Monday, June 13, 2011

Paved With Good Intentions

The old proverb declares that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. When one judges their own intentions, the tendency is that one will see more value in their own decision making than in others. One will always be able to justify their actions as a way to reach a desired goal. It is when a particular goal allows one to justify any action to obtain that intended goal, unintended consequences are likely to occur. Those following this course of action will often find that the outcomes achieved do not lead to the intended goal, in fact, these unintended consequences often exacerbate the problem it was intended to correct. This type of logic permeates the decision making process of the leadership of the ELCA. They feel compelled to go out of their way to welcome those that they feel are at the periphery of society, most notably the LGTBQ community. Secular society has been embracing that demographic of our society and has even enacted laws to protect the rights of individuals that choose that lifestyle. On the other hand, the leadership of the ELCA, using their flawed idea of love, takes this a step further. They believe that the LGTBQ community will not feel welcome unless the church ignores God’s law and pronounces that homosexual behavior is considered good in God’s sight. Using the doctrine of bound conscience, they insist that God is now telling them a new thing, and that since God loves us all, the ELCA will no longer consider homosexuality sinful. Although it is very troubling that a church chooses to place human understanding at a higher plane than God's will, using this doctrine to accept homosexuality, in and of itself, does not place a person's salvation at risk.  If this is where this bound conscience stopped, we would not be having this conversation. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, but we are also called to obey God's law.

Unfortunately, bound conscience has opened a Pandora’s Box of new heretical teachings in the ELCA. John 14:6, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” For members of the ELCA, faith in the Risen Christ is no longer necessary to gain salvation and they are taught to accept that there are many paths to heaven, although Christianity is considered one of the better paths. With the false gospel of affirmation, God loves us unconditionally, is never angry or disappointed with us, and there is no need to repent of your sin, because there is no sin. With the false gospel of universalism, everyone is going to heaven anyway, so there is no need for a Savior. These particular teachings are not listed on the front page of the ELCA website, but are becoming increasingly prevalent in mainstream discussions in ELCA seminaries and publications. So, a doctrine with the misguided goal of being more tolerant, welcoming, and loving of our neighbor, is actually being used to undermine the Christian faith that the leaders of the ELCA are called to uphold. And this is not coming from some atheist declaring in a lawsuit against school prayer that there must be a separation of church and state, but is being allowed (promoted?) by the leadership of the largest Lutheran denomination in America.

Do we take the ELCA at its’ word that they confess the Apostle’s Creed and that the Augsburg Confession is the accepted normative of the Lutheran faith? It would appear that the normative of the Lutheran faith is only used when it suits them, especially when they chide those that accept the authority of Scripture. We are accused of being intolerant every time one of the “new things" that they tell us that God is saying, is exposed as false doctrine. During His ministry here on earth, Christ loved everyone, especially those on the fringe of society, since they were most in need of spritual healing. This fact is misused by the leaders of the ELCA to desecrate and pervert Scripture in order to placate those with cravings that are contrary to God’s word. We are reprimanded when we seek a synod that upholds the authority of Scripture and are accused of breaking the unity of the church. Christ is the church. Our hope is in the Lord, not some church that abandons the responsibility to reach the lost for Christ. John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When a church refuses to hold to our Savior’s teachings and allows all kinds of false teachings to be acceptable, they do not know the truth and they do nothing but place their membership in bondage to the evil one. And the unintended consequence of the ELCA's misguided foray into apostasy is the breaking of fellowship with those that remain true to God's will.  Are we to remain in fellowship with the ELCA so that we continue to support an organization that promotes these false teachings? Hundreds of congregations have already said "No, we stand with our Lord!" and have left with many more in the process of leaving.  We must save those trapped by the pleasing words of these purveyors of false Christian doctrine. We must expose the heresy that permeates the ELCA and bring the lost back to Christ.

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