In the old west Snake oil salesman peddled elixirs that allegedly cured everything from acne to gout, but in fact these “miracle cures” were simply watered down whiskey or worse. Con men used elaborate ruses, such as the scheme used in the movie, The Sting, to swindle their marks and steal their money. There are many e-mail and internet scams that attempt to wrest money and information from those who are greedy or simply unsuspecting and naïve. There are many ways to deceive, mislead, dupe and betray in order to pilfer another’s assets. But, some of those assets are far more valuable than others. The evil one will use various schemes to try to lead us away from our Savior and tempt us into engaging in sin. The father of lies uses pleasing words that often prey upon our innate selfishness and false sense of superiority. Satan and his minions will take many forms in this world, sometimes even donning clerical garb in order to lead God’s church astray.
ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson has become so enamored with the love of this world that he cannot even see, nor understand that he betrays the very God he has pledged to serve. When the 2009 ELCA churchwide assembly was wrestling with the decision to lift up human sexuality and pronounce that God was in error, he sat back and decided that he would allow the lay delegates to make their choice. Never mind that it is Hanson’s responsibility as Bishop to make certain that proper Lutheran and Christian doctrine is followed, he could see that the outcome that he had so hoped for many years, was about to finally come to fruition. In his never ending quest to champion gay rights, he threw caution to the wind and shoved God under the bus. It is no longer necessary to deny oneself to please the Lord, the ELCA allows one to deny the Lord and please yourself, according to the doctrine of bound conscience.
So much of the ELCA’s efforts have gone into secular ideals such as their “Care for Creation” attempting to prevent man from polluting the world, they have neglected to protect their members from being polluted by the world. . James 1:26-27, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So much of Scripture warns us to live in the world, but not be of the world. We should prosper in this world, but maintain our belief in the Lord. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego vowed to remain faithful to God and not bow down to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol of gold even if it meant being burnt to death. Daniel 3:17-18, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They were saved from the fire and remained faithful, even turning Nebuchadnezzar's heart to the Lord. When one clicks the link to the social statements on the ELCA’s website, you will see the shining gold idol that is worshipped by the leaders of the ELCA. Mark Hanson, as the leader of the ELCA, has decided that the acceptance of secular ideals, the affirmation of that which God prohibits, and the tolerance of the evil that the purveyors of Islam rain upon God’s chosen nation, Israel are the golden image he wants to bow down and worship.
So, like any other snake oil salesman, he foists these lies upon the faithful and unfortunately, many agree with him and decide to bow down and worship the golden image with him. Brothers and sisters in Christ are lost to this false gospel every day. Yet, there are so many who have yet to hear the message of salvation and the unending love our Father in heaven has for them. I pray that those weak in spirit that fall prey to these false teachings hearken back to God’s word and discern His Truth. Dwell in His word and the truth will become apparent. Pray unceasingly that believers will not fall prey to the false gospel of affirmation, tolerance and acceptance. Pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ remain true to the Word and proclaim the good news to the world. There are many more brothers and sisters thirsting to hear the good news. Proclaim His Truth loudly and boldly!