Saturday, February 2, 2013

The ELCA asks nothing of its congregations...

Catching up on my reading meant just now looking at last month's issue of THE LUTHERAN... official periodical of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (hence, ELCA).

I copy part of an article by the Rev. Ronald F. Christian, a retired ELCA pastor, member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Fairfax, Va., and formerly active in synodical and Lutheran social justice work.  He writes...

Why do they leave?

Church defections a puzzle

When The Lutheran arrives in the mail, invariably I read the obits first (I am a retired pastor).
Recently, however, another page has been of great interest—the list of congregations that voted to leave the ELCA. Many of the congregations are well known to me.

Many of the pastors who lead these congregations are well known also. So I've been asking "Why?" Why do they leave? There is no real cause for departure—just a desire, it seems, to "take a stand."

The ELCA requires nothing of congregations. A congregation will not be removed from the roster for lack of giving, lack of diversity in membership, lack of a youth ministry, lack of mission activity, lack of social work in its community, lack of Bible studies, wrong vestments or secular music on Sundays.

It is possible to be removed if a congregation votes to disavow the constitution of the ELCA and the congregation's own documents of affiliation with the ELCA. But then it has removed itself from the family.

So, again, why?

Without trying to smug or dismissive... the one sentence that stuck out to me (highlighted above) is perhaps its own compelling reason to go...  A church body that requires nothing of its congregations is like a congregation that requires nothing of its members... hardly worth joining and certainly worth leaving!


Anonymous said...

Why has the exodus of congregations leaving the ELCA slowed down to a trickle?

I do understand that as long as an ELCA congregation does not give headquarters any money, the laymen in such a congregation don't care what the denominational leadership does. Fine and good, but what if the pastor is still heterodox?

LCMC and NALC seem to be adrift in an identity crisis. How confessional do they want to become? I cannot wait until they finally realize that the LCMS had it right all along.

Anonymous said...


And what do the LCMS districts ask of their congregations? What would happen if an LCMS congregation tells a district to pound sand?

Anonymous said...

Where is the denomination that has LCMS theology but no LCMS bureaucracy and politics?

Anonymous said...

Where is the denomination that has LCMS theology but no LCMS bureaucracy and politics?


Anyway, they leave the ELCA because of unbelief.

Anonymous said...

I will truly remain anonymous, since I am a sitting member of an ELCA church council. I struggle, literally every day, to remain faithful to my Pastor and church family. But the ELCA's continued drift leftward and their ongoing political activism is very bothersome and always a cause for strain. However, those issues PALE in comparison to their tacit support (some would say opn support) of abortion. The ELCA Social Statement on Abortion is shocking and disgusting. There are those who say to stay and fight from within, to try to pull them "back to the light" so to speak. But I feel overwhelmed, I cry for the unborn, yet know in my heart that every time I toss my check in the collection plate, a tiny portion goes towards the ELCA staff health insurance program, which allows unquestioned aborting up to 5 months. I find this horrifying, I am suffering a true crisis of faith, not sure where to turn.

Anonymous said...

I belong to a church that had 2 first votes and one second vote to leave the ELCA. It was tough and eye opening to deal with the State Bishop that flat out lies about the ELCA. I suggest to you to fight for your church to leave or leave on your own. You will feel so much better. The ELCA never got another penny from me after I new about the abortion coverage in their insurance plan. I was one of a few people that started the movement in our church and we could be of a lot of help to your church or anyone's church if desired. We have a lot of material and experience dealing with the corrupt bunch from the synod and their attorneys. Just respond on here with a phone number or email.

Anonymous said...

I respect the moral position of opponents to abortion. But I admit puzzlement about why fetuses that have not yet developed full human consciousness and personality evoke so much more passionate concern than young people killed in ghettos by bullet or knife or whole populations in Middle East conflicts.