Saturday, December 20, 2014

Matter of Respect

Disrespect; noun, meaning a lack of respect or courtesy. "There is a growing disrespect for the rule of law". It is interesting, with the current demonstrations against law enforcement, that the Google dictionary chose that particular phrase to illustrate the word disrespect. In urban culture “disrespecting” another can cause much angst, often subjecting a person who committed a “perceived” disrespectful act to suffer retribution that often includes violence. And a perceived act of disrespect can be as simple as gazing upon someone who is simply looking for an excuse to act out in violence. Unfortunately, most of those who seem to be the most offended are those who have done nothing to merit respect. Those young men who father numerous children, yet take no part in their children’s lives are not due respect until they decide to accept their parental responsibility. Those young men, who place little value in women other than to be their bitches or hoes, deserve even less respect than they show to those women. Those young men who are able bodied, yet choose to be a drain on society by engaging in crime and violence have earned the frustration of society and are due no respect at all.

In our society there are those who do not need to earn the respect of the citizenry. Parents, teachers, clergy, your boss and yes, the police officers that are charged with maintaining the peace and protecting you are due the respect of society simply because of the positions that they have earned. Yes, earned. Hatred towards those that place their lives at risk on a daily basis is escalating at an alarming pace. Systemic racism is cited as permeating our law enforcement community. Black lives matter, is the rallying cry on all the banners that are all conveniently professionally printed. Ever wonder who pays for all those signs? Here’s some statistics for you to consider. From 1999-2011 police officers shot and killed 2151 persons described by race as white, 1130 persons described by race as black, and 2133 police officers were killed in the line of duty. In 2012, 49 police officers were shot and killed by assailants. In 2012, 123 black Americans were shot and killed by police. In 2012, 326 white Americans were shot and killed by police. Granted whites make up a majority of the population, but the results are not as skewed as the liberal media would have you believe. Roughly 62% of the US population is categorized as non-Hispanic white, 22% black and mixed race according to the 2010 US census bureau. In 2013, 59% of police shooting deaths were white, 41% black. This refutes those liberal estimates that state that blacks are as much as 30 times more likely to die at the hands of the police than whites. The numbers are still troubling, but are definitely not as disparate as some would like you to believe.

Most troubling, is the lack of any honest discussion about the underlying issues that cause more blacks to die at the hands of police, a ratio that greatly exceeds their percentage of the US population. Why are black men or anyone, regardless of race, placing themselves in the position to confront law enforcement authority? And let’s be honest about this. After almost thirty years in law enforcement, I dealt on daily basis with “No people” of all colors. Those were the persons, who violated a law, sometimes simply traffic violations, yet had the temerity to challenge authority, when they understood that their behavior was clearly unlawful. As the myth of “driving while black” is shouted from the rooftops by the liberal media, more and more black men are choosing to become “No people”, choosing to challenge and confront, rather than cooperate with police. This places more people at risk of escalating what may be no more than a simple traffic stop, into an arrest or worse.

Needless to say, personally I was more inclined to simply ignore simple traffic violations by persons of color, rather than run the risk of an incident that could spiral out of control. My tactic to avoid conflict was not an isolated occurrence in the law enforcement community. Sometimes it is just not worth it to get involved in the low priority incidents that, based upon the color of a person’s skin alone, would have a greater probability to spiral out of control and lead to any number of negative outcomes, both for the offender and the officer. Does having law enforcement turn a blind eye to the little things benefit the greater community? No consequences for those involved in minor offenses more often lead to greater offenses committed later, so I was indeed, doing my community a disservice. When the first black president, Barack Obama (although the US census would consider Obama mixed race, which would put him into the white American classification) was elected in 2008, it was to be the beginning of the end to racism. Not so much, as racial animosity is reaching a fever pitch.

In God’s eyes, there is but one race, the human race and all human beings are His children. All of God’s children are either my brothers and sisters in Christ or those brothers and sisters only waiting to hear the word and believe. 1 John 3:1, 16-18, ”See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” The color of our skin does nothing to differentiate us from each other. We are all the same in our Father’s eyes.

Progressives conspire to foment distrust among God’s children. Many of His churches stand with the progressive left and denounce those charged to protect and serve. ELCA leaders demonstrate to bring attention to homicides "committed" by police, inferring that crimes were committed by police. Are the ELCA, UCC and Episcopal churches upholding God’s will by promoting that His children love one another or are they blindly performing the evil one’s work by circumventing God’s commands with words that divide rather than unite? 1 John 4:9-12, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” No one’s life matters more than any other and proclaiming otherwise diminishes God’s kingdom.

As this post is being written, news of two New York police officers ambushed, shot and killed in their squad car is announced as breaking news. The evil one wins this battle, but we know who wins the war. It is time that we open our eyes and recognize that our relationship with Christ brings us all together. Our worldly desires and goals are what push us apart. When we focus upon that life giving cross, every other thing is simply a distraction meant to divert us from building His kingdom. We ought to learn to love one another if we want to properly love and respect our Lord and Savior. If we first live for Christ, we can then live together in love.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Equality of Opportunity

President Obama constantly berates those that have been successful in society. According to his logic, those who have succeeded have done so because the system is unfairly stacked in their favor. Speech after speech he promises to level the playing field and make those that he accuses “have succeeded on the backs of the poor” pay for their alleged crimes. His now infamous “you didn’t build that” speech ranks right up there with some of the most inane statements ever made by a politician, let alone a sitting president. Ever present in his arguments are vague accusations with no specifics, wagging his finger at the 1% while he touts that it is his goal is to set policy that lift up the middle class. Those who have more than they need should pay more than their fair share. Income disparity continues to grow. The rich are getting richer. Unfortunately, his policies are making the poor, poorer and the wealthy are taking advantage of the Fed propping up the stock market. The wealthy drive our economy by spending and more importantly, creating jobs and investing. Without the supposed “evil one percent”, those of us on the bottom rungs would have much less. Those that are foolish enough to trust in this charlatan’s rhetoric will only get what they deserve.

Protests to make the minimum wage a “living wage” spring up around the country. Wisconsin Democrat congressperson Gwen Moore brings “dignity” to her position by being arrested and charged with obstruction of justice during a protest in Milwaukee. One man complains that he has worked at McDonald’s for 22 years and cannot continue to live and provide for his family with an $8.00 per hour job. I don’t want to get too judgmental here, but a person with even one ounce of ambition would have been at least promoted to assistant manager by now. Progressives complain about the one percent and how unfair it is that the wealthy do not pay their fair share. Over and over they parrot talking points that blame the successful for the failures of the “Have Nots.” The United States has been engaged in a war on poverty since the 1960’s pouring billions and billions into programs that are supposed to end poverty. This welfare system conceived during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson and declared as the beginning of the “Great Society” simply invented a new method to keep the black man down. While some may decry the fact that we have done little to eradicate poverty, progressives continue to maintain their power on the backs of the poor. African Americans, freed from the cotton plantation, are deceived by the progressive scheme and move onto the plantation of welfare dependency. Entitlements become the chains that prevent them from escaping a life of poverty. Combined with propaganda to keep the flames of racial animosity burning, black America remains angry and suspicious of conservatives while maintaining dependence upon their new masters, thanking them with their votes that continue their enslavement.

Democrat run cities, such as Detroit and democrat run states like California continue to spend money they do not have nor will ever be able to repay, providing lavish salaries and benefits to their ever burgeoning bureaucracy, using their flawed argument that their free spending is benefiting those in the lower rungs of society. Isaiah 10:1-2, "Woe to those who make unjust laws,to those who issue oppressive decrees,to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless." As more and more democrats run their governments into the ground, they expect that others pay for their foolishness. Claiming bankruptcy shifts the burden of their reckless spending to other parts of the country that maintain financial stability. Republican run cities and states continue to provide necessary services while keeping taxes low but now will be punished in order to bail out the democrats yet again.

The progressive understands the danger that the “nuclear family” presents to their grand scheme and concocts programs to replace the father in the underclass, especially targeting blacks, dividing the country by creating class warfare. Destroying faith and family is necessary for the progressives to reach their objective. Once out of the way, government dependence becomes the new religion and government entitlements replace the necessity of the family. This is the blueprint to maintain minority dependence upon the very programs that stifle their ability to move out of poverty. In some states, a premium is paid to the mother for every child born into that poverty, giving incentive to conceive even more children that will become beholding to the very people that intend to use them to maintain their power and position. What a tangled web we weave. While conservatism actually more closely mirrors the values of most African Americans, the majority of African Americans look upon conservatives with contempt. A majority of African Americans are pro-life. A majority of African Americans remain opposed to same-sex marriage. A majority of African Americans are Christian. If one would look beyond the African American’s affinity to vote Democrat, you would believe that by their stated values, they would tend to vote for conservative candidates. But, by continuing to obfuscate and confuse, using innuendo and outright lies, the progressives preserve their power with the willing vote of a manipulated and perhaps permanent underclass.

