John 3:21

John 3:21
"It is the nature of all hypocrites and false prophets to create a conscience where there is none, and to cause conscience to disappear where it does exist." Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A letter from our Curch council regarding the vote and present state.

Since the ELCA leadership has failed to respond our numerous requests, we pray this vote will go without further incidents. The group that refers to themselves as the "saving faith" should realize they are following a leadership that has failed not only us but them as well.

Our Next Vote is scheduled!

From 1992-1995 but still timely

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Comparative Religions Class – Immanuel Lutheran College
Used by permission of Professor David Lau
Lutherans began to come to America as early as 1624. They settled in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York at first, later in Georgia and South Carolina and the upper Midwest: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota. Some of the Lutheran settlers were confessional Lutherans, but most of them were greatly influenced by pietism and rationalism. One of the early leaders was Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who organized some of the early Lutherans into a church body. There have been many different Lutheran church bodies in America through the years:
General Synod, Tennessee Synod, Ohio Synod, General Council, Iowa Synod, Norwegian Synod, Augustana Synod, American Lutheran Church. But today the majority of Lutherans are found in one very large church body known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which began its existence in 1988. The membership of the ELCA is 5,038,006, with 17,706 clergy. Most of the large Lutheran congregations in Eau Claire are members of the ELCA: First Lutheran, Grace Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran, St.John's Lutheran, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Immanuel Lutheran, Hope Lutheran, Our Savior's Lutheran. In Canada the largest Lutheran church body is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), which has 199,236 members, with 866 clergy. This church body also tolerates all kinds of false teaching and ungodly behavior.
The ELCA claims that it is a Lutheran church and that it honors the Lutheran confessions.
But what is actually taught and practiced by these churches is not confessional Lutheranism. Several recent books supply the evidence that the ELCA is a grossly false-teaching church body. The information printed in the following paragraphs is taken mainly from two books: What's Going On Among the Lutherans? (1992) and WELS and Other Lutherans (1995).
The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture:
The Bible itself teaches that all Scripture has been breathed out by God and is therefore inspired. Since all of Scripture is God's Word, it is clear that all of it is true. There are no errors or contradictions in the Bible. We therefore confess that the Bible is God's Word; to say merely that the Bible contains God's Word is insufficient.
The dominant position in the ELCA is that there are human errors and contradictions in the Bible. We may call the Bible "inspired" but we may also call the traditions of the church "inspired" or the testimony of Christians today "inspired." When the ELCA was organized, its founders very carefully and deliberately left out any reference to the Bible as the "inerrant" Word of God. None of its seminary teachers or leaders proclaim that the
Bible is truth in everything that it says. This, of course, influences everything else that the ELCA does. When a doctrinal controversy arises, the ELCA has no final court of appeal, that is, no inerrant Bible from which to draw its teachings and practices.An ELCA textbook indicates what is being taught in ELCA schools: "Today it is
impossible to assume the historicity of the things recorded. What the biblical authors report is not accepted as a literal transcript of the factual course of events. Therefore, critical scholars inquire behind the text and attempt to reconstruct the real history that took place."
The Bible teaches that God created all things, including man, in six ordinary days. Therefore to say that man evolved from lower forms of life is plainly contrary to Scripture. It is also clear from Scripture that Adam and Eve were real persons, and that their fall into sin took place just as Genesis describes it. Most ELCA teachers, however, consider the story of creation in Genesis to be a myth. That is, it is a nice story to try to explain how we got here, but, of course, it did not really happen. The ELCA tolerates and even promotes the concept of theistic evolution: that is, that God created things by means of evolution. Adam and Eve are presented as symbols of humanity, not real people. Other stories in the Bible, such as the stories of Noah, Jonah, and Job are also myths intended to teach some moral lesson. Of course, they are not factual.
The Five Books of Moses:
Jesus Himself taught that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses. The ELCA, however, is dominated by teachers who believe that the first five books of the Bible were written centuries after Moses died. They follow the so-called historical-critical approach, which claims that the first five books of the Bible and later books as well were derived from various sources commonly identified as J, E, D, and P.
The Words of Jesus:
As disciples of Christ, we of course believe that Jesus actually said all the statements attributed to Him in the New Testament. He Himself said that He would give the Holy Spirit to His apostles to remind them of the things He had said to them, so that we might know them and come to faith in Christ through these words. Many teachers in the ELCA, however, take the position that most of the statements attributed to Jesus in the Gospels were not actually spoken by Him but were added to the Bible by early Christians in their desire to honor their Lord. Of course, this means in plain English that they were liars. Perhaps you have heard of the "Jesus seminar." This is a group of scholars who are putting out a book of five Gospels (including a Gospel of
Thomas with the usual four) that claim to separate the real teachings of Jesus from the teachings that are found in the Gospels. These scholars have concluded, for example, that the only word of the Lord's Prayer that Jesus actually said was the word "Father." The ELCA also is represented among the scholars of the "Jesus Seminar.
The Virgin Birth of Christ:
The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, and that therefore He did not have a biological father on this earth. The ELCA, however, tolerates the view that Jesus was not born of a virgin, but that later
Christians ascribed His birth to a virgin in order to honor His name. The real facts in the story are that Joseph may have been His father, or perhaps a Roman soldier was His father. The ELCA textbook says about the virgin birth: "It is important not to get bogged down in biology, but to read it as a symbol witnessing the truth of the kerygma."
The Deity of Christ:
The Bible teaches clearly in many places that Jesus is God, even as we confess in the Nicene Creed.
Many in the ELCA, however, are willing to concede that the doctrine of Jesus' deity is not taught in the Bible but that it was a doctrine developed by the early Christians in order to honor Jesus. On this point the ELCA textbook says: "The notion of the preexistent Son of God becoming a human being in the womb of a virgin and then returning to his heavenly home is bound up with the mythological picture of the world that clashes with our modern scientific world view." And again the textbook says: "The preexistence of Christ is an integral part of the myth of the incarnation." We have to realize that when ELCA theologians talk about Jesus being God, they do not really mean that Jesus was and is true God from all eternity. They mean only that He is given the name of God in order to honor Him as someone special.
The Atonement:
We believe, as the Bible teaches, that God punished Jesus on the cross in our place. Jesus died for our sins as our Substitute. God forgives us our sins for Christ's sake, that is, because Jesus died in our place. Jesus was our Substitute also in His life, keeping the law of God and being perfectly obedient throughout His life. Many ELCA theologians, however, teach only that Jesus died for us as a man might die for his friends. They do not want to think that God would be so "unjust" as to punish Jesus for our sins. One ELCA theologian taught in an ELCA textbook: "Jesus came and died because God is merciful, not to make God merciful. We killed him because he forgave sins, not to make forgiveness possible."
The Resurrection:
The tomb was empty on Sunday morning, because Jesus rose physically from the dead and showed Himself alive to His disciples. Our bodies also will rise from the dead on the Last Day. Some ELCA teachers, however, present Jesus' resurrection as a spiritual resurrection, not as a physical resurrection. Whether the tomb was empty or not is no concern to them. They would maintain that we can believe in Jesus' resurrection even if His body remains in its tomb. One graduate from an ELCA seminary claims that when he graduated from the seminary, he did not believe in Jesus' physical resurrection, nor did most of his classmates, nor did any of his teachers. The Bible, however, teaches us that if we deny Jesus' resurrection from the dead, we are not Christians at all.
The New Morality:
The Bible clearly teaches that fornication is a sin. This includes extramarital and premarital sexual intercourse. Homosexuality is condemned in Scripture, both the lust for it and the act itself. There is forgiveness for the penitent adulterer and the penitent homosexual. The Holy Spirit gives power to the repentant Christian to amend his sinful life and change his ways. The ELCA, however, tolerates the view that extramarital and premarital sexual relations are not always sinful, and that homosexuality is an alternate lifestyle. Many ELCA leaders are even willing to accept the idea of homosexual pastors, that is, pastors who openly promote homosexuality and practice it in their lives. An ELCA study document says: "No (Bible) passage specifically addresses the question facing the church today: the morality of a just, loving, committed relationship between persons of the same sex."
One ELCA statement declares: “This church recognizes that there can be sound reasons for ending a pregnancy through induced abortion.” Among such reasons they lists threats to the physical life of the mother, cases of rape or incest, and the likelihood of fetal abnormalities. Another ELCA statement says: “We question whether the death penalty can be administered justly. … We oppose the death penalty.”

