Thursday, June 27, 2013

If the Shoe Fits

Martin Luther penned a letter on August 1st, 1521 to his fellow priest Philip Melanchton. A small portion of the content of this letter is a major emphasis in the ELCA’s foray into apostasy and insistence in proclaiming sin, particularly the sin of homosexuality, as good in the eyes of their church. “Sin boldly” is the rallying cry of the misguided that declare that God could not have possibly understood how enlightened mankind would become, or that His children would pronounce the maker of the universe, mistaken. In August of 2009 as the ELCA churchwide assembly voted to accept practicing homosexuals as righteous, a tornado struck the ELCA church across the street from the convention center hosting the ELCA CWA, breaking the steeple and turning the cross upside down. This sign was declared by advocates of the assembly’s decision as a wind of change and that God approved of the actions of the assembly. Perhaps, God’s chosen that lived when the disobedient 30,000 Israelites were swallowed up by the earth and the perverse residents of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by burning sulfur rained down from heaven believed similarly, since many returned to their disobedience shortly thereafter.

From Luther’s letter; "If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life in not the dwelling place of righteousness but, as Peter says, we look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. . . . Pray boldly-you too are a mighty sinner."
“If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God's glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.”

When we pick and choose what we want to believe, while disregarding those passages of Scripture that we disagree with or are troubling to us, we deny God’s authority and behave as petulant children, ungrateful for all the gifts He has bestowed us. The leaders of the ELCA trivialize the tenets of the Lutheran faith, leading their membership away from the Lord and pushing them to worship themselves, their possessions and their identities by adopting the doctrine of bound conscience. So much of the ministry of the ELCA emphasizes social justice while reaching out to save the lost is less than an afterthought. Luther was right. This world is not fair. It is not a place where justice resides. We live in a broken world. We are here to proclaim the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This world is but a stopping place on our journey to eternity, and a short stay at that. Like it or not, we are all sinners, no matter your chosen sexuality or sinful proclivity. Place your trust in the saving grace of our Savior and your sexuality no longer matters, only furthering God’s kingdom and giving Him all your praise. We do not put our trust in an institution that is falling away from the teachings of Jesus.

When Luther reached that epiphany that man cannot earn his way into heaven and is saved by faith in the Risen Christ alone, our understanding of God’s grace and our salvation was changed forever. No one is righteous. Only one human being was ever righteous, and that was and is Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Redeemer and Savior, who took upon himself the sin of all the world, suffered our punishment and rose, defeating death, opening the path to our salvation. Christ alone is the reason for our joy. Christ alone is to be given all the glory. Christ alone has all authority to save us from ourselves. So, this wayward denomination that places human understanding on an even plane with the Creator of all that is and stands accused of promoting heresy, affirming sinfulness, advocating multiple paths to salvation and endorsing the worship of the self, lashes out at those that attempt to lead them back to the path our Lord set out for them.

Truly, if the shoe fits, wear it. 1 Timothy 6:3-5, “Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” Yet, the leaders of the ELCA persist in their declaration that God, through the Holy Spirit inspired authors of Scripture, could not possibly understand how times have changed and then try to justify their apostasy by inferring that God is telling them new things. That is truly reading between the lines and putting words in God’s mouth. Every time I read a passage of Scripture, I am truly amazed how those words written so long ago, are still so pertinent to our lives.

Continue in prayer that our brothers and sisters in Christ have their hearts and minds opened to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and realize the reckless path that the leaders of the ELCA would have them travel.

Friday, June 14, 2013

ELCA Hypocrisy

The unevenhandedness of the leadership of the ELCA is stunning. From synod to synod, the rules that bind the congregations of the ELCA are meted out without any type of consistency. Take, for instance, the issue of dual affiliation. Those congregations without a substantial value are either ignored by individual synod bishops or dismissed by the synod for violation of the ELCA constitution. Yet, those congregations having substantial assets are fought tooth and nail and even taken to civil court. The Grace Lutheran congregation of Eau Claire, WI was brought before Polk County Circuit Judge Molly Gale-Wyrick by the Northwest Wisconsin Synod of the ELCA and 67 disgruntled Grace Lutheran congregants, known as Amazing Grace Lutheran for violating the ELCA constitution regarding dual affiliation. Perhaps an explanation of the pertinent sections of the ELCA constitution that the synod accused Grace Lutheran and their council of violating will help us understand the depths of the ELCA’s depravity:

8.17. References herein to the nature of the relationship between the three expressions of this church—congregations, synods, and the churchwide organization—as being interdependent or as being in a partnership relationship describe the mutual responsibility of these expressions in God’s mission, and the fulfillment of the purposes of this church as described in Chapter 4, and do not imply or describe the creation of partnerships, co-ventures, agencies, or other legal relationships recognized in civil law. It would appear from this article of the ELCA constitution that the relationship between congregations, synods and the churchwide organization is not governed by the law of man, but is interdependent and a partnership in God’s mission. From this article it would also appear that a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge should have no jurisdiction over the above said organizations.

20.15. The procedures for consultation and discipline set forth in the bylaws shall be the exclusive means of resolving all matters pertaining to the discipline of congregations of this church. Neither the churchwide organization nor a synod of this church shall institute legal proceedings in which conduct described in provision 20.31.01. is the basis of a request for relief consisting of suspension of that congregation from this church or removal of that congregation from the roll of congregations of this church. A congregation of this church shall not institute legal proceedings against the churchwide organization or a synod of this church seeking injunctive or other relief against the imposition or enforcement of any disciplinary action against that congregation. Again, the ELCA appears to not be so inclusive in all matters as this article dictates the exclusive means for resolving all matters of discipline of congregations. While no congregation can institute legal proceedings against any synod for the imposition of discipline, apparently break-away congregants can persist in troublemaking and become party to a lawsuit against another congregation. Interestingly enough, the ELCA constitution does not specifically allow an action such as this to occur.

31.03. Charges against a congregation which could lead to discipline must be specific and in writing, subscribed to by the accuser(s), and be made by one or more of the following: a. at least one-fifth of the voting members of the congregation, submitted to the synodical bishop; b. at least three other congregations of the synod, submitted to the synodical bishop; c. the Synod Council; or d. the synodical bishop. 20.31.04. When there are indications that a cause for discipline exists, efforts shall be made by the bishop of the synod to resolve the situation by consultation in the same manner as set forth above for ordained ministers in 20.21.04. and 20.21.05. 20.31.05. If those efforts fail, the procedures for discipline shall be the same as that set forth above for ordained ministers in 20.21.07. through 20.21.22.

20.21.12. The accused shall have the privilege of selecting two persons (one clergy and one lay) and their alternates of the six persons from the churchwide Committee on Discipline to serve on a discipline hearing committee. The remaining four persons (two clergy and two lay) and their alternates, or six, if the accused does not exercise the privilege, and their alternates shall be selected by the Executive Committee of the Church Council. The council and pastors of Grace were accused and convicted without due process since they were not allowed to attend the alleged disciplinary hearing before the synod council.

20.16. It is the intent of this church that all matters of discipline should be resolved internally to the greatest extent possible. It is the policy of this church not to resort to the civil courts of this land until all internal procedures and appeals have been exhausted, except for emergency situations involving a significant imminent risk of physical injury or severe loss or damage to property. This particular article is most troubling. While intent is a broad term, greatest extent possible is not. The synod went out of their way to violate their own constitution while accusing the Grace Lutheran council of violating the ELCA constitution while disregarding the synod council’s deliberate misinterpretation of their own document. Do as I say and not as I do or am required to do by the articles of the document instituted to govern their organization. Incredible!

It is not surprising that an organization that disregards the tenets of a faith they are called to uphold violated their own governing documents. What is surprising is that there are still so many that continue to uphold and support this organization that denies much of the long standing, sound Lutheran doctrine that they profess to defend. As the leadership of the ELCA greases the skids on their rocket sled to hell, when will those passengers wake up and realize that the ELCA is on a path to destruction. These liars and thieves make the tax collectors and Pharisees of Jesus time look small time in comparison. The devil is laughing all the way to the bank while these supposed men of God lead the faithful astray. 1 Timothy 6:3-5, “These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” Those of you foolish enough to remain in fellowship with the ELCA; Keep filling the offering plates so that these ungodly purveyors of lies can continue in their wickedness or finally open your eyes and see what atrocities these co-conspirators of Satan are doing to the Lord’s church.