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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Recent resolutions adopted at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans stir controversy

Recent resolutions adopted at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans stir controversy #ELCA #ELCACWA

Thursday, August 18, 2016 / KED

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently held its Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans August 8-13, 2016 -

I have come to believe that the mainline traditional denominational churches hold periodic churchwide assemblies in order to pass resolutions to alienate any demographic it has not annoyed in the last several years.

The recent Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans - - does not appear to be an exception. It seems that several anti-Israel resolutions were adopted at the assembly that are getting quite a bit of attention.

I am SMH – and I repeat myself here. Perhaps the ELCA missed the memo: In the world of leadership, you accumulate enemies, don’t go out of your way to make any. In a world that yearns for leadership, never miss an opportunity to sit down and shut-up when it comes to politics.

Meanwhile, when I ask many folks that have left mainstream denominational churches, why they left; I hear several themes consistently.

One they got tired of hearing that they ought to contribute more money to the church. And two, they did not want to hear from pastors about politics when they went to church. Three: going to church and listening to a thought-provoking sermon is one thing but going to church week after week and being lectured to with a wagging finger quickly gets old.

Then again, maybe too much attention has been given to the anti-Israel resolutions. From my experience, a lot is accomplished at these assemblies and perhaps it is unfair to perseverate upon the resolutions aspect of the conference. On the other hand, the social-political resolutions really appear to be unnecessary exposures and unforced errors on the part of the church. Especially at time when membership is declining and budgets are getting tighter. Read “The Shrinking Church,” by Nicole Radziszewski, in the January 2013 edition of Lutheran Magazine - Why go out of our way to annoy potential church members?

Anyway, find the recent ELCA resolutions here on the Isaiah 58 – Working for Justice and Peace in all the Earth, website: [Language added by Memorials Committee to C2 on 8/9/16] The full report of the Memorials Committee can be found here:

Look, I get it that the Middle East is a mess. I read with great interest many of the newspapers from the Middle East and for a thought-provoking Israeli point of view I read Caroline Glick -

I guess my perspective is that there is plenty of blame to go around. But we have the U.S. State Department for stuff like this. What I need is a church...

My family and I attended and volunteered at the Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburg three-years ago. It was a fascinating experience. Go here for quite a number of articles and pictures from that assembly:

At the recent Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly (CWA) in New Orleans the (ELCA) has approved two resolutions, according to multiple media reports, including this one “Lutherans Back Anti-Israel Resolutions,” by Chelsen Vicari, @ChelsenVicari, written August 15, 2016 on the website, “The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Blog, Juicy Ecumenism.”. Find it here: Please read more of the blog here: There appears to be many thoughtful, well-written and thought-provoking articles.

Articles such as “John Wesley: Enduring Persecution” by Joseph Rossell: “Contemporary Christians committed to saving souls and promoting justice can take much courage from John Wesley’s story, as chronicled by Jake Hanson in Crossing the Divide…” and “America’s Lost Girls?” by Chelsen Vicari: “America’s girls are growing up fast. It’s the cost that’s the problem.”

Again, I am not familiar with the site. I will also look forward to see what Lutheran Magazine says about the resolutions. I will also look on the ELCA website:

I am not familiar with this writer, Ms. Vicari. This website was one of several that I found when I was trying to find more information on the resolutions adopted at the recent CWA. Much of the reaction I have read - and much of the reaction I have heard locally has not been favorable – bordering upon hysterical.

I was really looking for some information on the some of the traditional mainstream legacy media or newspaper sites and I was unsuccessful. I first heard about it on a segment on NPR. Yea – well. Big surprise there. I guess if the Lutherans had adopted pro-Israel resolutions, NPR would have missed it.

Ms. Vicari explains: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has approved two resolutions advanced by anti-Israel activists including a push to end all U.S. aid to the Jewish state until the “military occupation of Palestinian land” ceases, according to CBN News. The resolution was adopted in an overwhelming 751 to 162 vote during the Mainline Protestant denomination’s triennial Churchwide Assembly held in New Orleans August 8-13.

