The Psalm for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 12, speaks powerfully about why we need a faith, a theology, and a relationship with God that is more than just woke and latest-social-justice-cause oriented.
Verses 3, 4, 6, and 8 of Psalm 116 say –
“The snares of death entangled me; the anguish of the grave laid hold on me; I came to grief and sorrow.”
“Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, save my life!’”
“When I was brought low, He saved me.”
“You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.”
For all of us, it is only a matter of time until the snares of death entangle us, the anguish of the grave lays hold of us, and we come to grief and sorrow. It is only a matter of time until we find ourselves being brought low, sinking into the waves, and – like Peter – crying out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14: 30)
In contrast, what do we see happening and what do we see being offered by and emphasized in much of the church today?
- In 2019 the ELCA posted a summary of actions that were taken at the Churchwide Assembly. Many resolutions were passed against racism, sexism, and white supremacy, but Jesus was never mentioned. Can you even imagine a church body meeting in assembly for several days but then never mentioning Jesus in their summary of actions?
- At the recent assembly of the ELCA synod in which I was rostered before I retired, hardly anyone ever mentioned Jesus. Almost everyone gave their pronouns and advocated for diversity, equity, and inclusion, but they did not mention Jesus.
- For that same ELCA synod, their weekly newsletter rarely ever mentions Jesus. But they do talk about many ways in which I could fight for justice, advocate for “authentic diversity”, promote inclusivity, and combat world hunger.
- They talk about grace, but it is always grace without the cross. It is a grace of my being more inclusive and accepting rather than a grace that tells me that Jesus paid the price for my sin and won the victory over death and the devil.
And yet the truth of the matter is that if the Christian faith is mainly about what we do, the battles we fight, the social justice causes that we expend our energies on, sooner or later we will come to the realization that we cannot do enough. The problems are too great. Merely human resources are too few and too small. Sooner or later the snares of death will entangle us. The anguish of the grave will lay hold of us. We will come to grief and sorrow. It is only a matter of time until we find ourselves sinking into the waves and with Peter crying out, “Lord, save me!”
We all need a faith, a theology, and a relationship with God that tells us what God has done, what God can do, and what God will do to rescue us, and not just what we can do and need to do to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support of Lutheran CORE. It is because of people like you that we are able to continue to do such things as the following –
- Sponsor a week of Bible study, theological reflection, fellowship, and vocational discernment for high schoolers through the NEXUS program of Grand View University
- Provide a system of support for young adults who are serious about and want to share their faith, as well as a system of support for orthodox ELCA pastors and seminarians
- Work with congregations that are between pastors or whose pastor will soon retire or resign to take another call
- Work with and support pastors and congregational leaders who are seeking to show their congregations how the historic Christian faith is at risk
- Expose people to contemporary dynamics and movements that threaten the historic Christian faith, such as critical race theory
- Continue to challenge the ELCA to honor its commitment to also provide a place for traditional views and those who hold them
Thank you again for all your words of encouragement and your faithful prayer and financial support. Click here for a form that you can use to let us know how we can be praying for you. Your timely gift to Lutheran CORE will help enable us to continue to be a VOICE for Biblical Truth and a NETWORK for Confessing Lutherans.
In the Name of Jesus who will reach out and save us whenever we cry out to Him,
Dennis D. Nelson
Executive Director of Lutheran CORE
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