Cultures collide, and it really might feel like the sky is falling, like the church is in danger of extinction – but it’s not. It just seems to be that the only people who are even part of it anymore are adults above the age of 45 (at least that's how it is at my church). Through Christ, by faith in Him, we cannot die. Comment by Eric Rachut on May 17, 2019 at 10:39 pm. Refreshing!,, Comment by David R Justian on August 29, 2017 at 8:26 pm. Check back in ten years but I’d wager the grown children will be Evangelicals, Catholic convert spouses and non-churchgoers…. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”. Today is Sunday, and while I am writing this blog, there have been several hundred congregations that have closed their doors in the past few weeks. No for much longer though. Many church choirs are dying — here’s why. In 1964 a new building was constructed to accommodate the rapidly growing congregation. Littleton, Colorado The sixth word is Jesus’ dying word, a word of committal, a word of trust. Click Here to View Service. Comment by Alfred Puglisi on October 21, 2014 at 12:43 am. What does Christian worship look like at the time of death. Liberal theology and politics in America’s so-called Mainline Protestant denominations apparently just gets older and older. The remaining groups will be Prosperity Cults and the above mentioned Cults such as SDA and Mormonism. Happy about those results? But this church bashing by LCMS and other more conservative bodies is a SIN. Another destination for disappointed ELCA members is the Lutheran Congregations in Missions for Christ (LCMC), now listing 808 congregations, more than double NALC’s 345 congregations. Apparently, devote Christians do indeed heed Romans 12:2’s admonition to “be not conformed to this world.” After all, it is obedience to eternal standards and not the latest societal mood that is truly novel. There is such a relationship. Here’s why. The Church is failing, and there is a difference. I am looking for any congregation in the same location for 10 years that has had increasing attendance for the past 3 years. There is a place for you here. Most of the losses are not conservatives leaving the congregations. If we cease resisting the will of God, the numbers will take care of themselves. Comment by Pat Cotsworth on May 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm, All churches are declining, no matter how you see yourself, even your conservative Bible Believing Orthodox Apostolic Holy Ghoster churches – The fastest growing religious category is “NONE”, Comment by Benjamin Styles on November 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm. Comment by Alfred Puglisi on October 21, 2014 at 12:48 am, Comment by Dwayne Wayne on December 12, 2014 at 8:04 pm. Other “Liberal” and “conservative” are meaningless terms being two sides of the same coin. I would like a return in the ELCA to confessional Lutheranism. On what authority? I went to a ELCA Church when I lived in Orange County California in some ways I like it better than Megachurch Calvary Chapel it was easier to get to know people. One of the charges sometimes levied against Christians is that of hypocrite. As indicated above, the nursing schools run by the Lutheran Church in Liberia are among the best in the entire country. Their wanderings from Form Criticism to Post-Modernism and pro-homosexuality have invited demonic movement and the faithful have had enough! After much deliberation, I also came to the conclusion that I didn’t leave my church; instead the ELCA left me. The responsibility for both lies in the voices of people that went silent and permitted these atrocities to happen. ELCA’s founding “was a heady time, producing the successful merger of two-thirds of America’s Lutherans gathered under one denomination,” wrote Pastor Russell E. Saltzman in 2011 at First Things after having broken away from ELCA with other conservative Lutherans to form the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). I’ve found Unitarianism fascinating (I grew up in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, where Joseph Priestley settled), but mysterious. And that this past January, Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA) “was sold and reportedly will be used as a mosque. We do not gloat over this tragedy. “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of … Why have so many people stopped looking to the church for guidance? It is by Dave Spotts, a former Calvinist who is now a Lutheran. A Dying Church Text: Matthew 26:1–27:66. Kevin Vogts of the conservative Lutheran lay organization Steadfast Lutherans notes. The ELCA’s own statistics show that after 5,288,048 Lutherans came together in 1987 to form the denomination, only 4,059,785 remained in ELCA in 2011, the latest year of available data. By God’s grace, we always will be! Check out the Evangelical Covenant Church. I too left the ELCA about four years ago because of their leftist liberal political entrenchment. Here is a comment from our post on the TCN at the St. Louis Seminary. Asked by Garnet Zemlak. When a denomination caves in to the prevailing “politically correct” culture, that is an example of salt which has lost its savor. This pamphlet is Is the Lutheran Church bad? We are a church that values and encourages diverse voices and lively dialogue in our faith and life. While there are many distinct bodies of the Lutherans throughout the world, each