“The two resolutions were recommended by Isaiah 58, a group of Lutheran anti-Israel boycott activists. ‘In our Affirmation of Baptism, one of the five promises we make as Lutherans is to ‘work for justice and peace throughout the earth,’’ commented Jan Miller, a Rocky Mountain Synod member and Isaiah 58 leader in a press release. “By adopting this investment screen, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is taking an important step to ensure that we are not profiting from, or complicit in, injustice in the Holy Land and elsewhere.”

One site, among many, that took exception to the resolutions, is a site called “Exposing the ELCA,” by Dan Skogen, a “former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.”

This appears to be a rather angry site. Much of the anger that caught my eye were anti-LGBT matters, of which I simply do not care with the exception that I sure wish the church would simply stay out of these matters….

Skogen wrote “ANTI-SEMITISM REIGNS IN THE ELCA: TWO ELCA VOTES URGE AN END TO U.S. AID TO ISRAEL AND FOR A DIVESTMENT PLAN AIMED AT ISRAEL” on August 14, 2016, “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has long been an enemy of the Jewish State. (see here) Earlier this week, at the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the United States government to end all aid to Israel until a list of ELCA demands are met. (Note that they did NOT call for the stoppage of U.S. aid to “Palestine” which takes foreign aid money {see here}, intended for humanitarian causes, and uses them for weapons, military terror tunnels, etc., in their quest to kill Jewish men, women and children.)” Read more here: It is not light reading.

Oh, one comment caught my eye: by Didaskalos on August 17, 2016: “Dan has 12 categories (links) of ELCA heresies/apostasies on his home page, the last of which is "Other Critical Issues." If he were to link and list each of the ever-expanding list of ELCA heresies/apostasies separately, he'd have one of the longest home pages on the Internet.

“Cost-cutting suggestion for the ELCA corporate heads at its Higgins Road HQ: Copy all the Democrat Party platform planks and Planned Parenthood talking points, and paste them onto your home page as your adopted tenets of belief. As you keep having to lay off personnel because of continuing member and dollar losses, simply copying and pasting the world's latest godless fads onto your website will require fewer staff members.”

Another thought-provoking comment came from “Dave from Minnesota,” “I clicked on your link to their Twitter feed, then scrolled down and read a large number of them. Not a lot of traditional Biblical based pronouncements. But a lot of liberal political ones:

“Anti coal and oil statements (I'm sure those ELCA churches with declining enrollment in the upper Midwest would love to see their heating bills doubled or tripled) For open borders Anti-Israel Pro-Black Lives Matter Mandated anti-racism training for church leaders and staff…”

A more balanced approach appears in the publication, “The New York Jewish Week.” In an article “Lutherans’ Moves Against Israel Seen As ‘Balanced’” on August 16, 2016, by Steve Lipman -

“The largest Lutheran denomination in the United States last week approved a pair of resolutions that, like those adopted in recent years by other prominent Protestant groups, is critical of Israel.

But, said observers of interfaith relations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, at its triennial assembly in New Orleans, did not adopt more strident resolutions proposed by several local church councils around the country. One of the adopted resolutions favored an “investment screen” that would guide church members’ investments in U.S. corporations that do business in Israel, rather than a direct call for divestment from these firms.

And the language of the adopted resolutions, which urge the U.S. president to “recognize the State of Palestine” and encourage church members to “increase positive investment in Palestine,” offers a more balanced approach to Middle East issues than some other churches’ resolutions, the observers said.

The Lutheran resolutions, coming two months after the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a report that representatives of the Jewish community characterized as more balanced than that denomination’s past resolutions, and three months after a committee of the United Methodists rejected four divestment resolutions, may represent a small move in some Protestant circles away from automatic support for the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and towards positions that hold both Israelis and Palestinians responsible for progress in the Middle East peace process.


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