Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Exclusionary Rule

In United States law the exclusionary rule is used when the police make an error in their investigation, such as interviewing a suspect without properly informing him of his constitutional rights. Any evidence gained from that interview will be considered “fruit of the poisonous tree” and excluded from the evidence allowable in court proceedings. So, it is very important that the police follow all procedures faithfully and according to the rules that the courts have set in place. Any errors can, and often do, allow a guilty party to go free on a “technicality”. Even though the leaders of the ELCA pride themselves on being all inclusive, accepting, welcoming and tolerant, they actually practice and embrace a system that is inherently exclusionary. By placing human understanding and opinion, otherwise known as bound conscience, in authority over Scripture, the Biblical scholars of the ELCA exclude our Lord’s intent from their interpretation of His Word. ELCA scholars debate the authority of Scripture while promoting a diminished role for God in the compilation His Word. These scholars have decided that the Bible’s writers were “limited by their times and world views, even as we are, and that the Bible contains material wedded to those times and places. It also means that writers sometimes provide differing and even contradictory views of God’s word, ways and will.” By this rationale, these learned scholars have determined that the exclusionary rule can apply to any portion of Scripture that is not pleasing to their itching ears.

ELCA scholars continue and state that, “we sometimes conclude either that the writer’s culture or personal experience seems to have prompted his missing what God was saying or doing, or that God now is saying or doing something new.” Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” God’s word was written for us through all eternity by the Holy Spirit inspired authors of Scripture. That these enlightened scholars and leaders of North America’s largest Lutheran Church have the audacity to promote otherwise is contemptible. Unfortunately, there are those that accept this flawed reasoning. Those new and returning to church were prompted to visit the “Digging Deeper” section of the ELCA website. Although this link has been removed for “clarification”, these links contained essays casting doubt upon the foundational beliefs of Christianity. Although the disclaimer cited, “the articles express the viewpoints of the individual writers; they do not constitute the ELCA’s official Confession of Faith”, they also stated that they, “were written by ELCA theologians and have foundations in scripture.” Why would those looking for Christ be directed to these links? These types of doctrinal discourse should be limited to theologians, not recommended to someone who is new or returning to faith. Unless the leadership of the ELCA intends to reform our Christian faith into a new and different type of religion, there cannot be a reasonable explanation for this.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10,”We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” As the ELCA deconstructs our faith and transforms it into their ideal religion, we must remember why we believe. We believe that we are justified, through Jesus Christ and that His death on the cross was atonement for our sins, that He was resurrected into life and that when we believe, we receive grace and are granted our salvation and eternal life with our Lord. Since the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to be excluded from the ministry of the ELCA, why would we wish to remain in fellowship with a church that denies the very faith that this church is charged to uphold and proclaim? Inform your friends and neighbors that are trapped within the ELCA. Warn them of the apostasy that is overtaking their church. Advocate for our Lord, reject the gospel of social justice and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Help lead our brothers and sisters to a safe haven and to join a church that lifts up the Gospel of Jesus Christ and walks with, not against our Lord.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If Only....

We all did it as kids. That one thing that was so cool, so important to us. We dreamed about it, even prayed about it. We saved our money. We did extra chores so we didn’t have to wait so long to get it. We begged, cajoled, whined, and generally made a pest of ourselves in the effort to get that one special thing, that new thing that would make our life complete. Then the day arrived and we finally got that most important thing in the whole world. But, eventually the newness wore off and we were off to the next great thing and started the process all over again. When the scholars and leaders of the ELCA concocted the doctrine of bound conscience to satisfy the selfish desires of man, they’ve led their membership down a road that leads to the same trap as those young children that just must have that new thing. Now that the ELCA has affirmed the homosexual lifestyle by voting to disregard God’s law, those who have been given this one great thing that will finally make their lives worthwhile, have indeed become tired of this new thing and are no longer satisfied with simply having their lifestyle affirmed.