The Way to Heaven:
The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one way to be saved. Jesus is the Way; no one goes to the Father except through Him. He is the only Savior for all mankind. Those who die without faith in Him are lost eternally.
The ELCA, however, tolerates the increasingly popular view that sincere followers of non-Christian religions may also get to heaven. In fact, universalism is very popular today: namely, the view that eventually all will go to heaven, and that there is no eternal hell.
Other Doctrines and Practices:
The ELCA calls itself Lutheran, but the above paragraphs give evidence that the ELCA is not confessionally Lutheran, by any means. The ELCA practices fellowship with many non-Lutherans. Joint services with Roman Catholic churches are not uncommon. Almost all ELCA churches practice open communion; that is, the Lord's Supper is given to anyone who happens to be present at a service. The practice of infant communion is
gaining headway. The practice of woman suffrage is probably universal in the ELCA; the ELCA makes no distinction between men and women in their calling of pastors and teachers. At its 1997 convention the ELCA adopted a formula of agreement with the following non-Lutheran church bodies: The Presbyterian Church (USA); the Reformed Church in America; the United Church of Christ. This agreement means that all of these church bodies consider themselves in full communion with one another. This agreement ignores or makes light of the historical doctrinal differences between Lutherans and other Protestants. These doctrinal differences have not been resolved on the basis of Scripture. Rather, they have been ignored. But in fact these churches are in basic agreement that the Bible is not the Word of God, and therefore they can be sure of no doctrine, nor do they really have a doctrinal position anymore.
In August of 1999 the ELCA approved full communion with the Episcopalian Church. The agreement makes provision for all ELCA pastors in the future to be ordained by a bishop in the “historic episcopate.” This agreement makes necessary something that is certainly not commanded in Scripture as being necessary: namely, ordination by a bishop who has in turn been ordained by someone who can trace his ordination back to the
apostles. At the same time the ELCA likewise approved full communion with the Moravian Church in America.
On October 31, 1999 representatives of the ELCA were on hand in Augsburg, Germany to sign a document together with representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. The document declares that Lutherans and Catholics are basically agreed on the doctrine of justification by faith. This agreement is made possible by the fact that certain words such as “grace” and “justification” are not clearly defined. The Roman Catholic
representatives said that there is nothing in the document that differs from the decisions of the Council of Trent. Since the Council of Trent plainly cursed the teaching of justification by faith alone, without the deeds of the law, it is clear that this agreement does not at all resolve any doctrinal differences. Nevertheless, the leaders in the ELCA hail the agreement as a historic resolution of the conflict between Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church. What it really indicates is that the ELCA and its sister congregations in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are no longer confessional Lutheran church bodies. (Confer the last section in these pages, entitled “Associations of Church Bodies.”)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Comments on a Failed Merger

