I am a sinful human being that continually falls short of the glory of our Savior. Without my Lord and Savior, I can accomplish nothing. John 15:5-8, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” I so look forward to confessing my sinful behavior to my God and receiving the assurance that I am forgiven. As much as I would like to behave in the manner that my Father in heaven demands, by myself, I always fail. That my Savior took upon Himself all my sin and received the punishment I deserved is such a solemn relief. I am liberated from the punishment of the Law by our Lord’s grace, simply because I have faith in the Risen Christ. Because of that faith, I will still have a place in my Father’s house no matter how many times I fall from the path my Savior intends for me to follow.
For ELCA Lutherans repentance is optional. Apparently, the concept of sin is such a negative connotation and those that stand accused of sinning may have their feelings hurt, so doctrine is enacted by a vote of imperfect human beings that believe that they have more wisdom than our Father in heaven. Confession and absolution becomes an optional part of ELCA services and is allowed to be replaced by a “Celebration of Baptism”, because this is much more positive and loving. Those portions of Scripture that show that our God is not only a God of love, but a God that is to be feared, are eliminated from the Revised Common Lectionary, because a loving God would never punish His children. Hebrews 12:4-11, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Parents that coddle their children and offer no direction or discipline often find that their children will be improperly equipped to survive in the real world. God’s children are no different, except those that belong to ELCA congregations that choose to follow errant doctrine.
The leaders of the ELCA promote new doctrine that allows those that choose to remain in sin to invoke their “bound conscience” and use their human experience, tradition and knowledge to interpret Scripture to fit their fancy. Those that uphold the authority of Scripture are allowed to disagree, but are called to not, as is written in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” They are called on to respect that person’s interpretation, even if it is in obvious error. This doctrine calls on the faithful to ignore our responsibility to reach out to save those in error and lead them back to the path of righteousness.
So, the choice remains, do we accept the authority of Scripture and truly believe that we are nothing without our Lord and Savior, or do we follow an errant church that diminishes the Word of God, rewrites Scripture to placate those that have no desire to repent of their sinful behavior, and calls on its’ members to refrain from sharing their faith by witnessing the true Gospel. Unfortunately, the church that we grew up in our faith is no longer on the path that our Lord demands. The leaders of the ELCA lead a rudderless ship that leads to the destruction of those that accept the errant doctrines that are overtaking its’ ministries. Pray unceasingly that those true to our Lord and Savior choose to leave this errant denomination and join a church that accepts the authority of Scripture.