So, how to combat this perceived “inequity”? Far too many African American children are raised without a father’s influence. More than 7 of every 10 births occur out of wedlock to African Americans. Some may argue that today’s African American male that concurs with the “Hip Hop culture” that relegates women as “Hoe’s and Bitches” would not make a good father anyway. But, God intended a family to be raised by a mother and a father. When a father takes the responsibility as a parent, the paternal instinct is a strong influence. Reconnecting with God and instilling the tenets of faith in the family structure will guide both the parents and their parenting. This is how we turn back the clock and take back our nation. We need Christian parents to raise their children to follow God’s will and take responsibility for their lives. If we can once again instill Christ as first in our hearts our nation will begin to heal.

It has taken the progressive movement a very short time to completely undermine the values of a nation that took hundreds of years to form this, what was at one time, a more perfect union. The fundamental transformation of this nation is not just underway, it is almost complete. But, it is not too late to turn the tide. We can return to the fundamentals that made this nation great, but it will take time and much hard work. Progressives maintain a strong foothold in academia, in the media and in government. We must begin by getting personally involved in government, first by becoming better informed on the candidates and targeting local school boards to elect those who would make certain that curriculum includes civics, history that is not revisionary and that political correctness dies a quick and painful death.

The truth will indeed set us all free. John 8:31-32, “Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Our nation was founded upon our forefather’s Judeo-Christian beliefs and we must return to those roots. We must reject the secular progressive’s goal of governing against the will of the people. We must use the power of the ballot box to rebuke those who would work to control our lives by taking away our freedoms. We must not remain silent any longer. We are a Christian nation and it is time to reclaim our nation by replacing the secular, progressive elite with those who would properly represent the electorate. If you want to take back our country, it is time to speak out. It is time for the silent majority to be heard. We need to make a statement to the world that we will not have our lives dictated to us any longer. The choice is clear. Sit and complain while a minority opinion drives our country’s decision making or cast your vote and make certain that everyone you know who upholds Christian principles goes to the ballot box and casts his or her vote. If this does not happen soon, it may never come about and our nation will be forever changed and there will be no opportunity at all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Casualties of Tolerance

In every game there are winners and losers. Someone always ends up at an advantage, while someone else ends up licking their wounds. President Obama is fond of citing the travails of the middle class and the poor, blaming the wealthy for taking more than their “fair share” and succeeding on the backs of those less privileged. Political correctness is out of control in the world. The word police are out in force and it seems as if there is always someone or some protected group that is offended by some “hate speech” that was never intended to harm anyone. One must always be extremely careful to properly articulate so that those perennially disrespected factions are not incited into organized protests, costing you your job or worse. Jude 1:14-16, “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.”

The purveyors of racial bigotry are no longer just the one’s wearing the white hoods. They now don fine suits and belong to organizations such as the “Rainbow Coalition” and are summarily declared civil rights activists. Racism is no longer under the dominion of white supremacists. The Al Sharpton’s and Jesse Jackson’s of the world have taken the lead and foment racial anger, while promoting themselves rather than racial injustice. In Milwaukee a police officer is fired after he shot to death an unarmed black man. This after the police chief stated that the shooting was justified. There is much information about this incident that has not been made public. Notwithstanding that the grand jury has yet to recommend any punitive action nor has the district attorney issued any charges against the officer, civil rights activists are not satisfied and demand that the fired officer be charged with homicide. The investigation into the truth of this tragic incident remains unresolved, but innuendo and conflicting witness accounts drive the mob. This impatient gang of protesters cannot wait for the wheels of justice to complete its’ journey before flying off the deep end. Philippians 2:14-16, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” As happens much too frequently in our society, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and someone loses his job. But, why wait for the truth to come out. It is much easier, more politically expedient to kick the can down the road, fire the “bad apple” and let someone else take the heat.

Proponents of gay marriage take to the courts and only request “fairness” from the courts. After all, doesn’t everyone know, or know someone, or know someone who knows someone who knows a gay person? A recent poll by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) showed that less than 1.5% of those polled self-identified as LGTBQ. Secular society is determined to normalize alternative lifestyles, but those efforts are being driven by the smallest of minorities. How could a same-sex couple be satisfied with a civil union that affords all the benefits of marriage according to humankind’s laws? Those in Hollywood would lead one to believe that homosexuality is not only mainstream, but that it has quite a large constituency. Perhaps, in Hollywood it does, but not in conventional America. Constitutional amendments, enacted to safeguard the sanctity of marriage, blessed by God, between a man and a woman, so that they may love one another, have children, and raise them together, are rendered null and void by the opinion of human judges. Furthermore, some of God’s churches side with the secular world and open the doors to make human selfishness right and salutary as unrepentant homosexuals are welcomed into the pulpit and accepting homosexuality is celebrated as appropriate to properly love their neighbor. We need to bring our neighbor to the Lord, so that they can leave their life of selfishness behind, not promote that fellow believers return to their lives of selfishness and deny our Savior. The ELCA, for instance, bends over backwards to reinterpret God’s word and contrives nonsensical doctrine to uphold their flawed interpretations. 2 John 1:9-11, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”

When we worship at the altar of tolerance, the only one who is harmed is ourselves. Satan spins lies and works to get us to believe that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. He uses our innate selfishness to trick us into believing that we are wiser than our God. He is getting rather good at it lately as even men and women of God turn the tables and enact errant doctrine that drives a wedge between them, their congregants and God. The plight of the Palestinians, yeah those same people who rejoiced on the streets on 9-11 and allow rockets to be launched at Israel daily, is now championed by none other than the ELCA. God’s chosen are reviled and the leadership of the ELCA encourages an embargo on all goods manufactured by Israel. Is it no coincidence that many in Hollywood share this opinion? The ELCA protects a woman’s “right” to murder their unborn child by providing health care that covers abortions. The ELCA abandons Christ’s command to bring the lost to Him and make disciples of all nations by slashing missionary support and calling their world mission effort “accompaniment.” At least the secular world will approve of ending Christian evangelism.

The real losers in all this are those who sit in ELCA pews, believing that they are being fed the bread of life, when they are simply buying in to the secular rhetoric spewed by the leadership of the ELCA. The devil himself could not come up with a better plan to lead the faithful into the abyss. Jeremiah 5:21-22, 31-32, “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: “Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Pray unceasingly for our brothers and sisters in Christ to see the truth and be rescued from these charlatans that would lead them away from Him.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Who's in Charge?

The shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man by police in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked the flames of racial anger. At first, angry but peaceful protests began, followed by the cursory rioting and looting, with many of the participants from outside the community, including those that always seem to show up at incidents like this to create and foment chaos. Some of the looters shout that they deserve what they have stolen. The national media empathizes with the victims, accuses law enforcement of “systematic police brutality” and not only downplays the lawlessness, but questions whether it is “what goes around, comes around” and is just payback for past racial discrimination. The media interview the race activists who complain that the personnel of the police department does not properly mirror the racial makeup of the community. (There goes that quota affinity so vital to progressive philosophy.) Notwithstanding that the investigation is ongoing and any determination as to what actually occurred has not been completed, our President sends the United States Attorney General to make certain that no shenanigans are taking place by law enforcement, the local District Attorney and the County Coroner.

