The Apostle Paul gave this instruction to Timothy, 1Timothy 6:11-12, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 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.” In these verses Paul instructs Timothy to act as a soldier for the Lord to fight the good fight of faith. There will be conflict to resist corruption and temptation, and to fight against the powers of darkness. Many of us struggle when dealing with the ELCA’s shift away from the traditional, orthodox Christian message that is such an integral part of our faith lives. We become increasingly frustrated when we try to fight the good fight for our Lord and are met by fear and even worse, complacency. We must continue to speak out for our Lord and by doing so, pray that more brothers and sisters in Christ listen and realize where the ELCA is taking them. Once God’s children learn the truth, the Spirit will lead them.
Our faith journey is just that, a journey, and a journey consists of many steps. We listen to God’s word and try to discern God’s will while endeavoring to travel the path that He has set before us. We act in Christian love when we reach out to our brothers and sisters to try to protect them from false teaching and evil in this world. Those that are true to the Lord and have discovered the truth about the ELCA’s path into apostasy truly want to save their brothers and sisters. We want to lead them to the safe haven of a church that truly walks with the Lord and believes and preaches His word. But, it’s not just about reaching that goal, it is about taking the path of truth that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ traveled before us. We are met with many choices along this road we travel, and we need to discern God’s will so that we can take the proper steps. Making those choices that fulfill our Lord’s teaching is much more important than reaching the desired goal, because that goal, more often than not, is what we want and not necessarily God’s will. After all, we pray that His will be done.
We will meet many stumbling blocks along the way on this journey to reveal the truth. Some of us meet those that refuse to listen. Some will refuse to believe. Some may be too comfortable with a familiar relationship and are resistant to change. Some may feel that we have become too evangelistic. Some don’t care what goes on in the greater church as long as they can attend church whenever and wherever they choose and be able to get home in time to watch the Packer game. We must remember that not everyone is at the same place in their spiritual journeys. 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “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.” So many are unaware of the false teachings that have overtaken the ministry of the ELCA. We must gently instruct, realizing just how unbelievable it is that this church has strayed so far from our Savior’s teachings. We must listen to their concerns and understand that it will take time for many to digest the enormity of the heresy promoted by the leadership of the ELCA. And we must pray that the Spirit will open their eyes, minds, and hearts so that they will see, understand and accept what is so difficult to comprehend.
It would be so much simpler if the leadership of the ELCA abandoned their secular ambitions and returned to the Lord. It would be so much simpler if the leadership of the ELCA would actually promote and believe that the Bible is the word of God, instead of proclaiming it a book of faith stories. If they only truly practiced what is proclaimed as "what we believe" and accept the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds and the Augsburg Confession as the true declarations of our Lutheran faith, instead of casting doubt upon the very foundation of Christianity. It would be so much simpler to stay and not go through the pain and effort to break fellowship with the church many of us have been members since childhood. The problem is that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the most important aspect of our lives and we cannot remain affiliated with a church that denies our Lord His proper role in its ministry. 2 Thessalonians 3:14, “Take special note of those who do not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as fellow believers.” So, we have no choice but to break fellowship, praying that our rejection will cause the leadership of the ELCA to reconsider and return to the Lord.