Saturday, August 20, 2016

Avoiding the Faithlessness of Being a Political Church

Four days ago, Pastor Dennis Di Mauro, on Facebook, posted a link to an article detailing the recent votes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) calling for an end to US aid to Israel and mandating that the retirement fund of the denomination to refrain from making investments that might benefit Israel.

As a person who left the ELCA to join the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) over the issue of the authority of the Bible, the Word of God, over the life, faith, and practice of the Church, I took particular interest in DiMauro's linked article. Lots of other people did and it's engendered many comments.

Many of those comments lamented the ELCA having become a "liberal" denomination. But I had a slightly different take on things, which I shared in the comments section in the wee hours this morning. Here, in slightly edited form, is what I wrote:
Without commenting specifically on the resolution in question, I want to comment on how the ELCA is characterized by many of its opponents and critics. (Of which I'm one.)
I see the ELCA not so much as a "liberal" church, though I understand what people mean when they use this characterization.

Rather, I see it as an unbiblical and unconfessional church body.

I see the body of which I am now a part, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), seeking to be biblical, approaching the Word of God with reverence, and confessional, seeking to faithfully live out the Lutheran Cobfessions' understanding of Christian faith. I also don't see the NALC as "conservative."

While the ELCA often seems to be in sync with political movements that are politically liberal, I pray that the NALC will steadfastly avoid associations with any political ideology or agenda.

Jesus isn't conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. He is God in the flesh who died and rose to set sinners free from sin and all of its consequences, to give life with God ever new to all who trust in Christ and the Gospel Word about Him.

Making disciples through the proclamation of this Word is work enough for the Church, the only work Jesus assigned to it, work that will eternally transform the lives of those who receive it with faith. It will even transform the way they view their world, how they live each day, and how they vote.

The problem with church political activism is that it's work of the flesh, reflective of human reasoning and understanding, rather than being the work of the Holy Spirit within us. Church political activism, liberal and conservative, isn't an expression of faith in Jesus. It's actually faithless, born of Christian impatience with how God operates to redeem and transform people.

We need to trust in God, love our neighbor, speak God's revealed truth, make disciples.
What do you think?

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