Monday, April 13, 2009

Is sin not a salvation issue?

See, I thought that it was.

When I browse around the news, I come across all sorts of stuff that gets me upset. Sometimes I read things that are just tragic. A news piece titled At 1 Lutheran church, gay, partnered and preaching is one of those tragic stories. This is how the story starts off:

MINNEAPOLIS – Brad Froslee was installed as pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church at a special Sunday service attended by dozens of his fellow pastors, as well as Froslee's proud parents and grandmother, all devoted lifelong Lutherans.

But the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America officially lists Calvary's ministry as vacant. That's because, sitting with Froslee's family at his installation ceremony in February, was his male partner of 5 1/2 years — living proof that Froslee has flouted the ELCA's prohibition on non-celibate gay pastors.

This is kind of a self-described “Don’t ask, don’t tell” ministry. We will pretend that a person openly living in a sinful lifestyle is our “pastor” and the ELCA will pretend that he is not there even though they know he is. The ELCA is considering changes to allow homosexuals in “committed relationships” to serve in the clergy. I am not sure what that means. A “committed relationship” in this case means that they have been consistently committing sin with the same person for years. I am not sure that consistently engaging in sin without a whiff of repentance is a quality that is listed in Scripture for elders.

"In the City for Good," reads a banner on the front of the church, a symbol of Calvary's mission of social justice and outreach to distressed communities. When it came time last year to replace the married couple who served as co-pastors the last 13 years, Calvary's lay leaders wanted someone who would help realize that mission.

"We're a church that's serious about being real about issues of crime and poverty and racial and social injustice," said Josh Moberg, a stay-at-home dad who's president of the church council. "And Brad had experience working with diverse and poor communities. The identities seemed like a good fit."

So they replace a married couple who are “co-pastors”, which should set off warning bells, with a homosexual living in blatant and unrepentant sin. I would suggest to Mr. Moberg that before they start getting serious about their understanding of “injustice”, they need to start getting serious about sin. They need to worry about “being real” about the Gospel. I understand and applaud their desire to help the disadvantaged but not when they set aside the Gospel to do so. I wonder why they even bother with the pretense of being a Christian ministry at all when they ignore the Word of God? I wonder if anyone has ever heard a message like the one Peter preached at Pentecost that ended with “Repent and be baptized”

What is truly tragic is this section:

Rev. Peter Strommen, a pastor from Prior Lake, Minn., who led the task force that proposed the policy change, said it's an attempt to officially recognize the lack of consensus across the ELCA.

With rapid social change on gay rights even in recent weeks, including the sudden legalization of gay marriage in Vermont and Iowa, he said the Lutheran church must find a way to proceed amid strongly divergent viewpoints.

"We've tried to stress here that this is not a core issue of our faith," Strommen said. "It's important. But it doesn't get to the level of the risen Christ and salvation."

What is the risen Christ and salvation about if it is not about sin? Christ came to save people from their sins, the Holy Spirit comes to convict people of sin and change hearts. Christ didn’t die on the cross and rise on the third day so that you can embrace and wallow in your sins. Mr. Strommen should crack open that leather book on his shelf with “Holy Bible” on the cover and read Romans 1:

Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)

Not only those who do such things but also those who approve of them. Instead of calling on this lost man claiming to be a minister of the Word to repent, he seeks to enable and encourage his behavior. I need to be in prayer for the faithful remnant that is sticking it out in the ELCA among all of the rejection of the Word of God, people who are trying to hold the line while remaining loyal to their denomination. I fear that the fight they are waging was lost decades ago. I also need to be in prayer for men like Brad Froslee and Peter Strommen, in prayer that God will work in their hearts. The Gospel is not a weather vane that changes direction with the cultural winds. It is the bedrock, the unchanging declaration of man's sin and Christ's redemption.


Steve Martin said...

Thanks for pointing out the perverted theology of the ELCA.

I am a member of an ELCA church in Calif. We do not have very much to do with the ELCA anymore.

You are right, the war was lost a long time ago.

But people do not live forever. The left wing, culturized leadrship of the ELCA will die off eventually. We pray that the Lord will replace them with people that have a better understanding of sin.

It is a real shame that a great faith tradition has taken such a terrible path of throwing out God's law in favor of the desires of man.

As long as we have our pastor, we will not throw out God's law. When He leaves (retires) we will be in big trouble.

We can't leave the ELCA or we'd lose our property.

Most of the people (in spite of our pastor's preaching and teaching) just don't get it.

It's really tough, but we just keep at it. Lord willing, we will keep at it for many more years.

Thanks, Arthur!

Steve Martin said...

Sin is a salvation issue.

If you do not recognize your sin, you cannot repent.

The Lord is looking for some humility from His people.

The preaching of God's Law creates in us a sorrowful heart at our rebellion.

The ELCA has thrown God's Law right out the window.

gloria said...

This is so very sad. Doesn't the bible clearly teach that a pastor is to be the "husband of one wife".. it does not say that a pastor is to be the "partner" of one man. The bible is so very clearly about the qualifications of a pastor. There is also the passage about having his "home in order". Is living in sin, having your house in order? 1 Timothy 1

I don't get it.

I am not doubting whether this gay pastor loves God or not -- I am not condemning him, but I am saying that he does not qualify for being a pastor. The bible is so very clear about this.

I am very sorry to hear that that Evanglical Lutheran church is going so far away from it's traditions and faith. This is such a shame. Espcially in light that this church had a pastor who was fulfilling the requirements found in 1 Tim 1:1-7
Why throw out God's word?

God bless,
I am

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's amazing how self-righteous your posting sounds.

Arthur Sido said...


Thanks for your comment, but at the risk of sounding even more self-righteous I give very little credence to comments from people who are unable to formulate an argument or identify themselves.