Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Root of All Evil

Faced with the tidal wave of congregations voting to dissolve their association with the ELCA, the leadership of the ELCA is in the process taking steps to make it more difficult for congregations to leave. Lutheran CORE reported in its November Newsletter that the ELCA church council recommended changes to the model constitution making it more difficult for a congregation to vote to leave the ELCA. This church body, so welcoming and accepting of everyone, passed a far reaching social justice agenda that disregarded God’s law, fully expecting many congregations to leave. But, more are leaving than expected, so they are now scrambling to limit the damage. Loss of revenue from congregations that leave or redirect their benevolence is starting to take a significant toll on the bureaucracy of the ELCA. Money talks, and the God fearing walk away, choosing to give to organizations true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A more reasonable organization would realize that they overreached their authority and would try to make an effort to stem the flow by rescinding some of the more offensive doctrinal shifts. Not the enlightened, all knowing leadership of the ELCA. All of us knuckle dragging traditionalists just don’t understand that the ELCA is trying to lead us to a new world order of Lutheranism, created, not in God’s image, but their own. Many that sit in positions of power, religious or governmental, fail to understand the gravity of their decisions when they choose to adopt errant doctrine that throws our foundational beliefs under the bus. Instead, they place the blame on the unenlightened masses for “misunderstanding their intent”.

Forcing congregations to navigate additional restrictive procedures in order to leave an organization that they have little in common with, makes no sense whatsoever. Would it not be better to just recognize that we differ in our core beliefs and need to go our separate ways? For the ELCA, though, that would mean losing more money. That would mean that the ELCA power structure and establishment would lose their clout in the secular world. Without the ability to misuse our benevolences that are given faithfully so that the ELCA can do God’s work, how would they be able to advocate against Israel and support Palestine, thereby tacitly enabling terrorist groups like Hamas? How would they continue to advance their far reaching progressive social justice agenda? Money is the root of all evil, and make no mistake about it, the ELCA is fighting to keep you because of the money you give.

Some of the new changes that will be submitted to the Church Wide Assembly in 2011 include;

• A congregation must hold a 30-day consultation period with its bishop before taking a first vote to leave the ELCA.

• Congregations will be required to meet any financial obligations to the ELCA before leaving.

• A congregation will be required to vote by a two-thirds majority to join a new Lutheran church body, or else it will be “conclusively presumed” to have become an independent Lutheran congregation, potentially forfeiting its property.

Micah 2:1-3, “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. 2 They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellowman of his inheritance. 3 Therefore, the LORD says:“I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves.” A disaster is brewing, and the ELCA has brought it upon itself. Because they miscalculated the fallout from placing their agenda ahead of our Lord’s, they face a catastrophic loss of membership, more than likely ending the ELCA’ s reign as the largest Lutheran denomination in North America. So, the plan is to put as many roadblocks up as possible to stem the flow of congregations leaving. The leadership of the ELCA plots ways to seize the property of congregations that vote to leave. They plan to require congregations to meet any financial obligations before leaving. Will this include any budgeted benevolences for the remainder of the year that they disassociate with the ELCA?

Isaiah 5:20-21, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” These clever leaders and scholars of the ELCA have made a major misstep by overreaching their authority and underestimating the resolve of those who remain true to the Lord.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

God's Law IS Important

The adoption of the doctrine of bound conscience has caused many people to accuse the ELCA of disregarding God’s Law and replacing it with a version more acceptable to modern society. Others believe it to be a way that people with differing opinions can still remain in Christian fellowship without conflict by respecting the opinions of others. "The world maintains, as do many people who do not understand, that we should not fight so hard about an article and thus trample on Christian love; rather, although we disagree on one small point, if we agree on everything else, we should give in and overlook the difference in order to preserve brotherly and Christian unity and fellowship. No, my dear man, do not commend peace and unity to me when thereby God's Word is lost...The Word was given unto us for eternal life and not to further outward peace and harmony... Therefore, do not talk to me about love and friendship if that means breaking with the Word or the faith, for the Gospel does not say love brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures, but instead 'the Word" - Martin Luther. Apparently the ELCA scholars considered only the first part of this statement. Keeping harmony in the church at the expense of disregarding God's Word should be an anathema to the church. As Scripture is challenged by these ELCA Biblical scholars as the infallible Word of God, they cite Bible verses in order to support this new doctrine. On one hand the argument is made that the Bible is a “Book of Faith” and not always relevant to our society, but Scripture is always cited when it appears convenient to prop up secular ideals.