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Comments on a Failed Merger
Pastor Mark D. Menacher, PhD St. Luke’s Lutheran Church La Mesa, California
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) often seeks to grab the headlines. When it does so, the secular media often tend to report the ways in which the ELCA has not only made the news but has also
departed from the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Exemplifying this well, recent headlines widely report the decisions of the ELCA’s 2009 churchwide assembly to sanction and bless practically all aspects of the lives of those in homosexual relationships. Whereas these recent headlines are perceived by many as a radical departure from historical tenets of the Christian faith, in reality such headlines are only symptomatic of a much deeper problem in the ELCA. Simply put, the ELCA has not departed from the tenets of the Christian faith because it never really stood on them in the first place. As an institution founded on the ideals of religious humanism, from its inception the ELCA has been a failed merger waiting to unravel. What does this mean? To answer that question a little review of history is needed. The ELCA resulted from a merger of the American Lutheran Church (ALC), the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC), which split from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Incorporated in 1986, constituted in 1987, formed in 1988, and made operational in 1989, the ELCA was proclaimed to be a “New Lutheran Church.” This new Lutheran church was to have “three expressions,” a national expression, a synodical expression, and a congregational expression. In this structure, the power flows top-down, and the money and resources are drawn from the bottom up.
Notably, the ELCA’s eighth article of incorporation states that “the Church shall have no members with voting rights.” Thus, despite all the voting that transpires in the ELCA, none of it resembles representative democracy. So-called “voting members” at synod or churchwide assemblies represent no one but themselves and are accountable to no one.
When sinners, well-intentioned or not, assemble and become a law unto themselves, the situation is at best precarious. Unfortunately, even well intentioned sinners can be misled. This is unfortunately a real phenomenon in the ELCA. The central problem of the ELCA, however, resides not in its hierarchical structure but rests rather at its foundation. The ELCA is a failed merger because it was conceived and built
upon a humanistic ideology which may be aptly dubbed the “gospel of inclusivity.” Adoption of this false gospel means not only abandoning biblical and Lutheran confessional theology, but it chiefly means abandoning the gospel of Jesus Christ itself. Where the gospel of inclusivity supersedes the gospel of Jesus Christ, sin is necessarily redefined as any form of exclusiveness contrary to this ideology.
The consequences for Lutheran theology and church are thus profound. In the gospel of inclusivity, law supersedes the gospel of Christ. Churchwide assemblies have more authority than Scripture. Constitutions trump the Lutheran confessions. Religious humanism supplants sound theology. Political “human rights” overshadow the justification of sinners by faith alone. Finally, the gospel of inclusivity necessitates incorporating both sinners and the practicing of their sins.

With all its hopes and aspirations, this “new Lutheran church” quickly became a non-Lutheran church. Paradoxically and pathologically, the ELCA’s false gospel of inclusivity regularly manifests itself as an
incurable form of institutional narcissism (incurvatus in se) from which it is unlikely ever to recover.
As emotive and as newsworthy as the ELCA’s recent decisions on homosexuality may be, viewed through the lens of Lutheran theology, such decisions are again only symptomatic of the ELCA’s deeper problem.
The ELCA’s propensity to prefer a false gospel to Christ’s true gospel stems from its inability to differentiate the law from the gospel. This inability to distinguish between law and gospel arises from the ELCA’s refusal to observe the Bible as the source and norm of its ecclesial life. Most telling in this regard is the ELCA’s current Bible promotional program called “The Book of Faith Initiative.” As the title denotes, the Bible is not primarily the Word of God but is rather a “book of faith,” containing stories by and of people who once believed in God. As a result, the Bible is at best authoritatively on par with the lives and stories of believers today. Regarding human sexuality, biblical figures of faith are often deemed irrelevant to modern people. In fact, the inviolability of individual faith today means that deviating from the Bible is not only permissible but at times preferable. Therefore, an ELCA churchwide assembly accountable to no one, whose actions are open to orchestrated manipulation, can thus be persuaded in the name of inclusivity to adopt legislation both contrary to Scripture and contradicting God’s Word in law and gospel. If Scripture is passé in the ELCA, then the Bible’s central message regarding the justification of sinners through faith alone is likewise open to neglect and abuse. This is most evidently seen by the ELCA’s reception of the so-called Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) at its 1997 churchwide assembly. Almost unanimously, the ELCA gleefully adopted this Lutheran World Federation – Vatican document despite the fact that JDDJ did not accurately represent a Reformation understanding of justification. When this controversial document later became impossible to sign, the ELCA helped rescue JDDJ with another document called the Official Common Statement (OCS), which was signed on Reformation Day 1999 in Augsburg, Germany. Although the OCS contains a Roman Catholic understanding of justification and although it was signed instead of JDDJ, the ELCA consistently and mendaciously proclaims that JDDJ was signed and that the theological differences regarding justification at the time of the Reformation are thus resolved. Notably, since 1999 the Vatican has issued no fewer than nine indulgences, all the while incurring no objections from the ELCA.

