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What Rootless Looks Like

I just read one of the most horrifying things yesterday.

But I’m not surprised.

It’s been a long time coming.

Ready? Here it is.

On May 10, 2021, a “Lutheran pastor in California has become the first transgender bishop in a major American Christian denomination. On Saturday, the Rev. Megan Rohrer, pastor at San Francisco’s Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, was elected bishop for the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” (Source)

I’m not surprised for a couple of reasons.

The first is that all sorts of apostasies have manifested within the extreme synods Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) surrendering to the culture rather than to God.

The second is the ELCA (aka the Extremely Liberal Church in America) has long been sliding into apostasy for decades.

Full disclosure here. I attended an LCA church (Lutheran Church of America, a more liberal denomination) since 4th grade. I served as an acolyte (altar boy) for four years. I lit the candles, carried the cross in procession, and assisted with Communion distribution.

(Communion was always funny to me because the trays looked like car wheel rims and I smiled when I saw people trying to choke down the wafer that was more like a Styrofoam plate than bread!)

I was active in the youth group and the congregation until I switched to a charismatic ALC church (American Lutheran Church, a more conservative denomination) in 1980.

Even during my formative years, I noticed a big difference. The LCA church was a socially conscious, early version of the “woke” culture. The ALC church was a more conservative God-conscious, Bible-focused culture.

I could feel the difference.

Little did I know that forces were at work to merge the two into a single denomination.

Leading up to the merger of the American Lutheran Church (ALC,) and the Lutheran Church of America (LCA,) in 1988, there was furious debate over the Social Statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust. Simply put, this statement (Read more) set forth the man-based principles by which the soon-to-be-formed ELCA would, over the next thirty-three years, override God’s clear commands. They set the foundation to later affirm same-sex relationships and activity, ordination of homosexual people (first celibate, then admitting only those in a “committed” relationship), then same-sex marriage, and now ordaining “transgendered” people to leadership positions.

In the mid-80’s I was aghast that God’s commands against homosexuality were even up for discussion. Did God suddenly announce an addendum to His word that gave special dispensation to those disregarding these clear violations of His holiness? Did the Bible I started reading in 1976 suddenly change? Did I miss the memo?

Nope. It wasn’t God’s word that changed. It was the ALC/LCA-turned-ELCA Lutheran leadership.

For years they had taught that the Bible wasn’t God’s word. It only contained God’s word. It was somehow embedded in the cultural thinking (read “superstitions”) and customs of the ancient world. The modern interpretation of God’s word must be shaped by our science, our culture, our knowledge, and our understanding.

In other words, if it didn’t line up with what humans thought was right, it must not be God’s word. Ergo, ignore God’s clear commands.

Now flagrant sin is accepted in the ELCA pews and pulpit. It’s embraced by the upper echelon of denominational leadership, the synod bishops. How soon will it be until the national leader of the ELCA is a gender-confused, spiritually darkened, culturally-compromised, and rebelliously unrepentant sinner to lead a blind denomination to the gates of hell?

My guess? It won’t be long.

How can this be?

It’s because of what Paul warned us about.

“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:6-7) and “But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him— if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.” (Colossians 1:22-23a).

Paul says we’re to be rooted, built up, and established in our faith by what we are taught, the Gospel that we’ve heard (and hopefully read and studied). That’s how we stay firm in the faith.

How do individuals, congregations, and denominations go astray, even to the point of stubbornly and unrepentantly turning their backs on God?

They don’t remain rooted in the truth.

Without being rooted, you can’t be built up (Greek – “to build up in spiritual advancement”) and you certainly can’t be established (Greek – “to confirm, establish; to render constant and unwavering”) in the faith.

If you’re not rooted, you can’t set a firm foundation in the Lord from which you can be built up. Then you’ll easily shift away “from the hope of the gospel that you heard.”

The ELCA’s action of electing a transgendered person to the position of bishop screams out how rootless and foundationless that denomination is. They shifted from the faith. And seeing how many other mainline denominations have followed the same path shows how far they have disconnected from the roots of God’s word as well.

Granted, there are still some ELCA congregations that haven’t capitulated to their denomination’s apostasy. They want to be “lights in the darkness.” Well, good luck with that! I watched as large, influential Lutheran congregations tried so hard to “influence” the denomination. All of them realized their leadership was bent on spiritual self-destruction so they left.

So what’s left of the ELCA? A rootless, lost denomination bent on pleasing the world and not God. Along with the world, they celebrate “the first transgender bishop in a major American Christian denomination.” Hooray! The world wins!

There will be a trickle-down effect. As the adage says, “As the father goes, so goes the family.” It works congregationally as well, “As the pastor goes, so goes the congregation.” If there’s spiritual corruption at the top, its influence will flow downhill.

Right now, you can hear the gentle trickle-down of spiritual sewage. A serene waterfall of doctrinal wastewater based not on the cool, clear water of God’s living word, but the lukewarm, muddy spit of dead human opinion.

Listen to this glowing justification from the NBC News article. “The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA’s presiding bishop, praised the synod for recognizing Rohrer’s talents. ‘When we say all are welcome, we mean all are welcome,’ Eaton said in a statement. ‘We believe that the Spirit has given each of us gifts in order to build up the body of Christ.’”

Sure. A corrupt denomination’s assumption of a person’s “gifts” totally overrides God’s requirement for holiness and faithfulness to His Word.

What “gifts” does this gender dysphoric “bishop” bring to the Body of Christ? Gifts of good or evil? If this man’s mind is so dark about physical things (determining his gender based on biological fact, and no, I’m not going to argue with idiots about gender is not the same as sex), how can he possibly comprehend spiritual things? Sadly, the ELCA has allowed him to be elevated to spiritual authority over “36,000 members in 180 congregations across central California, Northern California and northern Nevada”?

How could they do this? Jeremiah enlightens us. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority. My people love it like this. But what will you do at the end of it?” (Jeremiah 5:31)

Yes, what will the end be for those who speak God’s word falsely? What will the end be for those who nullify God’s authority by their own authority? What will the end be for the people who love it like this?

In my humble opinion, the ELCA is lost. This is another sign that God’s glory has departed their midst (1 Samuel 4:21). They are now the ILCA – the Ichabod Lutheran Church of America.

But truthfully, they left His glory a long time ago.

Paul speaks candidly about them. “For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21) and “They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18).

If you’re in an ELCA congregation that holds fast to the word, kudos. But remember the trickle-down effect. If you think you’ll transform the hopelessly apostasied denomination after 50+ years of being shifted “away from the hope of the gospel that (they) heard” from their Lord, Jesus Christ, and their founder, Martin Luther, you’re kidding yourself.

If you’re affiliated with the ELCA or any other denomination that stomps on God’s word, you’re drinking from a cistern of stagnant, putrid, evaporating spiritual water long cut off from the living water of the Lord. The Lord would label them doubly evil. “For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves— cracked cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Such a poison liquid will never nourish the roots we need to be presented “holy, faultless, and blameless before Him— if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.”

Both Jesus AND Martin Luther would spew them out of their mouths.

Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts

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