Bound conscience is obviously viewed quite differently by the opposing camps. The ELCA believes that bound conscience is primarily directed at those that feel that Scripture prohibits same sex relationships. They believe that those that adhere to Scripture and believe that homosexuality is sinful are to be allowed to have that opinion, even if the church doctrine determines otherwise. The traditional Lutheran is convinced that this doctrine places man in authority over Scripture and allows man to interpret Scripture in any way they so choose. Those traditional Lutherans believe that bound conscience falsely allows the church to legitimize those engaging in same sex relationships, a practice that is specifically prohibited by Scripture.

When Scripture was written, mortal men were inspired by the Holy Spirit to chronicle God’s own words for us. Some Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, can be somewhat troubling to this society that believes that it has reached the pinnacle of enlightenment. Some of the passages that seem to cause the most consternation are those involving the role of women in the church, human sexuality and slavery. The argument is made that these few passages, that are disconcerting to our more modern sensibilities, prove that the Bible is out of touch with our society. On the contrary, a church that embraces secular and progressive values is disconnected from and denies our Lord the proper role in their ministry.

It is very troubling that such a few in the vocal minority can have so much influence over not only the values embraced by our society, but on churches that have adopted doctrine to mirror this enlightened philosophy. In addition, our own ELCA has taken many of these secular causes and lifted them up as central to their ministry, prioritizing the J of (social) Justice instead of Jesus. With the adoption of the bound conscience doctrine, those that interpret Scripture are to have their opinions respected, even if that opinion is in error! Although this bound conscience doctrine is not meant to be applied in matters that affect salvation, it is already is being used to question the foundation of our faith. The ELCA already recognizes alternate ways to salvation, in other words, Jesus is not the only way. ELCA scholars cast doubt upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Birth in text explaining their disagreements over the "proper" interpretation of Scripture. Nothing in Scripture gives this doctrine of bound conscience any credibility. This bound conscience is of man and not of the Spirit.

Romans 6:15-18, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed you allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and become slaves to righteousness.” Since we are saved by our faith alone, it appears that some believe that the law is no longer relevant. This attitude, though, will lead to a lack of moral restraint. We need look no further than the actions taken at the 2009 ELCA assembly to see what happens when we lift up our earthy desires and disregard God’s law. We need to substitute our disobedience and sinful ways by placing our Lord first in our lives, which will lead to the path of righteousness. With our Lord as the central purpose in our lives, we will have no need for the sinful ways of this world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Discretionary Matters?

Police officers have a wide range of discretion when dealing with minor matters of the law. Simple forfeiture offenses, such as traffic and municipal ordinance violations, can be dealt with as much as a citation or as little as a verbal warning. Misdemeanors require that the officer refer the matter to the District Attorney to determine further prosecution, but the officer may order the suspect to appear without making a formal arrest. Felonies are the most serious and as such, there is no gray area, and the police officer must make a custodial arrest, incarcerate the offender and even discretion by the District Attorney is minimized. A bishop in the Lutheran Church has the responsibility to teach Scripture and guard traditional and orthodox doctrine in order to ensure the preservation of the historic teachings of the Christian religion. A bishop is to act as the church’s primary enforcement officer and to discipline those that teach false doctrine. While there may be some discretion allowed in the enforcement of certain minor morality and ethics issues, matters of salvation are set in stone. The foundation of our faith, Jesus Christ, that he was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was truly human, yet truly God, born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, was resurrected, and sits at the right hand of God and that Scripture is indeed the inspired word of God are the truths that bind our faith. These truths are self evident and are not subject to debate.

The head enforcement officer for the ELCA is Bishop Mark Hanson. Bp. Hanson said at a town hall meeting in December of 2009, “The understanding we have of homosexuality today does not seem to be reflected at all in the context of the biblical writers. Therefore, Lutherans should consider more modern views on sexual orientation.” In 2005 he declared, “Two "hermeneutics" or paradigms are at work among the members of the ELCA that make agreement difficult on scriptural and theological matters. There is a "traditional approach" and a "contextual approach" in interpreting Scripture, both of which are valid and irreconcilable”, Hanson told the bishops. “There are two irreconcilable "paradigms" in which Christians differ in their understandings of the Christian tradition and their interpretation of Scripture, creeds and the confessions”, he said. "Do we expect a resolution to provide a bridge between two extremes?" Hanson asked the bishops. "We Lutherans have come to say that when something is 'paradoxical' that we're going to live in the paradox at the foot of the cross and not force ourselves to decide it with a vote." Yet, this officer of the body of Christ, did not adopt this stand and did, in fact, stand by and allow this “paradox” to be decided with a vote.

