Saturday, May 5, 2018

What does liberal mean. . .

On another forum, a member of the ELCA was asked what liberal meant in the context of the ELCA.  To his credit, the response was brief but thorough and gave, to me as one on the outside, an accurate description of what liberal means in a denomination such as the ELCA.  See what you think.

  • [In the ELCA,] we are not fundamentalists when it comes to Scripture; we employ all forms of textual, historical and other criticism in an effort to understand and interpret the Bible. We do not take the stories of Genesis as history and we do not insist that Adam and Eve or Jonah be historical persons.
  • We are not "strict constructionists" when it comes to the Confessions, but place them in their historical context. What they said about some other parts of the Church in their time [the condemnations], we no longer say.
  • We do indeed craft our theology and the practice of it informed partially by such things as various sciences, including biology and psychology, sociology, some experiences of modern life, all of which we see as ways in which God can reach us and inform us.
  • We actively seek relationships with other church bodies and do not insist that this come only after "full agreement" on every aspect of doctrine and practice.
  • It seems, in our decades, that our concern for the neighbor and the witness to the gospel leads us to stands on social issues that are generally categorized as "liberal", although we do not consider such things "doctrine" and nor do we insist that everyone agree.
  • We have ordained women for decades, and we have pastors who are gay and lesbian and in married or otherwise committed relationships.
Before anyone quarrels with what was said, let me say that I think he did a very good job of describing the ELCA and the way most liberal Protestant denominations, and even some Roman Catholics, view Scripture, doctrine, ecumenism, science, sex/gender issues, and politics. Before I address anything, I want to let this stand so that it will be read and the readers understand what it is that churches like the ELCA are all about.  Maybe even some within the ELCA will find this honesty helpful in trying to figure out their own church.  It certainly helps someone like me on the outside looking in.


John Joseph Flanagan said...

Essentially and fundamentally, ELCA self identifies itself as an apostate body. As with similar churches today, they usually get worse, becoming arrogant and more rebellious to the word of God day by day.

Carl Vehse said...

As the 2009 XXXA Church Wide Assembly wrapped up their meeting which had approved ordaining active homosexuals two days earlier, on Friday, August 21, 2009, Rev. Matthew Harrison answered a question (at 9:16) from Rev. Todd Wilken on Issues, Etc.:

Wilken: "Is apostasy too strong a word to describe what we’ve watched over the last — better part — of the decade that culminates this afternoon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?"
Harrison: “No, it is apostasy. There’s no way around it. It gives me great pain to say that, but there’s no other word for it.”

In 2012 the CTCR, along with President Harrison as one of the advisory members, issued a Response report on the XXXA, which stated, "The ELCA has now taken this step, embodying apostasy from the faith once delivered to the saints.”

These statements indicate that the "liberal" XXXA is not a Lutheran religious organization, nor is it even considered a Christian religious organization (although there may be Christians within it). Missouri Synod pastors should baptize any children coming from the apostate XXXA, who claim to have been "baptized" in the XXXA after 2009, just as converts from the Mormon church are baptized in the Christian church.

Anonymous said...

Translation: Your truth is not my truth and there are no absolutes. Ethics and morality are based on situations and the context of culture.

Carl Vehse said...

"What does liberal mean. . ."

A "pastor" like this.

Anonymous said...

"Liberal" church bodies make bold changes based on "social justice" and then lose members as a result. Rather than step back and re-evaluate, the leaders double-down and lose even more members. It is fascinating that the ELCA leaders do not comprehend that they caused this mess. They refuse to acknowledge that they could begin reversing the downward trend by returning the ELCA to the 1958-era doctrines of the predecessor bodies. Alas, the leaders are too proud to admit the ELCA experiment was a flop.

Carl Vehse said...

Liberalism is a mental illness.