At present, the ELCA is busy preparing to observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. So, how will a “non-Lutheran” church mark this occasion? How will the ELCA celebrate Luther’s 95 Theses
denouncing indulgences when it cannot muster a faint objection today? How will the ELCA proclaim the gospel of justification by faith alone (sola fide) when it basically agrees with a Roman Catholic understanding of justification? How will the ELCA heed the Reformers’ call to the Word alone (solo verbo) when the Bible has become primarily a book about believers?

When the merger became operational, the ELCA had 5.3 million members. According to a recent ELCA News Service report, that membership now stands at 4.6 million. By its own statistics, the ELCA is failing. This numerical failure reflects the theological and ethical failure of the false gospel of inclusivity.
The Reformation tenets of Word alone, faith alone, and Scripture alone are all predicated on the one man, Jesus Christ alone (solus Christus). In contrast to the Reformation, the ELCA has left Christ alone, and thus it has also left the Word alone and faith alone in order to become a self-possessed institution of sinful
human religiosity. It will be interesting to review the membership statistics of this failed merger on Reformation Day 2017.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Member Sunday!

In spite of the ELCA attempting to paint our pastor as ineffectual and our church being dysfunctional, we still brought on 25 new members today! hallelujah!  A few came from the ELCA in their attempt to escape schism and apostasy and were very happy to of found a Church still preaching the Lords gospel. As the ELCA is trying to destroy our pastor by character assassination we still had this many members join, this is for the Lords glory but shows truly the character of our pastor and our leaders. I bet it would be tough for the ELCA in this time to show another Church in our region who is still attracting new members of this size.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Directly from their own website..hypocrates!

From their own website

Can you believe they do not see themselves as being the perpetrator of the very thing they speak out against .

"The congregation is not immune to bullying. Sometimes individuals use bullying tactics against staff, congregation council members, or others in the congregation when a planning decision or vote displeases them. They threaten to leave the church or to stop contributions. Church bullies dominate meetings, engage in ridicule or abusive criticism, or manipulate conversation that silences and disempowers others."

"What your congregation can do:

  • Create codes of conduct for church meetings.
  • Call upon the mutual ministry committee or staff support system to offer pastors and other staff the confidential opportunity to name any situations where they considered themselves to play a role in the bullying cycle."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Suggestions for consultations with the Bishop


Consultation with the Bishop

Recently, some ELCA Bishops have instituted their own non-constitutional policies and procedures regarding the "consultation" process required of congregations that have taken their first vote to leave the ELCA.  In a heavy-handed attempt to control the process of disaffiliating with the ELCA, they are subjecting congregations to pressure from multiple individuals (synod staff or conference representatives), and are misleading congregations to act contrary to their local constitutions by forcing them to meet with a panel of consultants.

Congregational leaders should be aware that the ELCA's Model Constitution for Congregations – and most local Constitutions state:

"C6.05. c. The bishop of the synod shall consult with this congregation during a period of at least 90 days."

The constitution does not say "consult with the synod" or "synod staff" or "consultation committee" or "conference representatives." Every congregation that submits to a bishop's consultation has the right to insist that it be just that:  a consultation from the bishop, and the bishop alone.  Anything more than this goes beyond the legal provisions of the constitution, and is not required.

Note: In cases where congregations are forced by their Bishop to violate the requirements of their own local constitution, the Pastor and/or Council President should make the congregation aware of this misconduct on the part of Synod officials prior to meeting with any synod representative.  We also recommend copies be retained of all written correspondence (both email and postal) that "require" unconstitutional meetings, along with the text of any recently created "synod consultation policies" for evidence in subsequent legal proceedings.
Posted by Pastor Steven King from the "Faithful Transition" blog

Well they went and did it!!!!

Our synod sent out another letter on the 21'st to all of Faith (Church) members stating that they are going to be holding a "Synod Consultation Team" at another Church location for us in spite of all the potential constitutional legalities. We received it today on "Christmas Eve". Our attorney has corresponded with them pointing out that this consultation is against our constitution and will not be recognized. We let them know on numerous occasions that in fact everything they are doing is directly against our constitution. When they first brought up the consultation process we asked that they please wait until after the advent season as to not disrupt this holy time of year. It is upsetting and disappointing that once again the Synod has moved ahead with their agenda with little regard to the rest of us. Merry CHRISTmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're in the Washington Times!"

Church group tries moving, saving its faith

It looks like the minority splinter group "Saving Faith" has found a new home. So now as the departed minority there's no reason to try to change the way we "the true church body" has chosen as the majority.
Some of us feel that we should inform those who have left and the others who remain  about the potential impact if we "the majority"choose to leave as the splinter group has and if they were to return in our absence. This is not as a story of gloom and doom, but as a reality wakeup call. The following is certain or likely to result:

- no permanent pastor
- no youth pastor
- no Sunday School program for children
- no continuing church leadership
- no Treasurer or Financial Secretary
- no music director
- no 3rd (contemporary) service
- loss of emphasis on the authority of scripture
- 50% or more loss of active members
- 50% or more loss in church income
- very few volunteers to carry our the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the church property
- possible bankrupcy

Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2009, 12:00 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Leon Lagerstam,

MOLINE -- A splintered group of Faith Lutheran Church members who want to stay affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have found temporary shelter at Moline's Trinity Lutheran Church.

