A much bigger ‘Disaster’

Central Lutheran's broken steeple

No…  not the broken church steeple (split in two) with cross dangling. Not the damage to Central Lutheran Church that the ELCA was using as the church for their Churchwide Assembly held right across the street at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The bigger disaster was the vote to approve the allowing of practicing homosexual clergy in the ELCA.

This is a disaster of the highest order. The ELCA has now decided to throw God’s Holy Word right out the stained glass window.

Some say that the tornado that hit downtown Minneapolis during the ELCA’s meeting was a message from God. That He was trying to tell them not to abandon His Holy Word. I don’t know if that is true or not. But I do know that the ELCA has abandoned God’s Law in favor of a world pleasing doctrine and that this action will not bode well for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

This will quite possibly split the denomination, as there are many good and faithful congregations and pastors within that denomination.

These pastors and congregations face some tough days with tough decisions ahead. It is not as easy as just packing up and leaving. There are a myriad of legal issues and alternative associative scenarios that will have to be looked at in depth, discussed, and decided upon. And then there will be some that think that this is a good thing, and who believe that nothing ought be done about it.

It is a very sad day for many congregations and pastors in the ELCA and it is a sad day for the church at large.

I pray that the Lord will use this travesty to work some good for His Church and for His people.

 

 

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26 Responses

  1. “Some say that the tornado that hit downtown Minneapolis during the ELCA’s meeting was a message from God. That He was trying to tell them not to abandon His Holy Word. I don’t know if that is true or not. But I do know that the ELCA has abandoned God’s Law in favor of a world pleasing doctrine and that this action will not bode well for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”

    Steve,

    I’ve really been wrestling with this one (not emotionally or polemically but dispassionately and analytically) because I read the same thing even from some notable enthusiastic theologians of glory such as John Piper who confounds the law and gospel with the best of them and openly condemns the sacraments. I think it is safe to say we agree on the severity of this, ECLA allowing this, and in no way would I defend this measure and agree with openly condemning it. That being said and firmly in place, however, I’m not sure about the tornado being a sign per se and the real issue at hand.

    First the theology of glory problem:

    Decades ago my family and numerous others across the state suffered TREMENDOUS loss of life and property during a record breaking tornados out break. In fact the one that struck our town is still on the record books as the most violent recorded tornado. My own family, we literally lost everything we owned and we literally went through the eye of this tornado. It’s not something I wish to ever see or experience again. It utterly destroyed our then SB church among others. How might a theologian of glory interpret such? Perhaps this way; Baptist churches preach, teach and confess heresy especially regarding the sacraments – plain and simple, the confessions condemn it out right. Ergo, in like mind as the tornado and ECLA occurred perhaps we might interpret this tornado outbreak. Kartrina was interpreted likewise when it hit NO a few years ago by theologians of glory spanning from famous enthusiast protestant Christian preachers to Islam.

    Second the real problem in ECLA:

    The homosexual issue is ALREADY an effect or sign of turning away (Paul Romans 1), therefore the real issue is not the allowing of homosexuals as clergy per se but theological doctrine somewhere else! What that is I don’t know enough myself presently to wonder. However, the point here being that every theologian of glory, (i.e. false religion) always jumps on the effect, in this case the homosexual issue, and ignores the real issue, the hidden idolatry somewhere in which men are really trusting in their works somehow. Theologians of glory, enthusiasts, trip over lighter issues (the homosexual specific issue) and miss the bigger issues at hand the idolatry.

    Third:

    Those who have turned away from the sacraments have by definition likewise turned away from the Word of God as well. Is such any less a problem? E.g. even amongst the Reformed confessions in the WCF it states explicitly that to not baptize one’s children is a GREAT sin. Yet that is glossed over as if it was never written in many Reformed congregations today. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

    Yours,

    Larry

  2. I have been a pastor within the ELCA since it’s formation…and have been holding my nose for most of that time. I am not surprised at this move but I am deeply saddened. Our denomination is full of pastors and theologians who speak of the Bible as a collection of opinions from former times that do not speak to our more enlightened, progressive era. One of our clergy is reported to have said, ‘There was a time when the Bible told us the meaning of things. Now, since we know so much more than the biblical writers, we determine what the Bible means.’ These statements could have been made by MANY in our church – and have been in one form or another.

