Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Straight and Narrow

In our youth we were cautioned to walk the straight and narrow path. We were called to make decisions using the morals and values instilled in us by our parents and by our Father in Heaven. In other words we were counseled to conduct ourselves with integrity and to choose our actions wisely. It is when we make poor choices and fall from that path that trouble befalls us. Our Lord, Jesus Christ taught in the parable of the “Narrow and Wide Gates” in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Following our sinful nature is easy for us. It comes naturally, because human beings are inherently self centered and inconsiderate toward others. This is why it is so easy for so many to accept the ELCA’s teaching of the “gospel of affirmation”. Having one’s weaknesses and imperfections affirmed as good and correct, allows that person to feel good about himself. Having no one to criticize or condemn your transgressions, allows you to continue in your sin without remorse or the need to repent. Feeling guilty about one’s behavior and having to confess that they fall short of expectations is difficult in this society that is so concerned about maintaining positive self esteem.

The ELCA has adopted doctrine to make sinful behavior acceptable in their church, directing those that accept this doctrine to the wide road of destruction. Their Biblical scholars challenge the authority of Scripture and accuse the Spirit inspired authors of bias, misunderstanding God’s true intent and conclude that they often offer conflicting and contradictory views. Why does the leadership of this misguided denomination persist in casting doubt upon the very truths they are charged to uphold? Our Lord calls us to deny ourselves and to take up His cross. These progressive leaders of the ELCA lift up the self and deny our Savior. Why is it so important to lift up the sexual identities of the LGTB community if our call is place our Lord above all else and deny our very selves. Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” If we insist upon lifting up the self, we will be unworthy in the sight of our Lord. When one’s life becomes more important than our Savior, they will lose their life and their salvation.

The leaders of the ELCA are deliberately leading their membership to ruin. Emphasizing the self while minimizing our Lord in their ministry, puts their membership at risk when they accept this false doctrine. The leadership of the ELCA preaches love and unity, while they debase and chastise those that reveal the truth of their apostasy. So it is obvious that the ELCA has chosen a path that is in conflict with the path that our Lord has directed us to take. Now what? Should we stay with an organization that does not uphold our Lutheran values? As difficult as it may be, we need to break fellowship with the ELCA and find that synod that embraces the Lutheran core beliefs, not one that only gives lip service to God’s word while challenging the authority of Scripture. We need to find a partner that shares the values that our Lord has instilled in us and upholds the authority of Scripture. We need to find a synod that proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ and embraces the Great Commission. We need to find an organization that doesn’t look to offer a “big Tent” in order to maintain fellowship despite a variety of opinions, but one that embraces Jesus Christ, while striving for justice, not placing justice ahead of our Lord and Savior.

If you considered joining an organization, would it not be important to you that the organization shares the same values and beliefs that you do? Would you become a member of an organization that believed and behaved contrary to the values and beliefs that you espouse? While many would argue that it doesn’t matter what the greater church believes; that it only matters what one believes in their own hearts, it does matter greatly. Being a member of any organization carries with it the assumption that you, as a member of that organization, accept and practice what that organization preaches. So, to say that we belong to an organization, but don’t believe as they do, is nothing short of being hypocritical. John 5:22-23, Jesus said, “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” The false doctrines promoted by the leaders of the ELCA dishonor our Lord. Those that accept these false doctrines place their very salvation at risk. Those that choose to remain in fellowship with the ELCA take the very real risk that they too, will be overtaken by these false gospels.

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