Instead of meeting at Faith, 1611 41st St., Moline, the ''Saving Faith'' group will meet in the multi-purpose room at Trinity, 1330 13th St., at Northern Illinois Synod Bishop Gary Wollersheim's request.

Faith recently voted to join a Lutheran Congregations In Missions for Christ association. It wasn't a unanimous decision, and there weren't enough votes to end the ELCA affiliation, except for ending benevolence payments to the national body.
Bishop Wollersheim decided it would best for the group wanting to stay only in the ELCA to meet elsewhere while they decide future plans, according to Trinity pastor the Rev. Larry Conway, and the Rev. Joe Robb, a retired minister and former hospital chaplain who has agreed to lead the group.
Saving Faith members will worship at Trinity at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday, followed by a group discussion about issues they're facing, Rev. Robb said.
They worship at a different place and time than Trinity's congregation to avoid overlapping and confusion, Rev. Conway said. '"We worship on one end of the building, and they're at the other end. 'We worship at 8:30 and 10:45 a.m. until we shift to 9 and 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 24.''
Offering hospitality and space are Trinity's only roles in this agreement, Rev. Conway said.
The synod paid printing and mailing costs for a letter that was sent to Trinity members explaining the agreement to avoid people getting the wrong idea about what's happening, Rev. Conway said.
It's only about giving this group a place to meet temporarily to figure out what they are going to do next, he said. ''It's also only going to be for a limited time.''
Saving Faith members will retain voting rights at Faith in the event other elections get scheduled, Rev. Robb said.
At its first worship service Dec. 6, 59 people attended, he said.
Divisions that have occurred at Faith have been tough on people, Rev. Robb said. ''There's a lot of mixed feelings, and the bishop just thought it would be best for this group to have a chance to talk things out amongst themselves.''
It's not a unique approach, Rev. Conway added. ''It's being done in other parts of the country,'' he said.
As a student of church history, Rev. Conway said he knows such disputes are not uncommon. ''It has happened many times over many years and over many issues, with much the same dynamics. These struggles are sad and tragic, but, I think, clearly indicate our need for God.''

Friday, December 18, 2009

Again they are being disingenuine!

Our council president sent out a follow up letter letting the synod know that they are not welcome here.

Date: Monday, December 14, 2009, 12:25 PM

December 12, 2009

Dear Michel Clark:

Perhaps you have not been informed of a letter sent by Attorney J----- ------ dated December 10, 2009 so I have attached a copy of it. In light of this, we will not be receiving your Consultation Team on January 7-11, 2010. This team will not be allowed to enter our property and will be removed by the Moline Police Department if they attempt to do so.
Should you take issue with this, have your attorney contact ------ ------g at 309-7-------6.

Sincerely In Christ

--- ----------
Church Council President
Faith Lutheran Church, Moline

If they can't follow their own rules and show the names of those who signed the petition for verification, then we can't confirm if they had proper basis for a counsel, sounds pretty easy , just show us the proof! We then went on to state that if they forced an appearance to be divisive, then we would have the police remove them, REMOVE THEM not arrest them! Every chance they get to spin something or to twist it to cast us into a more unfavorable light, they do it! even if it's lies and deceit. They are suppose to be a Christian organization not a bunch of truth manipulating bullies!

December 18, 2009
-----------------, Church Council President
Faith Lutheran Church
1611 41st Street
Moline , IL 61265-3499
Dear -------------:
I am alarmed and disappointed that you would threaten the Northern Illinois Synod Consultation Team with arrest if they ventured onto the property of Faith Lutheran Church . They have been properly convened according to the Constitution of this Church and they have an important responsibility to perform for the sake of the ministry of Christ at Faith Lutheran.
Since the Consultation Committee will perform their duties off site, I am asking that you announce to the members of Faith Lutheran Church the following information so that they can properly participate in this process.
The Consultation Team will be available at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moline from:
Thursday evening, January 7 from 4:00 P.M. through 9:30 P.M.
Friday, January 8 from 8:30 A.M. through 4:00 P.M. and
Saturday, January 9 from 8:30 A.M. through 4:00 P.M.
Appointments may also be made on Sunday, January 10 from 1:00 P.M. through 6:00 P.M.
To schedule an appointment, please call Ms. June Cain, at the Northern Illinois Synod office at 815/964-9934.
In Christ,
Bishop Gary M. Wollersheim
cc: Rev. Mark Gehrke
Mr. J----- -------
Congregational Council, Faith Lutheran Church
Mr. Bill Bartlett, Synod Vice President
Rev. Michel Clark, Assistant to the Bishop, West Conference

Rev. Dr. Gary M. Wollersheim
Northern Illinois Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
103 West State Street
Rockford , IL 61101
(815) 964-9934

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The faction called "Saving Faith"

There is a small group of ELCAdvocates in our church who call themselves "Saving Faith". This title must not of been thought out very thoroughly,  if in fact you look into the exact meaning it's completely contrasting to what their actions indicate. This was taken from the following website what is saving Faith?

