Give Me that Old Time Religion

On October 15th,  Rev. Antje Jackelen was elected the first woman Archbishop of the Church of Sweden in a substantial win.  She joins the ranks of Rev. Elizabeth Eaton as Presiding Bishop of the ELCA.  Before those elections, the Evangelical Church in Germany elected Rev. Margot Kaessemann as their head but she resigned in 2010 after her arrest for drunk driving.  These elections continue the feminist interdenominational conquest of the western church.

An article about Rev. Jackelen’s election notes that she is a mother of two and, “…is known in Sweden for her statements questioning the Virgin birth and endorsing the theory of evolution.”  Ordination of women and denial of the Creeds is  certainly not “that old-time religion” and both heresies of women’s ordination and denial of the Creed go glove on hand.

Pr. Louis A. Smith of blessed memory cited at the end of his essay, “How I Changed My Mind” [i], C. S. Lewis who said that should the Church ordain women we would quickly find that we have a new religion.  My purpose in this posting is to explicate the ideology of this new religion, then next to show that this religion is actually not “new”.

Prior to the ELCA’s decision to allow for false marriage in 2009, I attended my last conference as an ELCA pastor.  In  our discussion, I talked about the Biblical case for marriage.  A woman pastor said in alarm, “That would mean we would have to revisit ordination of women and divorce and remarriage.”  I said, “Yes, that’s what it would mean”.  I thought I heard the air being sucked out of the room.  The feminist hermenuetic (interpretative lens) is a parting of the ways into two religions, as incipient Gnosticism  caused a parting in the days of the Apostle John (see 1 John 2: 19).  Today it is a feminist religion not based upon Scripture, using a particular  feminist ideology (which is very much gnostic), and the other  grounded in the written Word, i.e. Confessional and catholic.

Feminism has two types:  liberal (political) feminism and gender feminism.[ii] The women’s liberation movement began as political feminism but eventually has been replaced by gender feminism, especially in churches.  Rev. Richard John Neuhaus made this distinction in his magazine First Things, based upon articles by philosopher and professor Christina Summers of Clark University:

“The goal of liberal feminism is straightforward: women have a right to fair treatment and equal opportunity in trying to realize their aspirations. Gender feminism is very different, indeed radically different. Gender feminism views all of social reality in terms of the “sex-gender system.” According to gender feminist Sandra Harding, this system is a “system of male-dominance made possible by men’s control of women’s productive and reproductive labor, where ‘reproduction’ is broadly construed to include sexuality, family life, and kinship formations, as well as the birthing which biologically reproduces the species. . . . The sex/gender system appears to be a fundamental variable organizing social life throughout most recorded history and in every culture today.” It is that system that must be replaced.”[iii]

I focus on gender feminism.

I do not know why Rev. Jackelin denies the virgin birth, but I will speculate it is simply not the assertion that the Bible is errant, but the Bible is errant because it is sexist and patriarchal, and oppressive of women.  This is the raison d’etre of inclusive language, which was the next win in the feminist conquests after woman’s ordination, in much of the church and society.  The proponents of the  new alien hermeneutic have one goal:  replace the old patriarchal church with the “new” church, the gender feminist church. I heard an ELCA vicar years ago introducing himself to the conference: “I am a recovering sexist”. Gender feminism is pervasive.

We can debate political feminism as it pertains to the nation but gender feminism is simply non-debatable in regards to the Church and the Scriptures.  It is also a denial of basic biology, per the quote above, as is gay marriage.  If biology can be denied, then why can not Biblical theology be replaced? Yet the reverse cannot happen.  The “old time religion” is incrementally being replaced with ideological and political zeal under the guise of religion and ‘spirituality’.   The gender feminists have and will try everything in their power to marginalize the orthodox of all Christian church bodies using friendly illiberal politics and academia where gender feminism has taken control. A trustworthy conservative pastor here in town related to me that a member of  the ELCA congregation of which I was pastor, told him about me, “Oh, he’s fundamentalist.”  This is at first a ‘damning’ accusation but it can get worse.

The marks of this new religion are:

  1. Pro-abortion
  2. Women priests and maybe eventually a majority of women priests
  3. Pseudogamy
  4. Scripture as important spiritual resource
  5. Denial of Biology 101
  6. Feminist language liturgies (see Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
  7. Confusion and even fusion of the two kingdoms

I chose these ‘marks’ arbitrarily, there are probably more, but I stopped at seven to parallel in antichrist fashion Luther’s marks of the Church:

1. The Possession of the holy Word of God; 2. The holy Sacrament of Baptism;  3.  The holy Sacrament of the Altar;  4. The Office of the Keys; 5. The Public Ministry; 6. Prayer, Public Praise, and Thanksgiving to God; 7. The Possession of the sacred Cross, that is suffering.

So every ‘win’ of a woman pastor breaking the “stained-glass ceiling” by election to  a higher churchly office is not considered  in feminist ideology simply as a win for women but a win for the alien ‘new’ religion to replace orthodox and Confessional religion. If you can ordain women, contrary to a ‘sexist’ Bible, why cannot one deny the virgin birth?