This bishop, charged to protect and uphold the authority of Scripture, places himself in authority over God’s Word. By advocating that a “contextual approach” is a valid method to use in the interpretation of Scripture violates his oath to protect the orthodox doctrine of Christianity. This “contextual approach” allows for alternate interpretations of Scripture and thereby, elevates human reasoning and experience above our Lord’s intent. It is clear that God said “No” but, Bp. Hanson apparently believes that God really didn’t understand the future ramifications when He inspired those uneducated, biased, unenlightened authors of Scripture. And of course, when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ said in Mark 10:6-9, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female’ 7 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. 9 Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” According to the rationalization of Bp. Hanson, Jesus just did not understand as much as we do today. This is not only false doctrine, this is genuine heresy. Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God. These commands have no need of man’s interpretation. They come right from the mouth of our Lord. How can one with the highest office of the church, responsible to protect proper doctrine and the historic teaching of Christianity, advocate for the complete disregard our Lord’s command, while recommending replacing it with a more modern, humanistic view?

In 2 Peter 1:20-21 the Apostle Paul tells a different story, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” From the TNIV study Bible, “In the production of Scripture, both God and humans were active participants. God was the source of the content of Scripture, so that what it says is what God has said. But, the human authors also spoke actively; they were more than recorders, yet what they said came from God. Although actively speaking, “they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Why do the leaders and scholars of the ELCA persist in doubting the veracity of the authors of Scripture? What do they expect to accomplish by lifting up human reasoning and experience above the word of God?

The ELCA is likely to collapse upon its own weight as more and more of the faithful congregations choose to leave this misguided denomination. The promotion of universalism, the gospel of affirmation, social justice and tolerance are leading the ELCA and its membership down a slippery slope heading toward the spiritual destruction of its membership. If Bp. Hanson were a police officer, he would be subject to charges of dereliction of duty. Bp. Hanson shamelessly pleads that we must maintain our unity, falsely proclaiming that the sensible thing is to not forsake one another and that the church, the ELCA, is the body of Christ and therefore, not ours to dismember. Unfortunately, the ELCA has drifted so far away from the Christian faith that it can no longer be considered part of the body of Christ. It is altogether something different. Colossians 2:22-23, “These rules are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” The doctrinal shifts promoted by the ELCA are simply earthly rules, conceived by false teachers, are certainly not of divine origin and do nothing to control our sinful nature, but instead encourage it. We follow Christ, not the heretical leaders of a wayward denomination. It’s time to turn our backs on this wayward denomination, praying that our rejection causes them to return to the Lord.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The False gospel of Affirmation

In today’s progressive new church tolerance has become a substitute for adhering to God’s law. Our love for our neighbor takes precedence over the love of our Lord, sin is minimized and forgiveness doesn’t matter. Many look upon themselves as victims, pointing their fingers derisively at those that choose to obey the law and have the audacity to call attention to their disregard of morality. Many members of this progressive new church consider themselves oppressed and demand compassion and understanding. They chide those that have the courage to claim that faith requires sacrifice, calling them judgmental while they themselves lash out in anger and act as judge and jury. Those thirsting for acceptance willfully ignore God’s will and deliberately reinterpret Scripture to support their desires, all the while invoking a God that affirms any and all persons, regardless of faith or belief. This culture of victimization focuses, not on the atonement that took place on the cross, but on demanding justice and righting their perceived wrongs in this world. This new religion that affirms all is centered on self fulfillment, self esteem, self acceptance, and the love of self.

Much of the new doctrine promoted by the ELCA hinges upon the false gospel of affirmation. The false gospel of affirmation declares that God loves and affirms everyone, regardless of their faith. Sin matters not, since God loves us unconditionally, is never angry with us, and always affirms us. The need for forgiveness presumes that we have done wrongs, and the false gospel of affirmation and acceptance eliminates sin and opens a path to salvation to all, regardless of one’s actions or inactions. It is no longer necessary for God to judge, because God is love and only love. This reckless ambition to be all inclusive declares that there is no wrong, only a new and different, nonjudgmental and accepted norm. Where there is no need for forgiveness everything and anything is permissible. Nothing is subject to judgment, so the law is no longer necessary. When the law is no longer necessary, steps can be taken to eliminate the law. This often takes place gradually. We need look no further than the actions of the 2009 ELCA Church Wide Assembly to see how this is happening. Eventually, one believes that they are free from all moral laws by God’s grace. Then they are free to act in a way that pleases the self while rejecting our Lord’s directives. Where there are no limits or boundaries, there is chaos, and eventually a total disregard of the law, replaced by whatever it is that pleases us. This false gospel of affirmation does not need a Savior, since there are no sins to be forgiven. Since Jesus in no longer Savior, He becomes a martyr or perhaps just a nice guy that was misunderstood.