What Is Saving Faith?

"These are the signs, these are the signs of life, The love that proves there is a living faith inside..." -Steven Curtis Chapman¹
(Jesus said) " ...why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6: 46)

Friend, This will be a message in which we get back to basics, and take a sobering look at the most important question of all: Are you saved? Are you prepared for eternity? Do you know that if you died right now, that you would go to Heaven?
To these questions, most of you will probably answer yes, and no doubt, many of you are. You may consider yourself to be a good, even a religious person. You may be a lifelong church member, perhaps even a minister or spiritual leader in some capacity. Regardless, the Bible solemnly exhorts us to examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) and to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10.) That is why it is vitally important to understand what the Bible says concerning the nature of true, saving faith, and to make an honest assessment of where our own faith stands in comparison.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31.) "...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9.) Simple enough. However, it is important to understand exactly what is meant by the term "Believe." It is much more than simple mental acknowledgement that the Gospel is true. Even the devils do that, and tremble because of it! (James 2:10)

The Greek word for "believe" in both of these verses is "pisteuo," which means "to commit, to trust, to rely on," not to simply give credence to. Saving faith is a simple, yet deep devotion born from a heart of brokenness and humility, and as we will see, results in a dramatic change in heart and life.

Most people will say they want Jesus, as long as it can be on their own terms, taking Him as Savior, but not as Lord. However, as we will examine in this study, it simply doesn't work that way. When the rich young ruler walked away (Matthew 19:16-22,) notice that Jesus didn't offer to renegotiate. He stood firm in His call for total surrender, showing that He is either Lord of our lives, or He is not.

Although it is often ignored in many modern churches, Jesus' call to follow Him invariably involves a call to forsake sin. Genuine faith brings forth fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8.) In fact, the first recorded word in Jesus' public ministry was "Repent." (Matthew 4:17) If you were walking away from me, and I said "Come here," it would be understood that coming to me would involve changing directions. Without repentance from sin, our conversion will not be complete, and we will perish (Luke 13:3.)

Jesus said that those who are truly His sheep will hear His voice, and will follow Him. (John 10: 27) He also taught that those who are of God will hear God's Words (John 8: 47) and that it will not be those who simply call Him "Lord, Lord" who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, but those who actually do the will of His Father (Matthew 7:21.)

Was Jesus teaching that we are saved by works? Not at all. Scripture is very plain that our salvation is solely a gift of God's grace, which we receive simply by faith, NOT by works (Ephesians 2:8-9.) However, James 2:17 also teaches that faith without works, or corresponding actions, is dead. In other words, we are not saved by works, but true saving faith will produce works as a result. These works spring, not from our own self-effort, but from the new heart that Jesus gives us when He comes into our lives.

When we receive Jesus, our sins are forgiven ( Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:7,9,) we are adopted into the family of God (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:5,) we are cleansed to our innermost beings, becoming totally new creations, renewed in righteousness and true holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17-18; Ephesians 4:24,) and we receive eternal life, to live with God forever! (John 3:14-21) In fact, in John 3:3, Jesus even refers to it as being "Born Again!" Friends, can we honestly believe that we can go through a transformation like this, and not have it impact our lives?

When we belong to Jesus, we are no longer our own. We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20,) and our lives are to reflect that. I had a classmate in high school who once said that he went out partying on Saturday nights, and then went to church to "sober up" on Sundays. However, Scripture clearly shows us that this sort of double life is not characteristic of a person who loves God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; and Revelation 21:8 all list activities such as drunkenness, lying, murder, fornication (sex outside of marriage,) idolatry, witchcraft, and a number of other lifestyles, and tells us that those who participate in them will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This serves as a very solemn warning to anyone who feels that they can be a Christian, and still live any way they choose. As Romans 6:1-2 puts it "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!"

Does this mean that Christians are perfect, and never sin or make mistakes? Not at all. We are all learning and growing, and as we walk, we do stumble. Being a Christian doesn't mean that you won't sin, but it does mean that sin is no longer your nature. The key here is how we respond when we do sin? A pig wallows in the mud, and enjoys it. A sheep might stumble into the mud, but his first reaction will be "Get me out and clean me up!"

. In taking inventory of your life, a great place to start is the Book of First John. In my opinion, First John is the first part of the Bible a new Christian should read. One of the reasons it was written so that "ye may know that ye have eternal life." (5:13) To this end, it offers us a very helpful "check list" describing characteristics of genuine, saving faith. Please read them carefully, and examine your heart in light of them. A true Christian's life will display the following characteristics:

