“The issue will come and find you”

Liberal Baptist theologian and LGBT advocate David Gushee says that there is no middle ground when it comes to acceptance of LGBT rights.  Churches and individuals must either accept them or not, and if they don’t they will face dire consequences.

He says that affirmation of LGBT issues is already mandatory in government, education, medicine, corporations, the entertainment industry, sports, and nonprofits.  The only holdouts are conservative Christians and their institutions, which are digging in and trying to invoke religious liberty.  But if they don’t change their tune, they will be forced to close down or be treated with the same contempt that racists receive today.

Read what he says, excerpted and linked after the jump.  Then read Rod Dreher on Gushee’s threats in his piece We Have Been Warned. [Read more…]

Saying God is transgender

The contours of a new liberal theology, one in accord with the new ideology of sex and gender, are starting to come together.  (Liberal theologians have never found a new leftist ideology that they don’t like and won’t refashion theology around.)  A rabbi has written an op-ed in the New York Times maintaining that God is transgender.

After the jump, read why he thinks so and read a response from a Bible scholar.

The argument hinges on confusing linguistic gender with natural gender, confusing a Being who transcends gender with someone who purports to change the sex he or she was born as, and scholarly bloopers of an embarrassing scale.  But it exemplifies how liberal theologians often twist the Bible so that it can seem to support their ideology.

[Read more…]

ELCA makes new accord with Catholics

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the theologically liberal Lutheran denomination) has arrived at a new accord with the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on church, ministry, and eucharist. Read the document here.

After giving all of the agreements that were found, the document gives the issues of disagreement that remain:  the papacy and women’s ordination (which ELCA practices).

That would sound like Missouri Synod Lutherans, who agree that only men may be ordained into the holy ministry, are even closer to Rome than the ELCA, disagreeing only on the authority of the pope!

To be sure, there would be quite a bit of agreement even with the LCMS on church, ministry, and eucharist–though also quite a lot of disagreements that have been papered over.  (Find them.)

If the ELCA wants to heal the breach with Rome, I would encourage them now to discuss abortion, gay marriage, and sexual morality.  The differences would be much greater, though perhaps in the name of ecumenism the ELCA would change its permissive teachings. [Read more…]

Conservative Swedish theologian made bishop in Latvia

The Baltic republics, geographically and culturally, are almost Scandinavian.  Now that a national Lutheran church–that of Latvia–has gone confessional, that affects its theologically liberal neighbors.

A Swedish theologians whom the state church refused to ordain because he doesn’t believe that women should be made pastors, has been made a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, which has come around to that same conviction.  His story, detailed after the jump, shows how various organizations–including one started by novelist Bo Giertz–are keeping orthodox Lutheranism alive in those northern climes. [Read more…]

Exorcism as pastoral care

I came across a long, detailed account of an evangelical pastor who casts out demons.  Not with a rite of exorcism or a laying on of hands, but with a “conversation” in the context of what sounds like ordinary pastoral care.

The pastor, Rev. Karl Payne, has written a book about his experiences and his approach.

Please read the article–excerpted and linked after the jump–and tell me what you think of it.  Have any of you pastors experienced anything similar?   [Read more…]

“There’s no such thing as an ex-Catholic”

J. D. Flynn explains that a person who has been baptized into the Roman Catholic Church is always a Catholic and can never leave it.  Those who later reject the church’s teachings, lose their faith, join another ecclesiastical body, become atheists, or rebel against the church–such as pro-abortion politicians–are still Catholics.  But they will have to face their judgment.  The Church, he says, includes those who will be damned.

Does any of this way of thinking apply to other theologies? Can we say that there is no such thing as an ex-Lutheran? Lutherans distinguish between the visible church–which does include sinners, hypocrites, and others who are lost–and the invisible church of those who have faith in Christ.  We are baptized into the latter.  Roman Catholicism rejects that dichotomy.  But presumably someone might no longer belong to a Lutheran church but still belong to the invisible church.  And someone might not belong to the invisible church, but still be a Lutheran.  Right?  Someone help me out here.  And how does the Lutheran doctrine of baptism fit into all of this?

Also, how would this apply to once-saved-always-saved Baptists and elect Presbyterians? [Read more…]