one to a certain extent follows the theology of Martin Luther and his Protestant Reformation from the Catholic Church. Quit trying to be all inclusive and tell others that there is no such thing as sin when clearly there is. In a decade, the UCC (spiritual descendants of the Pilgrims), the PCUSA, the UMC and ABC will merge into the Unitarian Universalism which is the current doctrine of their leaders, basically walking away from Jesus Christ. The Lutheran Church is primarily based on the teachings and beliefs of the 16th-century German friar, church reformer and theologian, Martin Luther. Know of a growth church? The NALC now claims 130,000 members, mostly disaffected ELCA members like Saltzman. The LORD does not call us to do that to one another. You do not know why each of those individual hearts and minds is leaving any particular church — for all you know, they are leaving because they lost faith in God. The Lutheran Church is not Dying, ELCA Head Says Unity was heavily stressed as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America began its 2005 Churchwide Assembly yesterday, as delegates prepared for a fierce battle over the divisive topic of homosexual ordinations. So whether you’re a proud card carrying lifer in the Lutheran church, or whether you’re just checking out this church thing for the first time; know that there change a foot. Comment by Frank on October 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm. Comment by nnamelet on September 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm, Wonderfully concise list for mainstream religious correctness movement, Comment by A former UU on March 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm. Their beliefs regarding heaven, hell and purgatory differ in some ways from those of other Christian religions and are similar in others. And naturally, that other issue with power – money. My wife and I have joined a dying church. I think I’ve met 2, in all of the year’s that I’ve been a Christian. The church foundation is Christ so to hear that a church is dying is sad and in my opinion indicates a disconnection from the Savior who established His church. They are more loyal to their institution and their financial contributions to it, more than to Jesus Christ, as He is revealed in Scripture. This is our opportunity to be god’s hands and feet and beating heart. We always have been. The ELS refused to accept that hymnal and developed their own but, sadly, caved in to their partner in every other way. They are leaving in droves because the ELCA church leaders are going against God’s word. It was almost 20 years ago that John Shelby Spong, a U.S. bishop in the Episcopalian Church, published his book “Why Christianity Must Change or … Minneapolis, MN 55414, P: (612) 605-8010 Well I would not say that it is dying. . For a brief second a wave of frustration and anger swept over me, “why … Some isolates the ELCA as though the issue of decline is an ELCA issue only. Also, the youth at my church are very active in the community. Comment by Adrian Croft on August 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm. What a blessing! It is by Dave Spotts, a former Calvinist who is now a Lutheran. This is Christ's church. Our Pastor is teaching us what Jesus taught 2,000 years ago. But then, isn’t that exactly what the Bible teaches? As a direct result; I see no reason to be a member of any church anymore. http://blogs.lcms.org/2011/synod-stats-membership-drops-giving-increases, Comment by Andrew E. Harrod on August 22, 2013 at 12:24 am. The LCMS is also in decline. 1 Answer. Increasing congregations that are beneficiaries of split or closing congregations, or that have had a new subdivision grow up around the church, or who have a couple of multi-millionaires to help out, or a firebrand pastor don’t count as a reason that can be duplicated by any congregation. Not to mention that this represents the “continuing [of] a 30-plus-year trend in declining church membership experienced by most Protestant denominations.” Period. And for some reason, it’s driving me batty. People of liberal or conservative political views still apply their Christian faith together within the LCMS because politics isn’t preached from the pulpit. I now belong to a Missouri Synod church that is the fastest growing congregation in North America. (RNS) Praise bands aren't the only forces making church choir directors sing the blues. No wonder church attendance is in decline, Comment by Steven on November 25, 2013 at 11:08 am. And at the last youth gathering in New Orleans there were over 35000 youth there. It didn’t take long before the former EUB members had second thoughts, as the UM began its membership slide in that decade and hasn’t let up since. Comment by Guenter Apsel on January 4, 2018 at 11:53 am. Earlier this year I attended Sunday services at an impressive 19th-century church in London. Comment by Richard on December 7, 2013 at 9:20 am. Fully acculturated people who dislike the full sweep of orthodox Christian teaching, parading around in pretty robes and banners, ‘presenting’ as orthodox Christian but they really are not. I think our scripture today might have something to say to that. Now, over 40 years later, we are seeing the results — politically correct, morally bankrupt, theologically irrelevant, and numerically shrinking. It means for sure that we have to let go of re-creating the church of the 1950’s, or