Early on my son showed signs of an advanced intelligence, but also was plagued with inappropriate behavior. Tested at an I. Q. of 158, my wife and I had high expectations for him. Unfortunately, his behavior became more and more troublesome and his grades were well below average. When my son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), it posed more questions than answers. Of course, we now had an excuse to blame his poor grades and misbehavior in school. This diagnosis also found that he was deficient in his verbal recognition skills. We had to learn to give him a single task with a single explanation to accomplish that task. Assigning more than one task led to unfulfilled errands and eventually led to us being disappointed and him becoming frustrated. Medications were prescribed, some that actually exacerbated his condition. His frustration with this condition led him to leave school before he graduated, leading my wife and I to exact some tough love, telling him he had to leave our home and strike out on his own. Sometimes, things work out that are just beyond explanation. Our son is now married, with two beautiful children, owns his own home, finished high school and is now attending college while he works full time. The Spirit moves in amazing ways.
The malady that has infected the ELCA is not unlike ADD. Unfortunately, the enlightened leaders of the ELCA do not have the high spiritual I. Q. that they believe they possess. Poor grades in upholding the authority of Scripture has nothing to do with a lack of focus or inability to concentrate. Misbehavior by lifting up the doctrine of bound conscience above the will of God has nothing to do with a deficiency in their ability to recognize the doctrine of Scripture Alone and to disregard those that preach the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, trying to gently correct and instruct. There are no medications that can open the eyes of the leaders of the ELCA that persist in focusing on the secular world to the detriment of the saving of souls. Their focus is so plain to so many, but the plank that is in their collective eye, unfortunately goes unnoticed by so many of their members who would rather maintain unity than uphold the authority of Scripture. Jeremiah 9:4-6, “Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.“
Strong words, but like so much of God’s word, remains pertinent to what is happening today. The doctrine of bound conscience allows members of the ELCA to live in the midst of deception, denying God, while acknowledging themselves as their own god by worshipping themselves, their possessions, and their identities. When a church substitutes the truth and replaces it with lies, for the sake of being more welcoming, tolerant and open minded, they deceive themselves and their members. I am a sinner. I sin every day. I must be so disappointing to my Lord in my spiritual failure. I don’t ask Him to affirm my sin. I ask Him to forgive my transgressions and to help me to live up to the standards He wants me to follow. When a church throws out God’s law, and yes, we are no longer subject to the punishment of the law when we believe in God’s one true Son, those that accept this errant doctrine are encouraged to feed their selfishness. We all can love our brothers and sisters in Christ without regard to the sins they commit. If we fail to acknowledge that we are by nature sinful and unclean, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. We make our God out to be a liar!
I don’t qualify as one to determine whether or not homosexuality is a choice or is an innate predisposition of the human condition. What I do know is that Scripture is abundantly clear that God does not approve of that behavior. When one opens their heart and allows the Spirit to enter, we are then able to believe and have faith in the Risen Christ. When one realizes exactly what He did for us, we are deeply indebted to Jesus. We, indeed, need to learn to deny ourselves and to obey all of His teachings. We fall in love with Him and it becomes our joy to obey, placing God’s needs above our own. I also do not qualify as one to understand why it is necessary for a church to disregard Scripture and lift up sin as right with God, allowing those with desires strictly prohibited by God and sanction those wishing to lift up their selfishness, instead of denying themselves. What is so plain to so many is still lifted up by this errant denomination as the proper way to love the neighbor while they accuse those who disagree as homophobes, intolerant and hateful.
He who spoke the universe into existence has the final word in all this. Does this doctrine of bound conscience jeopardize the salvation of those who accept it? I don’t know, but I believe it opens a door to allow Satan easy access to our souls. He is the father of lies, and bound conscience is as big a lie as any church has foisted upon the faithful. Full inclusion of the LGTBQ community must be a goal of all churches, as we are called to love everyone as ourselves. So vital to the ELCA’s drive to have the LGTBQ community normalized is the anti-bullying program, It Gets Better. But, it is not only the LGTBQ community that faces bulling. People fall prey to bullying based upon their gender, sexual identity, race, or any other excuse. Those engaging in bullying are to be sternly corrected to the full extent of man’s and God’s law, and this behavior is not to ever be tolerated. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. If my brothers and sisters in Christ can love me in spite of myself, we can love all our neighbors as well.
The doctrine of bound conscience allows one to sin without the need for repentance. Minimizing sin by making confession and absolution optional in the ELCA liturgy, dilutes our faith and drives a wedge between themselves and God. It has become apparent that the leaders of the ELCA have abandoned their authority as a church of God. God already comes to us, offering His abundant grace. Will you stand with a church that denies Him? Titus 1:15-16, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”