Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/23/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America abandons orthodox Christian faith and practice by a 'majority vote.'

The presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is elected to a six-year term by the Churchwide Assembly.In August 2001, the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) elected Mark S. Hanson to serve as presiding bishop.

The presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is elected to a six-year term by the Churchwide Assembly.In August 2001, the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) elected Mark S. Hanson to serve as presiding bishop.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/23/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in U.S.


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - The media is filled with reports concerning the slide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) into heresy. Yes, that is exactly what occurred when the leadership of that community "voted" to abandon Christian orthodoxy. The Associated Press in an article entitled "Lutherans' gay clergy vote hints at major shift", led with these loaded words "In breaking down barriers restricting gays and lesbians from the pulpit, the nation's largest Lutheran denomination has laid down a new marker.. The ELCA - the nation's seventh-largest Christian church - reached its conclusion after eight years of study and deliberation. That culminated Friday when the church's national assembly in Minneapolis struck down a policy that required any gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate."

What really happened is that representatives of the ECLA succumbed to heresy. Oh, I can hear it now, "how dare he say such a thing?" Because. it is true, and there is nothing compassionate about failing to help fellow Christians to reject error. Christians abandoning the clear teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the unbroken Christian Tradition is not a new phenomenon in the 2000 year history of the Christian Church. What is new is the massive support that such a sad turn of events receives from this kind of media report. There is a "fifth column" at work, determined to present the matter as a battle between orthodox Christians (who are disparaged with labels such as "right" or "conservative" or "fundamentalist".) and those who this kind of media report favors, the promoters of heresy and advocates of a new paganism.

All one has to do is look to the first few centuries of the Christian Church to see that this is not new. The same issues and struggles existed very early on. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon, France, was born in Asia Minor in the year 125. His efforts are one example of the many early Church Fathers who contended for the truth and pulled no punches. His seminal work was entitled "Against Heresies" precisely because so much of his work was spent exposing and opposing false teaching in order to protect the Christians of that day from their poison. His treatise is a refutation of the teachings of certain "Christian" Gnostics whose followers fell for similar heresies as those which were voted upon by the ELCA this past week. Irenaeus' goal was stated in the Fifth Book of the treatise, to ".reclaim the wanderers and convert them to the Church of God" and to "confirm at the same time the minds of the neophytes" (Preface, Book V).This is still the truly proper response of the Church in our age. Irenaeus loved the heretical Christians enough to speak the truth precisely to try and lead them back to the faith. We must follow his example.

The AP report continued ".The ELCA - the nation's seventh-largest Christian church - reached its conclusion after eight years of study and deliberation. That culminated Friday when the church's national assembly in Minneapolis struck down a policy that required any gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate." The length of time it took for this group to reject Christian orthodoxy and embrace this heresy has no bearing upon the matter. Truth is not subject to change based upon a vote! All "orthodox" Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical or Protestant) need to see this sad vote in the ELCA in the light of two thousand years of Christian history. The struggle we are in today still involves a clash of worldviews, Christian and pagan. The positions being espoused by the "majority" who voted this way are heretical. The lifestyles being affirmed as "progressive" are anything but. They are an example of the regressive effort to turn the clock back to pre-Christian paganism.

It was the Christian vision of faithful, monogamous marriage, family, authentic human freedom, the dignity of every human person and the existence of objective truth from which we derive a common morality which has guided true social progress. In fact, it was these very insights which have helped to free people from the bondage of disordered appetites and unshackle them from the tyrannies - personal and social - rooted in sin and the structures which it fosters. It has been the Christian vision of the human person, the family, the just society and the true common good that has helped to overcome the slaveries which arose from flawed pagan ideologies and superstitions. From its birth, the Christian Church has been sent into cultures and societies filled with people who thought they were "progressive", when they were anything but. Many of those cultures, like the contemporary western culture, practiced primitive forms of abortion and even "exposure", a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders.

Ancient Christian manuscripts such as the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve), the accounts of Justin Martyr and other early sources, expose cultures not unlike the one in which we live today where people were treated as property, "freedom" was perceived as a power over others and unrestrained license masqueraded as liberty. The word "pagan" was not used as a disparaging term in those accounts but referred to a pseudo-"religious" worldview. I use it the same way in calling contemporary western culture increasingly pagan and not progressive at all. Many of the "gods and goddesses" of this pre-Christian worldview promoted lifestyles of selfish excess, homosexual practices, and hedonism masquerading as freedom. The myths concerning them had them acting in much the same way as we see in our day. The lies have simply been reintroduced, only the myths and the statues are different. They purport to be "progressive" when in reality they are regressive.

The early Christians did not back down from contending with the pagans of old. They knew then - and we must reassert in our own day - that what is at stake are two competing visions of the human person, human freedom, human flourishing and human progress. The early Christians demonstrated the superiority of their claims by their compelling witness of life. So must we. They lived in monogamous marriages, raised their children to be faithful Christians and good citizens, and went into the world of their age offering a new way to live. This "way" (which is what they first called the early Church) presented a very different worldview than the one that the pagans embraced. As a result, they sometimes stirred up hostility. Some of them were martyred in the red martyrdom of shed blood. Countless more joined the train of what use to be called "white martyrdom", living lives of sacrificial witness and service in the culture, working hard and staying faithful to the end of a long life spent in missionary toil.

