Monday, February 27, 2012

Self Diagnosis

A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient,” is a quote attributed to Sir William Osler, a Canadian physician born in 1849. Osler was known as one of the greatest thinkers of modern medicine around the turn of the century. Many of his writings, even though he was addressing medical issues, can help us relate to some of the “new things” happening in some of our “progressive” churches, such as the ELCA. The doctrine of bound conscience allows one to diagnose one’s faith as it pertains to setting the rules in a relationship with God. A self-exam can allow one to determine that their spiritual health may satisfy themself, but, in fact, displeases our Lord. What constitutes an illness, or sin, is simply up to the individual, pushing God to the rear. This makes as much sense as the patient that looks at an obvious malady and ignores his doctor’s advice on a course of treatment that will lead to a cure. Replacing the authority of Scripture with the false gospel peddled by the leaders of the ELCA, is tantamount to refusing the cure that medical science offers. How many faithful brothers and sisters have been deceived with appealing words such as welcoming, tolerance, and diversity while they allow their own selfishness to overwhelm their love of our Lord and Savior. Romans 7:14-20, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” When we choose to shut out our Lord and Savior and try to go it alone, we return to our natural state, a selfish, sinful human being.

Another quote attributed to Sir Osler is, “When schemes are laid in advance, it is surprising how often the circumstances fit in with them.” The race to legitimize homosexuality by the misguided leaders of the ELCA have left them using subterfuge and any number of illegitimate plots to reach their stated goal. Whether it be stacking the deck by appointing committee members that agree with their desired outcome, conducting synod assembly votes after normal business was concluded and many dissenters had left (2005 Greater Milwaukee Synod led by then-Bishop Peter Rogness), or forwarding resolutions and studies over the objections of their members, there is no limit to their dishonesty and aim to dishonor our God. Know this, the calculated deviation from God’s plan will not enhance their church, it will and has severely diminished it. The schemes of the leadership of the ELCA have left their church in utter disarray, with churches voting to break fellowship, members leaving to find a church that preaches His Truth, and other members redirecting benevolence away from their bloated bureaucracy. ELCA members that accept these false gospels, begin their fall from grace. 1 Timothy 6:20-21, “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.” The leadership of the ELCA would have their members wander away from the Lord in order that they may attain the goals of this world.

And finally in a 1910 article describing how one’s faith can aid in the healing process, published in the British Medical Journal, Osler said, “Nothing in life is more wonderful than faith — the one great moving force which we can neither weigh in the balance nor test in the crucible. Intangible as the ether, ineluctable as gravitation, the radium of the moral and mental spheres, mysterious, indefinable, known only by its effects, faith pours out an unfailing stream of energy while abating nor jot nor tittle of its potency.” I’m not certain that Osler was a faithful Christian, but it is obvious that he understood the power of faith in the Lord. Not only can faith heal the body, but faith will cleanse the spirit, making us right with God. When we place our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in charge of our lives, and have a goal to please Him in all we do, we will truly be healed. Romans 4:18-25, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” There is nothing beyond the power of our God. Pray unceasingly for the leaders of the ELCA to return to Him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preaching to the Choir

When the Pharisees complained that Jesus was eating with persons of poor reputations, Jesus said in Matthew 9:12-13, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’, for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Confessional Lutherans understand how the ELCA has fallen into the pit of apostasy. Many follow the numerous blogs and news articles about the “new things” that continue to drive the ELCA away from hundreds of years of accepted Lutheran doctrine. We comment on the blatant heretical teaching accepted by the leadership of the ELCA and continue to pray for our brothers and sisters lost and unaware of this false gospel. Problem is, we are keeping this within a small family of believers. The Truth needs to get out to those unsuspecting believers being led astray. Some have said that it is time to move on and leave the ELCA behind, awash in their heretical teachings. We cannot, and we are called to not simply walk away. We cannot allow our brothers and sisters in Christ to be led to the wide and destructive path that the leaders of the ELCA would have them travel.

