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Bishop: ELCA is doing well despite challenges
Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) ^ | 12/10/10 | JaNae Francis

Posted on 12/10/2010 8:23:37 PM PST by SmithL

OGDEN -- There may be some congregations that are leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for other Lutheran sects, but the state of the church is good, even locally.

This was the message Sunday delivered by Bishop Allan Bjornberg of the Rocky Mountain ELCA Synod when he paid a visit to Ogden's Elim Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Rocky Mountain Synod includes 175 congregations in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. He is currently chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops.

Bjornberg said the synod continues to open new congregations.

"There are always more opportunities than there are resources," he said.

In August last year, a vote by ELCA leaders to allow congregations to call openly gay pastors led to a number of congregations deciding to move away from the organization. They cited a belief that such a move was Biblically wrong.

"I believe in resurrection," he told those in attendance, about the ability of the church and its congregations to recover from struggles it now faces as a result of this issue. "The problem with resurrection is that you have to die first."

Three ELCA Lutheran churches are in the Top of Utah area and one of them, Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Roy, has voted to disenfranchise from the ELCA.

Bjornberg acknowledged how difficult these issues can be for both congregations and individuals.

Some in the audience said they had joined Elim from these other congregations. Ascension Lutheran Church in Harrisville remains an ELCA church, but Bjornberg acknowledged other problems from within that have led to people switching churches.

"We keep reliving the book of Acts," he said of a New Testament account of the 12 apostles following Christ's resurrection.

"The disciples were trying to make sense out of having their world view exploded," he said. "Who's in? Who's out? How do you do you get in? We're still fussing with that."

Bjornberg said members of the church have to be very humble about their borders.

"Jesus was very inclusive and spent his life pretty much on the fringe of people who were on the outside," he said.

Besides the number of congregations leaving the synod, there also is a financial downturn in not only the Rocky Mountain synod but all 24 synods in the nation.

"Seminaries or Lutheran care agencies that rely on endowments are struggling," he said.

In the Rocky Mountain synod, the budget this year was cut by $750,000, he said.

Throughout the ELCA, he said, budgets have been cut by $10 million.

World Hunger, he said, was down in its revenues by 20 percent. ELCA World Hunger is a comprehensive and sustainable program that uses multiple strategies -- relief, development, education and advocacy -- to address the root causes of hunger and poverty.

But he said these agencies and churches still are serving a great need.

"One in 50 people in the United States are served by Lutheran services," he said.

But the biggest expense in the ELCA, he said, remains the global ministry.

For example, the ELCA sponsors 80,000 Lutherans to immigrate to the United States a year, as 12 million worldwide now are living in refugee camps because of ostracization, he said.

One thing the church has going for it, Bjornberg said, is a redesign of the ELCA's website, www.livinglutheran.

"It gathers stories of ministries that people are already doing," he said. "Our immediate goal is looking into getting people to communicate how they are deepening the discipleship."

He said fellowshipping continues to be at the heart of the church.

"Nobody is baptized alone," he said. "It's really impossible to be alone in Christ."

Bjornberg said he believes problems can be solved as people get together to discuss them. "I don't have a lot of power in this office," he said. "But I do have the power to convene."

He said the synod supports 240 full-time missionaries, which is half the number of two generations ago.

But Bjornberg said a lower number is not a bad thing.

"We did the job well," he said, noting that more missionaries are not needed.

The synod is aligned with several congregations in Madagascar, which he said are thriving.


TOPICS: Current Events; Mainline Protestant; Moral Issues; Other non-Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: abominationtogod; elca; fauxchristians; gaychurch; homosexualagenda; icky; luciferian; nonchristiancult; phonychurch; sick; synagogueofsatan; unclean
Yep, everything is just hunky-dory.
1 posted on 12/10/2010 8:23:46 PM PST by SmithL
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To: lightman; rhema

fyi


2 posted on 12/10/2010 8:24:59 PM PST by SmithL (Schwarzenegger's legacy is his broken promise to blow up boxes in Sacramento!)
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To: SmithL
Exposing the ELCA
3 posted on 12/10/2010 8:40:07 PM PST by From The Deer Stand
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To: SmithL

It’s going so great in fact, they’re going to re-write the rules about leaving the organization. Any church thinking about that had better get a move on before it’s too late.


4 posted on 12/10/2010 8:42:39 PM PST by Keith in Iowa (FR Class of 1998 | TV News is an oxymoron. | MSNBC = Moonbats Spouting Nothing But Crap.)
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To: SmithL
For example, the ELCA sponsors 80,000 Lutherans to immigrate to the United States a year, as 12 million worldwide now are living in refugee camps because of ostracization, he said.

I've got to wonder how many of that number are Somali Jihadi's.

Libtard ELCA ministers where I grew up always had a soft spot for dark-skinned people just because there weren't too many in Minnesota and the Dakotas. They somehow thought sponsoring them helped pay reparations for slavery.

Later on, when I studied African history in college, I learned the Somalis and Kenyans were the very people who started the African slave trade with their Arab cousins on the other side of the Red Sea! Whitey didn't even get involved until the Portuguese explorers begin arriving early in the 15th century.

Here's a clue: You are better off sponsoring a home grown hoodie from Detroit or New Orleans. As long as you give them their government check, they won't slit your throat. The jihadi bunch have no such loyalty and will gladly slit your throat just because you are an Infidel. That ain't racist, that's fact.

5 posted on 12/10/2010 9:12:05 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: From The Deer Stand

“Jesus was very inclusive and spent his life pretty much on the fringe of people who were on the outside,”

Repent and sin no more.

His words. Yes, he dealt with the sick because that was his calling. However, rather then telling them that sin was ok, he said just the opposite that we all have to turn away from sin. No exceptions for sodomy.


6 posted on 12/10/2010 10:06:47 PM PST by BenKenobi (Obama's book of the month, Herman Melville's Killin' Whitey)
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To: From The Deer Stand

One problem with this argument, they fault the ECLA for saying that Christ will save those who do not know him or the Law.

This is right in Romans 2. “When the one who is without the law, acts in accordance to the law, he will be considered a law within himself.” This is why conscience is so important. No one, not even those who are ignorant are released from the law written on their hearts.

There are many areas where the ECLA is wrong. This is not one of them.


7 posted on 12/10/2010 10:12:31 PM PST by BenKenobi (Obama's book of the month, Herman Melville's Killin' Whitey)
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To: Vigilanteman

For example, the ELCA sponsors 80,000 Lutherans to immigrate to the United States a year, as 12 million worldwide now are living in refugee camps because of ostracization, he said.

I’ve got to wonder how many of that number are Somali Jihadi’s.

Probably most of them. The ELCA is lying. The immigrants they sponsor in Minnesota and the Dakotas are all moslems.


8 posted on 12/10/2010 11:34:11 PM PST by Gertie
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To: BenKenobi
"This is right in Romans 2. “When the one who is without the law, acts in accordance to the law, he will be considered a law within himself.” This is why conscience is so important. No one, not even those who are ignorant are released from the law written on their hearts."

The trouble is, this law written on your heart curses you it doesn't save you. Because no one can follow it, any more than they can follow the written laws of Moses. This is the upshot of Romans 3. Nobody has an excuse, they know God's standards and fail to live up to them. This is the upshot of Jesus' admonition of "Judge not lest you be judged". Even if you lived in an area that had never heard Judeo-Christian ethics, you are still judged by the standards you impose on others, standards none of us live up to ourselves. Boy, good thing we have a Savior.

9 posted on 12/11/2010 2:48:34 AM PST by circlecity
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To: circlecity

Yes, those of us who have heard the Good News of Christ must accept or perish. But those who have not heard of him will still be saved for abiding by the law in their hearts.


10 posted on 12/11/2010 5:38:45 AM PST by BenKenobi (Obama's book of the month, Herman Melville's Killin' Whitey)
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...


Lutheran (EL C S*A) Ping!

* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

11 posted on 12/11/2010 6:29:30 AM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: Keith in Iowa

To expand on your comment:

The August 2011 Churchwide Assembly will likely adopt mandated/automatic changes to congregation constitutions which trial lawyer-now ELCA Secretary Swartling has decreed will take effect immediately upon voting.

These changes will require that a congregation notify the Synod BEFORE taking its first vote to leave, consult with the Bishop before each vote, and that the Bishop and/or his/her designee be granted voice in each meeting leading to a vote.

Watch for further tightening of the noose in 2013.


12 posted on 12/11/2010 6:35:15 AM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: SmithL
"Bishop: 'ELCA is Doing Well Despite the Challenges' "

Hey, the good Bishop-in-Chief forgot a word. It should be "ELCA is doing well despite the unexpected challenges."

Leni

13 posted on 12/11/2010 6:53:04 AM PST by MinuteGal
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To: SmithL
I wish they would stop using the name "Lutheran". They are not at all Lutheran.

We left that apostate bunch eighteen years ago as we could see what was coming. We're LCMS and could not be happier.

14 posted on 12/11/2010 6:57:11 AM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: lightman

They might be able to stop entire congregations from leaving but they cannot stop individuals from leaving and they will slowly starve as congregations.


15 posted on 12/11/2010 7:02:25 AM PST by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: SmithL
keep reliving the book of Acts," he said of a New Testament account of the 12 apostles following Christ's resurrection. "The disciples were trying to make sense out of having their world view exploded," he said. "Who's in? Who's out? How do you do you get in? We're still fussing with that."

Who's in? Who's out?

Really? That's what the disciples were concerned with?

A former church staff colleague of mine said something very like that to me a year or so ago, that this issue is all about who is in and who is out. Interesting.

16 posted on 12/11/2010 7:25:54 AM PST by aberaussie
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To: aberaussie; SmithL; lightman
"Who's out?" is a popular question nowadays. Or, phrased more accurately, "How do we get out before the ELCA closes the iron curtain with even more stringent rules for exiting the Egregiously Laodicean Church in America?"
17 posted on 12/11/2010 7:53:48 AM PST by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: lightman; SmithL
"Jesus was inclusive. . ."

The Jesus Seminar and the ELCA have more in common every day.

How to Make Your Very Own Jesus

". . .nuke all those nasty things Jesus said. Clear your throat and announce that He never claimed, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Proclaim that Jesus never invited anyone to "come to Me, all who labor and are heavily-burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:26). Use a little verbal "white-out" on Jesus' predictions that He would give His soul as a ransom-price for many (Mark 10:45), that He would be crucified and buried, and would rise again on the third day (Luke 9:22), and that He would physically return to set up His kingdom on earth (Matthew 24 - 25). Declare that Jesus never really said that the one who rejects Him as God incarnate will perish in his sins (John 8:24).

You see, this way you have taken that frightening, still-living character who treads through the Gospels, and whittled Him down to something much more bite-sized. Trash the facts, and you can make Jesus into whatever you want Him to be! "Discover" that He was really an environmentalist, and declare that He only made lovely little remarks about lilies, fig trees, and grape vines. "Learn" that Jesus was a social activist, and retain only the sections about poor people. Folks will love you for it! Publishers will actually print your notions! Without any icky facts in your way, you can play with Jesus like a lump of clay!

18 posted on 12/11/2010 8:01:13 AM PST by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: rhema

My in-laws’ ELCA church is in small town SC. In the last year or so a large group left their church. Now there is an LCMC church in the same small town. I have no idea how they are doing, but my inlaws’ pastor just resigned after five years with no plans to take another congregation right away. He sent a letter with a long explanation of why it was time for him to go, but it really doesn’t give any reasons. I wonder how much has to do with how this church is struggling after August 2009.


19 posted on 12/11/2010 8:48:36 AM PST by aberaussie
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To: aberaussie
The list of churches joining the LCMC in the past 12 months is by no means inconsiderable.
20 posted on 12/11/2010 9:02:16 AM PST by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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To: SmithL
"World Hunger was down on its revenues by 20%"

Anyone who takes the time to break down their budget will see that a large part of it never reaches those who are in need. They budget large amounts for administration, payroll, lobbying and other nonfood items. It's a bloated bureaucracy. Anyone who wants to give to world hunger can find better places to do it.

21 posted on 12/12/2010 5:08:48 AM PST by Russ (Repeal the 17th amendment)
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To: SmithL; lightman

In the political world this is known as “spin.”


22 posted on 12/12/2010 7:44:27 AM PST by RobinOfKingston
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