An obedient heart toward God's commandments: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."- 1 John 2:3-4
Commitment to the church and Christian fellowship: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."-1 John 2:19
Doing righteousness: "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him."- 1 John 2:29
Overcoming sin: " Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin (Greek: "poieo," habitually practice sin as a lifestyle) ; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."- 1 John 3:9
Love for other Christians: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."-1 John 3:14
Overcoming the World: " For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith"-1 John 5:4
Friends, this is not a game. Eternal issues are at stake here. It is true that the word "Gospel" means "good news." However, it had been said that in order to appreciate the good news, we must first understand how bad the bad news is. Can you imagine the tragedy of coming to the Lord's judgement throne, only to hear Him say "Depart from me, I never knew you?" (Matthew 7:21-23)
Every person on this earth is only one heartbeat away from eternity. The Christian life is not always easy, and the decision to embrace it is a serious one. Jesus said that those who would follow Him should count the costs involved. (Luke 14:28.) Becoming a Christian means taking a sober look at our own sinfulness, being willing to turn from it, and fully putting our trust in the only remedy for it: the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. We cannot save ourselves, since our own righteousness is as filthy rags before a Holy God (Isaiah 64:6.) It is only through His grace that we can be cleansed from our sin, and it is only through His power that we can be transformed. As Charles Spurgeon once put it: ''Faith is the bulb and holiness is the fragrant flower that comes of it when planted in the soil of a renewed heart."

Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice for our sin, so that we can be reconciled to God. He loves you more than you can ever imagine, and He is waiting for you with open arms. He wants to give you a brand new life! Why not give your heart to Him today?

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26 )
© 2002 JHB
¹ From the song "Signs of Life" by Steven Curtis Chapman, featured on the album "Signs of Life" ©1996 Sparrow Records


Let’s agree to disagree. . . . Not this time!

Let’s agree to disagree. . . . Not this time!
by Jaynan L. Clark (WordAlone Network president)
December 15, 2009
It seems that whatever saying you want to use to express extreme consequences fits the current situation facing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

“Pandora’s box has been opened.”

“The tangled web woven to deceive has been revealed.”

“The floodgates have been flung wide.”

“The little boy’s finger has been removed from the dike.”

Church leaders came out in support or ordaining persons in homosexual relationships and of accepting homosexual relationships as not sinful.

It happened three months ago when the ELCA churchwide assembly decided to put God’s Word up for a vote it, in effect, removed itself as a church, not just a Lutheran one but as a Christian one, in the minds and hearts of believers and unbelievers across the globe.

Ecumenical relations are strained to the point of rupture, ethnic/multicultural ministry has been disrupted and church after church is breaking off its relationship with the ELCA in search of new relationships and renewed mission.

All of this was done for what, for whom?

The argument has been made that it is in order to include those who have been excluded until now; to become a church that doesn’t just talk about full inclusion but practices it. I’ve heard it said by bishops in recent presentations explaining the assembly’s actions and the “good news” that now gays and lesbians can be “fully included” in the church that had excluded them from “fully serving” in the past.


I’m quite sure that Lutherans preach, teach and confess that through baptism we are fully entered into the ministry of the laity, the priesthood of all believers, which is of equal value and of parallel importance to ordained and lay professional ministries. Therefore, all the laity are “fully serving God.”

It seems that the vote in August changed even more about what we teach, preach and confess than it first appeared to. Either this is all just talk after the fact—to try to convince church attendees and givers to keep attending and giving because this was no big deal, only an act of justice and equal rights—or God really did make changes to His law and those in the ELCA, who wish to, may believe something new and different about ordained ministry than before.

Remember that gays and lesbians were not excluded or precluded from serving as ordained ministers in the ELCA. They in fact, it could be argued, had a higher calling, a calling to celibacy, to great self-discipline, to pick up very heavy crosses to follow the One calling them into service in His church.

Service that serves Him and not the self.

And, as with all ministers, they accepted the call to exercise chastity as witnesses to being called into ordained or professional lay ministries and to reject whatever sins the desires of the flesh oriented them toward. This was a shared standard for all hearing the calling to public ministry regardless of sexual preference or martial status.

Arguments over “orientation” continue to drone on in public forums and writings when that, in fact, has never been the issue and should have no bearing on the present predicament. We confess that we all are born into the state of original sin. We all have predispositions to sin against God and our neighbor.

We all declare independence from God’s will for our lives and try to make our own selves “gods.” This sin, in any form or habitual behavior is not to be held up as exemplary and blessed. But is to be confessed and, by the grace of God, denied as a desire of the sinful flesh requiring self-restraint. It is not to be celebrated as self-expression.

The reason all of this is such a big deal is that none of this is about sex or even homosexuality. This vote has no more to do with the homosexuals than the vote in 1999 had to do with the Episcopalians. What was put up for a vote both times was the authority of the Word of God and whether the church has the right or even the calling to mandate teaching and practice that are not scriptural and that conflict with our Lutheran confessions.

The voters this past August decided to “unsin” that which has been regarded as sinful behavior (homosexual practice), give a word of blessing where there is no scriptural, confessional or historical basis for it, hold up as exemplary in public ministry that which has been prohibited not only by the Bible but also through all church teachings and 2000-plus years of history (not to mention social and cultural prohibitions and glaring lessons in history of empires that fell as a result of sexual promiscuity.)

Who gave authority to the church, this human institution, to “unsin sin”? The true church where the Word of God is preached purely and the sacraments administered rightly is calling “foul.” This usurped authority has done nothing less than engaged in warfare against the very basics of the Christian faith. This warfare against our faith has ushered in a new religion that elevates the self and its authority through its own conscience, identity and desires to the position of “god.” This is a matter of significance that knows no bounds historically, geographically or temporally.

There are eternal consequences for leading Jesus’ flock astray.

