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Be empowered to return to faith

Lutheran pastors: Are you prepared to tell your parishioners the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, does not accept the tenet that salvation is through Christ and His resurrection, a centuries-held Lutheran belief? In the March 2014 issue of “The Lutheran,” the official publication of the ELCA, there is an article by Pastor Peter Marty on universal salvation. “Who will be saved.”

Pastor Marty is an authoritative and influential figure in the ELCA and was one of seven nominees for Bishop at the 2013 Assembly. He has been instrumental in planning and leading many programs in the ELCA.

Pastor Marty writes: “You may here there are certain things you must believe or say about Jesus because he is the one who issues the tickets into heaven. He is the bouncer who controls entrance into the velvet-roped VIP section reserved exclusively for those who call themselves Christian. What you are hearing is some version of the idea that if you practice religion in a particular way, you will be saved. Yet no religion can save us. God alone saves.

He cites John 3:16 ”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who so believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He did not go on to the next verse “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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” He goes on “we may be tempted to believe that God so loved Christians, that God gave all who name Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior exclusive rights into a special club. But Jesus is the universal Lord and Savior, Not just my personal Lord and Savior. He saves the whole world and that doesn’t happen through tribal membership.”

The ELCA professes to adhere to the Lutheran Confessions, the creeds, canon, etc., but they do not as this statement proves. This teaching is heresy. Will they rewrite the creeds and the Bible? What about judgment day if all are saved? Why support churches, Sunday Schools, vacation bible schools?

Pastors, when you were ordained, you vowed to preach the Gospel in its purity, to shepherd the flock and warn them of this false doctrine. This is a real test of your faith. If you leave the ELCA your pension goes with you.

Parishioners, this is not the faith of your parents and grandparents, and you need to run, not walk, from this false doctrine. If your church’s constitution is the standard ELCA one, you can collect l0 percent of voting member’s signatures and call for a congregational meeting to discuss this. You can leave the ELCA, but remain in your place of worship. Leaving the ELCA does not mean giving up your church property. It does mean returning to the true beliefs of Lutherans.

Two ELCA pastors told me they would just keep preaching as they have and that is fine except that your collection plate dollars still go to promoting the ELCA agenda and it is a huge one.

The ELCA has lost a half million people since the 2009 sexuality statement, one million since its beginning, most of these joining Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and North American Lutheran Church. Both of these adhere closely to Scripture. LCMC has no bishops and the NALC has one. Compare this to 66 in the ELCA. Fifty one Wisconsin churches have left.

I pray you will be empowered by the Holy Spirit in returning to the one true faith.