Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Evolution of Theology

For years the great divide between science and religion has been the theory of evolution. Christianity professes that God created the universe and all that is in it. Science believes that random events caused universe to come into being and that life originated as a single cell organism, created by a chance comingling of amino acids. The theory of evolution further states that over the millennia natural selection caused this single cell organism to evolve into the varying plant and animal life we have in this world. Christianity believes that God created the earth and filled it with plants, animals, and human beings, created in His own image. For the ELCA theologian, much discussion and argument ensues about, not only the interpretation of Scripture, but the very theology of Lutheranism. Theology is defined as the study of the nature of God and religious truth, or the rational inquiry into religious questions. The primary doctrine of Lutheranism is simply justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Jesus Christ alone. Lutheran Theology teaches that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but that every word has been inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore, is the divine command of God. When ELCA theologians challenge the authenticity and authority of Scripture, they indict our Lord. In fact, they are insinuating that God is a liar.

In the December 2009 edition of the Lutheran Magazine, the featured article, written by Heidi Ernst, and entltled “Our Worldwide Church, Global contexts challenge Lutheran Theology”, she cited Karen L. Bloomquist, an ELCA pastor and director of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for Theology and Studies since 1999. Bloomquist addressed the LWF Theological Conference, in Augsburg, Germany, March of 2009, in what Ernst described as, one of its’ largest and most diverse gathering of Lutheran Theologians. Ernst wrote, “In her welcome at the event, Bloomquist made a case for continual theological evolution: “A Lutheran identity cannot be based only on coded Lutheran formulas, or historical legacies brought by missions, or on the basis of ethnic or tribal identities, or historical accidents. Instead, sifting through, reconceiving and transfiguring Lutheran theology is a dynamic movement.” Sadly, we are all experiencing this transfiguring of our Lutheran faith into something that no longer resembles the faith that has been handed down for centuries. Theologians are charged to raise rational questions about religious questions, not to promote a paradigm shift away from the foundations of our faith. Yes, we need to temper and adjust our proclamation of the Gospel to different cultures and other parts of the world, but the central truths remain intact, as we have believed through the word of God and has been reinforced through the Creeds and Augsburg Confessions.

Those of us that remain traditional and orthodox in our theology are accused of lagging behind in this enlightened movement to redefine Lutheranism in the 21st Century. Those of us that cling to our Bibles and truly believe that we are justified by faith in Christ alone are looked upon as obsolete. Those that dare to speak out for our Lord are jeered at, mocked, called hateful and accused of spreading malicious gossip. We are chastised and accused of breaking the unity of God’s church. Our unity is in Christ, not a church that places their own selfish understanding in authority of Scripture. We must choose to expose the heresy that these enlightened leaders of the ELCA are promoting. We must choose to stand up and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ until we can speak no more. The intellectual elites of the ELCA are chipping away at the very core of the Lutheran faith. It would appear that the primary goal is to eliminate God from His church and replace Him with themselves and the things of this world.

For what reason would the leaders of the ELCA talk about the love of the Lord when all the while they promote these heretical assumptions? Why would they choose to serve a master that leads to sin and death? Understand that the great majority of ELCA members are true to the Lord and have no idea how these elitists are plotting to weaken their faith. Most are filled with the Spirit and love of the Lord. Most pray the Lord’s Prayer and recite the Apostle’s, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, truly believing every word. Most accept the Augsburg Confessions as a true testament of their faith. Why are so many blind to what is happening to their church? Why are so many defending the actions of the misguided leadership of the ELCA?

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 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, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Let us be eager to do God’s will and to proclaim His word. Continue in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ, that they too, will awaken from their slumber and realize that the leaders of the ELCA are preaching a false gospel.

1 comment:

  1. A very excellent piece - as usual!

    Why are so many blind to what is happening to their church? Why are so many defending the actions of the misguided leadership of the ELCA?

    I believe the answer to this is complicated, but here is my opinion (based upon my experiences with my former ELCA congregation and the Division for Global Missions):

    Part of the reason is that many (perhaps a majority) of the ELCA's membership are politically liberal. The ELCA's leadership has been smart enough to make its appeal political rather than theological. Too many otherwise faithful Christians see the ELCA's actions as a way to strike a blow for "social justice" instead of the surrender to popular culture it is.

    The second reason is that many faithful Christians who remain in the ELCA are distressed over the denomination's direction, but have convinced themselves that what the ELCA's leadership does will never affect them or their congregation. They are wrong: with control of the call process the ELCA can send nothing except unbelieving pastors to "homophobic" congregations.

    Those who have chosen to stay in the ELCA and fight the denomination's embrace of the World have selected a very difficult path. The ELCA is no longer a Christian denomination but a radical secular political party. Faithful Christians are a powerless, despised faction in the ELCA.