There are “new” tools available to us and we need to avail ourselves of these tools to help get the Truth out. For certain, there are Christian blogs that link to various articles and news, but again, are we really reaching those who need to hear. Far too few are touched by what is revealed by the Holy Spirit through the various bloggers. If you have a Facebook page, every article that exposes the false gospels of the ELCA should be posted for all your friends to see. Those 777 people that “like” Exposing the ELCA have hundreds of their friends that they can reach by simply posting a link. Each friend has hundreds more that can be reached, and on and on. And how many of those friends may be members of an ELCA congregation, completely unaware, thinking all along that they are using their hands to do God’s work. It is all well and good that there are those who understand how destructive the teaching is to those attending ELCA churches that preach these “new things”, it is another thing to reach those who do not. Those sitting in pews that are being filled with the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit come to know and understand, are not the ones in need of rescue. It is those sitting in pews thinking that the message from their pulpit is the Truth, when in fact, it is perverted by the false gospel so prevalent in so many ELCA churches.

We are called to be productive fruit for our Lord. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and to lay down our lives for our friends. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are at risk. We do them no favor by simply finding a church that preaches the true Gospel and making certain that we are fed the words of life. We have the responsibility to reach each and every brother and sister in Christ that falls away, who believes that by accepting the false gospels of tolerance, welcoming and diversity that they will be saved. James 5:19-20, “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” The simple act of sharing your faith by linking to articles or posts that promote our Lord’s teaching, just may help a brother or sister from risking their very salvation. Which articles to choose, you say? A pastor said that what he thought was one of his weakest sermons led one of his congregants to say to him that listening to his sermon he felt that God was talking directly to him. So, if a post causes the Spirit to rise in you, it just may be a sign that it may affect others similarly.  Proclaim His glory, get His Truth out, and help cover over a multitude of sin.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's New?

There are so many new things happening in the ELCA these days. Even though Jesus said that it is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law, the leaders of the ELCA proclaim that God is saying all kinds of new things that apparently invalidate His law. One of the evil one’s most commonly used ruses is to stroke the egos of those wanting to be affirmed within their sin, using our inherent selfishness to place our desires first. The supposed enlightened leadership of the ELCA falls for this deception and proclaims that, somehow, this is God speaking to us in “new ways”.  Using this erroneous (or perhaps deliberate) assumption enables them to reinterpret Scripture to fit societal norms. These “new things” are prompting them to reconsider their very relationship with God. The Bible is looked upon as a book of faith stories, with tales that are wedded to the time and place they were written, and often no longer pertinent to our new enlightened society. Scripture is no longer accepted as the word of God, but is described as a book that “tells the truth” in that the Bible tells the story of God’s relationship with the world. But, to the leaders and scholars of the ELCA, human experience, tradition and knowledge lifts up one’s bound conscience above the authority of Scripture and allows them to disregard verses that do not correspond to their terms and allows members to make Scripture say whatever it is that one desires.

Repentance? That is so old school. Repentance requires changing our point of view. We need to see things as God sees them. God simply asks us to turn away from our selfishness and turn to Him. This is how we accept His gift of grace and salvation. However, the leadership of the ELCA has a different point of view.  The ELCA preaches that the affirmation of those within their sin is the way to reach out to truly love our neighbor. Believe and preach the Gospel, are you kidding? They believe that those looking to be accepted as they are must be welcomed without any obligation to repent and turn to God and away from sin. The idea that God is good and only good, and everything He has created is also good, leads to the ELCA to affirm any and all sinful proclivities. There no reason to be “made new” by the act of giving your life to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Somehow, playing into mankind’s inherent sinful nature and granting license to act as one chooses by affirming those that disregard God’s word, will bring them closer to God? This “Big Tent” that the ELCA has been striving to fill, continues to play to smaller and smaller audiences, leading this church into a steep decline as they move farther and farther away from our Lord’s teachings. How many congregations and members have been lost since the 2009 CWA and the "great diving" into the deep end of the pool of heresy, declaring that God’s children now make the rules? Hebrews 6:4-6, “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”  Surely, the ELCA must believe that these verses of Scripture do not pertain to their actions as they deepen the chasm between their membership and our Lord.

