Friday, August 28, 2009

Reforming to Scripture or Reforming to Culture?

Our culture is embracing same sex marriage and promoting homosexuality as normal practice. The latest denomination to reform itself to the culture’s values is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The ELCA news service ran this article on August 13, 2009, ELCA Clergy Support Gay, Lesbian Rights, Ordination, Survey Says.[1] Then on August 19, 2009, the social statement "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" was amended and adopted by a more than two-thirds majority vote at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in Minneapolis.[2] On August 21, the official ELCA NEWS SERVICE posted an article, ELCA Assembly Opens Ministry to Partnered Gay and Lesbian Lutherans.[3]

Within the ELCA there is a group that is concerned with reforming to Scripture called Lutheran CORE.[4] The opening line of the ministry section that describes who they are says: “Lutheran CORE is a coalition of pastors, lay people, congregations and reforming groups. We seek to preserve within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America the authority of the Word of God according to the Lutheran confessions.” In a news release,[5] Mark Chavez, director of the Lutheran Coalition for Reform (CORE), says, Lutheran CORE leaders renounce ELCA decision to endorse gay marriage and to allow pastors to be in same-sex relationships. Ryan Schwarz of Washington, D.C., a member of the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee stated, “The assembly has voted to remove the ELCA from the universal Christian consensus on marriage and homosexual behavior. Lutheran CORE intends to remain faithful to the clear teaching of Scripture and the consistent teaching of the Christian Church worldwide and throughout time.” For those who appreciate the late Martin Luther, you have to appreciate this group within the ELCA who desire to stop the slide further to the left of Scripture. Schwarz also went on to say, “The ELCA Confession of Faith says that Scripture is ‘source and norm’ of the church’s faith and life, but this assembly has shown that the ELCA is willing to violate what it officially says it believes about the Bible.” It is also refreshing to hear the words of Jaynan Clark, president of the WordAlone Network, (The WordAlone Network is one of the renewal organizations that make up Lutheran CORE) say: “It is appalling that ELCA leaders brought these proposals to a vote. The church should not be voting on whether or not to follow the teaching of the Bible… Luther’s stand was on the Word of God and sound reason. He was not convinced then, and we are not convinced now. We just voted out the Word of God, sound reason and the good orders of creation.”

Be careful when you say that Lutherans are embracing gay clergy. Remember that under the heading of any denominational name like Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist there are subgroups that range from liberal to conservative and differing degrees between the two poles. Under the name, “Lutheran” you have the Evangelical Lutherans Church in America, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has a statement regarding the latest discussion of the ELCA. Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of LCMS, said, “ELCA’s vote is contrary to the synod’s biblical interpretation. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has repeatedly affirmed as its own position the historical understanding of the Christian church that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as ‘intrinsically sinful.’ It is therefore contrary to the will of the Creator and constitutes sin against the commandments of God.”[6]
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has also made a statement regarding ELCA’s recent decision. Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), stated, “To view same-sex relationships as acceptable to God is to place cultural viewpoint and human opinions above the clear Word of God.”[7]

Luther was determined throughout his life to reform his beliefs to the authoritative Word of God. It seems that the ELCA is determined to reform their beliefs to the norms of society. The Bible condemns homosexuality and the ELCA condones it? Pray for those within the ELCA, such as CORE, who are taking a stand. Thank God for the other Lutheran groups seeking to stay faithful to Scripture regarding the issue of homosexuality.
We must always be reforming ourselves to the authority of Holy Scripture—God help us to stand!

A must read:

**Click here for Gagnon's website [ ]








Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Fury of the Wind (new modern hymn)

A good friend of mine, Eric Schumacher, has written another "modern hymn" that I highly recommend checking out...

Here is a description:

This text by Eric Schumacher is a beautiful mixing of the fiery descriptions and words of God in Job and the need that seeing such wrath stirs within the human soul to “flee to Christ.” We would all be “knocked off our high horse” if God were ever to appear to us the way He did to Job in the final five chapters of the book. What a frightening and humbling experience that would be! Our only sane response would be to fall before the feet of the Holy One. It is this very realization of our mortal and sinful selves that shows us the need that we have for the Holy God to make provision for us (no other could possibly do so!). God the Son is the only one who can “make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24).This text can also be set to a traditional tune.
You can download the MP3 on the website

The fury of the wind,
The raging of the sea,
How small a whisper do we hear
Of our God’s majesty!
The thunder of His pow’r,
O, who can understand?
Before the fullness of His wrath
O, who of us could stand?

“Shall man find fault with God?”
He asks of man below.
“Now, gird yourself to answer Me.
And tell Me, if you know:
Who made the earth and sea?
Who speaks and stars obey?
Who plays with creatures of the deep?
Who gives the beast its prey?”

You, Lord, can do all things,
And none can stay Your hand.
I uttered what I did not know
And could not understand.
Before Your greatness, Lord,
I fall upon my face.
And, by such glory stripped of pride,
I cast myself on grace.

The raging wind and sea
Cause me to flee to Christ,
Who bore the tempest of God’s wrath
To be my sacrifice.
Though in the storm I’m blind,
I trust my Sovereign’s plan.
I know that my Redeemer lives
And with Him I shall stand.