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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An open letter to Bishop Hanson by Rev. Martha Uecker Nelson, an LCMC pastor

Bishop Hanson,
First, thank you for your Christmas greeting.  I was going through emails & came across your Christmas greeting once again and I was compelled to respond.  I am a pastor of more than twenty years. My husband is also a pastor serving as a senior pastor of a congregation.   I was a graduate of LSTC in 1988, so I had a sense of pride about graduating as the first class of the ELCA.  Bishop Chilstrom was someone who young pastors looked up to as a spiritual leader. 
serve in a hospital setting as a chaplain.  That pride of being a part of the ELCA has long since disappeared. It is not all because of recent (within 10 years) actions but just generally how ill-equipped that bishops and synod staff are at supporting fellow clergy.  This is one of the reasons for the dis-effected feeling among many that has laid the ground work for some of the current situation. 
I would like to expand on the some thoughts, for what it is worth to you. I am sure that others could do a more eloquent job than I, but it comes from the heart & so I feel that I must put to words the thoughts that I have.
I may never hear from you, but the need is to make sure that I do express what God has put into my heart, as well as that of others hearts.  I hope you will take these simple comments to heart yourself and pray & reflect on them.
When I read your greeting, I was reminded of the sad state of affairs that the Church finds itself in recently.  I must say that I am truly surprised at your Christmas message of Christ.  You and the ELCA in August voted to basically abandon Christ with your "bound conscience" concept.  Perhaps it has not occurred to you that in the action of deciding that people can now decide for themselves 'what sin is and is not' you have rejected God and you have eliminated a need for the Savior?  You also have eliminated the need for and tied the hands of pastors to be a moral guide for their congregational members.  Perhaps you had not considered the "unintended consequences" of the decisions in August.  You made a statement in your town-hall meeting about being intentional to bring in more members to the church. What you have done is quite the opposite. 

This kind of action of rejecting Christ & errant theology is why many true Lutherans are now leaving the ELCA.
The ELCA had now rendered itself ineffectual & without sound doctrinal content.  It no longer exists as a Church.  I am very sad to see the state of the church that once was. Perhaps it never was what it seemed but now it definately has shown itself not to be a church but a political action arm of  Liberal agendas. I have to ask myself, when is the last time that any of you read the Book of Concord?

During seminary & the years after, I had not realized the extent to which the seminaries were teaching things that go against sound Biblical teachings.  When I was there, LSTC was starting to teach political correctness of situational ethics and the devil was a debatable entity, the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand was an issue.  Professors who were avid defenders of real interpretation of the Old & New Testaments stood strong on their interpretation of homosexuality issues in Scripture.  They now have done a 180 degree turn.  Is that from pressure to comply or be fired? 

More recently, I have learned that the teachings have become incredibly out of tune with sound theology.  This is an undenible fact as we have talked to many seminary students about what they are learning.  They tell us we are "old school" in our thinking.  Thanks be to God that Jesus is "old school".  I would rather be that than incorporate New Age theology any day.

Now, I understand, that we are to believe that there are no miracles, no virgin birth, no walking on the water, no resurrection, Jesus is just one savior among many, the Bible is just one authority- not THE Authority for our lives...I could go on. I had a fellow pastor, who is on Synod staff, say to my face that we can change the 10 Commandments any time we want.  If any of this sounds right to you, then continue on your course.  But if it does not, please wake up to what it true and right.