Meanwhile, thousands of Christians are being murdered in Africa and the Middle East and our President eschews sending any “boots on the ground” to protect our brothers and sisters in Christ, but he finally agrees to send humanitarian aid, albeit begrudgingly. At least they will die with a full stomach. ISIS, or as President Obama insists is ISIL, so as to not admit that his failure to enforce his “red line” in Syria has opened the floodgates to this murderous gang running rampant from Syria into Iraq. ISIS will continue to kill Christians, kidnap Westerners and video-tape gruesome executions, promising to kill even more if America takes action against their stated goal of establishing an Islamic caliphate. Our President gives a speech denouncing the murder of an American journalist and then goes golfing, yucking it up with his friends as if nothing happened. The days of America using its’ power to protect those who cannot protect themselves, is apparently over, at least while this administration reigns. Obama claims that the world is not on fire, blaming social media for exaggerating events around the globe. Romans 13:1, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” 

Every leader has been placed in their position by God, for His purpose. No matter how bad it seems on this earth, hear this; this earthly existence of ours is but a grain of sand in the hourglass of eternity. What is important for us while we live out our lives on planet earth is that we work to further the Kingdom of Christ. Dwell on the evil that men do and we will lose sight of a greater purpose that God has in store for us. As Christians we are not to be led like sheep to slaughter, we need to work to see that our leaders are grounded in the Word. Elect leaders that believe and uphold Christian values. Then we will be able to take back our country and lead it on the path that God intends. Each vote is important and it is our responsibility as, not only citizens of this country, but citizens in the Lord's kingdom here on earth. A great revival is happening all around us. More and more young people are coming to Christ is spite of the progressive’s battle against Christianity. Perhaps, leaders that continue to try to push us away from Him are being used to wake us sleeping Christians from our slumber. The leaders of the ELCA certainly woke me up. God definitely used the misguided ELCA church-wide assembly in 2009 to jumpstart my faith. Even though it was because of my misunderstanding the consequence of the law that began that fire in my heart, through the power of the Holy Spirit things started to become clear. It is not about disobeying the law by accepting as right, what God prohibits, it is about surrendering our lives to Him. Matthew 10:37-39, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” When we truly surrender our lives to Him, our desires become secondary and we delight in obedience to our Lord.

Doctrine is important. Doctrine gives us instruction as to how God wants us to live our lives. Doctrine disregarded or altered to fit our modern sensibilities leads us away from our relationship with Christ. The ELCA is enamored with the idea of eliminating or minimizing hell. This only leads to further erode the Christian’s true calling, to bring the lost to Christ. If there is no hell and everyone goes to heaven anyway, there is no need for a Savior. If there is no need for a Savior, there is no reason to believe in anything other than yourself. If one does not believe, this life becomes empty and meaningless. The leaders of the ELCA are seeking to make a God to meet the expectations of a progressive, secular society. Oh they seem to say the right things, like their social justice agenda is based on loving their neighbor, but their insistence to elevate that agenda over saving the lost, pushes God onto the back burner. There is a reason we are called Christians, and it is Christ, not social justice.

There are over 4 million brothers and sisters in Christ adrift in the apostasy ridden organization that is the ELCA, most of them truly believing that they are the right path. Many will come to discover, too late, that their name is not written in the Book of Life. As Christians, we cannot allow that to happen. God has placed those leaders who are in charge of the ELCA. Perhaps, it is to awaken some of us sleepy Christians and light a fire under us to help lead them back to Him. 2 Peter 2:20-21, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” We can truly be the hands and feet of Christ and lead our brothers and sisters back to the path of righteousness. I pray every day that more will come to know the lies perpetrated by the leaders and scholars of the ELCA and return to a church true to the Lord.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Captive to Sin

While progressive churches are engaged in a headlong rush to minimize or even eliminate sin, those of us who choose to worship in more traditional denominations, confession of our sins and the affirmation of God’s forgiveness is an important part of the liturgy. Yes, by faith alone we are granted forgiveness, but for us ever sinful Christians, it is a comfort to have God’s grace confirmed in our worship services. We are sinful human beings, held captive by our sinful desires. We cannot escape from the bottomless pit of sin without our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Try as we may to obey God’s law, we fail over and over again. I was reminded of my own shortcomings as a Christian by a non-Christian friend who pointed out that I was not always a very good example of a Christian. I agreed, and told him that is why I need a Savior. My true nature condemns me, but through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, even someone as unworthy as I am, is saved.

Many non-Christians and Christians alike, believe that being a Disciple of Christ simply means obeying the law, or, as some would say, the rules that God has imposed upon humanity to keep us in line. Many non-Christians are offended by what they consider “unfair” rules enforced by an unjust God. Believers are often looked upon as fancying themselves as belonging to an exclusive club that they believe grants them special dispensation. Yet, Christians, far too often, fall into the trap of judgmentalism, lashing out against rule breakers. I’ve often told my kids, my grandchildren and even suspects that I was questioning in my former life as a police officer, “It’s bad enough that you made a mistake. Don’t make it worse by lying about it, blaming others and/or failing to take responsibility for your actions.” We all fall into sin, over and over, and we only make matters worse for ourselves when we ignore our inadequacies by pointing out our neighbor's failings. We “good Christians” cast out our most pronounced accusations upon our neighbors that engage in the sin of homosexuality. We are quick to point out the error of the person that succumbs to desires that God forbids. And yes, God makes it plain in His Word that homosexuality is forbidden.

Jesus said that the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Do you hate yourself when you act on desires forbidden by God, and fall into sin? Yet, we often fixate on our neighbors that succumb to their desires and engage in homosexual behavior. It’s a tangled web we weave. On one hand, as believers, we really should know better and the trap of sin should be apparent and easy to avoid. Unfortunately, this is far from reality. Paul said in Romans 7:14-25, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 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. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When the Apostle Paul, chosen to continue His ministry by Christ Himself, continually falls prey to his sinful nature, how can we call out our neighbor while we sin so boldly?

This is not to say that we are to acquiesce to sinful behavior by our neighbor. When our neighbor does not know Christ, it is our duty as disciples of Christ to lead that person to Him. Condemning our neighbors that engage in behavior that God prohibits will likely lead those neighbors away from God and if they do decide to try and find God they will likely fall into the hands of apostasy driven churches like the ELCA. We need to plant the seed that the Holy Spirit can nurture and grow in order for our neighbor to become part of the body of Christ. Once the love of Christ fills their hearts, they will come to realize what is pleasing to God. Our witness need not be by proselytizing, we can show the love of Christ in our actions towards our neighbor, and being openly critical of their behavior is not acting in love. The law is written upon the hearts of believers and non-believers alike, but if one does not know God, the Holy Spirit does not fill their hearts. Without the Holy Spirit, one cannot come to faith. If our actions only harden the hearts of our neighbor, we fail in the most important aspect of discipleship. For the believer, it is clear that God prohibits homosexuality. For the believer, it is clear that in order to please God the believer must not fall prey to that behavior. For the believer, it is clear that it is God's responsibility to judge the actions of humankind. If God can love me in spite of my continual disobedience, I can love my neighbor in spite of their faults.  A Church of God in Milwaukee boldly proclaims in a large neon sign on their front door, ALL SINNERS ARE WELCOME! That church is welcoming without disregarding the fact that we all are sinners that fall short of the glory of God.

When our brothers and sisters in Christ, those who already know Christ, fall back to the ways of the world by willfully choosing to accept false doctrine, they must be led back to the path of righteousness. After all, it is worse for one to come to the Lord and then fall back to the ways of the world. 2 Peter 2, 20-21, "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them." We must endeavor to correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. Our needs are to be secondary to our desire to please our Lord and Savior. Pleasing God entails following God’s will and acknowledging our innate selfishness. Prioritizing the fulfillment of human desires causes us to fall into disobedience. Sin may be pleasurable to the flesh, but it harms our relationship with God.

When a church decides to affirm sin, without repentance, it is no longer a Christian church. The leaders of the ELCA wag their collective finger at God and tell Him (or her in some of their churches) that they know better. The ELCA has abdicated its’ responsibility bring the lost to Christ and help them to travel on the path of righteousness. No one is righteous, as we all fall short, but as John wrote in 1 John 1:8-10, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

The leadership of the ELCA promotes doctrine that claims that sin is no longer sinful, deceiving their membership. The truth is not in them. Confession of sin is replaced with the affirmation of sin by this wayward denomination. The leaders of the ELCA proclaim that God is a liar as they try to rewrite His word to placate the world, rather than to bring His word to the world. His word is not in them. Continue to proclaim the truth and pray that our brothers and sisters adrift in the apostasy that is the ELCA will truly open their hearts and minds and return to the Lord. Reach out to our neighbor with the love of Christ and pray that more will come to know Him.

