Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spiritual DNA

Man has made quite a leap forward in the field of genetics. The key to the human genome has been unlocked and medicine has used this knowledge to create drugs to fight and treat deadly diseases, increase life spans, and generally improve our lives. All this new information will help humanity live more productively so we can maintain our dominion over the earth. The advancements in the field of genetics have not gone unnoticed by the ever meddling ELCA. Since the leaders of the ELCA are quite enamored with most of the things of this world, the ELCA feels they must chime in, whether or not it is any business of theirs. In another social statement that has nothing to do with the responsibility our Lord has given His church, the result of more than five years of study, consultation and deliberation throughout the church, Genetics, Faith and Responsibility was developed by an 18-member task force with broad experience in science and ethics. Ethics is not a word that is usually associated in a positive manner with this wayward denomination.

While the leadership of the ELCA continues to dabble in science and other worldly concerns, those that search for a relationship with the Lord are left thirsting without appropriate direction from this church. Their spiritual DNA is not cultivated, fed or given proper direction. His word is not being shared when the things of this world take precedence over the mission that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ instructed us in the Great Commission. 1 Peter 1:18-25, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.”

Now the leaders of the ELCA preach that God is telling them a new thing, allowing them to reinterpret Scripture to fulfill the worldly desires of man. Scripture tells us that we are made a new creation once we give ourselves to the Lord. See how the leaders of the ELCA have twisted the intent of our God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

How much more clearer could this be made to us. This new creation that occurs when we turn our lives over to Christ yields a clear change in not only our behavior, but places loving and serving our Lord as the new priority in our lives. This is not about us and our desires, it is about our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Once we give ourselves to Him, we give up our selfishness and begin to live to please our Lord. Our spiritual DNA is awakened and is set upon the path that our Lord invites us to travel with Him. We are made into a new creation, a new person, tossing aside the things of this world in order to please our Lord.  God is not telling us that we should satisfy our worldly desires as the ELCA promotes with all their social statements. This “new thing” that is promoted by the leadership of the ELCA is not from God, it is of this world, and this world is ruled by the evil one. Follow the false teachings of this misguided church and you may not only find yourself at odds with God, but doing the bidding of the evil one himself.  Continue in prayer that the Lord speaks to and opens the hearts, minds and eyes of our brothers and sisters that remain lost within the ELCA.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I am Nothing

The contemporary praise hymn, I am Nothing, by Jeremy Camp realistically portrays our part in all of this. Without our Lord and Savior, we are indeed nothing. From the first verse, “I realize I'm still clay, And this piece that's being shaped, Will be a beauty you create.” Of our own volition we tend to tarnish the beauty instilled in us by our Creator. In our vain attempts to express our inner self, we engage in foolish behavior and indulge in decadent pleasures. In our arrogance we deceive ourselves into believing that we are superior beings, but in reality we truly are lost without our Lord. Without a potter, the clay remains a formless lump. With our Father’s help, we all can be made to be a thing of beauty. Isaiah 64:8, “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.“ When we take it upon ourselves to disregard our God and decide to go it alone using our own imperfect judgment, we will invariably end up making a mess of things. We must deny the self, surrender our selfish cravings, give ourselves to our God, and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with our Savior’s love. Only then will we be able to approach that which our Lord desires.

Yet, the leaders of the ELCA continue to celebrate the self and minimize our Lord’s role in their ministry. Why is it so difficult for the leaders of the ELCA to realize that it is Christ first? When you please yourself instead of pleasing God, you worship yourself.  Why do they not understand that our primary purpose as Christ’s church is to bring the lost to Him? Why do they continue to accept that which God prohibits, and place a greater emphasis on simply maintaining fellowship? When God’s church allows doctrine that deemphasizes sin and cares not about repentance, it places its’ member’s very salvation at risk. If the ELCA allows doctrine promoting salvation without Christ, how can they still be part of Christ’s church? 1 Peter 1:8-9, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Many in the ELCA chastise those obedient to God’s word, calling them hateful and intolerant. Obeying God’s word does not make one intolerant. We are called to be obedient to God’s word. God’s word also commands us to love one another, as He loves us. No sinner is any better than the next and we are all sinners. Why do those that consider themselves so tolerant, also the one’s spewing hatred at those who try to remain obedient out of their love for the Lord? Romans 3:21-26, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,i through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

The ELCA proclaims God’s work, our hands as their mission statement. Is it really God’s work when social justice is promoted above the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? So much of what the ELCA calls God’s work is contrary to His will. It is difficult to understand the logic used by the leaders of the ELCA when they promote universalism, the gospel of affirmation and bound conscience. Yes, most members of the ELCA still hold to the foundational beliefs of Christianity, but these false gospels lurk in the wings and are more frequently emerging in mainline denominational assemblies, conferences, retreats, and are prevalent in theological discussions, writings and seminaries. How long before more are convinced to accept these improper doctrines? We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. Why is the ELCA so obsessed with reaching out to those whose identities they believe are at the fringe? Our identities should be as Christians, disciples of Jesus Christ, not some earthly definition of ourselves. When we place identities as central to our existence, we only reject our God and worship ourselves.

