“I can’t tell you how thrilled and excited I am.”

February 21st, 2012 Post by

At the same Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly of the ELCA, on February 18th, the following occurred:  “Minneapolis-area Lutherans Oppose Marriage Amendment”  and “Svennungsen is  new bishop of ELCA’s Minneapolis synod”  They go together hand-in-hand.  The former was legalized in the ELCA in 2009 and the latter was legalized in 2 of the 3 PCBs  (actual acronym  for “predecessor church bodies” in the merger period) in the ’70s.  The latter led to the former and the underlying sub-text is clear:  lack of Scriptural authority and from it, confessional subscription.

The quote for this posting’s title is from Bp. Svennungsen after  her election.  The photo of her in the assembly with her hands to her cheeks looks as if she just was told “to come on down” on “The Price is Right”.  The price is not right and I am not thrilled and excited.  Too many of my brothers and sisters in the LCMS seem to be almost thrilled by the demise of the ELCA.  I pray I am over-reaching and plain wrong in that analysis.  This is a profound sadness.  The vote to oppose the marriage amendment was overwhelming.   The previous Minneapolis Bishop said about the new bishop’s election: “What it signals is the beginning of , or the continuing of, our church to not be a northern European club and to move into a diverse global and welcoming community.”  In other words, we are moving totally into the world and wanting to be a part of it.  No longer, “in the world but not OF the world”.   I think we are at the fork in the road.  One has taken the wide and easy road and the others, the road less traveled, the hard and narrow path.  It is time to say “good-bye”  and pray it will be  ‘auf wiedersehen” , always praying  for repentance for us all.

In a picture caption regarding the marriage amendment, this telling statement:  “The Rev. Andris Sedlins, of Plymouth, spoke against passing the resolution. Some synod members felt the issue was one for Christians to address individually, not as a denomination.”  (emphasis my own)  And that is allowed in the ELCA and this speaks to the greater crisis indicated that in the ELCA’s “bound conscience”, they can no longer “believe, teach and confess” as the Church.  I think it is a no-brainer that the ELCA is no longer Lutheran.  Reading the article about the Committee on Lutheran Cooperation and the quote from Rev. Mark Hanson, my sense of his comments is that his adherence to being Lutheran is a fading memory.   The greater and deeper crisis was succinctly stated by German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg in 1996:

If a church were to let itself be pushed to the  point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm,  and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to  marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one,  holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”

But for the sake of Pr. Sedlins, and many faithful Lutherans in the ELCA, we must pray for them, listen to them, encourage them and encourage them to leave.  The ELCA is no longer the Una Sancta. I think we are at Frost’s fork in the road.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.





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  1. Bubbles
    February 21st, 2012 at 15:11 | #1

    “Too many of my brothers and sisters in the LCMS seem to be almost thrilled by the demise of the ELCA.”

    I don’t believe that it’s thrilled at the demise of the church. But as C.S. Lewis said (approximately), things become more and more of themselves with time, and I’m thrilled that what might have been dismissed as unnecessary theological hairsplitting at one point has now become so obvious that the blind can see it and the dead can hear it. Now the wolves look like wolves rather than sheep. That’s a good thing. I’m thrilled.

  2. our God reigns
    February 21st, 2012 at 17:51 | #2

    Kinda wish the Lord would come soon and put an end to this madness. But then again, if tomorrow is a better day with better news, maybe He will delay. :)

  3. our God reigns
    February 21st, 2012 at 17:54 | #3

    PS. I am SO proud of our LCMS President. What a refreshing change to see a man who is so level headed, not influenced by power but totally willing to let the Holy Spirit guide him and in turn guide us into the truth of the true God. Please uphold President Harrison in your prayers daily. He went into the lion’s den and came out shutting those lion’s mouths. Perhaps he had read Daniel a time or two. ;)

  4. Mrs. Hume
    February 21st, 2012 at 18:35 | #4

    As one who was in the ELCA for ten years, I feel sad for all of the children there learning all that false teaching. I don’t feel sad for the leadership. They are wolves.

  5. Pastor Mark Schroeder
    February 21st, 2012 at 19:05 | #5

    @Mrs. Hume #4
    Yes, Mrs. Hume. Matthew 18: 6

  6. February 21st, 2012 at 23:37 | #6

    I think it is a no-brainer that the ELCA is no longer Lutheran.

  7. Wallenstein
    February 22nd, 2012 at 00:25 | #7

    “Too many of my brothers and sisters in the LCMS seem to be almost thrilled by the demise of the ELCA.”

    Yes.

    I must admit that I am thrilled by the demise of all liberal Christian denominations. It proves that God will not be mocked, and that Christianity in this country will not be dominated by liberal Christian churches. People will continue to vote with their feet to leave and may not be aware or even care what members of the LCMS may think. For example, a disaffected Episcopalian or UCC member may not even know what an “LCMS” is.

    No.

    There is no joy in watching people and congregations leave the ELCA for the NALC/LCMC. Leaving the ELCA for another denomination that believes in everything the ELCA stands for, minus the homosexual issue, can hardly be considered a real departure from apostasy. Pretending to offer a confessional Lutheran alternative when in reality those new Lutheran denominations are a resurrection of an “ELCA circa 2008″ might even be viewed by some as fraud.

  8. February 22nd, 2012 at 05:50 | #8

    @Wallenstein #7

    “Pretending to offer a confessional Lutheran alternative when in reality those new Lutheran denominations are a resurrection of an “ELCA circa 2008? might even be viewed by some as fraud.”

    Amen. This reminds me of my friends in SHT (The Society of the Holy Trinity) telling me that the lady “pastors” in that ministerium are “so very conservative.”

