Sometimes the words one uses speak volumes about that person’s true beliefs. Sometimes the words one omits speak louder. In the book, By What Authority? Pastor Mark Chavez penned an interesting article about what was omitted from the Revised Common Lectionary. He concentrated on those verses cut from passages cited in the lectionary. Much of the omitted text left out the apparently troubling aspect that our God is a living God that ought not only be loved, but feared. Entire books of the Bible have been rejected for use in the lectionary by those that chose the Scriptural verses. 1 Chronicles, Ezra, Obadiah, Nahum, 2 and 3 John and Jude have been left out of the lectionary. When a church denomination attempts to water down the word of God to be less intimidating and more loving, welcoming, and accepting, much of God’s intent is disregarded. Sin is all around us. Even the most ardent Christian commits sinful acts every day, intentionally and unintentionally. Even though God loves His children beyond our understanding, God is also to be feared. Will not a child who faces no consequences from his parents for wrong behavior simply choose to be willfully disobedient? By God's grace we are allowed to have a place with Him for eternity in His house, but that does not mean that we can willfully disobey God’s law.
The ELCA, in its’ never ending quest to reinvent our Lutheran faith, has also decided to omit confession and absolution in their worship service. In the latest hymnal, confession and absolution is considered optional, replaced by a celebration of baptism. Now, we should celebrate our baptism, but as sinful human beings it is especially important to confess our sins to God and to hear that He does indeed forgive us. 1 John 1:8-10, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” We recite these verses each Sunday, placing before our God our failings and asking Him to forgive and renew us. The last two Greater Milwaukee Synod Assemblies conducted their worship services without confession and absolution and those services seemed empty and without substance. But, since this misguided denomination has also decided to ignore sin, they teach that there is really no need to ask our Lord to forgive us.
In order to placate the radical feminists that are offended by the audacity of Scripture to use masculine terms when describing God, the leadership of the ELCA has determined that calling God by His revealed name is not always appropriate. It is now acceptable to omit God’s preferred name and to call our God, mother or any other feminine pronoun that one chooses. Her Church, an ELCA congregation in San Francisco, chooses to worship a pagan goddess rather than to be relegated to worshipping such an offensive God who chooses to be referred to in the masculine gender. That an ELCA church, that omits our God from their worship, is accepted as a Lutheran church by the leadership of the ELCA is absolutely blasphemous.
The ELCA promotes the love of neighbor as paramount in their ministries throughout the world. While this is the second most important commandment, they conveniently omit the most important command. 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.” With the love of the neighbor as the primary goal in the mission of the ELCA, it is easy to disregard the Great Commission. It is also easy to leave our Lord behind and promote the legitimacy of other religions as alternate ways to salvation. Apparently the leadership of the ELCA believes that traditional and orthodox Christianity is out of step with their idea of a new world order. The tail wags the dog when the leaders of a Christian church side with secular values and diminish our Lord’s role in their ministry. We are to be a beacon to the world and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not try to fit in and water down our faith. And these enlightened leaders of the ELCA just don’t understand why their membership continues to dwindle and that congregations faithful to the Lord want to break fellowship to affiliate with a denomination true to the Gospel. Isaiah 33:22, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.”
It is time to turn away from this church that is awash in its’ heretical teachings and begin a new walk with a church that accepts the authority of Scripture and places our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ first in their ministry. Continue to share the Word and to expose the heresy of the ELCA so that those unaware will wake up before it is too late!