I am Nothing finishes with the chorus, “I am nothing without Your love. I'm unworthy but Your death has been enough. I'm completed by Your touch, But I feel like I've been given so much. I am nothing. You are everything. So I thank you. I thank you. Lord I thank you.” We have been given so much by our Savior. We truly are nothing without Him. It is time to abandon the identities that we create for ourselves and elevate our Savior to His rightful place. No one is on the fringe. We are all God’s children, brothers and sisters in Christ. We must reach out to everyone with the Good News of Jesus Christ and help bring them to the Lord.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where's the Beef?

In a 1984 commercial a group of elderly women complained when looking at the size of a hamburger, “Where’s the beef?” This clever ad by Wendy’s poked fun at the McDonald’s Big Mac and Burger King’s Whopper, pointing out that the bun and the condiments overwhelmed the central reason one purchases a burger, the beef. Now those of us true to the Word cry out to those involved in all of the periphery that permeates the ELCA, where’s our Savior? The core of Christianity is our faith in the Risen Christ, God’s only son, our Savior who took the sin of the world to the cross. Why are the issues of this world so important to the ministry of the ELCA? Why is the bun of social justice and the condiments of bound conscience replacing our Savior’s role in their ministry? While our Lord’s name is always mentioned by the ELCA in their ministries, He often is no more than an afterthought, simply given lip service. So much emphasis is on the self, not on our Lord and Savior, it would seem that this is an organization promoting self improvement. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” This supposedly outdated manuscript that the leaders and scholars of the ELCA discredit is as relevant today as it was when it was written. For one to read Scripture and come to some of the conclusions arrived by ELCA scholars is beyond comprehension.

As the leaders of the ELCA proclaim that God is now telling them a new thing so that they can reinterpret Scripture in a way that will please their itching ears, they boastfully promote the love of self. Don’t take the word of a simple blogger to reveal the heresy promoted by the leaders of the ELCA, read their own words posted on their website. Their own words convict them. The Lutheran Magazine, Seeds of the Parish, Living Lutheran, and the now under construction “Digging Deeper” section of the ELCA website. These writings contain articles that are spiritually uplifting along with others that are filled with heretical teaching. No disclaimers over opinions contrary to God’s word, only the encouragement to offer one’s opinion, no questions asked. Is it not the church’s role to lead the lost to Christ and to uphold proper Christian doctrine or is it more important to allow God’s children to formulate beliefs that lead them away from our Lord? The ELCA promotes that it is more important to have fellowship with each other, regardless of belief or opinion. The doctrine of bound conscience allows one to twist Scripture to justify any worldly desire that you may wish to partake. Fill your heart with Christ and there will be no room for selfishness, only the goal to please our Lord.

The leaders of the ELCA want to create a God in their own image. They want a God that will allow them to conduct their lives by their own rules. Our God is who He is. His word provides us with His law and boundaries for our acceptable behavior. His word is clear. His love for us is never ending. Beware of those that promote a gospel other than the one our Lord preached to you. Jude 1:17-23, “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Stay in the word and know His truth. Preach the Gospel everywhere and to everyone. Expose the lies perpetrated by the leaders of the ELCA and pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ will hear, understand and reject the false gospel of the ELCA.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just one more, Please....

As children we always asked for one more cookie, to stay up just 10 minutes more, or stay outside to play with our friends, even though it was dark. But, our parents knew what was best for us and made those decisions that kept us safe from ourselves and our selfishness. Humans are dependent upon their parents for food and protection throughout childhood. If we were left to our own devices, most of us would never survive to reach adulthood. Our parents nurture us and provide love, encouragement, boundaries and rules that we cannot understand as children. As children of God, we fall under the auspices of our Father in Heaven. When we revert back to the selfishness of our childhood, God has provided the boundaries and rules to keep us safe from our eternal damnation. He provides the path toward righteousness and our salvation. 1 Peter 1:8-9, 13-15, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”

When we give ourselves to our Savior, we empty our hearts of the desires of this world. We are made a new creation, formed by our Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The leadership of the ELCA contends that God is now saying a new thing, one that supports the direction they wish to lead their membership. What is truly unfortunate is that they are leading their members away from the Lord, back to their selfish ways, placing human needs and desires in authority of Scripture. Using the doctrine of bound conscience, sin no longer has any meaning to those that choose to believe that their behavior is acceptable to God. Unfortunately, their chosen sin remains sinful in the eyes of the Lord. His law remains, no matter what the leaders of a wayward denomination want their membership to believe.

When we decide that God’s law is no longer important, we revert back to the child that does not have any boundaries and decides to eat that whole bag of candy. Although it is pleasant to eat, the stomachache that follows reminds us of our foolish decision. While the good news of the Gospel offers forgiveness, the law of the Old Testament keeps us safe and on the path toward righteousness. Although we never truly attain anything close to righteousness, we certainly can manage to make a mess of things when we disregard God’s law. The Gospel and law work hand in hand. When we truly accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and turn over our lives to Him, we will joyfully obey. To think that humankind can ignore the law set down by the Creator and giver of life, and comprise doctrine that rejects the word of God, is truly apostasy. Isaiah 40:6-8, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” We are called to obey the God who gives us life and sustains us throughout our lives. Fill your heart with the love of Christ and it will be obvious that His word is the Truth that we must follow. Many of our brothers and sisters accept these false teachings that sound so appealing and have become lost within the ELCA. It is our responsibility to rescue them from the false teachings of the ELCA. Expose these heretical teachings and proclaim the Truth. Pray unceasingly for the Truth to become known to them so that many more will rise up and return to the Lord and leave this misguided church behind.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Neither Rhyme nor Reason

The term, neither rhyme nor reason, usually credited to Shakespeare, was first coined in 1460 by John Russell in the “Boke of Nurture”. This quaint saying means that which has neither rhyme nor reason makes no sense, from either a poetic or logical standpoint. As the leaders of the ELCA pilot their church into the raging sea of apostasy, so many of their membership blindly accept false doctrine. ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson states that the gospel of radical inclusiveness is equal to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, explaining that one cannot exist without the other and many accept this as sound doctrine. The leaders of the ELCA proclaim that God is now telling them a new thing, that the Bible is simply a book of faith stories written by men that could not possibly understand this enlightened present age and this also resonates as truth to those that trust their church's leaders. So, armed with this new "truth", God’s law is voted out by man and instead of standing up for God’s word, the leaders of the ELCA fiddle away while Rome burns. This makes no sense whatsoever.

While the ELCA publicly pronounces that they profess their faith in a manner that pleases God, in reality the leadership accepts many versions of Christianity, including pagan goddess worship. Up is down and down is up. As Christians we are freely offered the grace of God, eternal life with our Father in heaven, if only we believe and have faith in the Risen Christ. In the ELCA that is not necessarily true, since the leadership will also accept other paths to one’s salvation, but do include the caveat that Christianity is a “better way”. I’ve been taught and accept that there is only one way. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When my Lord and Savior tells me that He is the way and the truth and the life and without faith in Him there is no salvation, that’s good enough for me.

There are those that are much too trusting of this church and accept these new and modern doctrines that contradict our Lord's commands. There is a reason that we need to dwell in His word to discover what our God is really telling us. Failure to engage in regular Bible reading or Bible study will make us vulnerable to false teachings.  Learn and know His truth and you will be better equipped to recognize false teachings. We are made a “new creation” when we allow God to mold us in His image. He is not now telling us something new, He has told us what He expects of us in His word. He, who made the whole universe and created the earth and all that is in it, justly has all authority to place His laws before us. God has every expectation that His children will endeavor to obey His laws. In this present age we are not so enlightened to disregard that which our Father has commanded. Every generation seems to believe that they have reached the pinnacle of enlightenment until they are proven woefully wrong. This generation of progressive religious leaders that direct the ELCA think that they know more than God Himself, are sadly mistaken.

So, for what reason would the leadership of the ELCA accept as appropriate doctrine, that which God prohibits? Why would paths other than through faith in the Risen Christ be acceptable? Why do we pray the Lord’s Prayer and the Creeds if they are not that important to the ELCA? Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “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.” His truth is written in the words of the Holy Bible. His word is there for all ages. The word is alive and speaks to each one of us if only we read and accept. Our God, through the Holy Spirit is with us always and we need only to listen with our hearts. Plain and simple, the leaders of the ELCA have watered down the Christian faith that they profess by accepting that which God does not. It is all well and good to publicly state their faith appropriate to what has been taught by our Lord. It is problematic that they also consider and support doctrine that places the very salvation of their members at risk. Paul said it well in 1 Timothy 1:3-7, “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” It has become obvious that by accepting doctrine that is contrary to God’s law the ELCA is engaged in meaningless talk, confidently affirming their false teachings, all the while betraying themselves and their membership. The time has come to turn away from this misguided denomination, continuing to pray that they will come to understand their error and return to the Lord.