Monday, July 7, 2014


It’s the thing that gets us to the thing. The new series on AMC, Halt and Catch Fire, uses this phrase to explain that completing the reverse engineering of a computer is simply one step that will begin to open the doors that create an opportunity to gain wealth and fame. It is not simply a task, but a plan entailing prescribed elements that must be completed in order to take the next step that eventually leads to that end goal. Each task may seem to be unrelated to the end goal, but accomplishing those necessary steps are essential to achieve the grand plan. Progressivism is overtaking much of our society. Academia, government and now the church is being overwhelmed by progressive ideals that look to destroy rather than lift up. Radical change is the goal of progressivism and conservatism is the great evil that is in the way. You see, those traditional minded, conservative based individuals champion concepts that progressives find repulsive: Traditional marriage between one man and one woman; the right to life of an unborn child; personal responsibility. the right to bear arms; enforcing the border of a sovereign nation; and especially objectionable is the concept of an all-powerful God that would not only have the temerity to have His only Son killed to satisfy His anger, but also imposes rules upon a humanity that has apparently reached the pinnacle of enlightenment.

But, progressives find many roads that lead to the achievement of their goals. The carefully calculated humanitarian crisis that has hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant children crossing the border is one example. “We must take care of the children!” “Any civilized society would protect those that cannot protect themselves.” Unless you happen to be an unborn child, or as Cass Sunstein would say, if the child is under two years of age. Think about that for a moment. Abortion, or what should be correctly called infanticide, is not enough for one of our President’s czars. He believes that a child, under the age of two, can be aborted. How can a person justify killing a living, breathing child? When one does not value life, anything goes. Back to the vehicle used to get what one wants. The progressive in government looks to that government to provide for, nurture and control the populace. In order to control the populace, having that populace beholding to a government that provides the means for their income, health care, housing and other necessary items gives that government a means to control that portion of the populace. Creating an ill- informed, permanent underclass by giving them free stuff creates a populace that tends to vote to continue their handouts. Make that number greater than half of the total population and you create a permanent majority that allows the progressives to maintain power. How better to build and maintain that voting bloc than by opening the border gates and allowing the poor and destitute to enter. Then create entitlements for those undocumented immigrants and add to those who vote to maintain those entitlements, or simply put, to continue getting all their free stuff. It’s the thing that gets us to the thing.

Make note of the professionally printed signs that most “grass roots” activists display today? Wasn’t Nancy Pelosi the one who coined the word “Astroturf” to describe the grass roots uprising by the Tea Party? Occupy, immigration, women’s reproductive health, and other progressive activist groups are very well organized. There are no spontaneous demonstrations when it comes to a progressive’s plans. Every protest, every march is dedicated to achieving the results that move them closer to their ultimate goal. The “Overton Window” shows that by simply using tactics currently employed by progressives, one can swiftly move society to accept what was once looked upon as aberrant behavior. First move the public perception from unacceptable to radical, next move from radical to acceptable. Then move from acceptable to sensible. Take the next logical step from sensible to popular. Then complete the transition from popular to policy. It doesn’t take as long as one would imagine. Abortion leapt from unthinkable to a woman’s right to choose in a manner of years. Out of wedlock childbirth went from a family disgrace to a badge of honor, once even glorified in a popular network TV show, within a few decades. And homosexuality flew out of the closet to first become hip and now applauded as “heroic” in a just a few short years.

A must read for any conservative should be Alisnky’s “Rules for Radicals“. After all, it is important to understand one’s enemy, especially one that is hell-bent at utterly destroying the competition. Is the radical Islamist the greatest threat to democracy? No, and if you truly understand the progressive, you will recognize that they pose the greatest threat to country, individuality and particularly, Christianity.

From “Rules for Radicals”

“The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

“Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Sound familiar. The Evangelical Church in America has become quite proficient with these types of tactics. Take the time to read some of the current ELCA member comments on their own “Living Lutheran” website. Those that remain true to the authority of Scripture and believe as Luther taught are ridiculed and castigated by our ever loving, ever tolerant brothers and sisters from our former synod. As the ELCA proclaims, God’s work, our hands, their leaders push their members further away from the path God has set before them. God’s chosen, Israel is reviled by the leadership of the ELCA as they peddle outright lies to their membership to breed hatred while lifting up the plight of the very organization that wants to not only wipe Israel from the face of the earth, but also would destroy Christianity. Want to kill your unborn child? If you are employed by the ELCA, although the workforce continues to wane at Higgins Road, their insurance will pay for the procedure. Want to placate the selfish cravings of a sinful humanity and deny your Savior? All you need to do is invoke your bound conscience and you can not only have your same sex relationship recognized as a marriage by this wayward church, you can preach, unrepentantly from the pulpit as an ordained minister. These are the things that get them to the thing. And apparently that thing is elevating man above God and replacing Him with images of themselves.

Satan rejoices in the progressive movement. They are doing the things that get him to the thing he most longs for, a church that denies their God, a society that accepts murder, a society that replaces God’s will their flawed human sensibility, in fact, calling God a liar, and a church that is working to destroy God’s chosen people. With God out of the way, any perversion is possible. Jeremiah 23:25-27, “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship.” The Baal that the leaders of the ELCA worship is tolerance, acceptance and diversity. Their leaders bow in worship at the altar that lifts up the desires of a sinful humanity and leads their membership into the abyss ruled by the evil one. Remain in fellowship with the ELCA and one day you may find yourself falling into the trap of the evil one with no escape. Luke 13:22-25, Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.Pray unceasingly for the hearts and minds of those trapped within the ELCA to be opened to the truth

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spiritual Logic

“We don’t have to force Jesus on anybody, or convince individuals that their spiritual logic is faulty. Our task is to embody Christian love, not play savior” Peter W. Marty, an ELCA pastor in his column, Leaving Church Behind for the June 2014 “The Lutheran” magazine. Marty is a good soldier for the ELCA. Now fulfilling his oath to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is another matter. As with all good ELCA henchmen, the church and its’ congregational life is the most important aspect of their faith. Inclusivity, tolerance and diversity are what church is all about, isn’t it? After all, how could one properly embody true Christian love without an organization that leads the otherwise faithful. Marty muses about those that have kissed congregational life goodbye or have grown indifferent to faith. Curious the choice to place congregational life before faith is so very typical to this wayward denomination. This essay details several parishioners that fled his congregation. One couple left after reading his essay, Serendipitous, where on a particular Wednesday night, Marty inexplicably stopped at home to find his wife collapsed due to a brain aneurism. Marty’s Wednesday nights are typically filled with church activities and he seldom got home until very late. Not this day though. No credit given to God for directing him home at the precise time to enable him to save his wife’s life, simply an acknowledgement of a convergence of circumstances. Take a look at all some of the comments that accept Marty’s explanation that God is not in charge and that the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with this apparent miracle. It is so sad when a pastor decides that he needs to lead his flock astray in order to declare himself to be the smartest person in the room.

Marty cites another example of a self-absorbed man at whom Marty snarkily comments, “I sometimes wonder if Shawn is addicted to himself. He certainly figures frequently into the center of most conversations.” It appears that pastoral guidance and direction are above his pay grade. Marty then poses the question of what to do with those who were once shaped by Christian community and are a great distance from anything that hints of religious practice within an institution. Concern for their spiritual well-being will have to wait for someone else, perhaps like the ELCA doctrine of “Accompaniment”, since the seeds of faith were planted, his work is done. From there Marty moves into the blame game. Oh, those Christians that have the temerity to believe in the authority of Scripture. Those rotten Bible thumpers are always casting aspersions (and stones) on those lost souls that do not believe as they do. Holding true to the faith, believing that Jesus is the way and the light and the truth, believing that there is no way to the Father but through faith in the living Christ, apparently makes traditional Christians purveyors of exclusivity, building a wall between themselves and humanity. Yes, Marty does not specifically state this in his essay, but the inference is loud and proud. “Presumptuousness over our preferences and tastes is not a virtue.” Marty may liken himself to some of the great theologians that espoused novel and innovative interpretations of Scripture, but he doesn’t get it at all. In other words, his version of an explanation of the path God has set looks like so many lemmings falling off a cliff.

Yes, as followers of Christ, we are to embody Christian love. We are to share the love that He first gave us. We are to share the forgiveness that He gave to those who don’t deserve it. When we allow ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the love of Christ will flow from our hearts like a river. Everything we are is a gift from God. Pleasing Him is our greatest joy, yet our deepest disappointment as we fail, over and over, to follow our Father’s will. Paul said in Romans 7:14-25, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 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. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Jesus chose Paul to preach His Gospel to the world and even Paul found that his inner sinful nature caused him engage, over and over, in sinful behavior. We are no different. Through faith in the Risen Christ, one is no longer subject to the law, whose penalty is death. But, knowing that obedience to the law is pleasing to God, we can come to better understand the path He has set before us.