Romans 5:15-17, “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” When Adam sinned, he brought sin upon all mankind. Grace was given to us by God as a gift and that gift was His Son, Jesus Christ. Our Savior took upon Himself the sin of the entire world, yesterday, today and tomorrow, took the punishment that was meant for us, died in our place and defeated death so that we may live, eternally with our Father in Heaven. No, we are not affirmed simply by our Father’s love for us. He loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son to die for us so that if only we believe, we may have eternal life. Our grace is not without cost. Our grace came with a cost that was so precious and with a love that was so profound, it is beyond our human understanding. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God and that He came to take away the sin of the world. Our faith is not about ourselves, it is all about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This false gospel of affirmation does nothing but dishonor everything our Lord did for each and every one of us. This false doctrine is apostasy, plain and simple.

Since the heretical essays were removed from the "Digging Deeper" page on the ELCA website on 11-09-10, perhaps the leadership of the ELCA is reassessing their foray into apostasy. Let us pray that the leadership of the ELCA comes back to the Lord, since many will fall if they continue to travel this path away from God. Continue to proclaim the Gospel, everywhere and to everyone. Expose the false teachings of the ELCA and pray that the faithful that remain do not fall into the trap woven by the leadership and scholars of the ELCA.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

After much debate, Congress eventually passed the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” bill that allowed gays to enlist in the military. Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling, allowing gays to serve openly. Far too many ELCA pastors also evoke the, “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. These pastors don't tell their congregants about the doctrinal shifts in the ELCA and they don’t respond when asked about it. They will ignore your concerns, and will stand mute if confronted with the false gospel that the ELCA is peddling, instead complementing the ELCA for promoting a "big tent" and a "diversity of opinions". Unfortunately for them, our Lord has not altered His ruling on the responsibilities of pastors to lead their flocks. 1 Peter 5:2-3, “Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." What kind of example is a pastor that refuses to challenge false doctrine? When we confess our sins, we pray, “We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone”. When the shepherd of his or her flock fails to lead by example, what does this say to those that God has entrusted them with?

What of those pastors and bishops who are very well aware of the ELCA’s descent into apostasy? Why do these frightened pastors and bishops fail to trust the Lord and worry more about their “job” status than their promise to the Lord? If their pastoral responsibility and obligation to serve the Lord is just a job to them, then they are in the wrong profession. What else does the Lord command those who have a responsibility to their flocks? Ezekiel 34:2-4, 8-10, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.” The clergy who fail to trust in the Lord and cite that they answer to their bishop and not their congregations, are not serving the Lord. When someone declares an oath to the Lord to dedicate their lives to serving Him and instead chooses to serve the ELCA, they will be held accountable by our Lord and will be due the just punishment for their selfishness.

Pastors that uphold their responsibilities to serve the Lord and protect their congregations from false doctrine are being persecuted by the leadership of the ELCA. Any pastor with the temerity to challenge the ELCA’s shift away from the traditional Lutheran doctrines are being called before their respective bishops and face being charged with conduct unbecoming a pastor. Matthew 5: 10-12, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  It should be a badge of honor to be persecuted for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, but precious few of our pastors will stand up for the Lord. What of those leaders of the Lord’s Church, the ELCA bishops that are charged to safeguard our church’s doctrine and enforce discipline against false doctrine? How can those that advocate the disregard of Scripture and elevation of secular values above God’s word, enforce discipline? Luke 17:2, “Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.”

