Monday, April 4, 2011

You Can't Have it Both Ways

You can’t profess your morality in one particular way and then disregard those beliefs when you don’t want to apply them is a particular situation. To do so would be hypocritical. When one has a set of values that they espouse, those values should hold true, in all circumstances. We cannot abandon our core beliefs if the situation changes or if it is inconvenient for us. If a vegetarian has chosen to forgo the consumption of meat in his or her diet, with the exception that he or she likes to eat bacon, that person is not a true vegetarian. You can’t profess to be strict with your children, yet allow your child to do whatever they please. You can’t be a good example for others when your failings are all too apparent. You can’t say one thing and mean another. Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.“

The ELCA continues to serve two masters. On one hand the ELCA’s Confession of Faith states that this church confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. That Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation. That the proclamation of God's message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ. That the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God, inspired by God's Spirit and speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world. They accept all three creeds and all the confessional writings of the Book of Concord. All is in order in the ELCA, or is it?

But wait, they also accept the doctrine of “bound conscience” which allows one to have their own interpretation of Scripture, as long as they truly believe in their hearts, placing them in authority of Scripture and thereby relegating God’s word to a lesser standing than their own experience and tradition. Others are called to respect their interpretation, even if it is in obvious error. The gospel of affirmation is also acceptable to the ELCA, accepting the belief that God will affirm us within our sin with no need to ask for forgiveness. Universal salvation, the belief that everyone is going to be saved, regardless of faith, is also accepted by the ELCA. Congregations may engage in goddess worship and still maintain their “good standing” with the ELCA. The Lutheran Magazine, the ELCA’s official publication in an April 2008 feature article on Easter, questioned the deity of Jesus Christ and cast doubt upon the Resurrection. Other Essays, published on the ELCA’s website at the Digging Deeper section, since removed for clarification, also casted doubt upon the Virgin Birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The ELCA revels in its’ diversity of opinion and beliefs. Nothing is out of bounds for this misguided denomination.

What is it going to be then? Do we take the ELCA at their word that their confession of faith is placed ahead of their social agenda and drive to be diverse and all accepting, or have they fallen in love with one doctrine while hating the other? Or do the leaders and scholars of the ELCA say one thing, but really believe something else?  Unfortunately for the ELCA there are absolutes in this world. No matter how hard you try or how much you want it to be different, when you add two plus two, the answer will always be four. It would certainly be nice if we could follow any old whim and believe whatever we wanted. But, that is not what our Lord has asked of us. God has given us a number of absolutes and no matter how hard the leaders and scholars of the ELCA proclaim that He is now telling us “something new”, these truths remain. John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” So, for a church to accept doctrine that denies that faith in the Risen Christ is not necessary to gain our salvation, to accept sinful behavior specifically prohibited by God’s word and to accept those that practice their faith contrary to their stated confession of faith, is not a church at all. For if the absolutes that our Father has placed before us do not matter to this church, this church should not matter to anyone who professes their faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Our Christian family that remains trapped within the ELCA is another matter. We must be diligent in our prayers that more will be rescued from this wayward denomination so that no more fall prey to these false teachings. The salvation of too many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are at risk to simply walk away.


  1. Amen. Exactly the reason I left the ELCA for a Free Lutheran Church that professes Scripture as the inerrant, infallible Word of God.

  2. Ditto the comment from above. We left the ELCA and started a congregation affiliated with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations. Best move we've ever made. We are now connected to a faithful body of believers who believe in the inerrancy of scripture and independence for local congregations.

  3. Very well put! It's sad, because it's not just an ELCA movement to universalism, but all Christianity. It is very sad. But, the good news, is that we were told that there would be a massive falling away from the faith in the last days. People like Rob Bell give impetus in this movement, it's so sad that people would rather listen to people instead of the Word of God Himself. There's too much of an emphasis on "Everything Must Change", as McLaren wrote in his book of that same title. I like the saying "If it's true, it ain't new, if it's new, it ain't true". All that we need, and all of the real joy in life, is in the Bible. If people stick to His ways, they'll be blessed. When people move away from His ways, they're wide open to the enemy.

    Thanks for being faithful in exposing what's going on in the ELCA. It's very sad indeed, but Jesus is still on the throne!