Therein lies the dangerousness of the doctrine of bound conscience that affirms sinners and disregards their sin. Without our acknowledgment that we are indeed sinful and cannot free ourselves from the grip of sin without our Lord and Savior, we are destined to fall away from His presence. Jesus Christ was sacrificed for us, a sinful humanity. Faith in the Risen Savior grants everlasting life. Our call is to share the love of Christ in our actions, in our words, and in our lives. It is the Holy Spirit working within us, not us trying to play savior. If someone’s spiritual logic is faulty, it is our responsibility to act to help lead them back to the Truth. 2 Timothy 4:2-4, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” Sorry Marty, the theology of the ELCA is drifting much closer to myth as it continues to abandon God’s Truth.

Again, as in most ELCA essays there is the cursory nod to diversity and sensitivity. “We get to think and talk thoughtfully, bringing fresh clarity to our faith convictions while expanding our sensitivity toward what may seem like the odd practices of others.” This is also promoting the idea of universalism that seems to be overtaking the ELCA and the hands off approach to evangelism that abandons their responsibility to reach the lost for Christ. Seems to me that Marty is intent upon challenging Christians to stand down and accept the diversity of other religions, rather than to proclaim the Gospel and reach the lost for Christ. If this distorted version of Christianity continues to be exposed to the world, more and more of God’s children will be lost.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Punching Your Ticket

An article entitled, “Drifting toward universalism?” from the April 2014 Lutheran Core Connection by Pastor Don Brandt, really demonstrates just how far some in the ELCA have fallen. In the article, Pastor Brandt cites an essay written by Peter Marty, entitled “Who Gets Saved”, published in the March 2014 edition of The Lutheran. Marty is an ELCA pastor from Iowa and a regular contributor to the Lutheran, but based on the content of his essay, his words actually hinder the Kingdom of God. It is sad enough that so many in the secular world do their best to persecute and demean Christianity, but Marty does as much or more harm to the faith as any member of the Freedom from Religion Society. Lutherans are typically very good at finger pointing and getting stuck in the law. Far too many of us fall into the trap of charging those who disobey God’s law as sinners, unfit to gain salvation. But, Marty revels in his accusations, rather than pointing to the proper way to behave as a Christian, celebrating his harmful words that chastise Christians and demean the faith he has been charged to uphold.

Marty wants credit for any use of his words. So be it. I hope he is proud. I hope he properly appreciates the controversy his words have prompted. I hope he asks God for forgiveness for his disregard of the promise he made when he pledged to preach the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ and endeavor to lead the lost to Him. Marty seems to exude a gleeful defiance as he chides those Christians that he claims believe that they belong to an exclusive club and hold tickets to that velvet roped VIP section in heaven. While the leaders of the ELCA preach unity, Marty elects to use words that divide. As with most essays penned by the learned clergy of the wayward ELCA, it is littered with words that appear to be so right. Believers do have responsibility to testify to help others know God’s love is for all. After all, God does love all of His children unconditionally. Unreturned love is another matter. If someone is born in India, it is the Christian’s responsibility to bring the Gospel to them, so that through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come to belief in the Risen Christ. Sorry Marty, it does matter whether or not we believe. Just because the ELCA neglects our Lord and Savior’s call to reach the lost, instead relying upon their doctrine of accompaniment, or the more literal translation “we’ve already done enough evangelizing in the world”, does not relieve you of that responsibility.

Yes, we Christians that believe in the authority of Scripture often do get it wrong. Yes, we often place far too much emphasis on the law and neglect the fact that it is all about the saving grace granted to us through the sacrifice of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How about an essay about forgiveness, that since we have received the ultimate gift of absolute forgiveness, we should endeavor to learn to share forgiveness more freely? It certainly is easy to sidle up to those progressive “Christians” that reinterpret Scripture to better co-exist with our modern, secular society. After all, they host the better parties. Accolades by the secular elite apparently carry much more weight and secure the instant gratification, especially when it entails disparaging those knuckle dragging Bible thumpers. Pleasing God is not often accompanied by such an immediate response.

Then there is the idea that Christ is not held bound by any religion. Christ is there for everyone. One only needs to open their heart and allow the Holy Spirit to enter. Only then can we come to believe. No, Christ is not bound to any religion, we are bound to Him. Without belief in the Risen Christ there will be no salvation. Jesus said in John 14:6-7, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Not much to challenge in that statement. If someone is born on the other side of the world to a family that does not know Christ, it is our responsibility to witness to him or her. It is our responsibility to make disciples of all nations. Neglecting our duty to God in this matter only shows that we are ashamed of Him. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-26, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” No, this was not said at a theological summit, but trust me, through His words it is certain that my God, Jesus Christ, is better than your god! Our faith begins at the cross and is fulfilled at the empty tomb with Jesus’ resurrection. Without our Risen Savior, there is nothing but a broken humanity on the outside looking in.

It is all well and good to rile up the faithful with heretical statements and it may please the secular elites, but it does nothing to promote God’s Kingdom. Marty casts his accusatory rhetoric at fellow Christians, all the while patting himself on the back for his supposed open-mindedness in bestowing grace upon the world. Marty, I don’t think it’s up to you to make that decision. Just sayin’. Seems to me that if our Lord and Savior said that there is but one way to gain salvation, that is good enough for me. It should be noted that while some of us “inerrancy folk” are accused of taking Scripture out of context, Marty simply cites verses he imagines that bolster his claims. Marty cites John 3:16 as evidence that Jesus is universal Lord and Savior, he neglects to place that verse in the full context as Christ was quoted. John 3:16-21, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

Marty infers that Christians receive a club access card because we uttered a specific theological formula about Jesus and that by virtue of our faith believe that we have a privileged access to God. This is simply a false narrative. He uses this conspiracy theory to bolster his idea of an ideal religion, not the faith that our God intends. Yes, we all need to be filled with the Gospel every day. Yes, we need to remember that is not about us and all about Him. Yes, we need to forgive as He first forgave us. We are a broken humanity that needs Christ to fill our empty and sinful hearts. Knowing this is a good start to live in a manner that pleases God. The verdict is in, Christ does want to gather ALL people to Himself and it is our responsibility to lead them to Him. It is time to leave the chastising of those who believe and respect the authority of Scripture to those influenced by the evil one.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Historically Critical

The historical critical method is one way that literary critics use to examine origins of ancient manuscripts in an attempt to interpret the historical and experiential prisms used by the author. This method of ascertaining intent attempts to identify the historical context in which it was written. Historical critics seek to reconstruct ancient texts by delving into the historical records of the time when it was composed. These critics attempt to recreate the historical facts known from that time and piece them together with the data compiled by the author. This method of research, when done appropriately, should allow the critic to properly interpret the historical significance of those documents. Most importantly, the researcher should have no preconceived notions regarding the specific text that is examined, using whatever facts that are available to uncover the truth.

Many of the historical critics of today tend to minimize the historicity of the Bible, maintaining that most of the information contained within is either fictional or are simply exaggerations by the authors. Further, many maintain that the original documents were altered by the scribes that translated the Bible into different languages in an effort to bolster claims made by the authors of Scripture. Many historical critics tend to lean on the notion that the Bible is primarily a literary collection from the early history of Israel. Many of these critics state that although it is a historical fact that Jesus Christ did exist at the time described in the Bible and it can be proven that He was a valid figure in the history of Israel, they remain skeptical of the miracles attributed to Him and His status as the Son of God. Some of the most prominent ELCA theologians have made it clear that they have made up their minds regarding the authority of Scripture.

Contrived doctrines, such as bound conscience, are evidence that ELCA theologians regard their opinions over the word of God. They pick and choose which verses of Scripture tend to advance their preconceived notions and desired conclusions. Abandoning the tenets of Lutheranism and replacing sound doctrine with human reasoning and opinion only prove that Biblical scholars in the ELCA truly do not believe in Scriptural authority and more often, fall in line with many of the secular critics. And those that hold fast to Biblical authority continue to be called out by ELCA pastors. In an April 5th edition of, an on-line feature of the Salina Journal, ELCA pastor Lorna Paulus, in an article entitled, Ultimate Truth of Message , denounces those Christians that adhere to the authority of Scripture and believe God’s word to be without error. In a stunningly dishonest comment she states, “However, the ELCA does read Scripture differently than many of the groups who like to talk about "inerrancy." We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God. It is the norm for our Christian life. It is not, for us, as Beckmann quoted Borg, just a "human cultural product." But we refuse to take isolated verses of Scripture out of context and treat them as if they were the whole message as many of the "inerrancy" folk tend to do. We believe that taking Scripture out of context distorts the message of Scripture and can be used to twist Scripture to say things God never intended.” I could hardly believe this when I read it. Talk about having a plank in one’s eye!