the 1960’s, when buildings were popping up everywhere and the suburbs were growing and highways were connecting our country and our churches were exploding with people. The loss of each of these two years averaged more than five percent of ELCA’s total membership. But on truth. Comment by Baron Von Martin on December 6, 2019 at 2:10 am. That’s not death friends, that’s abundant life. We are told that there are about 66 million Lutherans worldwide, and about 36 million of them live in Europe. I understand that’s what you’re used to, but I am with you everywhere.” This is a god that is found in his people. Comment by Chuck Braun on August 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm, Perhaps the ELCA will finally consummate the relationship with The Episcopal Church it so desires, and we will soon see The Episcopal Lutheran Church in America. Comment by David on August 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. Comment by Ron T on December 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm, George Knight, SDA author, wrote that people want a church to stand for something. We’re about to give birth to something new, with all of the discomfort and anxiety and expectation and fear and hope that accompanies pregnancy. Yes, the ELCA lost a bunch of people recently which was tragic — but at least those who have stayed are committed to the ELCA’s emphasis and accent on grace — which draws such ire and criticism from “conservatives”. Now I’m not arguing for some throwback to the first century – I honestly think that’s a little naïve. You’re a bit early but we’re inside having some coffee. A contribution designated (restricted) for a specific purpose when accepted, will be used only to fund expenses related to that purpose. Paula Schlueter Ross. Instead I think we’re being called by God, and led by the Holy Spirit, into something new, messy as it may be. The images of Christian life that we receive from scripture, the instructions Jesus gives to his disciples, over and over and over again – especially in Mark – is that we are called to the margins of our culture, where people are isolated, lost, alone. Are we the responsible complainers now obligated under grace to launch a return of the church to its foundations beyond liberalism and conservatism to get beyond denominationalism to a better understanding and mission of our catholic faith? Now I am proceeding to try to get the church to assess its health and their desire for what they want for the church. By comparison, the conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) counted 2,278,586 members in 2010. I tried the Unitarians, and experienced the same thing – politics with them. It is what it is. Why do we apply political terms such as conservative or liberal to this discussion? But as they grew in pro-war, hateful, money-grubbing sentimentalities that were void of concern for the poor, I felt naturally alienated. Check out our faithful association: http://www.unitedlutheranmission.org, Comment by Don Fredrick on September 20, 2019 at 3:41 pm. WELS slid into pietism and political correctness (1986 hymnal with feminized hymns). The IELB is a conservative, confessional Lutheran synod which holds to the Book of Concord. Comment by David Gilbertson on June 26, 2015 at 2:42 am, So sad to see this shift in values and away from Biblical teachings that has isolated the ELCA, once the darling of Lutheran Christ-followers around the world. I’m thinking a year or two. Just like the Grange and the Elks; you’re there because you want to be, not because your family was in it. Could you please address your differences with the Lutheran faith (I can see the issues of infant baptism and original sin in reading your articles). Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae. The work of IRD is made possible by your generous contributions. When a church cuts itself from the Vine, it will and should die. There is a crises of authority within Protestantism that is now palpable. Even in death we celebrate our victory over the grave. We are called to the mourning, the sick, the poor. I am an independent Lutheran pastor (U.L.M.A.). Our god is a God of new things. Much worse than it already is. In our area, there is a heavy Lutheran … Answer. Church seems to get carried away with its own power, status and riches crashing down tragically on the job. Comment by BPatMann on December 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm. We are a church that values and encourages diverse voices and lively dialogue in our faith and life. Comment by Jeffrey Michaels on August 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm. BTW, there those of us in the ELCA who still hold to a conservative view. When I went to their website, and clicked on the link for “What We Believe,” the page wouldn’t load…. Right on the money Jack. However maybe the feminization of the church is part of the problem. In all, this is a “staggering loss of over 1.2 million members, or 23% of their membership,” Rev. The ELCA has become blasphemously heretical. I regard mainline protestant worship as basically a drag show. WELS pastors have a quia subscription to the 16th century Lutheran Confessions.As such, pastors and congregations within the WELS agree to teach in accordance with it. The commitment to crafting “Orthodox Lutheranism” will, I wager, remain the domain of Baby Boomers. Baptism most likely arose from the Jewish purification