Slowly, not only were small numbers of "pagans" converted and baptized, but eventually their leaders and entire Nations followed suit. Resultantly, the Christian worldview began to influence the social order. The "clash of freedoms" continued, but the climate changed significantly. It was the Christian faith and the practices of these Christians that began to win the hearts of men and women. The cultures once enshrined to pagan practices, such as plural marriage, active homosexuality, exposure and abortion began to change dramatically and this dynamic continued for centuries. It was Christianity that taught such novel concepts as the dignity of every person and their equality before the One God. The Christians proclaimed the dignity of women, the dignity of chaste marriage and the sanctity of the family. The Christians insisted that freedom must be exercised with reference to an objective moral code, a law higher than the emperor, or the sifting sands of public opinion; a Natural Law which could be known by all men and women, through the exercise of reason, because it was written on the human heart.

The Christian faith presented a coherent and compelling answer to the existential questions that plagued the ancients such as why we existed and how we got here. What was the purpose of life? Questions like how evil came into the world and why we could not always make right choices? What force seemed to move us toward evil and how we could be set free from its power? Christian philosophy began to flourish and the arts also flourished under the Christian worldview. Philosophies of government and economic theory began to be influenced by these principles derived from a Christian worldview. It offers the same genuine liberation to the contemporary age.

Some say we live in a post modern age; indeed others call it a "post Christian" age. I will not use either description. If anything, it is a pre-Christian age, ripe for the "New Evangelization" of the Church. The future belongs to the Church. The message and gifts she holds for every age pave the road of true progress. The contemporary re-emergence of ancient paganism, even within some Christian communities, is not the path to freedom and flourishing but to misery. It must be exposed,opposed and rejected.

Fortunately for Catholic Christians, we have a "Magisterium", a teaching office, which, continuing the apostolic mission, guards the deposit of faith against heresy. Many of our friends in other Christian communities do not. We need to pray for the faithful Christians in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, just as do for those within the Anglican/Episcopal communities who are also experiencing the devastation of unchecked heresy. We must also rededicate ourselves to standing "Against Heresies" in our own day by proclaiming the Truth which alone sets all men and women free, without compromise.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

The Visitation Continues. Learning to Evangelize from Mary Watch

Image of The visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In the Biblical account, this encounter immediately follows the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 16:38) and is a fruit of her humble obedient response to the word of God which she was most certainly attuned to hearing. That response was not a onetime ... continue reading


Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Watch

Image of There is also an ancient and beautiful custom in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church called the Corpus Christi procession. The consecrated Host, the Body of the Lord, is reposed in what is called a monstrance. The term is derived from a Latin phrase which means to show or reveal.  The faithful process the Body of the Lord through the streets surrounding their church buildings. This Eucharistic procession can be a powerful witness to an age which has lost its sense of the sacred.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We have received the Bread of Heaven. Let us choose to become what we consume. These Feasts are not just rituals on a Church calendar. They are invitations to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, and then offer Him to a world waiting to be born anew. On this Feast of ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Have Given Their Lives in Military Service Watch

Image of Memorial Day

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I live in Chesapeake, a wonderful city in Southeastern Virginia where there are many members of the military. The parish I serve is an example of this. Every day, I witness the many sacrifices which military families make for our Nation. On this Memorial Day, I ... continue reading


$3,600,000,000,000: the price to repair America Watch

Image of America's infrastructure is in need of improvement. Why isn't this a national priority?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We have money for perpetual war and can afford generous foreign aid, tax subsidies and cuts for the wealthy, but we cannot find the money to fix a pothole or repair a collapsing bridge. This is the sorry state of affairs U.S. infrastructure is in as we let the nation ... continue reading


Violent riot erupts at Trump rally in New Mexico Watch

Image of Unsurprisingly, a Trump rally erupted into a riot in New Mexico (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Protesters at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's New Mexico rally erupted in violent acts including the attempted stoning of police, glass bottles thrown at mounted units and their horses, burning shirts and more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Record-breaking 38,000 illegal aliens apprehended in the month of April Watch

Image of April 2016 reaches new record for illegal alien apprehensions.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Illegal aliens continue to surge into the United States from the Southwest U.S. border, leading the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) units to announce record-breaking apprehensions in April, 2016. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the U.S. ... continue reading


Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Christians stand your ground: Graduating class recites The Lords ...
  • St. Mechtildis: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Killer nanny asks judge for freedom because ...
  • The Visitation Continues. Learning to Evangelize from Mary
  • Advent Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Zephaniah 3:14-18,
14 Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult ... Read More

Psalm, Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
2 Look, he is the God of my salvation: I shall have faith and not be ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:39-56
39 Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 31st, 2016 Image

St. Mechtildis
May 31: Benedictine abbess and miracle worker. She was ... Read More