We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, June 12, 2009

ELCA - Another Apostate Denomination

George Tiller, serial murderer of children, especially known for his use of partial-birth method of extermination of children, was a member in good standing of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Question: How could the leadership of any Christian church allow an abortionist to be a member in good standing? How could they biblically allow him to take communion or fellowship in general? Well, I believe it is because of statements posted on the ELCA web site http://www.elca.org/

A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born…. Abortion ought to be an option only of last resort. … Because of the Christian presumption to preserve and protect life, this church, in most circumstances, encourages women with unintended pregnancies to continue the pregnancy. … This church recognizes that there can be sound reasons for ending a pregnancy through induced abortion. ...

An abortion is morally responsible in those cases in which continuation of a pregnancy presents a clear threat to the physical life of the woman. …A woman should not be morally obligated to carry the resulting pregnancy to term if the pregnancy occurs when both parties do not participate willingly in sexual intercourse. This is especially true in cases of rape and incest. This can also be the case in some situations in which women are so dominated and oppressed that they have no choice regarding sexual intercourse and little access to contraceptives. Some conceptions occur under dehumanizing conditions that are contrary to God's purposes.

Notice that, although they are ostensibly for reducing the numbers of abortion, they don’t really see it as an absolute moral evil and, in fact, can find instances where abortion is right and proper. So having an abortionist in their assembly isn’t problematic at all.

The ELCA has been quite liberal for decades. While not as far to the left as the Episcopal Church, they are nevertheless violating the Bible in many ways. For one thing, the ELCA allows women pastors. Whether you agree or not that women should not be pastors is irrelevant; what I think has been demonstrated empirically is that churches who allow women in leadership always go liberal in their teachings and practice.

My file on the ELCA is not as thick as on other apostate denominations, but let me share with you what I do have, so you can see the problems with this organization, especially in the realm of homosexuality. (Yes, they are another denomination with a love affair with homosexuality.)

Fundamentalist Baptist Information Service, 5/23/03 reported on four ELCA assemblies:
(1) Gloria Dei Lutheran Church In St. Paul, MN voted to allow “pastors” (goat-herds) to bless same-sex unions. (2) The Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer in Minneapolis ordained a lesbian as a pastor. Five years earlier she had been a co-pastor of another (3) Lutheran church with her husband, but declared her homosexuality and divorced him. Her lover is the church musician for (4) Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.

Fundamentalist Baptist Information Service, 8/22/03 reported that the ELCA’s youth organization “meeting in Atlanta in July, also voted to support ‘the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of non-celibate individuals in committed relationships of all sexual orientations.”

AgapePress Christian News Service 3/8/04 reported that the Lutheran Social Services, overseen by the ELCA, was promoting homosexual adoption.

AgapePress Christian News Service 4/19/04 listed three ELCA congregations who appointed open homosexuals as their pastors: (1) Central City Lutheran Mission, San Bernardino, CA; (2) Hollywood Lutheran Church, Hollywood, CA; (3) Bethany Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN. The pastor of the latter church was again in Agape Press on 7/27/04 when they reported on his ordination.

The Cedar Rapids, IA Gazette (9/4/04) reported on a 2-part study being done by the ELCA. The first part dealt “broadly with the ELCA’s statement on human sexuality in general.” The second part, which was still in the process at press time, “deals with whether to ordain people in committed gay and lesbian relationships and whether to bless the unions of gay couples. The current policies of the ELCA hold that gays or lesbians in a same-gender sexual relationship are precluded from ordination but that celibate, self-identified homosexuals may be and may remain ordained.” I don’t understand why a study was needed - the Bible is very clear about homosexual behavior being an abomination before God.

Another report from Religion News, 4/6/05, about the 2-part study gave this information:
The task force recommended the ELCA “Continue under current standards that expect unmarried ministers to abstain from sexual relations - defining marriage as being between a man and a woman - but, respecting the consciences of those who find these standards in conflict with the mission of the church, the ELCA may choose to refrain from disciplining gay and lesbian ministers in ‘committed relationships’ and from disciplining those who call or approve partnered gay or lesbian people for ministry.” I wonder if they would expect the same for adulterers in “committed relationships,” or brother/sister committed sexual relationships, etc? Or is it just homosexuals they are encouraging? Anyway, the Metropolitan Chicago Synod asked that the standards include, “It shall be the policy of this church that there be no policy barrier to rostered service for otherwise qualified persons in same-gender covenanted relationships that are mutual, chaste and faithful.” The Southeast Michigan Synod recommended the adoption of an opinion that “would have the church remove references to homosexuality from its standards for ministers.”

AgapePress Christian News Service 8/19/05 reported that the ELCA approved the development of a gender-neutral hymnal, and that it was already in the works. The “Lutheran Book of Worship” is going to eliminate all “Father” and male terminology in reference to God. “The hymnal overhaul will include other gender-neutralizing and diversity-affirming changes to traditional Lutheran worship lyrics and liturgies as well.” The idea is to have options for prayers that refer to God and Jesus as “holy eternal majesty” and “holy incarnate Word” instead of “father” and “son.” Male terms in songs will be replaced with “terms that include both men and women.” They will, in some cases, have two versions of the song - the old one and the mutilated one. The hymnal had already been in the works for five years at the time of the report, and includes songs from all over the world, and mostly contemporary songs.