    Compared to what?

  9. John Rixe
    February 22nd, 2012 at 09:24 | #9

    @Ted Crandall #8

    Unfortunate acronym

  10. Connie
    February 24th, 2012 at 16:30 | #10

    @Ted Crandall #8

    The acronym used for the Society of the Holy Trinity is STS, Societas Trinitatis Sanctae.

  11. Pastor Mark Schroeder
    February 24th, 2012 at 16:57 | #11

    @Connie #10
    Thank-you, Connie for the correction. I think we have met before. I should have given the correction but I have not blogged since Ash Wednesday.
    To all: the main reason why it was decided to use the Latin was so that the acronym would not be “SHT”! :) Many will include “STS” after their names,as I did. The reason I know this is that I am one of the founding members of the Society, see the bottom: http://www.societyholytrinity.org/founding_statement.htm Currently, I am inactive, for both personal and theological reasons.
    Tim Rossow in inviting me to be a blogger on the subject of what is happening in the liberal churches also said to write about what is good in them. I think the Society is one of them. STS has been life-boat for me and many other pastors, and still is, in the storms of American church life. I will be writing on the STS in the near future. Yes, I know STS has theological problems and this is why I am inactive but they are in my prayers.

  12. Ken M
    February 26th, 2012 at 19:48 | #12

    I am currently a member of LCMS, but most of my background is ELCA and predecessor bodies. To be honest, it puzzles me when most LCMS criticize ELCA, simply because it misses the point of why I left.

    ELCA is often criticized as being “antinomian”, and the 3rd use of the Law is often mentioned as a “problem”. My lived experience with the ELCA is not that there is too little Law preached, but rather that it is ONLY Law that is preached. Many attempts at being relevant. Many statements on social issues. As I understand it, this IS 3rd use of the law. Whether it is God’s law that is normative is another problematic issue, admittedly. What I found totally lacking is preaching and teaching of the THEOLOGICAL use of the Law.

    Too many sermons are “God is nice. God wants you to be nice. Go be nice.” This is admittedly a bit of a caricature, but it is distilled from too many pastors and bishops out there. If this is a help for anyone, it is only a help for those who “feel” nice. This is not a help for the terrified consciences for which our confessions care so deeply. Any why did Jesus have to die if both he and we are so “nice”? No wonder when I served on a call committee in an ELCA congregation that there was a candidate who sent us some sermon tapes where he didn’t ever mention Jesus doing anything…

    I have heard too much crap in LCMS too. The vital difference is that it seems that LCMS is still reformable. As Walther put it in Law and Gospel, the problem with the sin against the spirit is not that it is worse than other sins but rather that it cuts us off from the cure.

    This is the sickness to death that I had to reject. And it fills me with a deep sadness and pain to this day that I had to do so.

  13. February 27th, 2012 at 00:08 | #13

    Serious business, this dilution of God’s Word to the point that it has no impact. I think not only is the leadership of ELCA flawed, some one rightly called them wolves. For that title must flow also non-Christian, or the anti-Christ.

    On the lighter side this reminds of an Episcopal friend who was our LCMS choir director for some years when we lived in Salt Lake City, UT in the 80’s. We exchanged Christmas cards with him for several years until his death. A couple of years after we departed he wrote in his card that he was finally retiring from the choir. Then he added, “I know it is time because in downtown SLC there are now an abundance of coffee houses and in the last election for the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese a women was running and got elected. She was a former Mormon who had made the switch.”

    You have to have lived in Utah to know how funny and pithy that comment really is.

  14. Pastor Mark Schroeder
    February 27th, 2012 at 19:50 | #14

    @Ken M #12
    The distinction that you may find useful is this: the difference between God’s Law (the Decalogue) and man-made law(s), as in the ELCA.

    The ELCA is antinomian to the core as indicated by the fact that a church-wide assembly put a sin into the “not-sin” category, by majority vote, and say it is God-pleasing, going against the clear Word of Scripture. So, the result is: there is little, if no, theological (2nd) use of the Law in pulpits and classrooms and you nailed that. I discovered this when as an ELCA pastor, preaching Law and Gospel sermons, some folks would simmer with hostility at to what I was preaching (as I found out later!).

    And so the ELCA, in it’s denial of the 2nd Use of the Law (theological) and the resulting antinomianism, the vacuum has been filled by something else: man-made law (and maybe the equivalent to it is human tradition). So what fills the void, for instance, is congregational programs (the bane of many a congregation) and social justice. And as in the true Law of God: if we just do this (man-made law: btw, see Mormonism and Islam), then we will have more people on a Sunday and a true Christian society and nation and we are saved. It’s fairly easy, after all we can vote on it! It is akin to indulgences. Just buy this or just buy into this. And so as I heard one ELCA pastor preach that “Jesus was a self-authentic human being.” No, Savior there.

    And I agree with your assessment about “niceness”: a friend and colleague had as his screen saver the scroll: “Nice is the enemy of the good.” “Nice” is a fairly easy man-made law to fulfill. “Have a nice day!” “No thanks, I have better plans.” So does the Lord. My friend also said that our Lord came to justify the ungodly…not ungodliness. The result: no need for Jesus Christ.

    And the Third Use of the Law is absolutely blunted: to see if our good works are actually pleasing to God, as in the 10 commandments and as Luther correctly teaches them in the Catechisms.

    In my interview to become an LCMS pastor, one of the panel, a district president, said, you know the LCMS is not perfect. I said, If it were, then the Lord has returned. No church, worth it’ salt, will ever say it is perfect and the LCMS so clings to the fullness of the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ.

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