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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

60'th Anniversary celebration

Today former active members of Faith Lutheran Church ELCA held a 60'th year anniversary celebration at a local supper club.  It was not recognized by Faith Lutheran church or by any of it's present leadership. It was sponsored by the group known as "Saving Faith". It was so sad to see the announcement in the religious section of one of our local newspapers Quad Cities Online These people will be sorely missed and our doors will always be open. This whole situation is not about the ELCA or the LCMC or our Pastor. It is about salvation and following scripture as God has instructed us to do.  I pray for each of these members.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Glenn Beck Takes on Denominations Like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Glenn Beck Takes on Denominations Like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Contact: Rev. CJ Conner, Author of "Jesus and the Culture Wars," 651-373-9137

MEDIA ADVISORY, March 22 /Christian Newswire/ -- Rev. CJ Conner, author of "Jesus and the Culture Wars," submits the following and is available for comment:

When Glenn Beck pleaded, "I beg you. Look for the words "social justice" or "economic justice" on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can," he raised the virulent ire of "progressive" Christians.

Many congregations and people are already running as fast as they can in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At least 160 congregations have left the ELCA since their August decision to ordain practicing gay pastors in the name of social justice. Many of these churches are 10-30 times the size of the average 110 member ELCA Congregation. But gay ordination is not the primary reason they are running for the exits.

The 6,000 member Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley Minnesota has decided to begin severing ties with the ELCA. At the heart of their decision is "The ELCA's emphasis on formulating and advocating numerous political and social positions, which has gone beyond the scope of the mission of the Church." And, "At ELCA synod conventions, instead of focusing on how to share the good news of Jesus Christ in the world, they have acted more like the platform committee of a political party or political action group." They are leaving because this pre-occupation with the "progressive" political agenda "causes division" and "distracts our church away from keeping the 'main thing' the 'main thing'."

Beck is right.

An analysis of the ELCA national website shows that words like salvation, repentance, and grace are outnumbered 2-to-1 by phrases like "social justice" and "advocacy." The ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson shares a common agenda with President Obama- an agenda finely honed at the Saul Alinsky church-based community organizing center, Gamaliel, in Chicago- where both men got their start on their road to power.

There was a reason why Alinsky dedicated his book "Rules for Radicals" to Satan.

The so-called "Mainline Church" has been on the forefront of the "progressive" movement that has so bitterly divided the nation. From their policies against Israel, to their feverish advocacy for "health care and immigration reform", to their advocacy for gay marriage, unfettered abortion rights, and a whole host of policies long associated with communist regimes rather than the Christian Church, "progressive" denominations like the ELCA have been leading the charge for years to divide and conquer America, impose their utopian views, and destroy American freedom.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lutherans seeing fallout over gay clergy issue