The leaders of the ELCA are causing their membership to fall into sin by disregarding God’s law and elevating an earthly authority that they call “bound conscience”. The leaders of the ELCA are intimidating their clergy into denying our Lord and Savior and acquiescing to this doctrinal shift that diminishes the Lord’s role in our faith. The buck stops here! If one has to choose between an earthly establishment that is the ELCA or proclaiming the Lord’s Word, there is no choice, especially for those who have accepted the call to dedicate their lives to serving the Lord. It is time to turn away from the ELCA and lead your flocks to the safety of a denomination that is true to the Lord. It is time to challenge this false gospel that the leaders of the ELCA are perpetrating upon their membership. Galations 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Lead your flock, proclaim His word, and serve the Lord.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Follow the Truth

When investigating crimes, the police detective searches for evidence and clues. If the detective focuses on one particular suspect before compiling all the evidence, he may overlook facts that may implicate someone else that actually committed the crime. So, the detective must follow a pattern to search for the truth in order to point to the proper suspect. If that detective has any preconceived notions, the guilty party may never be discovered. The trail of evidence will always lead the detective to the truth and to the perpetrator of the crime. The leaders and scholars of the ELCA have a specific goal to reach in their modernization of Christian Lutheranism. Their objective is to promote a God made in their own image, one that is all welcoming, tolerant of everything, and has an unconditional love for man that guarantees salvation for all, with no strings attached, no matter what one believes or doesn’t believe. While in this headlong rush to promote this new enlightened religion, the ELCA has run into a problem. God’s Word contradicts the basis for their reinterpretation of this new religion. So, the ELCA has Biblical scholars that debate Scripture and determine that now God is telling us something new. 2 Timothy 4:3-4, For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

While most people in the real world would find it difficult to deny the very foundations of their beliefs and still maintain their faith, this apparently is not a dilemma for the ELCA. On one hand they can pick and choose Scripture verses from the “Book of Faith”, known to most of us as the Bible, that are twisted to bolster their arguments, while conveniently omitting those verses that specifically discredit their new religion. Sin is also problematic for this new religion, so the ELCA has decided to marginalize sin. The doctrine of bound conscience allows one to reinterpret God’s intent and to believe that their sinful actions are right in God’s eyes, in order to make certain that no one will need to feel guilty. Low self esteem is never an issue for this new enlightened ELCA. Anything and everything goes. Except those that adhere to traditional and orthodox Christianity. This is problematic for the ELCA. All of us knuckle dragging traditionalists that cling to Scripture are looked upon as outcasts, homophobes, and obsolete, because of course, God is now telling the ELCA something new.

The ELCA’s Biblical scholars question the very foundation of Christianity and manipulate Scripture to bolster arguments that violate our Lord’s commands. They invent doctrine to place man’s authority above our God. The false doctrine of bound conscience allows the ELCA to accept any behavior, including homosexuality, pagan goddess worship, and radical feminism, as right with God. Bishop Mark Hanson stated in his most recent town hall meeting that he has dedicated more time to the Palestinian issue than anything else during his term as Bishop. Has he not heard of Jesus Christ and His call to all Christians in the Great Commission to go and make disciples of the world? As the ELCA blindly travels the wide road in a steady path away from the Lord, they drag their membership along with them into the abyss. All the while the leaders of the ELCA fail to recognize the truth, placing their agenda ahead of our Lord’s design.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Unfortunately, God’s grace is not unconditional. We must believe and have faith in the Risen Christ, that he took upon himself all our sins, suffered, and died in our place. That He defeated death and through His resurrection we are granted eternal life, if only we believe. We must follow the truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. John 14:6, “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is the only way we will earn God’s grace that grants us our salvation.

Breaking News

Yesterday the ELCA removed the content from the heretical  Digging Deeper  section of their web-site.  Let us pray that it is the Holy Spirit opening the hearts and minds of the leaders of the ELCA and not just damage control.  1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."  Continue to speak out for the Lord.  Let Him use you as a vessel to proclaim His glory to all nations. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Proverbs 3: 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Serve the Lord with all your heart. For whatever happens in your life, it is all part of God’s plan for you. It may not be apparent in what direction He is leading, but suffice it to say, for every season there is a reason. We tend to fret over things that are not within our control, but when we place our lives in His hands, we will never be led astray. Psalm 37: 7-8, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.” If we learn that every event, every person placed in worldly authority, every condition, right down to how much rain falls is a direct result of God’s plan, our every day worries will soon fade away. Every situation we are faced with, every trial or tribulation, the good things and bad times are often the tools our Lord uses to mold us for the tasks He has planned for us. There may be times that we may feel that some ordeals are too much for us to bear, but the Lord will never encumber us with a burden that is beyond what we can tolerate. Out of the worst of times come revelations that may completely change our frame of reference and make us all the better for it. We may never understand why those things happen, but when we trust in our Lord, we will be able to overcome any of the difficulties of this world.