Then there is the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco, which is about as feminist as you can get. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether this assembly practices true Christianity: www.herchurch.org.

Yahoo News 8/11/07 reported that the ELCA “passed a resolution at its annual assembly urging bishops to refrain from disciplining pastors who are in ‘faithful committed same-gender relationships.’”

So, the ELCA has decided that same-sex “committed” relationships are now equal to heterosexual marriages. It has been building for a long time across the nation. Ten years ago the ELCA removed gay pastors and now they say to refrain from disciplining them. Does that mean God’s Word has changed?

Promotion of the feminist agenda, sanctioning of abortion and homosexuality, gender-neutralizing worship, gender-neutralizing God and Jesus, promoting homosexual adoption. The ELCA is apostate and should be abandoned by all true Christians.


Marie said...

Moving away from the same-sex issue, I'd like to add a few anecdotal observations I've made about the ELCA. I have never been a member or attendee of any Lutheran church, but last year my son went to preschool at our local ELCA church's program.

I liked the idea of his going to a "Christian based" preschool - they prayed before snack, has a brief chapel time once a month, and they weren't all paranoid about kids songs that mention Jesus or mentioning Christmas (it wasn't religious instruction, which was fine - that's not what he went to preschool for).

I thought any church that had "Evangelical" in the title had to be.....oh, wait.

Now - lovely people. Sweet Lutheran teachers; good program. The pastor is nice. He dresses up as a clown for the VBS kids each summer, too.

But I would NEVER go to church there on Sunday, thanksverymuch. The traditional stone building is not indicative of the "progressive" agenda inside.

Here's what first alarmed me: the church's ministry bulletin board was COVERED with contemplative spirituality stuff. I kid you not. Yoga programs, Renovare (Richard Foster's thing), and a brochure for a local, ecumenical "spiritual formation" center. Luther would have been spinning in his grave.

The church newsletter had NOTHING - Nada, zip - about the Gospel. Oh, they had social justice/help the poor charities they support; I'll give credit where it's due. But there was no Christian spiritual teaching or mention of the Gospel of grace through faith anywhere. It was chock FULL of environmentalism - the "green gospel".

I also read a few of the sermon transcripts online. Very much focused on the environment and responsible citizenship; nothing about justification, sanctification, or any of it. There was one sermon where he preached on one of the Pauline verses about our "freedom in Christ" - he turned it into a 20-minute sermon on how we should be glad to recycle our trash (it had just become a town-wide law), and not use the excuse of our "freedom" to sin (presumably by not recycling, or grumbling about it). I promise I am not making this up.

So I'd say the unbiblical problems, as with other liberal churches, goes way beyond sexuality....

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, as you said, Luther would be spinning in his grave!

Anonymous said...

I am not defending or apologizing for the ELCA, but I would like to point out that almost all Christian denominations explicitly state that their members are sinners and yet they ARE members and take part in the activities of the church. Since ALL sins separate us from God, are we to rank sins such as murder, disobeying laws (speeding on the highway, for example), or being judgmental as better or worse sins? Which sins would you allow your members to commit and which would you disallow?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Anonymous 6/15/09,

We are all sinners, that is true. However, we are to strive to be holy (2 Cor. 7:1). We confess our sins and repent of them regularly. However, unrepentant sin, whether adultery, murder, fornication, etc, is to be dealt with by church discipline. This was not done with Mr. Tiller.

Not only was Tiller not disciplined, but the ELCA permits his murder of the unborn as an appropriate activity.

Anonymous said...

For more information on what is really happening in the ELCA, check out http://www.lutheranforum.org/ It's not only about sexuality and conforming to the patterns of the world--their approach to interpreting Scripture has eroded too. Unity in the ELCA is only an illusion. Check for yourself!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Very interesting link. No, it's not just about sexuality; the ELCA has been more and more liberal with all their teachings over the years. The end result is the acceptance of sexual immorality, and, hence, the love affair with homosexuality. Once you start down the road of denying what God plainly says in the Scripture, degeneration is rapid from then on.

dgiles said...

I grew up in a Lutheran church, one of the predecessor bodies that became the ELCA in 1984. My father was a pastor. In 1982, upon returning from a term of overseas missionary service, I was appalled by the changes that had crept into my church during those years. With my father's encouragement (he told me he could not recommend any of their seminaries to anyone), I bailed and joined the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC). I graduated from the Free Lutheran Seminary, was ordained in 1985, and spent another 23 years on the mission field.
The ELCA is the only Lutheran body in the US that is recognizing the ordination of people living openly in homosexual sin. There are other options, good ones for you and for your congregation.