Perhaps, Paulus should take the time to read the ELCA statement, Human Sexuality-Gift and Trust, and determine if, in fact, the ELCA Biblical scholars cherry pick Scriptural verses when attempting to justify behavior that God prohibits. Perhaps, she should educate herself as to how ELCA theologian, Tim Wengert disregards Scripture while he misinterprets and/or outright contrives illogical arguments to bolster the false doctrine of bound conscience. Obviously not all ELCA pastors are this misguided in their interpretation of the “new things” that are affecting the doctrine of the largest Lutheran Church body in the United States. But, pastors like this do lead their respective flocks and those in the pews listen to what these persons, ordained to preach the Gospel proclaim when they are in the pulpit. When our brothers and sisters in Christ have this type of preaching imposed upon them when they attend worship, some will come to believe and accept this as God’s will. We need to continue to proclaim the Gospel, loud and proud, so that all will come to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, and make certain that those who have come to believe, do not fall away.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lowest Common Denominator

In mathematics the lowest common denominator is the least common multiple of the denominators of a set of vulgar fractions. Ie; 4/16 divide each number by the lowest common denominator, 4 and you come up with 1/4. Use the smallest positive integer that is a multiple of each denominator in the set. This term has entered popular culture and now denotes the least sophisticated person(s) in a particular situation. The term is often used as a figure of speech indicating the most basic, least sophisticated level of taste, sensibility, or opinion among a group of people. Most reality TV shows tend to appeal to the lowest common denominators among us. If you tend to gravitate to “Honey Boo”, “Jersey Shore” or the “Kardashians”, you just may fit into the category of lowbrow, uncultured, or low information individuals looked down upon and considered to be on the fringe of society.

Of our own accord, many of us would stoop to our lowest common denominator and sit for hours and watch “Dancing with the Stars” instead of taking time with our God in prayer or meditation on His word. ELCA teachings step away from the words of our God and decide that, “the times, they are a’ changin’” and tweak the words our God decided were the best path for His children to take. Our more enlightened friends that lead the apostate ELCA decide to modernize God’s word and contrive all sorts of “new things” that they believe that God must have really meant in that “book of faith stories”. Take Christ out of Christianity and we engage in doctrine that lifts up the true selfish nature of humanity. Christ died for all humanity, so why not neglect to emphasize that faith in the Risen Christ is necessary to gain salvation. It’s hard to deny oneself and so demeaning to admit to our selfish and sinful nature. Think that the producer of “Noah” took creative license with the story of the flood, think again. These supposed men and women of God have, with the stroke of a pen and the vote of a fallen humanity, attempted to change God’s will forever. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Disobedience is so easy. We are all rule breakers at heart. We expect the leaders of God’s church to preach the pure Gospel, as it is stated in God’s word, the Bible. Having the very persons charged to uphold sound doctrine, contrive ways around our Lord and Savior’s teaching is beyond the pale. We do quite a fine job of finding ways to displease our God all by ourselves, we don’t need the church affirming us within our sin. But, Luther himself said to sin boldly, so what is the problem? He also said that we are at once, both saint and sinner. In other words, we remain a sinful humanity that continually falls short of the glory of God. We need to recognize our sinful nature and how easily we fall into disobedience. We need to recognize that we need a Savior, because we can never earn the grace that is so freely bestowed upon us. We need to recognize that, because of our faith in the Risen Christ, we are forgiven. What the leaders of the ELCA fail to understand is that, if there is no sin, there is no need for forgiveness. If there is no need for forgiveness there is no need for a Savior. If there is no need for a Savior, there is no need to attend a church that is welcoming, tolerant and affirming of sinful behavior.

More of Luther’s letter to Melanchthon. “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), 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.” The false gospel of tolerance and affirmation trivializes Christ sacrifice upon the cross. Essays published in the “Lutheran” magazine and what is being taught in ELCA seminaries attest to the fact that the leaders of the ELCA are deliberately fomenting a revolution against sound Lutheran doctrine and the authority of Scripture. This battle against God is extraordinarily insidious as the ELCA promotes all sorts of unsound theology at its’ seminaries and then persecutes and silences any and all seminarians that resist its’ false teachings. Bound conscience is truly a one way street, contrived to silence any opposing, traditional voices.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ adrift in ELCA churches need to wake up and smell the roses. They are being led onto a path towards destruction. Accepting the false doctrine of bound conscience is tantamount to worshiping themselves. Believe what the snake oil peddler is selling and you will fall to your lowest common denominator, the sinful human being lavishing even more sinful behavior upon yourself, secure in the fact that your church says that it is okay. Pray long and hard for our brothers and sisters to realize that fact before it is too late.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

If a Tree Falls.....

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Many a philosopher and now even an auto insurance commercial wrestle with this question. In today’s hyper-partisan environment, when certain events occur, nary a peep is made. As the media controls the narrative of the day, only that which they deem important makes the news. In the former Soviet Union, propaganda filled the pages of Pravda and the airwaves. The Politiburo determined what it wanted its’ citizens to hear, think and say. Dissidents were jailed or simply disappeared, some ending up in Siberia with what amounted to a death sentence. In this bastion of freedom, known as the United States of America, we are hearkening back to those days behind the Iron Curtain. The narrative that drives our current day media outlets focuses upon progressive ideals, scoffs at conservative values and ridicules those foolish enough to profess their Christian faith. Our President, so longed for and expected to heal everything from the racial divide to our very planet, uses the arms of the government, such as the IRS to exact political revenge upon those seen to oppose his agenda. Yes, political retribution has been refined to a fine art by this current “Chicago style” administration. Wisconsin, which is becoming the poster child for partisanship in the aftermath of Act 10, has taken political retaliation to an entirely new level.

Israel Ozanne, democrat district attorney for Dane County, filed felony voter fraud charges against a republican state representative’s staffer. As you may know, Wisconsin democrats have been fighting tooth and nail to defeat a voter ID bill that they say will disenfranchise minority voters (when all it will really do is make it tougher for democrats to cheat and overturn the will of the people). Milwaukee’s democrat mayor, Tom Barrett denies that voter fraud is even an issue, complaining that there is nothing to see here and asking over and over to show him the violators if there is a problem. A 2004 report by Milwaukee Police found that between 4,600 and 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots during the national election that year. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; homeless voters possibly voted more than once. 65 felony charges of voter fraud involving 35 individuals have been issued since 2008. One of those cases an Oak Creek man submitted 54 fraudulent voter registrations while working for the Community Voters Project, a liberal based organization. Common to each of these cases was the intent to commit voter fraud. Cue the crickets as little attention is given these cases by the media. However, the case of Marcie Malszycki, who cast her votes in 2008 and 2010 at the district where she lived before becoming a staffer for Republican State Representative Warren Petryk, apparently is a big deal. Her mother lives in that district and Malszycki resided there before moving to Madison. She did not cast a vote in either of those elections in Madison or any other polling place. This makes the front page of local newspapers and TV news reports. Ozanne, a democrat, also refused to issue charges against a Cross Plains woman who made repeated e-mail threats to kill Republican Governor Scott Walker and his family. Nary a peep on this issue either. I guess all is fair in love and war.

While the Obama administration is embroiled in a seemingly endless stream of scandals that would likely overwhelm any other administration, those abuses are decried as “phony” or contrived by the Tea Party and Fox News. Impeachable offenses by Obama and his administration are largely ignored or minimized by the main stream media, while any misstep by a conservative is blown out of proportion. (See Chris Christie and “BridgeGate”) Far worse are the thousands upon thousands of Christians that are being murdered throughout the Muslim world and yet the media remains silent. Repeated rocket attacks against Israel, targeting civilians are largely ignored. Even Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that there were no deaths in Israel due to terrorist attacks in 2013, ignoring the 6 Israelis that were murdered by Palestinians and that attacks in the West Bank more than doubled in 2013 -- 1,271 as opposed to 578 in 2012.

