So Many Lutherans

What is the difference?

I recently received a letter from an ELCA member, which I have posted below. 


I have just seen this on your Web page, regarding what you say the ELCA churches teach: "God's Word is no longer relevant to today's believer and allow people to decide for themselves what is or isn't God-pleasing."

Having grown up in the Lutheran church in this state, and being a member of the ELCA, I have spent my life in the company of faithful Christian men and women who prove your words wrong every day of their lives. I find it fascinating that in your piety you can reconcile yourself to bearing false witness against your neighbor. I have never, ever heard such blasphemy come from the lips of a pastor, and I daresay you have not, either. Your words make me very grateful that I do not belong to the CLC.

This is my response to her...

Dear _______,

Thanks for your concern!  I'll give a short response now, and write more later when I have time. 

By the grace of God, many ELCA congregations and members hold God's Word as Truth. 

Unfortunately, as you know, the ELCA organization does not require all of its affiliated congregations to do so.  Many ELCA pastors/congregations do not accept marriage as only being between a man and a woman.  Some ELCA Sunday School material does not teach a 6-day creation (which is why many people left the local Columbia ELCA -then LCA- congregations and formed Holy Trinity-CLC 40 years ago).  There are several other false items which are accepted and taught by ELCA pastors and professors throughout our nation, and yet these leaders remain in good standing within the ELCA.  Errors tolerated by the ELCA organization are not something that I have dreamed up, but are well documented by many concerned ELCA pastors and members - see the listing of items at the bottom of the webpage.

Although you and your congregation still believe that all of the Bible is God's True Word, there are many within the ELCA who do not believe this.  Because the ELCA allows false beliefs and alternative lifestyles to exist among its pastors and members, the organization is saying that people have the right to decide whether or not they want to follow God's Word.  Thus my comments on the website.

The problem is, by remaining in affiliation with the ELCA you, in essence, also accept the falsehoods tolerated by your organization. 

I have lived through the difficult decision of leaving a church body, and understand the denial.  Neither I nor my family wanted to acknowledge that our beloved synod had fallen from the truth.  What makes it expecially difficult for pastors is the loss of pensions and insurance - although I was too young at the time to be affected by that.

The bottom line is that our Lord commands us to "Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them" Rom 16:17.  Difficult as the decision was for many of the current Holy Trinity (CLC) members to leave their former beloved ELCA, they knew that to accept the false things being taught by the organization was to deny the truth of God's Word.

You called my words blasphemy.  Not taking a stand against false teaching would be blasphemy.  Although I in no way put myself on a par with our Lord Jesus Christ, He also called the false teachers of His day what they were.  Although some people called His words blasphemy, others realized His love and concern for them, left their former affiliations, and followed Him.

All of us, as Redeemed Christians, have the same decision to make - follow God completely and totally, or choose to fudge on some of His teachings.  Membership in an organization (whether it is secular or religious) indicates acceptance of what that organization believes and does. 

I don't want to overwhelm you with more stuff - although I hope that we can continue carrying on a dialog about this.

In Christ, our RISEN Savior,

Glenn Oster 
613 Mallard Lakes Drive,
Lexington, SC  29072


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