This summer we were at a family member's church where we heard the pastor preach a sermon that Jesus was just a random carpenter selected by God for the role of the Messiah at the time.  Beyond being shocked, we now have encouraged our family members to leave the ELCA as the teaching is not sound, let alone Christian

Sadly, you and other leaders have put the ELCA into this tail-spin, spiraling downward.  The  question is whether you are going to let it go into a death spiral.  Reading in the Lutheran magazine, there is basically a dismantling of the Churchwide Offices due to budget issues. The reasoning there are budget issues is that you have stepped away from the Gospel, nothing less.  I truly hope that you all will prayerfully look at where the Holy Spirit is guiding.  It is not guiding you on the current path.  It should be becoming quite obvious to you with all the voices saying that this is not where God  guides.  Come back to the Gospel, come back to the Holy Spirit guiding the church.  (2Timothy 4:1-5)

I never thought about being conservative or orthodox in my faith because I thought that we all were that.  How wrong I was.  I am deeply, deeply saddened that the 'devil' or 'evil', or whatever you all call things now, has gotten his foothold with the ELCA.  In the light of  Saint Paul, I admonish you to come back to the True Faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

God always provides.  I am thankful to God that there are other options for me and others to follow Him in the Lutheran Tradition.  I am thankful to God that He has opened my eyes to the errant ELCA ways and has lead me to another option for my Christian walk & for my Calling as a pastor.  God is Good!

I pray for you and for the ELCA to come back to the fold of Christianity & of Lutheranism. You have walked away from both for thirty pieces of silver (which in this case is political correctness & a current popular cultural fad).
Rev. Martha Uecker Nelson, an LCMC pastor


Anonymous said...

Very well put!

Anonymous said...

D Cline this is 'exactly' what ELCA congregational members are saying. And, is also why we are leaving the ELCA.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Martha Uecker Nelson has hit the nail on the head. She articulates clearly the huge change that is shaking Lutherans. While we enjoyed being a part of the ELCA for years, we can no longer support it's teachings and decisions. That is why we have joined the LCMC, which is filled with joy, biblical values, and freedom. And may I add no more Bishops! May more people call the ELCA on what they have done and what they have become, and leave the ELCA to be a part of a different Lutheran church body. I suggest .

Anonymous said...

We are using Rev. Martha Uecker Nelson's letter as a source for discussion at church. More people are understanding through her Open Letter just how off-base the ELCA has become and how far away it is from Martin Luther's teachings, let alone Biblical teachings. I wish she could teach at our church. I must say though, through her letter she already is.

Carol said...

Thank you, Rev. Nelson. I had been wondering why sermons were getting so wishy, washy, and watered down. So that's what their teaching in seminary. As an ELCA member for many, many years, I'm repulsed at the anti-biblical rhetoric coming from pastors. But, the LC missouri Synod are doing their own brand of hypocrasy. They treat their workers like cattle. Good workers who love the Lord. But that doesn't matter to them. It's a good thing I love the Lord by myself. If I had to look at these people of God for inspiration, I'd be lost....

Anonymous said...

Why don't more Pastors speak openly about what they believe? I have heard that some Pastors say that they will retire in a few years so they just want to avoid it, like they can hide from the issue. Obviously Pastor Martha understands that she is Called to serve Christ versus being Called to live out a career.

Anonymous said...

If you read this letter, pass it on. I am furious that many Pastors are refusing to talk about the real issues that this letter states. If Pastors fail to lead us, we must lead ourselves. We csn not wait any longer. Get the word out by sharing this letter and directing others to this website. Read and the truth will set you free.

Anonymous said...

Here Pastor Martha speaks openly about the issues in the ELCA. In Montana they have a Bishop who will remove any Pastor who speaks about LCMC or Lutheran CORE. In a time of freedom of press no one expects the Spanish Inquistion. Keep writing and speaking.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what needs to be said in a thoughtful, articulate manner! My heart remains heavy for those in ELCA who
are departing from the truth of scripture. I will continue to pray that everyone realizes that God's Word is where we turn to for discerning His will for our lives.

Gary said...

I find this blog judgmental and unwilling to see the work of the Spirit or God in the work of the church, the decisions of other seminary professors. Perhaps the Spirit led them? Perhaps God is leading the church in this new chapter, similar to God leading the church to become open to Gentiles. Don't assume you and those who agree with you have the corner on truth. God's desire is to save the world, and God usually gets God's way. Blessings on the journey. I hope you come to trust in the saving grace and mercy of Christ more than your judgment of others and their discernment of following our Lord.