, the website proclaims, “This statement, written in the 16th Century, supports the Western Church’s traditional understanding of the doctrine referred to as The Virgin Birth. While it remains official and normative for the Evangelical Lutheran Church today, it has not closed the doctrinal debate over Jesus’ conception for many Lutherans, and by inference that includes ELCA members. It is a doctrine debated by many other Protestant Christians, scholars and those who inquire about the Christian faith and its tenets.” The Augsburg Confession, on which our Lutheran doctrine is declared, is cast as outdated and perhaps, obsolete. Much of the rest of the text regarding the Virgin Birth tends to cast doubt upon this foundational belief of Christianity. While much of the text questions the validity of the miracle of the Virgin Birth, there is little argument within this text that supports the traditional belief as written in Scripture.

Additionally, the ELCA’s own words betray their true intentions when one views their official webpage on the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This text is particularly troubling. After a brief synopsis of Scripture inferring that the bodily resurrection of Christ may have been misrepresented in Scripture, it goes on to say, “All of this has led some scholars to write that the risen Jesus (and apparitions of the risen Jesus) is a supernatural reality which does not belong to this world and cannot be the object of historic investigation. Rather, Jesus' resurrection is an object of faith.” This discourse continues throughout the article, questioning the physical resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Luke is recognized by Biblical scholars as historically correct and Luke records the life of Jesus and His ministry in great detail. Much of Luke’s investigation included the testimony of many eyewitnesses to the events that he recorded. In Luke 24:38-42, “He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 Ands while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything to eat?’ 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.” It is clear by the testimony of Luke, Mark, John, Matthew, and Paul that Jesus was resurrected in body and flesh and was not some type of apparition as is alleged by the ELCA scholars that continue to debate the authority of Scripture. While the website does contain a disclaimer, stating that these opinions are not the official stance of the ELCA, other than to cast doubt, why would these opinions be clearly posted on their official website and directed to new and returning members?  The opinions of those scholars appear to be given at least as much credibility as Biblical accounts.

The Apostle Paul has advice for those that would embrace what the ELCA is teaching, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 14-15, 17, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 14, And if Christ has not been raised, your preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God… 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Why would the leadership and the Biblical scholars of the ELCA cast doubt upon the very foundation of the faith that they claim to profess. It is very troubling that the leadership of the ELCA fosters this discourse that suggests that the Bible, the Word of God, is somehow not reliable and that we should not be so naïve as to believe what uneducated men wrote almost two thousand years ago. It becomes obvious that the leadership of the ELCA considers themselves to have more authority than our Lord and that their opinions are more significant than the written Word of God. That, my friends, is the deepest, darkest form of heresy! Christian Lutheranism is at risk while the leadership of the ELCA is on the fast track to replace the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their misguided false gospel.

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