Satan is honored and revered when God our Father, in the person of Jesus Christ, is denied His lordship, sovereignty and “way.” To now give the impression of false security—that this will not affect you and is a matter that we can disagree on and yet live in harmony and peace by appealing to a false, fabricated unity that trumps truth—is unacceptable and necessarily must be addressed and rejected.

Clearly there seems to be a realization by some of the leadership in the ELCA that they underestimated the response if they changed the teaching and practices of the ELCA on human sexuality, marriage and ordination. We now hear the appeal from the ELCA that it won’t affect you or your church if your conscience is bound in such a way as to disagree.

Really? Look around and listen because it already has.

It already has affected every last church that is a part of the ELCA and the ripples go way beyond that to other Lutherans, other Christians and to the unbelievers who can’t believe the church would stand for this—by not standing at all.

We also hear how those of us who oppose the changes are the ones bringing schism, division and conflict into the church.

Well, right back at you with another old saying, “That dog won‘t hunt.”

This is becoming an endless game of Hot Potato. Who is to be left responsible for the division and schism and conflict? I’m reminded of the quote by Mignon McLaughlin, an American journalist and author, “Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.”

The 28th Article of the Augsburg Confession is quite clear. That final article of our confession is entitled “The Power of the Bishops.” I will cite two paragraphs from the whole:

Parish ministers According to divine right, therefore, it is the office of the bishop to preach the Gospel, forgive sins, judge doctrine and condemn doctrine that is contrary to the Gospel, and exclude from the Christian community the ungodly whose wicked conduct is manifest. All this is to be done not by human power but by God’s Word alone. On this account parish ministers and churches are bound to be obedient to the bishops according to the saying of Christ in Luke 10:16, ‘He who hears you hears me.’ On the other hand, if they teach, introduce or institute anything contrary to the Gospel, we have God’s command not to be obedient in such cases, for Christ says in Matt. 7:15, ‘Beware of false prophets.’ St. Paul also writes in Galatians 1:8‘Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.’ and in II Cor. 13:8, ‘We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.’

. . . . . We are bound to follow the apostolic rule which commands us to obey God rather than men. St. Peter forbids the bishops to exercise lordship as if they had power to coerce the churches according to their will. It is not our intention to find ways of reducing the bishops’ power, but we desire and pray that they may not coerce our consciences to sin. If they are unwilling to do this and ignore our petition, let them consider how they will answer for it in God’s sight, inasmuch as by their obstinacy they offer occasion for division and schism, which they should in truth help to prevent.

It seems quite clear to the majority of witnesses that schism results from the actions of those who import a teaching that is contrary to Christianity, one that drives the sinner into themselves, into their sinful desires and expression rather than calling them out of themselves and to their Lord and Savior whose calling it is to deny themselves, take up the Cross and follow Him.

It is truly sad that those who hold to the historic and faithful teachings of the Christian church are now the ones left searching for new church homes or working to build new ones. It has all the makings of a tragedy and yet is so biblical that with it—preaching, teaching and confessing only Jesus Christ—will come persecutions in many forms of denial, rejection and disregard. However, none should be led to despair; for many now are experiencing a deeper sense of identity in Jesus who reigns over them and their lives rather than looking for their own ‘gods’ inside themselves.

The ELCA’s new religion of “Selfism” has all the marks of many of the old heresies of the past, such as gnosticism and enthusiasm. But the ELCA added the hedonism, humanism and narcissism of this post-enlightenment, post-modern age that has outgrown any need for absolute truth and any authority beyond that of the individual. Embracing this new religion and making it official within the ELCA is a very serious matter that can not be ignored or merely a point of disagreement as we individually appeal to our consciences.

A further result of the assembly vote was the redefining of conscience to now mean being bound to the self and its desires rather than being captive to the Word of God as Luther’s conscience was in his last stand that was based on the Word and sound reason. The redefining of this historic Lutheran stand only has further confused the true issue. It has taken the topic further inside the self/sinner while attempting to give comfort where there is no basis on which to do so.

Captivity to the Word of God and being bound to Jesus Christ alone produce our true Christian freedom, which drives us from our selves to our Savior. The definition of despair is to be driven deeper and deeper into the self and isolation and away from the forgiveness of God. That is not a blessing to be given by the true church of Jesus Christ, but a curse.

That which can not be tolerated or ignored or regarded as adiaphora (an indifferent matter) needs to be addressed as a matter of grave importance not as one to “agree to disagree about.” Further, it is necessary that it be rejected and therefore not be passed on to the faithful and unbelieving as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather, it must be identified rightly as contrary to God’s Word and therefore not “good news” at all. Here we stand today and we can do no other.

Every church and individual member has been affected now by this decision. The questions to be asked and answered seem to be, “Why would you stay in the ELCA, how does doing so help your mission and ministry,” together with, “why would you leave the ELCA and how would your mission and ministry be damaged by doing so?”

For many it has become very difficult to find any reason at all to stay—beyond personal relationships. Here the division that Jesus Himself spoke about seems uncomfortably inevitable because truth has been compromised for a false, fabricated unity.

A line has been crossed. That is no mere saying but a reality and so we pray that God will again draw straight with our crooked lines. We ask the Lord to realign faithful Lutherans and Christians in this time of great renewal and reawakening by raising up His faithful church, fresh and new in our midst, for His sake and in order that His church may make disciples again by telling His true story.