Monday, March 5, 2012

Addicted to Love

Addiction is normally associated with the physical or psychological dependence upon certain drugs. Addiction can also be a persistent commitment to an objective in spite of the negative consequences that it brings. The leadership of the ELCA persists in proclaiming the love of the neighbor as foremost in their ministry. They reach out with imperfect love in an effort to repair our broken world. This love of neighbor, over the love of our God, leads them to affirm behavior acceptable by secular society instead of recognizing that our God does indeed have rules.  We must not willfully disobey.  We must accept and understand that certain behavior is not acceptable to Him. John 14:23-24, “Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” Many of those who choose to disregard God’s law cite many verses in the Old Testament in an effort to discredit those who uphold the authority of Scripture. Jesus stated many times, “Is it not written”, confirming the Old Testament laws. So even though believers are no longer subject to the punishment for breaking God’s law, which we all do with way too much regularity, we still should aspire to obedience to show our love for our God.

When we put the cart before the horse and try to replace God’s perfect love with our imperfect love, we lift up the things of this world, rather than that which our Father desires. The elevation of secular ideals and placing a greater emphasis on social justice rather than striving to save the souls of the lost is the ELCA’s greatest shortcoming. The leaders of the ELCA look to use their misguided goal of fixing our broken world, disregarding the fact that, if more came to the Lord, that in and of itself, would necessarily make this world a better place.  If more accept the Truth and obey our Lord’s teaching, more would reach out to their neighbor in true Christian love. Any organization can work to make the world a better place, but how much better could it be if this church would actually reach out in true Christian love and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world as the way to repair our broken world. When a greater emphasis is placed on lobbying for the “Dream Act” while our God’s business is ignored, the leadership of the ELCA is simply preaching a gospel other than the one our Lord taught. When statements issued by the presiding Bishop, on behalf of the ELCA, are filled with deliberate misrepresentations and inaccuracies, as he did with a statement condemning Israel for boarding ships violating the Gaza blockade, he discredits the entire synod.

Man’s flawed desire to love the neighbor too much, leads to the affirmation of that which our Father prohibits. The whole issue of human sexuality was turned chaotic when the leadership of the ELCA decided to place their own experience, knowledge and tradition above the authority of Scripture. Does loving one’s neighbor also require us to affirm sinful behavior and to disregard words of Scripture? Is one obligated to accept behavior that is specifically prohibited by our God in order to be welcoming to our neighbor? We are called to preach the word to our brothers and sisters in Christ and “correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” When the ELCA adopted the doctrine of bound conscience, it abandoned its’ responsibility to maintain proper doctrine and began teaching its’ membership a false gospel.

When love is not rooted in the Risen Christ, it is truly directed from within, from the self and to the self. The leadership of the ELCA is addicted to the imperfect love of the neighbor that is embedded in the love of the self. We are to be a vessel for our Lord with Christ central in our hearts. When we place Christ first in our hearts His love will truly flow through us and to our neighbor. For, if one is not dedicated to pleasing our Lord, he only pleases himself. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” It is when we choose to place Christ first in our hearts, and only then, will we truly be able to reach out in His love.

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