Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Contrary to what you may have been told or read, the issue at Faith is not about Pastor Gehrke, it is about your salvation and your faithfulness to Christ. The issue is not about nor should be about me but rather the drastic changes that the ELCA has made. Will you be aligned with God’s Word or the things of this world? As Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:29-30 NIV
In the past few months I have been surprised to discover just how often the apostle Paul talks against false teachings and doctrines within the church community. (1 Tim 1:3-7; 1 Tim 6:3-5; 1 Tim 4:11-16; Titus 1:8-9; Titus 1:15-16; Titus 2:1-2; 1 Tim 1:8-11; Luke 17:1-4; 2 Tim 4:1-5)
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5 NIV
As God is my witness, I have faithfully discharged the duties of the ministry for the past fourteen years at Faith Lutheran Church, I have preached the Word and taught sound doctrine, even when it was convicting of you and me. Being a Christian is not always easy or comfortable, and ultimately Jesus will be our judge. It has been a wonderful and a challenging experience at times for me and my family. Together with the help of God we have accomplished much, however, this is beyond the brick and mortar issues. Most importantly we have seen lives transformed for the kingdom of God in both youth and adults. So what has changed? I have not changed. I have taught and preached the same Gospel and church doctrines for twenty-five years and now the ELCA wants us to change them. The ELCA has changed and is changing. Two of our members were taught by an ELCA Diakonia teacher that the doctrine of the Trinity is a heresy. In seminary, I was taught by Trgve Skarsten that three things make a church a Christian Church: 1. Belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; 2. Belief in the doctrine of the Trinity; and 3. Belief the Word of God (the Bible) as our sole authority. The ELCA is now teaching (at Wartburg Seminary) that Jesus is just one of the saviors and that every religion has a savior, that the trinity is heresy(mentioned above) , and that the Word of God does not have final
authority over culture (Bishop Mark Hansen). The ELCA through a new theological set of words "bound conscience" is now stating that humans are smarter than God and can decide who is sinning and what sin is and who needs forgiveness.
Do not let the synod convince you that this issue at Faith is about me, for it is about the changes that the ELCA has made. We are not the only church who is upset about this, as others around the country and world are upset too. There are a growing number of churches, theologians, Biblical Scholars, scholars on Luther, pastors, and yes even other Bishops who are also crying foul. And yet the ELCA wants us just
to trust their decisions and move forward like noting has happened. There is something wrong with that picture.
We are being given an opportunity right now to be Christ’s witnesses in a very real way. The days of easy Christianity are over. As it says in that familiar hymn, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus. As soldiers of the cross, lift high his royal banner; it must not suffer loss. From vict’ry unto vict’ry his army he shall lead, till every foe in vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed.” Will you and I stand up for Jesus or will we give in, or worse yet, be non-committal?
As a Christian brother from Tanzania recently wrote me knowing of our struggle at Faith…
Thanks my pastor. We are really into trouble in this world. I don’t know why people want to change the word of God. Reality is reality, be aware of changing the word of God…Blessing of God to be with you. Thanks and God bless you. Glory
to be to the God Amen.
The issue at Faith is not be about me, but instead about the ELCA. The ELCA has made drastic changes which no longer reflect the teaching of our church. This is the true issue. And we should not just accept these changes because the ELCA says it is the new way of doing ministry. We must test everything against Scripture. And when we do, we have firmly concluded that the ELCA no longer has sound doctrine and we can no longer stand with the ELCA.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus!