Monday, September 12, 2011

Stop Making Sense

In 1984, the new wave rock band “Talking Heads” produced a movie/album entitled, “Stop Making Sense”.  It contains most of their greatest hits and remains one of my favorite classic rock CD’s.  Much of their music delved into rather mundane subjects, not usually associated with traditional rock and roll.  Their lead singer/songwriter David Byrne, a rather eclectic individual, did this intentionally so as not to fall into the category of normalcy.  He was, to say the least, unorthodox in not only his music, but in his lifestyle as well.  The presiding bishop of the ELCA, Mark Hanson, continues to forge ahead in the promotion of unorthodox doctrine.  Those that uphold the authority of Scripture and disagree with the direction that he is leading the ELCA, are told, in effect, to stop making sense.

In order to accept the errant doctrinal shifts that the ELCA is foisting upon its’ members, one would have to actually suspend belief.  In order to believe and accept these doctrinal shifts, one would have to read Scripture with eyes that do not see, ears that cannot hear, and a mind that does not understand.  How else could one read 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers not male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards not slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Or Leviticus 18:22, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” And somehow the leaders of the ELCA, after years of careful study, determine that homosexuality meets with God’s approval and same gender unions are appropriate to be blessed in ELCA churches that choose to do so.  Bishop Mark Hanson said, “The understanding we have of homosexuality today does not seem to be reflected at all in the context of the biblical writers. Therefore, Lutherans should consider more modern views on sexual orientation.” You really have to read between the lines in order to come up with this conclusion.
Bishop Hanson believes and promotes that “there is a “traditional approach” and a “contextual approach” in interpreting Scripture, both of which are valid and irreconcilable.”  Think about that statement for a moment.  What Hanson is stating is that all interpretations of Scripture, no matter how off base they may be, are considered valid by the ELCA.  Please ignore that ancient document behind the curtain!  Does Hanson actually think that we are living in the land of Oz and that he is the supreme wizard?  It is the churches’ responsibility to teach sound doctrine, not placate those that want to hear what their itching ears want to hear!  So, when some new enlightened and popular teacher, such as Rob Bell, writes a book questioning the existence of Hell, the leaders of the ELCA are all over it, embracing this “new thing” and proclaim that a loving God would never subject His children to an eternal existence apart from Him, no matter what. 

From the Christian Universalist Association; “Meanwhile, there has been a trend toward universalist beliefs in several other denominations and traditions that have not historically taught universal salvation. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is one of the best examples of this, because Martin Luther himself never embraced Universalism, but the ELCA today is one of the major Lutheran denominations and some of its ministers openly teach the salvation of all -- although this is not an official teaching of the church.

From the American Spectator, 08-17-2007, written by Lars Walker, a former employee of the ELCA, “The ELCA, like other "mainline" denominations, is effectively Universalist today. Universalists, after all, get invited to the nice parties and are almost never made fun of in movies. The ELCA still talks about the Cross, for the benefit of the rubes who actually sit in the pews and pay the bills, but the people in the upstairs offices mostly agree that there's really no such place as Hell. This reduces the Cross to a metaphor at best, an artifact which they'll quietly relegate to the attic once the old people have died off (leaving their money behind).”

Because Christ died for all humankind and God wants all His children to be saved, somehow the condition that one must believe, is relegated as unnecessary to obtain God’s grace and our salvation.  The leaders of the ELCA deride those that are traditional or “literalists” and accuse them of “placing God in a box” and who are we to decide who God is going to save.   I’m just a poor lay person who has not attended seminary, but as Lutherans we believe in “Sola Scriptura” or Scripture alone in all matters of faith, and when my Savior says that He is the way and the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father, except through Him, that is good enough for me. 

Official ELCA doctrine, (wink, wink, nod, nod) is cited whenever congregations question the direction of this misguided denomination.  It is not what is officially stated as ELCA doctrine, it is the fact that teaching a gospel other than what our Lord and Savior taught is not only tolerated, it is welcomed.  What those misguided leaders fail to realize is that Jesus called upon us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  So, it is true that Jesus died for all and God wants to save all of His children, but one must have faith in the Risen Christ.  There is no other way.  And with the ELCA slashing the budget of mission to less than they spent in 1988, it would appear that the mission to bring His word to the world is no longer a priority.  Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are no longer under penalty of the law and by faith alone, we are saved.  Those that have not heard or do not believe continue to be at risk of eternal damnation.  The leaders of the ELCA call for their members to suspend belief and “stop making sense” as they lead them away from the path that our Lord has set before them.  Too many of our brothers and sisters are still unaware of the heresies promoted by the ELCA and think that the ELCA is on the proper path.  It is incumbent upon us to proclaim His truth and expose the errant doctrines of the ELCA so that those trapped within can have their spiritual hearts and minds opened.


  1. "I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Ironically, that passage was behind the alter of the ELCA congregation we were forced to leave when it refused even to discuss the issue.

  2. “The understanding we have of homosexuality today does not seem to be reflected at all in the context of the biblical writers. Therefore, Lutherans should consider more modern views on sexual orientation.”

    Translation: we moderns are smarter and more compassionate than those superstitious barbarians in first century Palestine.

  3. Same-sex activity has never been God's will, nor shall it ever be. Now, it is known that the first 14 $oman emperors engaged in homosexual activity, in a world where straight men were attracted to pre-pubescent boys. Fortunately, the advent of Christianity ended most of this practice. But the Devil is still at work. I do believe that most same-sex attraction is not a conscious choice to disobey God's will. Nonetheless, to act on it still remains outside of God's will, and is still sin.
    Because of this, I believe the Church should love the LGBT individuals, but help them to repent as they are able. For those who cannot successfully repent, they need to confess their sin and humbly ask Christ to forgive them. They should not glorify their orientation, but Christ who can save them.
    My wife's been at our church for 30 years, thinks we're still traditional, still believes
    (as I do) that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation and is pro-life. Despite my indictments against the ELCA apostasies, she refuses to leave. We met at our church, her son was baptized, confirmed and married there. I grudgingly attend this ELCA church. But everytime I write out the offering check, I pray to God for forgiveness. Some of that money is going to support gay adoption and abortion. May the Lord deliver us from this Ex-Lutheran Church of Apostasy!

  4. Chuck,

    Prior to our vote to disassociate with the ELCA this June, we and many others in our congregation marked "non-synod" on our offering to preclude any of our benevolence to be given to enable the ELCA to promote their false doctrines. That portion of our offering was directed to other Christ driven missions. Redirecting benevolence is a valid way to make a statement to the leadership of the ELCA about the direction that they are leading their membership.

  5. Well, we're now in new member classes at an LCMS church, and I'm already in the choir. Deliverance at last! We remain friends with more orthodox members of our old church. But I doubt the congregation will leave the ELCA. It seems like only churches in the country are going. Suburban and urban ELCA churches seem to be staying...

  6. Praise the Lord that you will now be fed the true Bread of Life in a church that preaches the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Church, Shepherd of the Hills, Richfield, Wi is one of only 3 congregations in the Greater Milwaukee ELCA synod that have left. Continue to pray for your former congregation that the Holy Spirit opens their eyes and discern the will of our Lord. We are all sinners, each caught in their own failings, none any worse than the other. When we truly put Jesus first in our lives, we can rise above our sinfulness and revel in the promise of eternal life with our Lord. Someday the ELCA will realize the error of their teachings, we just need to continue in prayer and to proclaim His truth.