Yes, gender feminism is antichrist because it is a denial of  the basic Christian doctrine of the Biblical Name of the Father and the Son as patriarchal constructs, and so it is denial of the Son and hence antichrist:

“This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.   No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2: 22-23

This is not actually a ‘new’ religion.  It is as old as Eve.  It is Eve and us answering the serpent’s religious question:  Did God say? What is the purpose of asking what Bonhoeffer calls an essentially religious question?  What is the subtle serpent’s endgame?  Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“The serpent asks, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” The serpent does not dispute this word but it enables man to catch sight of a hitherto unknown profundity in which he would be in the position to establish or dispute whether a word is the Word of God or not. The serpent itself in the first place only suggests the possibility that man has perhaps misunderstood here, since God could not possibly have meant it in this way. God, the good Creator, would not impose such a thing upon his creature; this would be a limitation of his love. The decisive point is that this question suggests to man that he should go behind the Word of God and establish what it is by himself, out of his understanding of the being of God.”[iv]

I can hear someone saying, ‘Gender feminists in the Church only want to see if this Biblical word about women in the Church is actually God’s or Christ’s, or a church oppressive of women, that’s all.  God could not have possibly meant what is written in the way the text has been understood.  You don’t want to limit God’s love, now would you, when it comes to your mother, your sister, your co-worker?  Do you want to be oppressive?’   Later, Bonhoeffer simply states, “Man cannot go behind God’s Word”[v] and any alien interpretation is the attempt to go behind God’s Word, for whatever intention.  Going behind God’s Word, such as as in the ‘Jesus Seminar’,  is man judging between word and Word but the very nature of the text of the Bible will not allow it because is it is inspired, all of it (see:  2 Timothy 3: 16).  If man and woman think they have gone behind God’s Word, then they have stood over the Word, interpreting the Word according to their own alien hermenuetics.   It is like Eve in Cranach’s woodcut (above) looking at the serpent become a woman, that is, a reflection of Eve, her own goddess.  If it is the God we imagine, it will always be a reflection of ourselves, and God will always meet us in the place where we would not look  for Him and that place is the Cross  (Bonhoeffer), the tree of Life. Gender feminist interpretation is tragically  no longer God’s Word but man and woman’s ideology, complete with religious trappings, a ‘new’ religion but essentially the false religion of Adam and Eve in which Adam and Eve will be the god and goddess…or the goddess and god.

These two religions are at odds and there are many in the new religion who are still of the old time religion.  The Lord enlists us for the fight (2 Timothy 2: 4) and it is the good fight of faith (cf. 1 Timothy 6: 12), not for ourselves alone but for others as well. St. Paul sitting in prison, looking at his chains, wrote to his fellow pastor, Timothy:

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! (2 Timothy 2: 8-9)

No one can bind the Word of God: not by alien ideologues, not by the ‘brilliance’ of million doctors of theology…not by the subtle serpent.  We need to hear this Word more than ever.  Paul encouraged Timothy to remain steadfast, as steadfast as Ruth was to the God of Israel and to Naomi, as Mary at the feet of Jesus, might we be also:

 Almighty God, grant to Your church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom which comes down from heaven, that Your Word may not be bound, but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people. In steadfast faith, we may serve You and in the confession of Your name, abide to the end through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[i] Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspective,  edited by Matthew C. Harrison and John T. Pless (CPH)

[ii] “Feminism and Feminism” by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, June/July 1992

[iii] “The Feminist Revelation” by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, December 1991

[iv] Creation and Fall and Temptation:  Two Biblical Studies by Pr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

[v] ibid

About Pastor Mark Schroeder

I am currently the Pastor at Concordia Lutheran Mission, authorized by Good Shepherd Lutheran, Roanoke, Virginia. I have been an AELC then an ELCA pastor since my Ordination April 24, 1983 until leaving the ELCA and being accepted by Colloquy, June 1, 2010. My wife is Natalie and we have three children, Luke, Talitha and Abraham.


Give Me that Old Time Religion — 16 Comments

  1. All I can think of when I hear of more and more stories like this is Revelation 2:18 – 20. As for verses 22-23 are evident in the death of belief and faith in Jesus in the churches that go the way of “Jezebel.”

    As for us, we need to remember, “What has been done will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

    This is a comfort as we remember their is nothing new when it comes to sin, to be faithful, and receive by God’s grace through Jesus the Crown of life.

    Also interesting is the following from the above article:

    The marks of this new religion are:

    1. Pro-abortion
    2. Women priests and maybe eventually a majority of women priests
    3. Pseudogamy
    4. Scripture as important spiritual resource
    5. Denial of Biology 101
    6. Feminist language liturgies (see Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
    7. Confusion and even fusion of the two kingdoms

    What catches my attention is #7. It is interesting that often, especially in fundamentalists and “evangelicals” who fight #1, #5, etc.., also confuse #7. Just an observation.

  2. At its core it is simply paganism and apostasy no matter what they choose to call it but it is no more Christian than the ELCA is Lutheran.

