Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scripture vs Pragmatism in the ELCA

So the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has voted to allow homosexuals to serve in pastoral positions. One more semi-mainstream denomination heading down the path of embracing political correctness rather than the plain teaching of the word of God. As I read a news story on this move today, I realized that what is really going on here is the logical consequences of what has been happening in the ELCA and other denominations and individual churches for many years now. And that is the transference of authority from Scripture to pragmatism. From what has been revealed and mandated by Christ to what "works" in today's amoral society.

Here's an example in the words of one of the supporters of this move: "I have seen these same-gender relationships function in the same way as heterosexual relationships — bringing joy and blessings as well as trials and hardships. The same-gender couples I know live in love and faithfulness and are called to proclaim the word of God as are all of us." Do you see the complete abandonment of submission to the authority of the Scriptures here, and the replacement of that with the submission to the spirit of this age? And how can those who are living in an arrangement that God calls an abomination in His word possibly be in a position to teach and preach that word? The truth is, they can't. They instead will teach and preach a pragmatic and corrupted version of that word, in submission to pragmatism and political correctness.

Another nod to the pragmatic is evident in statements by some of the supporters of this move. They appeal to the possibility of alienating many progressive-thinking young Lutherans by not taking a more homosexual-friendly stance. So here's a clear case of submission to the prevailing wisdom of this age, rather than to the plain teaching of Scripture. And rather than teach the truths of the word of God to these young people, it is seen as a pragmatic imperative to accommodate their un-Biblical views. When this kind of thing happens, Jesus Christ can no longer be claimed as the head of the church, at least not the ELCA.

As always, God has His faithful people in the ELCA who see this move as crossing a line that cannot be crossed and remain faithful to the Scriptures. Time will tell how they respond, whether to remain in the ELCA or separate themselves from this abomination. But in reality, this latest accommodation to pragmatic concerns is just another step in a process that's been going on for a long time. The ELCA a number of years ago took a step away from the authority of the word of God in allowing the ordination of women. Once the Scriptures authority is breached, it's a slippery slope towards Gomorrah.

The presiding bishop of the ELCA pleaded with those opposed to this move not to leave the denomination. "For those that did not prevail tonight, are you willing to stay engaged in the conversation? I'm pleading with people to stay in there with us in this conversation." Conversation? Sounds like the conversation is pretty one-sided at this point. And has he forgotten that God's word is not a conversation? It's a monologue, expressed in unequivocal terms to His world and His church, with all the authority of the One who spoke it. The question is not one of conversation, but rather one of submission. And in that the ELCA has clearly decided to submit to what works rather that to what has been spoken.

God, preserve a remnant from this denomination, and glorify yourself even in this apostasy. And protect other churches and affiliations from departing from your revealed word, by your grace.

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