Although the Episcopal Church has gotten a head start on the ELCA in disregarding Scripture, the natives are becoming restless.  From the Out-Smart, Houston’s gay magazine article posted on September 1, 2010, "While the Episcopal Diocese of Texas is in no danger of having any openly gay bishops anytime soon (although the General Convention allowed for that possibility), there are groups of Episcopalians in our state who are not content to stand by as others develop the rites for same-sex marriage. This development will not be speedy—there is a lengthy process for approving new rites— but members of Integrity, the Episcopal organization that works for LGBT inclusion in church life, have organized a two-day conference on October 1 and 2 at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston. “Our conviction is that we don’t have to wait for the diocese to take leadership,” Hunt explains. “We are the diocese, and we very much want to be part of the process of the development.” Now that the authority of Scripture has been overturned, it is time to continue to roll back these outdated laws that our repressive God has set before us. It is time to charge to the ecumenical forefront and take our rightful place that has been denied to those who are too selfish to lower themselves to obey a God that has the audacity to forbid them their lustful desires. I am sorry, but being a follower of Christ requires sacrifice. Yes, there are many delights within this world that I would love to partake, but the morals and ethics instilled in me by my Father in heaven tell me that I must deny myself and behave in the manner that He commands.

Many LGTBQ blogs and magazines accuse evangelicals of using the Bible and its condemnation of homosexuality as a way to spread hate and use it to push away children of God. The bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA used the words “using Scripture as a war club”. Brothers and sisters, we do not accuse the LGTBQ community of a sin greater than any sin that any of God’s children commit. The argument is about God’s word and the authority of Scripture. Our brothers and sisters in Christ that happen to have a proclivity towards a sexuality that is not within the context of a marriage between a man and a woman, are no worse than any of us that continually fall into sin. Why the LGTBQ community continually attacks those that adhere to Scripture only shows that they are obsessed with having society and the church accept and affirm their lifestyle. We are to love our God with all our hearts and all our minds and all our souls. If one’s lifestyle and having others accept that lifestyle is the most important thing to them, then they simply do not love God as our Lord commands.

Christian groups that support and affirm LGBTQ behavior complain that they have been forced to the margins of the church and have felt unwelcome. It’s not easy to overcome our sinful behavior. When we refuse to repent of our sin, no matter what that sin may be, the truth is not in us. 1 John 2:3-6, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” When we willfully engage in behavior that we know is sinful, refusing to acknowledge God’s law, we are not God’s children, we are indeed children of the evil one. 1 John 3:7-10,” Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

These are strong words. Our God loves us, but this does not give us license to willfully disobey. There are consequences to our sinful behavior. We must acknowledge our sins before our Father and ask forgiveness. If we decide to continue in that sin regardless of what our Lord commands, then the judgment will be upon us and we prove ourselves to serve the evil one. It is when we ask for forgiveness for our sinful behavior, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. No, we do not use Scripture as a war club against our sinful brothers and sisters. We love and accept all children of God who come to Him and repent of their sin. The issue with the LGTBQ community is not with those that remain true to Scripture. The real issue is that they need to make themselves right with the Lord

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Formula for Failure

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time.” A quote sometimes attributed to P. T. Barnum and sometimes to Abraham Lincoln. One of the surest methods one can choose that will inevitably cause one to fail, is to try to please everyone. Just as one cannot fool all of the people all of the time, one also cannot please everyone. The leadership of the ELCA wants to affirm anyone who wants their sinful behavior accepted as good and normal, in an effort to please them and add them to their diversity. Vocal minorities have caused the leadership of the ELCA to go out of their way to try to “grease the squeaky wheel”, by willfully choosing to disregard God’s law and deciding that homosexuality is no longer sinful. The Bible is no longer the authoritative word of God, according to the enlightened leaders of the ELCA, since they declare that they know better. Now according to the Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust statement, it is no longer enough to love our neighbor, who happens to belong to the LGTB lifestyle, we must also accept that behavior as right with God. Oh, but the doctrine of bound conscience will allow those of us that remain true to the Word, the right to disagree, but the synod accepts the LGTB lifestyle as normative and has made it acceptable by enacting doctrine. Love the sinner, but hate the sin is no longer pertinent, because the church wide assembly voted to disregard God’s law and the leadership decided to stand and watch the ship sink even deeper into heresy.

Radical feminists have complained openly about the audacity of a God that refers to Himself in the masculine gender, so the leadership of the ELCA accepts a member congregation that worships a pagan goddess and allows it to remain in good standing with the synod. The Lord’s Prayer is altered to offer praise to our “Mother God” and the “power within us”. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ taught us how to pray to our Father and now the leaders of this misguided denomination decide that our Lord and Savior was wrong or perhaps misquoted. Matthew 6:9, "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name."  It seems abundantly clear that in this verse Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in heaven. Some ELCA Bishops and pastors now offer prayers that His or Her will be done. The Biblical scholars of the ELCA continue to debate that the authors of Scripture misunderstood God’s intent or were adversely affected by their biases and lack of education. Our God made it clear to those authors of Scripture what they were to write, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Yes, those men were not recording devices, but they were driven by the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit as they wrote each verse.