And then we have those athletes that announce their homosexuality and are immediately proclaimed heroes by the media. Keep repeating after me while watching the shiny object. There is no liberal bias in the media… The producer of the new epic film “Noah” complains that negative reactions to pre-screenings of his movie are unfairly being driven by a small minority of conservative Christians. Sorry about that, but if you are going to take creative license with a Biblical story, perhaps you should stick a little closer to the story line, after all it is about a historical figure. And since we are bringing up minorities that drive narratives, how does the minority LGTBQ community drive the opinion of so much of our secular society? Seems like a group, that consists of less than 5% of our population has much more clout than any other class of people in this country. When the mini-series, “The Bible” was broadcast, for the most part keeping true to the Word, it became the most viewed cable series of all time. Perhaps when conservative Christians speak up, Hollywood may behoove itself to listen.

All Christians can be assured that while the devil does his best to turn our world upside down, everything that happens, does so for God’s purpose. God’s plan continues to drive the events of our world, even those that seem to run contrary to His will. Each and every trial and tribulation is used by our Father in heaven to mold us. We can use these, sometimes troublesome events, as God intends or we can give in to our selfish nature and do as the evil one would desire, complain, blame God or behave in a manner unpleasing to Him. Every person placed into a position of authority is done so at God’s command. Those leaders that behave as they do, even when it appears that they are doing the devil’s work, are doing so for His purpose. When President Obama proclaims to the world that the United States is no longer a Christian nation, sleeping Christians wake up and work to restore their faith. When the leaders of the ELCA lead the faithful astray, a new revival begins and denominations true to the Gospel break away and thrive. We can never truly understand why God allows evil people into positions of authority, but know this, our Father in heaven is in charge and while we are called to submit to the authorities appointed by Him, we are not called to lay down as sheep being led to slaughter. Do not allow anyone to drive you away from your calling to be a disciple of Christ. Do not be frustrated when it appears that the powers of darkness seem to be winning every battle. The story has been written and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has triumphed over the evil one and his minions..

1 Peter 2:13-18, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

This world is but a brief existence for God’s children. When we focus on what is truly important, submit ourselves to Gods’ will and work to further His kingdom here on earth, we come to understand our role in all of this. Do not be afraid to speak out for our Lord. Do not be afraid to speak out at the ballot box by supporting candidates that uphold Christian values. Do not be afraid to do the things that are pleasing to God.

1 Peter 1:23-25, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Peaks and Valleys

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38.

Our lives have many peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows. Our highs can be as brilliant as the sun, while we can also fall into the utter darkness of our lows. No matter how hard we try, some things will always be out of reach. Even our greatest successes come with the realization that our journey is not complete. Reaching the mountain peak ends with the trip back down that is just as arduous, perhaps even more dangerous than our ascent. No matter what achievements we accomplish, there is another hurdle waiting for us to conquer. No measure of fame or fortune will ever fully satisfy our longing. We were carefully crafted by our Creator. There is a deliberate emptiness ingrained into our souls that can be filled with the one and only thing that truly completes us.

Problem is, we need to deny our very self in order to welcome this life saving thing into our lives. Our selfish nature fights against giving in to the very thing that can truly fill our empty hearts. Self-preservation is the natural state of humanity and giving up our autonomy grates against that fact. What is so special about this thing that saves us from ourselves? That one special thing that your heart longs for is the saving grace of Jesus Christ. How do we get it? Open your heart and allow Jesus Christ to enter your heart. What is the cost? The cost was already borne by a Savior that stood in for you. When we come to the realization that we are bound to sin and cannot free ourselves without His saving grace, we can finally let go. No matter what we do, we cannot earn our salvation. No matter what we say can free us from the condemnation that is the consequence for our actions and inactions.
But, when Jesus was nailed to that cross, He took with Him all of our sins. He freely substituted Himself for us and accepted the punishment we rightly deserve. Three days after His death His resurrection opened the door to eternity for each and every one of us. How can this be? Don’t we have to earn this grace? Don’t we have to obey all the rules? It is simply having faith in the Risen Savior. That’s all. Allow Christ into your heart and let Him fill you with the joy of your salvation.

So many in the secular world decry Christianity as simply a religion of rules that cannot be kept, a religion that is critical of non-believers, and a religion that excludes, rather than welcomes. Why would anyone choose to belong to an organization with people who cannot even remotely live up to the commandments they profess to believe and revere? Because it is not about us. Because we are every bit as sinful as those who do not know Christ. Because nothing we can do or say can earn even a portion of the grace granted those who believe in God’s one true Son. Yet, the only thing God asks in return for this gift is your heart. When you believe in the Risen Christ, all is granted to you. When you step away from the shackles of this life that constantly pull you down and accept the freedom that comes with giving your heart to Christ, a great weight is lifted. When you realize that God is in control, the emptiness fades. From Casting Crowns praise hymn, "All You’ve Ever Wanted", “All You've ever wanted, all You've ever wanted, all You've ever wanted was my heart. Freedom's arms are open, my chains have all been broken. Relentless love has called me from the start. And all You wanted was my heart. I was chasing healing when I'd been made well. I was fighting battles when You conquered hell. Living free but from a prison cell, Lord, I lay it down today. So I'll stop living off of how I feel and start standing on Your truth revealed. Jesus is my strength, my shield and He will never fail me. No more chains, I've been set free. No more fighting battles You've won for me. Now in Christ, I stand complete.”

Mainline Protestant churches fight to stem the loss of members by watering down the Truth, choosing to fight for social justice rather than proclaiming the Gospel, affirming sinful behavior rather than standing for the authority of Scripture and acquiescing to secular society rather than leading the lost to Christ. The leaders of the ELCA, UCC and Episcopal churches have lost their way. Far too many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have put their trust in churches that are leading them away from the Truth. Pray for those adrift in the heresies promoted by these errant denominations, that they open their hearts, eyes and minds and return to the path that the Lord has set before them. “Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Everybody is Doing It!

Guest Post by Sandy Kriefall

I commute to 37th and Juneau Avenue to go to work. A part of that drive each day is down side streets of Milwaukee. One of the first things that caught my attention as I drove to and from work was the number of people who run red lights. I was shocked that when the light turned yellow, not one but two or more cars also went through the now very red light. I have watched countless cars, busses, and trucks fly through intersections after the light has clearly turned red. Everybody seems to be doing it. I was so conscious of it that for a while I actually made a game of counting the number of red light offenders per trip. As time went on, I no longer paid attention to cars pushing red lights; it became a common part of everyday life.

One of the characteristics of sin is that we know it is wrong. When we see it happening around us, initially we are amazed and pay attention to it. We can’t believe someone would actually do that! The Holy Spirit can communicate to our conscience and we heed the voice. But the danger of living in a sinful world is that eventually we become dulled to the sin around us. It is no longer shocking, if you see it enough it becomes a part of everyday life. That voice no longer whispers in our ear and we accept that sinful behavior as a common way of life.
One day I was running late and the light turned yellow. In a split second I had to make the choice to stop or to push the light like I see so many others do. Why shouldn’t I go through too, it would get me to my destination a minute or two earlier. There were no cars near the intersection and there were no officers in sight. I quickly looked in my rear view mirror to make sure no one was behind me, and I made the split second decision to stop. I was very tempted to go through the yellow light that would probably be red by the time I reached the crosswalk but something in my head said ”just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right”.

One of the hardest challenges in living a Christian life is to live with integrity in all situations. The problem is that if you do something once, it makes it easier to do it twice and soon that little voice in your ear fades away and the sinful behavior becomes a way of life you no longer notice. Another example is if we are frequently exposed to an environment where people commonly use foul language, it is easy to pick up words here and there and at some point we don’t even notice the swear words spewing out of our own mouth. It has become normal and by doing it we fit in. The devil enjoys it when Christians act worldly, because it blurs the lines between Christians and non-Christians and makes those who profess to be Christians look like hypocrites.