  3. All liberalism lives in a delusional world denying the reality of sinful human nature. Even our non Christian American forefathers understood the negative nature of man and the need for checks and balances and a limited government. Denial of reality never ends well.

  4. And for the record, there is no “dialogue” with false doctrine. There is only opposition. Anything else is a step in the direction of compromise.

  5. We just got a new pastor and I submitted the installation picture to the local papers, with sixteen male pastors in the picture. All I kept thinking was, “This picture really makes a statement.” The majority of stories regarding new pastors, even and especially Lutheran pastors, are about women. At the last minute, and even though the papers won’t usually print this info, I added a line about the church being part of the LCMS. So far, one paper printed and one omitted the LCMS line. But, I know that that picture will give people pause and make them think.

  6. @Pastor Roepke #1 Good observation, pastor! It reminds me of a Barmen Declaration statement: the State can not fulfill the vocation of the Church. Too many liberals and conservatives want the government to do just that.

  7. Great article. And it takes courage to speak so plainly and pointedly about a movement/philosophy which at its core is destroying the very culture it which it thrives.

  8. I agree with El Cid (which is how I came here). This is a great article.

    I think there is more than gender feminism at work here, at least in the ELCA. Rather, I see the ELCA’s leadership (by this I mean most pastors and bishops) as a coalition of political activists whose main interests are gender feminism, homosexual behavior, environmental issues, “anti-racism” activism, and anything else that is considered a hot-button political topic.

    My wife and I are former ELCA missionaries. During our time of service I could never shake the feeling that the ELCA was a radical political party instead of a Christian denomination. The seemingly endless series of social statements issued by the ELCA were little more than mind-numbing political harangues. Spreading the Gospel, fidelity to the teaching of our Lord: those took a back seat to “changing the world”.

    After the ELCA’s decision in 2009 to dump the Gospel in favor of “inclusiveness” on the issue of homosexual behavior, the issue of the ELCA’s rejection of the Christian faith could no longer be kicked down the road. Mixing politics and religion is never a good idea, and the ELCA’s combination seemed especially destructive. In some ways the decision to leave was easy: we didn’t leave the ELCA so much as had any common ground deliberately destroyed by the activists determined to fashion a new political god in their own image. Staying around seemed dangerous, since I believe it is possible to destroy your faith by a thousand seemingly tiny compromises. As the devil said to Eve, “Did God really say….?”

    Please keep up the good work! May God bless the work of your hands!

  9. The modern state Church of Sweden can only be described as satanic: (pardon the Anabaptist fundamentalist link, but the sources are legit)

    The above reads in part:

    “May 22, 1999 – The Lutheran state Church of Sweden, a member of the World Council of Churches, is as blasphemously liberal as it is possible to be. Bishop Dr. Karl-Gustav Hammar, supports the ordination of homosexual priests. A few months ago the Lutheran Cathedral in Uppsala exhibited poster-sized photographs depicting Jesus Christ and the Apostles as homosexuals. One photograph depicted “a transvestite version of the Last Supper” and another “a naked portrait of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist” (The Irish Times, Oct. 8, 1998).”

    “In 1984, then Bishop Krister Stendahl, stated in an interview with journalist Elisabeth Frankl that “to hold to a belief in just one God is idolatry” and that one can pray to God as “Energy” (Christian News, Nov. 19, 1984, translated from the Swedish Lutheran quarterly Biblicum). Stendahl claimed that God is more urgently concerned with bringing justice in the world than with “saving souls.” When asked directly if he believed in God, Stendahl replied, “I think I’ve risen above matters of faith and doubt. … I really don’t know what it means to ask whether ‘there is’ a God.” He said, “the whole question of God’s existence leaves me cold.” When asked about life after death, Stendahl replied that an idea of a heavenly paradise is a “childish human dream.” [END OF QUOTE]

    Stendahl was also one of the originators of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul,” an explicit rejection of Sola Fide:

  10. @El Cid #8 I do not think it is courage to write what I did here at Brothers of John the Steadfast since we are confessional Lutherans…now to present this to an ELCA ‘churchwide’, or a synodical assembly would take courage to speak the truth in love!

  11. @David F. #9 I thought those social statements were just pitiful in the ELCA as they thought they were “speaking truth to power” and someone in power was going to change the world because their ‘liberated’ consciences were pricked by a liberal social statement! Now say to the principalities and authorities of media, government and liberal Protestantism, Abortion is sin, repent…that’s a social statement.

    Thank-you David for your prayers. I will keep you and your wife in my prayers. I pray you have found a confessional Lutheran congregation.

  12. @fws #13
    Please note that the post we are commenting on mentioned the two kingdoms. See Augsburg Confession Article XXVIII on The Power of Bishops and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.

  13. Pastor Schroeder, it is so joyous to hear someone who has come out of the ELCA talk the way you do. I look forward to many more enlightening articles from you. Now, you REALLY will impress me if you can persuade a great many pastors within the LCMS to have the same integrity you had to leave the ELCA and leave the LCMS. After all, why would they want to associate with us “fundamentalists!”

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