Lutherans seeing fallout over gay clergy issue

 - Associated Press Writer
Until a few weeks ago, the Rev. Gail Sowell was pastor at two Lutheran churches in the small Wisconsin town of Edgar. That was before members of both congregations jumped headfirst into the simmering debate over gay clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
"It was pretty gruesome," Sowell said, recalling shouting matches inside the sanctuary; the mass resignation of one church's council, save one member; even whispers around town that she was a lesbian. "For the record, I'm not," she said.
When the smoke cleared, the congregation at St. John Lutheran Church narrowly voted to not leave the ELCA. Across town at Peace Lutheran, they voted to leave and fired Sowell. "Fortunately, I'm thick-skinned," she said.
Not all ELCA congregations have seen that level of turbulence over the ELCA's decision last August to allow pastors in committed same-sex relationships to serve openly. But by most accounts, it has been a confusing and murky time in the nation's largest Lutheran denomination.
Several hundred congregations are moving toward a permanent split with the ELCA and more will likely come, but the number is still a small portion of the 10,000-church denomination.
Last week, a conservative Lutheran group announced its plans to establish the North American Lutheran Church, a new denomination that will recruit dissident congregations. Rather than setting up a clear-cut choice, though, even some critics of the ELCA's new policy say the move could further confuse already splintered Lutherans at a time when Protestantism in general seems to be moving away from a denominational model.
"It just feels like we're stepping off a sinking ship, and I'm not inclined to get on another boat," said the Rev. Bill Bohline, lead pastor at Hosanna! in Lakeville, Minn., which had been the state's second largest ELCA church until its members voted overwhelmingly in January to sever ties with the denomination. "That's not where the spirit is moving."
Pushing plans for the new Lutheran denomination is Lutheran CORE, an activist group that led opposition to the gay clergy policy. Critics say liberalizing policies toward homosexuality directly contradicts scripture.
Lutheran CORE leaders hope to have the North American Lutheran Church up and running by August. They hope for a denomination that's less bureaucratic than the ELCA, but still makes it easy for congregations across the country to collaborate on shared goals.
"We heard from many congregations who came to us, who said we'd like to leave the ELCA, but for us the other options aren't quite right," said Ryan Schwarz, a private equity manager in Washington who's leading the effort to organize the new denomination.
Since August, congregations have not left the ELCA in huge numbers. The denomination has about 10,000 congregations, and in all 220 have taken at least one of two required votes to leave. So far, only 28 congregations have actually approved leaving, which requires two separate votes that each attain a two-thirds supermajority.
"Even if that number doubles or triples, it would still be less than 5 percent of the ELCA," said Bishop Peter Rogness of the St. Paul, Minn. synod. "So it's not as though a schism has happened, where we're a denomination split in half. Nothing on that magnitude is in the offing."
Lutheran CORE leaders say the process for leaving is laborious and time-consuming, and those that already left were on the leading edge of opposition.
"I think they should be alarmed by these numbers," said the Rev. Mark Chavez, Lutheran CORE's director. Many churches, he said, just started the discussion.
"I don't think the wave has hit them yet," Chavez said.
Some of the breakaway churches have already found alternative denominations to take them in.
The Lutheran CORE effort isn't coming together quickly enough to be viable, said the Rev. Kurt Rau, whose Calvary Lutheran Church in Kalispell, Mont., instead opted to affiliate with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.
"They're a little slow to the party," Rau said.
His church's new, much smaller denomination itself split from the ELCA in 2000 over perceptions that the bigger congregation was getting too liberal, and so far has been the chief receptacle for congregations leaving the ELCA.
St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Braunfels, Texas, also joined LCMC, said Brian Baese, a self-employed salesman who is president of the church council.
Lutheran CORE's proposal came "too little, too late," Baese said. "We can't hang around when we don't know how long this is going to take. The momentum was carrying in this direction, and we had to go with it."
At St. Luke's Lutheran Church in La Mesa, Calif., the congregation also voted to ditch the ELCA - although the Rev. Mark Menacher said that had less to do with gay clergy and more to do with other long-standing theological disputes. St. Luke's is affiliating with yet another small denomination, the Fellowship of Confessing Lutheran Churches.
Menacher is skeptical about the success of the North American Lutheran Church. "If all that joins you together is concern about same sex relationships, I don't think that's a very strong reason for being," he said.
Bohline, the Lakeville pastor, said Lutherans should stop worrying so much about how they organize themselves. It's a main reason for the decline of mainline Protestantism in recent decades, he said.
"When I went to seminary, I wasn't sure I should be a pastor because I didn't understand what was so different about Lutherans or Baptists or Methodists. And you know, we're not that different," Bohline said. "We're working on the same playing field here. So let's get on with it."

© 2010 and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

ELCA Board of Pensions trustees begin process for benefit plan changes

ELCA Board of Pensions trustees begin process for benefit plan changes

Trustees of the Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have taken steps to extend various plan benefits to eligible partners in same-gender relationships.

At their Feb. 26-28 meeting in Minneapolis, the trustees adopted recommended amendments to the Board's medical and dental, retirement, survivor and disability benefits plans, plus its flexible spending plan that allows members to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses throughout the year.