When we make a conscious effort to not follow the norm of this world but to do what we know is right, even when it is not popular to do so, it is not easy. But it is then that something inside you begins to change. Your sensitivity to sin becomes heightened and you become more capable of making a choice to do the right thing. If a police officer is in view, most of those people wouldn’t go through the red light like they do when no one of authority sees them. But when you make the choice to do what is right no matter if you are alone or in the view of others it transforms your character. When this happens, the Holy Spirit’s voice becomes more noticeable and can guide you when you are not sure of what choice to make and it will strengthen you to do avoid the patterns of this world even when everyone is doing it.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Monday, January 20, 2014

House of Cards

Jesus spoke about the importance of building a house on a solid foundation. Why then would God make the very truths of His Kingdom built upon a house of cards? It would be much easier to simply base His word on solid, scientific ground. Think about it for a minute. God created the universe by simply speaking it into existence and did it in 6 days no less. The “Big Bang” and following that, evolution, or that life sprang into existence by random comingling of certain molecules, is considered settled science. Well, actually there is no proof that the universe began with a big bang, nor that life simply created itself. It actually takes a leap of faith to believe that it is the intelligence of man that has allowed us to formulate a process by which we, and all that is around us, has come to be. But, belief that an almighty God, who loves us without end, created this world and everything in it, for us, His children, somehow is implausible to this enlightened society.

Then God sends His only Son to take the punishment meant for us. The word made flesh. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary, an unmarried teenage virgin accepts the word of God and is chosen to carry our Savior. Is this proclaimed to King Herod? Caesar Augustus? In the temple to the High Priest? No, Mary receives this gift without a witness. Her betrothed, Joseph, is told in a dream. When the time of our Savior’s birth arrives, He is born in a stable and the announcement is made to shepherds, the lowest and most untrustworthy of that time. When Jesus hangs on the cross, no angels come to save Him and he is sacrificed as a lamb, accepting His death without any struggle. When He rises after 3 days in the tomb, who is there when the angel of the Lord proclaims that He is not here. He is risen? Three women are the primary witnesses to Christ’s resurrection. Realize that women in Jesus’ time did not even have the right to testify in court. Jesus did not arrive in the center court of Jerusalem or Rome and proclaim His resurrection. God trusted what were considered unreliable witnesses to pronounce the arrival of the Risen Lord. Even the twelve Disciples were quite a motley crew.

Last Christmas, Exposing the ELCA posted an article found on Bishop Michael Reinhart’s blog, written by Dr. Rev. Don Carson, assistant to the Bishop. This article called into question the Virgin Birth. I made a comment on both blogs. At Exposing the ELCA I used Paul’s invocation in 1 Corinthians that without belief in the Virgin Birth Jesus’ resurrection was meaningless and your faith would be useless. On Reinhart’s blog I asked him why he would choose to give a platform to a person of faith that was questioning foundational Christian beliefs when there are enough skeptics in the secular world. Not surprisingly, he chose to not publish my comment. I made a second comment to him thanking him for reinforcing my belief that bound conscience is a one way street and the only diversity allowed was what the leadership of the ELCA allowed. Another commenter, Chad Silverman, had 3 comments published, calling those that frequent the Exposing the ELCA blog site irrational fundamentalists, apologizing for entering into the moronic discussion there, and chastising me for being in error in my comparing an invalidation of the Virgin Birth to Jesus’ resurrection.

See, the problem is that our faith is built upon a house of cards. When we proclaim our faith in the Apostle’s Creed, we believe that Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and was buried: He descended into hell: The third day he rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. The timeline of the Gospel is intrinsically linked. Remove the Truth of the Virgin Birth, and Jesus is no longer Son of God. If He is not the Son of God, His resurrection is meaningless, although still miraculous. If He is not the Son of God, God did not come down to earth in flesh to be a sin offering to cleanse us of our sin. If He is not the Son of God, we are still under the law and the condemnation that it brings. Remove or minimize any of the Truths of the Christian faith and it all falls down and our faith is useless. Our faith is not useless. God gave us the greatest gift imaginable. He made the greatest sacrifice ever made. His love for us is without measure and we should be forever grateful, not question or pervert His word. His word is timeless and true.

The Truth never needs to be sugar coated. The written word that chronicles God’s commands and Jesus’ life is what it is. Faith is not about grandiose stories. Faith is not about what we would want God to do. Faith is about what He has done for us. The Creator of the universe is not confined to what man determines is possible. Science is irrelevant to the God of all power and glory. It does matter where the 23 chromosomes Jesus received came from. It does matter that Christ’s resurrection was physical and not some sort of apparition. It does matter that the Bible is God’s Truth for His children. Nothing is impossible for our God. These learned, enlightened leaders of wayward churches like the ELCA continue to cast stones at the Lord in order to ingratiate themselves with the world. They may get the invitations to the popular parties, but the true host of those parties is Satan himself. The ELCA, UCC and Episcopal church make it easy for the evil one to pervert sinful hearts. They are willing accomplices for the evil one and do not please the Lord. 2 Corinthians 13:7-8, “Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”

Thursday, January 9, 2014

By any Other Name

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." This often quoted phrase from the William Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet, is typically used to explain that is doesn’t matter what something is called, it matters more what it really is. The word Lutheran describes a Christian denomination, founded by Martin Luther almost 500 years ago. Since its’ inception this church has evolved, mostly due to schisms or disagreements over doctrine, into several sub-denominations, ranging from the very traditional WELS to the progressive ELCA. No matter what doctrinal issues we disagree with, even the uber liberal ELCA is still part of the body of Christ, aren’t they? Well, what makes a Lutheran a Lutheran? Spiritually, grace by faith alone and doctrinally, Sola Scriptura or Scripture alone defines the Lutheran faith. Nothing we can say or do can earn us salvation, it is by God's grace we can enter His kingdom when we believe in His one and only Son. Whenever any “new thing” arrives, we must look to the Bible to ascertain whether it is of the Spirit or of man. In the ELCA, many new things, some challenging the very Truths of Christianity, have arrived. Doctrine, meant to lift up worldly things, has become central to the teaching of the ELCA.

1 John 4:1-3, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” It seems as though every new theological opinion is incorporated into the ELCA’s “big tent” of diversification. Most recently, the validity of the Virgin Birth has been the target of ELCA theologians. Disputing that Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit, carried the Son of God seems to me to fit what the Apostle John writes about above. But, of course, this is not the official teaching of the ELCA, even though seminarians, who are the ELCA pastors of the future, are indoctrinated with these new ideas. Yet, the leaders of the ELCA continue to tout that diversity is making their denomination all the stronger. Let’s see, over 1 million congregants and over a thousand churches have fled the “Apostasy Gone Wild” ELCA over the last 3 years and somehow, this makes them stronger? Water down your faith and question the very truths they have sworn to uphold and somehow this adds strength to your organization? I guess if you drink the proper Kool-Aid it will make more sense. Any organization that disregards its’ governing documents or adheres to false doctrine, gains no advantage, and only weakens their position. And when the chairman of the board is the Lord of Hosts, creator of the universe, leading the faithful astray is frowned upon.

As the ELCA tramples upon the solid foundation of Lutheranism and replaces it with what is more pleasing to the world, it drifts further away from God and into the deep end of the pool of heresy. The bishop of the ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod, meeting with our church council after our first vote to leave passed, said that “sometimes it is appropriate to dive into the deep end of the pool of heresy.” Apparently he believes that there is nothing wrong when he, who is charged to maintain order and make certain that proper doctrine is followed in his synod, advocates for his flock to go astray. I guess we all need to sow our wild oats from time to time, and why not give your flock the permission of the church to do so. Jesus said in Matthew 18:6-7, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” Our Lord and Savior plainly makes it known what will happen to those who encourage His children to dive into the deep end of the pool of heresy.

So, does the “This is not the official teaching of the” ELCA pass the smell test to still be considered a Lutheran church? While there remains islands of faith within the sea of apostasy that is the ELCA, they are becoming more and more marginalized. Those new and enlightened pastors that preach a gospel other than the Gospel our Lord taught, are lifted up as the face of the ELCA. The broader ELCA is not only no longer Lutheran, much of what is taught in their seminaries and spouted by their so called theologians is not even Christian. The idea that there are many valid paths to salvation is gaining steam in the ELCA as evidenced by their inter-religious relations with the Islamic faith. Embracing that Islam offers another valid path to salvation and by neglecting the call of Jesus to make disciples of all nations, shows that the ELCA willfully chooses to ignore our Lord and Savior’s call to bring the lost to Him. Just as they allow their members to be affirmed within their sin without repentance, they allow those who do not know Jesus to go happily on their way.

No, the ELCA is no longer Lutheran. Their goal is to placate the world, not to please the Lord, and the world is the realm of the evil one. Will the leadership of the ELCA ever wake up and truly serve the Lord? We can only continue to pray, because if they continue on this path, more of our brothers and sisters in Christ will have been lost. 2 Peter 2:17-21, “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” This is why is so important to continue to proclaim the Truth, so that those who are found, do not become lost again.