To: Mark Hanson, presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
On Sunday, January 16, 2012 our congregation sang a praise hymn entitled Speak, O Lord. I can’t recall the last time this praise hymn was used in one of our services, but the Holy Spirit spoke loud and clear through this hymn of praise. If you haven’t experienced the words in a while, here they are for you. “Speak, O Lord as we come to know You, to receive the food of Your Holy Word. Take Your Truth and plant it deep in us. Shape and fashion us in Your likeness, that the light of Christ might be seen today in our acts of love and our deeds of faith. Speak O Lord and fulfill in us all Your purposes for your glory. Teach us Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, and true humility. Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity. Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see Your majestic love and authority. Yours are words of power that can never fail and let their truth prevail over unbelief. Speak O Lord and renew our minds and help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us. Truths unchanged from the dawn of time that will echo down through eternity. And by grace we'll’ stand on Your promises and by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us. Speak, O Lord till Your church is built and the earth is filled with Your glory.”
Now, you may wonder why this letter is entitled reconciled in Christ, because in the ELCA, this phrase denotes those churches that reach out to the LGTBQ community. Well, if you really read the words above and let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and allow you to discern what “new thing God is saying”, you will discover that there really are not two hermeneutics or paradigms at work that are irreconcilable in the interpretation of God's word. His words are timeless and everlasting. His words are true and most assuredly pertinent to our lives today. Obeying His commands bring us great joy, because we truly want to please the One we love. Because it is when we abandon our goal to please ourselves and decide to turn our lives over to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we find true fulfillment in the goal of pleasing Him. When we give our lives to Christ, we will find that we need not fulfill ourselves with the things of this world, our fulfillment is simply leading a life pleasing to our Lord and Savior. This means abandoning our identities and becoming Disciples of Christ. And Disciples of Christ love everyone, even if it means correcting, rebuking and encouraging--with great patience and careful instruction.
Bishop Hanson, please reconcile the doctrine of bound conscience when we are called to let Scripture lead us in all matters of faith and in our Christian lives. Tell us how this false gospel teaches us full obedience when those that accept this doctrine place themselves in authority of Scripture. Explain how this allows His Truth to remain unchanged from the dawn of time and echo through eternity. Defend the ELCA officially disregarding Scripture and overturning God’s law by enacting doctrine to declare homosexuality right in God’s eyes. Enlighten us on the method in which bound conscience allows us to let His truth prevail over unbelief. Justify how this shapes us in His likeness and does not, in fact, open the door for man to try to make God in his own image.
Bishop Hanson, describe just how a diversity of beliefs causes our faith to rise and to see and understand His majestic love and authority. Illuminate us how those who declare that faith in the Risen Christ is unnecessary to gain salvation can still walk as God walks with us. Rationalize to us poor uneducated, unwashed masses that accept that without faith, we cannot enter into His kingdom. If our Lord and Savior told us that He is the way and the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him, how does the ELCA acquiesce to this misguided belief and not reach out in true Christian love to bring back those who have gone astray?
As the leader of a church of over 4 million, you sir, have the responsibility to preach the pure Gospel so that those that hear can be inspired by the Holy Spirit to come to accept the Truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You must help feed the food of His holy word so that Truth can be planted deep within us. By appeasing every wayward belief under the sun and allowing those to fall off the narrow path is certainly not what the Lord called you to do. With great authority comes great responsibility and every brother and sister lost to the Lord because you choose to neglect the responsibilities of your office pleases no one but the evil one. His are the words of power that can never fail. With those words our Lord will fulfill in us all His purposes for His glory. His words can renew our minds and help us grasp the heights of His plans for us. Bishop Hanson, it is time to lead your flock back to the Lord. Jesus said in John 17:15, 17, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Our prayer is that you return to the true Gospel and uphold sound Christian doctrine so that all of God’s children come to Him.