    I agree with Larry that the vote taken yesterday is a symptom of much deeper issues. Those of us within the denomination who have tried to maintain Biblical and confessional faithfulness are at a crossroads and have decisions to make. Pray for us.

  3. (Ammended)

    Larry,

    I agree with you, also.

    The prideful assertions of man over and above the Word of God are the real problem.

    I thought that the photo was a good symbol of what happens when pride takes over in a church. The theology of the cross is severly damaged…or goes away.

    I’m very sorry that you and your family had to go through such a terrible experience as you did with the tornados in your town. I could not imagine something as terrible as that. Unfortunately, there may be a time when I and my family will go through a horrible experience such as you guys had to (although I pray not).

    I’m not one to attribute natural (or man-made)disasters to God punishing this group or that group.

    I would never say that He did it, or that He didn’t do it. As Pastor mark says, “God lets everything happen”.

    Your piece ‘Daddy, what caused tornadoes?’ (don’t remenber eactly the title) did a nice job at explaining natural disasters.

    Does God chasten those whom He loves? The Bible tells us that he does.

    I do know this much, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment. But thanks to our Dear Lord, the eternal punishment is no longer.

  4. Pastor Mark & Steve,

    My prayers do go out to the ELCA, some of the finest Gospel theologians I’ve read come from that confession and in certain aspects I do think they get Luther better than others.

    Being new to Lutheran confession I’m not as “up to speed” with the confessional issues and problems, yet. Although I am familiar with what the Ablaze movement is, since I came from the sine quo non of that type of movement. LCMS better watch out!

    Larry

  5. As a lay person why should I stay in the ELCA? My heart is breaking. My soul is shattered that this has come to pass. Where do I go from here?

  6. Sad,

    That is the question that our congregation will have to answer soon.

    We will hash it all out. It won’t be eay but some tough decisions will have to be made. But we want to consider all options and not make a knee-jerk decision.

    I’ll keep you posted (on the blog) as to what we (Lutheran Churh of Master in Corona del mar, CA) decide to do.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  7. I heard the LCMS Church (which I believe is led by a sound Lutheran Pastor with sound Lutheran doctrine at this specific Church) has been getting lots of calls from Lutherans wanting to move from the ELCA to LCMS due to this event. This is the case of an LCMS Church that is reaching out to younger and older people — which is hard to find in the LCMS today.

    I believe this may be a time for sound Lutheran doctrine to grow if you are going to take a “true” Lutheran stance and not make grace “cheap” grace but to understand grace IN VIEW OF GODS MERCY (Romans 12:1).

    Sad to say I live in the liberal Lutheran midwest.

    I honestly believe a Church split should be formally considered by Churches to join the American Lutheran Church or to create a new formation of Lutheran Churches…. and dont be slow in making this decision.

    Pastor Mark — make a stance!!!!

  8. I noticed in reading some of the convention docuements at the Convention that the ELCA they only stated three of the Solas of Martin Luther as opposed to the 5.

    # 1 Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
    # 2 Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
    # 3 Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
    # 4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
    # 5 Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

    Missing for sure was sola scriptura. The other one was probably #5.

  9. Sad,

    change Churches …. or see if your specific Church will take a formal stance against the decision and remain ELCA but dont stay a lukewarm Church on the issue. Lukewarm is bad.

    Either for or against… The ELCA has allowed a lukewarm (agree to disagree) stance up until this point and it was just a foothold to get to this point for the people wanting to accomplish their mission of liberal change.

  10. It might be a good time for some Churches to have dual Lutheran affiliations pastor Mark as they transition. This is not unheard of.