So, the leadership of the ELCA has decided that their target audience does not want to be told that they are sinful beings, unable to prosper without God taking control. They decide to tell those seeking to fill the emptiness within their very souls, that can only be filled by Jesus Christ, that it is not necessary to made new. Those lost are told that God made you that way and there is no reason to change, and if God can’t accept you as you are, then we will create a god in your image, one that meets mankind’s expectations and allows one to be whatever one wants to be. They proclaim freedom for all to sin without remorse, without the need to ask for forgiveness, and without the need for a Savior. Even in this new and modern age, God’s people fashion for themselves graven images to worship. Problem is, the people have placed themselves upon the altar, worshipping themselves, their identities and accomplishments. And this church not only condones this, it promotes and proclaims that this makes their church stronger. How many people will be led into the abyss with these false teachings, all the while believing that their hands are doing God’s work? Jesus quoted the book of Isaiah in Matthew 15:8-9, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” Jesus is the truth and the way and the life. Without repentance, we become like the weeds to be thrown into the fire along with the chaff from the harvested wheat.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Bigger They Are

The bigger they are the harder they fall. When facing an opponent that is physically imposing, these words are often uttered. Perhaps young David thought this before standing before Goliath. His trust and faith that God would protect him allowed David to step out and face a giant of a man that seemed invulnerable, especially to the rest of the Israelite army. With a stone and a sling, David felled the giant of a man, something that the entire Israelite army could not accomplish. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is the largest Lutheran body in the United States, with over 4 million members, and not unlike Goliath, they are the big bully on the block. Rules have been changed making it more problematic for those that have no place in a church that has rejected the very tenets of their faith. Bishops push their way into the pulpits of congregations before they can even consider investigating their relationship with the ELCA.

Confessional Lutherans that look to break fellowship with this misguided denomination are subjected to all sorts of persecution. Matthew 5:11-12, Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 1 John 2:9-11, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.” Apparently, the “new things” that God is telling the leaders of the ELCA includes disregarding these verses of Scripture, too.

Invoking their “bound conscience” the leaders of the ELCA, so enamored with the world, have enlisted additional secular weapons in their quest to maintain control over member’s properties and finances. They have decided to use the judicial system and have begun filing lawsuits against those congregations that dare to break fellowship or seek dual affiliation with other synods. These firm believers in separation of church and state only believe when it is to their advantage. Those that worship in ELCA congregations mean little to those greedy leaders of this church that disregards our Lord’s teachings. The assets of those congregations mean everything to them. Without the resources accumulated by those congregations, the bureaucracy of the ELCA suffers. It takes a lot of money to grease the skids of the powerful lobbying machine that is the ELCA. Drumming up support for the “Dream Act”, justice for Palestine, denouncing Israel, eco-faith, genetics, and human sexuality, to name a few, takes a lot of cash. One way to recoup monies lost from congregations leaving and redirecting benevolence was slashing the budget for missionaries, that are to preach the word to the world and make disciples of all nations, in order to use that money to support their ambitious social justice agenda. Anyone else see a problem with this line of reasoning for an organization that proclaims that they are God’s church?

Those that uphold the authority of Scripture and desire to break fellowship with the ELCA do so with great trepidation and sadness. Those that have been given no choice but to leave and join a synod true to the Lord, pray that those trapped within the ELCA have their hearts and minds opened to the fact that ELCA doctrine drives them away from our Lord. There is only a righteous anger toward the leadership of the ELCA that consistently preaches a false gospel to their members. Yet, the leaders of the ELCA attack and debase those that reach out to lead them back to the Lord. How dare us! We are called to not only make disciples, but to rescue those who have fallen from the Lord’s path. By showing their true colors, the leaders of the ELCA do nothing but vindicate those who have discerned that the Lord is leading them away from the apostasy that permeates the ELCA. While the organization of the ELCA dwarfs the reforming Lutheran Synods, we have faith that our Lord will protect and lead us. Even though we are equipped with just a stone and a sling, we trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So we cast our small stones, exposing the heresies promoted by the ELCA, and we will continue to make dents in the Giant that defies our Lord and leads His people astray. Continue to proclaim the Truth and pray that those who remain within the ELCA awake and discover that they are being fed a false gospel and turn back to the Lord.