The trustees' action is subject to review by the Conference of Bishops, which meets in Itasca, Ill., March 5-9, as well as review and possible approval by the Church Council which meets here April 9-12.

The action resulted from decisions made at the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. That assembly adopted a series of proposals which created the possibility for Lutherans in committed, lifelong, monogamous and publicly accountable same-gender relationships to serve as ELCA clergy and professional lay leaders.

The assembly also adopted a social statement on human sexuality. One of the statement's 15 implementing resolutions (#7) called for "the ELCA to amend the eligibility provisions of the ELCA Pension and Other Benefits Program, consistent with the policies of this church."

The Church Council is expected to consider a series of revisions to churchwide candidacy, ministry and discipline policies, consistent with the assembly decisions, and may adopt the revised policies when it meets in Chicago next month.

"We are committed to doing what has been mandated by the churchwide assembly," said Robert D. Berg, assistant to the president for church relations, ELCA Board of Pensions, Minneapolis.

The trustees acted as a result of a commitment on the part of the Board of Pensions to enroll eligible same-gender partners within one month of theChurch Council's possible approval of new ELCA policies, Berg said.

He explained that the board wanted to be ready to implement plan changes soon after the council acts. The trustees do not have a regularly scheduled meeting again until August, he said. Berg also said that if the council amends policy proposals, the trustees are prepared to meet by teleconference to finalize Board of Pensions plan changes.

"The Board of Pensions has committed to being able to enroll eligible same-gender partners within 30 days of Church Council approval of the church's policies," wrote Robert H. Rydland, the Board's vice president and general counsel, in a Feb. 10 memo to the trustees. "Our guiding principle as we implement resolution #7 is to treat an eligible same-gender partner the same as we treat a spouse to the extent possible under each plan, and as permitted by federal law."

In addition to the proposed plan changes, the trustees reviewed proposed affidavits that would be used by the Board of Pensions to provide evidence of a same-gender partnership and evidence of the dissolution of such a partnership, for the purposes of benefit eligibility.

In his memo, Rydland wrote that because only a few states recognize "same-gender marriage," the Board of Pensions believes it is important to have affidavits on file.

"The affidavits contain important information for the member and partner regarding possible tax consequences of the benefits provided and the legal implications of signing the affidavit," he wrote. "These affidavits are not part of a plan and therefore can be revised as necessary without Church Council or Board approval."

"I thought the meeting went very well in the sense that we presented them (trustees) with the necessary information," Berg said. "There were some questions and some discussion. I think there was full understanding of their role and responsibilities as trustees."

John Brooks

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Something to be prepared for if you plan on voting to leave the ELCA

We witnessed a surge of inactive voting members or a member of their family crawling out of the woodwork to give a minimal monetary "giving" to keep them as an active voting member.  Take time to clean your roster of those who are categorized as inactive before you post your vote date and then keep a list of all eligible voters at the voter registration table at the time of your vote. If we had updated our eligible voting list as we should have we could have avoided a failed first vote as we lost by about the same amount of these voters who should have been classified as "non-eligible" .We had children of members we had not seen in years all of a sudden be active again by a relative giving a few dollars to keep them active. These people had not been active for years and weren't geographically positioned to become active they just wanted to state their opinion in the form of a vote.

Below is from the ELCA website:

Removal from the Roll Due to Inactivity
A definition of "inactivity" may be included in the bylaws of the congregation. Such definitions normally are framed to reflect a failure to engage in the privileges and duties of members of the congregation, which include, but are not limited to regular use of the means of grace, living a life in accordance with the Word of God, and supporting the mission and ministry of the congregation, the synod, and this church(*C8.04).Removal of a member of a congregation for inactivity occurs only after repeated attempts, over a period of at least two years, to ascertain whether the member desires to have his or her name removed from the roll of the congregation. Removal from the roll of the congregation is by action of the Congregation Council upon recommendation of the pastor. Notice of removal from the roll of membership in the congregation is recorded in the minutes of the Congregation Council and in the minutes of the annual Congregational Meeting. It also may be published, if it is the congregation's custom, in the parish newsletter or bulletin. The parish register reflects the date on which the removal was approved by the Congregation Council.
While the use of an electronic database necessitates that the name of the person be removed at once from the roll of members of the congregation, the parish register retains the name, indicating the date on which the person was removed from membership. Such a procedure respects the desire of this church that these people "shall remain persons for whom the church has a continuing pastoral concern"(*C8.05.).Normally a person removed from the roster of members is not granted a letter of transfer or release. A letter indicating the dates of baptism, confirmation, marriage history, and the fact that the individual has been inactive in the life of the congregation may be issued, affording the new congregation the opportunity to receive the member by reaffirmation of faith.
And let me emphasize once again the biggest mistake you can make in your search for information is to allow a ELCA representative into your Church for any forum as they will do nothing other than give disinformation in an attempt to scare you from leaving the ELCA. 

ELCA congregations must reform church

Wake up people!!!

ELCA congregations must reform church

Many Lutherans no doubt have read with interest the recent newspaper articles regarding turmoil in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America about sexuality. Lutherans need to know, however, that the issue at hand is much larger than gay clergy or even homosexuality in general.
For a number of decades, the ELCA and its predecessor denominations have been sliding down a slope that adopts our culture's view of certain issues. For example, much of the church no longer believes in a literal hell or Satan. Probably a majority of the ELCA no longer believes that abortion and euthanasia are murder, and, of course, most of us know that much of the church believes that sexual preference is a matter of individual choice.
My purpose here is not to debate these issues. For me, the issues I mentioned are not debatable since God's stance is revealed to us in his Word.
Certainly, God's Word is a living Word. Otherwise it would be of no value for readers and hearers who find themselves 2,000 years removed from the latest biblical writing. However, God's written Word contains certain truths that come to the New Testament from the Old Testament, unchanged by time or culture, and it is these truths that are in question.
It has been said recently that homosexuality and other social issues have nothing to do with salvation. Therefore, we can agree to disagree. But the issue really is, can God's written Word be trusted? This has everything to do with salvation because if the Word cannot be trusted, how can we be sure of the Bible's revelation of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross?
Debating and voting on issues such as homosexual practice is identical to debating and voting on the correctness of the Bible and is therefore heresy. For that reason I left the ELCA several years ago when this debate started.
How did Lutherans get to this point of voting on whether to believe the Bible? We got here because congregations and their members have been sleeping. In the minister's occasional service book published in 1962 for use in The American Lutheran Church, one of the ELCA's predecessors, these instructions are given to congregational councils upon their installation: "It will be your duty to see that ... the pure Word of God be preached, as the Church confesses it."
Note that it is the congregation's job in our Lutheran tradition, not Big Brother's job, to see that the "pure Word of God be preached." If this had been done for the past 50 years, we would not be where we are today. Congregations have allowed the national church to put itself above Christ and his Word.
So where do ELCA congregations go from here? Reform the church. How do they do that? See that the pure Word of God be preached. If that involves their current pastor, great. If not, so be it.
What of the ELCA? What of it? The ELCA leadership will do what it does regardless of what Christ's church does; there is too much power involved for this to be repaired from within.
Where will your congregation affiliate? Don't worry so much about that. After all, Martin Luther said the church is wherever "the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered."
So join the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, which was founded for just this purpose, or choose another existing Lutheran body, or be independent. The important thing is that the church, one congregation at a time, be reformed. To do that, congregations will have to take responsibility.
Is this easy and without ramifications? No, but like Luther 500 years ago, we cannot be concerned about ramifications because the task is too important. Lutheran involvement in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that no longer sees the need for that Gospel is at stake. Salvation or damnation for millions of people is at stake.
I implore Lutherans to stop waiting to see what happens. Satan's plan is what is happening, but it can be reversed. Stop sitting on your hands, stop debating, stop talking and reform the church.
The Rev. Glen A. Peterson, 48, of Sioux Falls is the pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church in Humboldt - a Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ congregation.
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