  11. Pastor Tom Brocks Church in Minnesota who has been proclaiming against his Lutheran Brothers in Minnesota joined this affiliation. I dont much about them.

    http://www.aflc.org/

  12. My heart goes out to those of you who are dedicated to the Lutheran Church. Yet, I am not surprised that this kind of perversion has been lauded within the ELCA. When the Episcopal Church went this route, the liberal majority in other mainline churches took heart…it was only a matter of time. And soon, other Protestant denominations will follow suit. Just this past May, the Reformed Church of Scotland, (that of John Knox fame) elected their first gay clergyman.

    Honestly, I think this is what happens when a church has departed from Tradition, history, the teachings of the early church fathers, and the first 7 ecumenical councils. The very reason I did not become Lutheran in the MS is because I could see the wind of change coming. I did not want to be part of a schism…been there, done that.

    Some of you wonder where you will go next. Well, I decided that Protestantism is one break up after another. So, I have taken steps to become a Catechuman in the Holy Orthodox Church. While there are problems because humans are within the church, the doctrines and beliefs of the Orthodox have remained unchanged since the first century AD.

    In Orthodox Christology, the entire life of our Lord Jesus is celebrated, from His Incarnation, to His conquering of death, to His Resurrection, to His Ascension, and now to His glorious presence in the Eucharist.

    Don’t despair. There is a Church that honors her Lord and is still bringing forth martyrs as she has since the very first century.

    In Christ’s Immeasurable Love,

    Darlene

  13. It’s good to see there are Lutherans who are standing up against this decision. Most of what I have read so far is that people are agreeing and accepting of the decisions. I find it hard to believe we have strayed so far from the early reformers.

  14. Stand firm…this will be for God’s glory in the end!

    As far as the tornado goes……God either caused it or allowed it.

    Either way His hand was on it.

  15. The documents the ELCA created have some well thought out heady logical verbage but don’t be fooled. Sola scriptura has been thrown out…. period! The never ending humanistic interpretation and re-interpretation of scripture will continue as a trend in the ELCA.

    Even though the decision is on a Church by Church/congregation by congregation basis…. the slippery slope the ELCA has been going down will continue every chance they can get.

  16. You know Steve the biggest problem with this event is the lawyers and legalist will blame it on the Gospel and attempt to reassert themselves and their “law preaching” to fix the issue not realizing that the issue is and has been their false use of the law. Always has been and always will be.

    I think that is the scariest possibility and out come of this. And I suspect that it may hit the LCMS tangentially (and others) with its third use of the law Melancthon/Calvin leanings.

    By way of example in my former confession, SB, every time a moral issue arose the tendency was to knuckle down on the law and so called sanctification – the LAST thing done was to purify the preaching of Christ and Him crucified for you. At nearly every annual convention meeting one would hear the perennial big bad wolf huffing and puffing about “getting back to a regenerate church membership”. If I heard that crap (skubala in Paul’s lingo) once I heard it a billion times.

    That’s always the tendency of the more “conservative” tending groups, failing to see the Word of God is the issue not the “law” as the Word of God.

    L

  17. Some say that the tornado that hit downtown Minneapolis during the ELCA’s meeting was a message from God.

    Oh Please!

  18. If it wasn’t a sign it surely is a metaphor.

  19. It does not matter if it was a sign or not… after re-entering they took it as a sign, kiddingly or not, of Gods approval.

  20. And therein lies the problem with all forms of theologies of glory.

  21. The sadness of this move is felt like an earthquake throughout the Christian community across the board. Many other denominations have also had to face our mortal enemy on this and other questions of traditional biblical faith…will the Church be recognizable when Jesus returns?

    Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)

    The Parable of the Persistent Widow

    1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
    4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ”

    6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

  22. Larry, was that a “short” post?

  23. Interesting article for pastors on this issue… “Preaching Amid Controversy: Pastoral and Homiletical Counsel”
    http://www.workingpreacher.org/ourtake.aspx?article_id=256

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