When we depend upon our own selfish understandings and position ourselves and our desires ahead of our Lord, in fact rejecting Him, our problems will become magnified and start to spiral out of control. But, when we serve our Lord and gladly obey His law, our lives will come under His control. When we abide by God’s will and behave in the manner that He intended for us to conduct our lives, we will be filled with the joy of His Spirit. When we accept and believe that the risen Christ suffered and died in our place to redeem us of our sin and defeated death, our salvation is granted freely by God’s grace. If we compare life’s problems with an eternity in paradise with our Lord, we will come to realize what the really important things are. Fill your heart with the love of our Lord. Increase your faith and block out the things that are of this world. Romans 6: 11-14, In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Paul teaches that we are no longer under that law as those who were under the law in the Old Testament era. During that time, those who sinned were condemned by the law, but the grace of God, through Christ, enables believers to reject ungodliness and joyfully accept God’s commands.

Titus 2: 11-12, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” By placing Christ first in our hearts, we will be able to joyfully conduct ourselves with our Lord’s ethics and morals. Even though we do not deserve it, God freely grants us His grace, not because of our good works or deeds, but because of our faith in the Risen Christ. But, our salvation comes with responsibilities. By His grace, we are released from guilt and judgment, but we are directed to conduct ourselves according to God’s moral compass. We are also called to reach out to our brothers and sisters in helpful service, in our Lord’s name. Our faith is the cornerstone for everything we do in this world. Without our faith, anything we accomplish is worthless. Once our faith becomes the most important aspect of our lives, our purpose becomes clear and our consciences will be bound to the truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hope and Change

Hope and change was the rallying cry for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. His administration has begun the process of changing the very fabric of our nation, and many now hope and pray that our nation will survive as the founders intended. A kindred spirit, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, looks to change Lutheranism with the hope of drawing in a new and dynamic audience. Obama pledged to fundamentally transform America. The leadership of the ELCA has been on a course to fundamentally transform Christian Lutheranism even before its inception in 1988. This new administration of the United States is attempting to abandon the core principles of a nation established on Judeo-Christian beliefs and values. The ELCA is rewriting Scripture and tearing down the core beliefs of our faith. Patriots that respect this nation are welling up in a grassroots effort to bring it back to its foundational principals. Lutherans strong in their faith are boldly speaking out for the Lord and challenging the doctrinal shifts advanced by the leaders and scholars of the ELCA. Strong parallels exist between a President that professes that the United States is no longer a Christian nation and a Lutheran denomination that questions the very foundations of our Christian faith.

Our hope is in the Lord. Psalms 42:5, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Those true to the Lord rest their hope and prayers with the Lord and trust in Him. The leadership of the ELCA has always been in the forefront of doctrinal change for the Lutheran Church. Progressive scholars and leaders look to modernize God’s Word to make it more appealing to the secular world. The authors of Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are accused of being uneducated, biased, and influenced by their own experiences and history. Their scholars cast doubt upon the truths of Jesus’ Resurrection, the Virgin Birth, promote universalism and categorize the Bible, not as God’s Word, but as a book of faith stories, indelibly connected to the time that it was written and not always pertinent to today. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “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.” They question the validity of the Lutheran Confessions simply because they were written 500 years ago and, as such, their scholars consider them outdated and obsolete. What will be left if these learned “Biblical” scholars continue to cast doubt upon the very foundation of Christianity?

These self proclaimed “enlightened” ELCA scholars and leaders look at Scripture and determine that, for centuries, we have either misconstrued God’s intent or that, somehow, God is now telling us something new and different. They use Scripture to bolster their secular arguments, but deliberately fail to cite verses that would discredit these new doctrinal shifts. The leadership of the ELCA calls for respect from those that challenge this false gospel, and then accuse them of incivility, willful misunderstanding and forming hurtful caricatures of those with whom they disagree. The Bible is God’s Word, plain and simple, now and for all time. It is our Lord’s instruction manual for us, His children. When children stand up and are willfully disobedient, they are subject to discipline from their parents. Our Father loves us beyond human understanding, but how long will He tolerate those that discredit and disregard His Word. Our path to salvation has been sealed by our Savior’s suffering, death and resurrection. God’s grace is freely offered if only we believe. If we are to truly believe and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, why then would we wish to remain in fellowship with a church that denies Him? We must continue in prayer for all who remain trapped within the ELCA. Remember, there are still those that are unaware of this false gospel and we need to continue to proclaim God’s Word and expose these misguided doctrinal shifts so that all will hear and make themselves right with God.