This Blog's purpose is to offer information about congregations voting to leave the ELCA. Pastor Barnhart's other Blog offers information about current news events relating to the Church and the nation. It may be found here:

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Ever since the decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to sanction homosexual clergy in their churches, the phones are ringing in the offices Abiding Word Ministries and in the offices of conservative Lutheran bodies and organizations. ELCA members want to know how they can get their congregations to withdraw from a church body that clearly has sanctioned homosexual perversions. Other callers want someone to recommend a good church in their area where they can be spiritually fed.

ELCA congregations all over the country are holding informational meetings to discuss whether or not to continue their relationship with the denomination. Synod bishops are urging the folks to stay and work together in an atmosphere of dialogue and respect for one another’s views. Many pastors are likewise urging their members to stay and fight. But, the truth is this—the ELCA has been hijacked by powerful and influential liberal forces. Moreover, the hijacking was done in broad daylight with regular announcements that it was going to happen.

The ELCA is not coming back, and wishing it so will not make it happen! The takeover is complete. The primary issue facing this purloined church body is not homosexuality but the authority of Scripture. There is no longer an ELCA seminary in the country that teaches, or allows to be taught, the historic Lutheran doctrine that the Bible is the pure, infallible and inerrant Word of God.

When the ELCA was formed in 1988, they deliberately rejected defining the Bible as the “inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God,” a definition that was used throughout the history of the American Lutheran Church. The definition of biblical authority chosen by the ELCA was even watered down from the historic Lutheran confessions which state: “We believe, teach, and confess that the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.”

THE ELCA CONSTITUTION: 2.03. DECLARES: This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life. The ELCA deliberately left out the word “only” when referring to “the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.” And so it came to pass at the August 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the ELCA threw the Scripture in the gutter and opted, instead, for the politically correct “authoritative source” that has been promoted within that church body for the last 30 years.

The only choice left to ELCA congregations, members and clergy is the choice to compromise the Word of God or stand fast in its truth. There is irony today when ELCA members open their hymn books and sing the last verse of Luther’s great hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God”:

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours,
Thro’ Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This moral life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Too many seem to forget that the Lutheran Church was founded upon the Word of God, and the Reformers who founded it deemed earthly possessions and even life itself unworthy if it meant God’s revealed truth had to be compromised.

One pastor in Pennsylvania was quoted as encouraging his members to remain in the ELCA by reminding them that their “loyalty was to the ELCA.” But that is a lie! Every Christian’s loyalty is to Christ and His Word, not to a denomination or to a pastor. Do those who are promoting staying in the ELCA think they can stand before Christ on the Day of Judgment and win His approval by rationalizing: “Lord, we may have lost the faith, but at least you will be pleased to know we kept the property!

Wake up ELCA members! Stand for Christ and His truth! The Lord is coming soon. He is not coming back for a harlot church, but for His precious bride, adorned in the robes of His righteousness. Your true loyalty is to Christ not the ELCA. There is Life with a capital “L” outside the ELCA! There are still Lutheran churches, some large, some small, that faithfully uphold the Bible as the “only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.”


  1. While I'm not defending or criticizing "the vote" I do know that your statements are overgeneralized. Particularly the one stating that churches all over the country are holding meetings.... I don't think you are basing that on data, and it certainly doesn't square with what I've been reading on the web. It is true that in the last few years, many churches held informational meetings regarding the issues to be discussed at the convention, including the sexuality study. I would say that it is true that individual people are reacting to the vote's outcome. Many are reacting based on news articles that were very very simplified summaries of the vote topics. I've been reading every thing on the web that I could find about the vote and the topics surrounding it, and I saw a number of articles that were simplified to the point of being inaccurate. I really don't know what some reporters based their accounts on. A number of the reports make it sound like churches will now have to have homosexual pastors. I'm sure you know that isn't true. But also he statements to the effect that the ELCA voted to now have homosexual pastors is also not true, in detail. I've talked to people who were delegates and others who were present as observers. They tell a much different story than that which came out in the newspapers.

    Your main comments regarding the Bible are another area, of course, of disagreement among faithful Christians. This concerns me as well. But I always remember that we are not saved by being precise in our interpretation of the Bible, nor are we saved by our doctrine, nor by our theology, nor even by our faith, but rather by the already-done action by our Savior on the cross, praise God. The Bible is the Word of God, but interpretations (and translations) of it are human-done and therefore fallible, not necessarily inspired.

  2. MR. PS,
    No, with 26,000 transcripts and portions of transcripts, along with thousands of more of the writings of the early church fathers, not only was God able to breath out an infallible and innerant Bible, he was able to preserve it for us as well. So we have a prophetic word made more sure, the only question left is, are we going to be obedient to it. I have a hard time seeing any one who chooses to ignore certain scriptures as being faithful.