Bishop Mark Hanson stated that he has spent more time addressing the Palestinian issue than anything else during his term as the Bishop of the ELCA. The ELCA has led efforts to rebuke Israel while they attempt to protect their citizens from the terrorist attacks that target them daily. Bishop Hanson supports an effort to place an embargo on goods made in Israel to force them to cede land to the Palestinians. Benevolences, given in good faith, by ELCA congregations to reach out to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick, and preach the Gospel to the world are being redirected to support a terrorist organization that has a stated goal of eliminating the Jewish nation from the face of the earth. The Holy Land was given to the Jewish nation by God Himself. Genesis 17:8, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God." Yet, the enlightened leadership of the ELCA would serve as co-conspirators to evict Israel from the land promised them by the Lord.

As the leadership of the ELCA goes “off the beaten path” and advocates for social justice while relegating our Lord to a place secondary in their ministry, their membership will continue to dwindle. Since they are not trying to please the Lord, but trying to please man, they are destined to fail. Not placing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ at the center of this church, is the formula for failure. This wayward denomination is not only displeasing to God, they are likely disappointing and angering Him. The leadership of the ELCA is no better than disobedient children, who think they know better than their Father. Ephesians 5:6, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Our God is faithful and just. Our God is without fault. Psalm 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”  Serve the Lord and please Him alone.  This is our calling as Christians.  Our Lord will be well pleased with those who hold fast to His Truth.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ignorance is not Bliss

When we hear the old saying that asserts that ignorance is bliss, we often fail to realize that statement is far from the truth. Those that remain ignorant will be easily taken advantage of. Much like the belief that closing your eyes will somehow make trouble or evil go away, it will only lead one to discover that you just won’t see the misfortune approaching. When there are issues that need to be addressed, we often ignore our responsibility and file it away for another day. Ignoring important matters will, more often than not, cause us much more trouble than just dealing with them in a timely fashion. Those that ignore the heretical assertions of the ELCA leaders and scholars, because they think that they are somehow insulated from the national synod, are in for a rude awakening. Mark 7:6-8, Jesus replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” The leaders of the ELCA have abandoned the commands of God and are replacing them with the experience, understanding and traditions of men. Those that sit by idly while the leadership of the ELCA hijacks God’s church are complicit in the crime.

Ephesians 5:6-7, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.” The doctrine of bound conscience deceives those that accept this false teaching. Allowing ones personal experience and understanding to place man in authority of Scripture only allows a sinful humanity to disobey God’s law with the blessing of an errant church. God’s church has the responsibility to preach the pure truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to uphold the authority of Scripture. The church is to lead people to the Lord by the clear and concise Word of God, preached truthfully and effectively so that people will understand and through the Holy Spirit, come to believe. John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There are many organizations that strive for social justice, to feed the hungry and to try to save the planet throughout the world, but there is no other organization, but His church, that is charged with the responsibility to save souls by bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ.

So, the leadership of the ELCA strives to create a “Big tent” complete with a diversity of opinions, some of which deny the very truths they are charged to uphold. Open and varied dialog, acceptance of other religions and spiritual beliefs are considered so very important to add to the strength of the ELCA’s organization. The faith that has been instilled in us since childhood is being phased out by the enlightened elites of the ELCA. It is no longer necessary to deny yourself and place Christ first in your heart. It is no longer necessary to be filled with the Holy Spirit, since we can provide all the love that the world needs ourselves. Heaven, well that is right here, we only need to make it perfect here on earth and Heaven will be all around us. Don’t feel the least bit guilty of sin because this wayward denomination will affirm your behavior and pass resolutions declaring God’s Word null and void. This diversity of opinions does not make this church grow stronger, it diminishes our God and renders our faith empty and worthless.

2 Timothy 2:11-13, “If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Our God has freely offered us the gift of His grace. Accepting the false gospel that the leaders of the ELCA peddle as truth will cause us to spurn our God and reject His grace. This enlightened ELCA may see itself as a fresh and new version of the church that God intended, but those that hold fast to the Truth can see that this new version no longer has the approval of our God. God is not telling us something new. We are cautioned to resist false teachings and to have nothing to do with the things of this world. 2 Peter 3:17-18, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.” The evil one uses deceit and deception to encourage us to engage in sin. The leaders of the ELCA deceive their membership by contriving doctrine, making it seem so appropriate, to allow them to engage in behavior that dishonors our God.