right of mikvah - ritual immersion. That version of the church, for all of its good, bad and ugly, is passing away. September 18, 2014. And so my facebook feed, for the last two weeks, has been blowing up with commentary, mostly from “experts,” who work with young adults or who have successful young adult ministries, telling the church what it is doing wrong. The bi-vocational pastor realized the church needed leadership he could not provide because of demands from his business and resigned. Being a life long Lutheran, I wished to remain within Lutheranism and found a new church home in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Christianity doesn’t depend on numbers. The new owner is the North American Foundation of Islamic Services, according to listing agent Chad Bermingham of Cresa real estate company.”. We gather to learn from scripture what it means to be disciples, to support one another as we shed cultural notions of what success looks like, and practice living lives of service, sacrifice and commitment to something beyond ourselves. As Christians we have a unique perspective on death, a perspective that is radically different from the world around us. They value you to the extent that you will be a willing & joyful cog in the machine, giving time and money for the greater glory of the Organization. Now I am proceeding to try to get the church to assess its health and their desire for what they want for the church. having grown weary of the commentary on why the church is dying, and what it’s doing wrong, i revisited the question of “who” is the church in a sermon preached at grace university lutheran church on october 21. please read the text for the day from Mark to ground this reflection, and be generous with the reality that a sermon always preaches different than it reads. Comment by George Waite on August 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm. “As they ‘celebrate’ this year the 25th anniversary of the ELCA,” Vogts observes, “the fact is that during that time they have lost more members and congregations than make up many entire denominations!”. Many church choirs are dying. As long as there is a need to bring people to God, I believe God will call and equip people to be God’s Church in this broken world. The church is comprised of small gatherings, meeting in homes, to be in community with one another, breaking bread, reading scripture, praising God, collecting offerings for the orphan and widow, and then going out to be in relationship with, to serve, the orphan and widow. Their beliefs regarding heaven, hell and purgatory differ in some ways from those of other Christian religions and are similar in others. And the early church called this new gathering of God’s people the church. © 2020 The Institute on Religion and Democracy. The church is God’s hands and feet and beating heart – the church is god’s body in this world – we are what God has – so let’s start acting like it. Comment by Steve Carmeli on March 30, 2017 at 2:53 pm. Something they defended at one point in their lives. The issue is rather one of the bondage of the will (which all of the cited American Lutheran groupings are largely clueless about) for the discernment of law and gospel. Join us as we do God's work in Christ's name for the life of the world. Comment by Benjamin Styles on November 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm. Comment by James Young on June 26, 2014 at 8:24 am. Therefore, my allegiance to the church of none. Comment by Eric Rachut on May 17, 2019 at 10:37 pm. Wels used to be nearly 500,000 and now it’s 385,000….. so it’s bad all over for traditional denominations. Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, as well as the many rites of worship, we also have a rite called the Commendation of the dying. And when we move into Acts, we find that the church isn’t located in buildings made for thousands of people. Magisterial Protestantism will be dead. We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. I am a member of the Lutheran church. Although much heralded 25 years ago as a unification of American Lutherans, the ELCA’s anniversary slogan of “Always Being Made New: 25 Years Together in Christ” on display at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center rings bitterly ironic in light of ECLA’s dwindling, aging congregants and sinking contributions. But also know that this change doesn’t mean death. From its earliest existence, the church has gathered for worship regularly. Now, people think they are not good enough to sing," she said. Learn … I grew up singing in home, in school and church every week. Comment by BPatMann on December 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm. That just isnt PC. When Joyce Gibbs began attending Zion Lutheran in Phillipsburg, Kan., in 1954, the congregation had to set up extra chairs in the aisle during worship services. But the membership of Liberal Protestant bodies is in a stampede—right out the door. One of those was my Mom, a Christ-loving woman who passed that love on to me. Almost every year of ELCA’s existence has witnessed membership loss, particularly the 270,349 and 212,903 leaving in the succeeding years 2010-2011. Church. There are some very, very nice people that I’ve met in the Lutheran Church (even though I am not a Lutheran). It was the fruit of the Renaissance and within a century of its founding was starting to deteriorate into non belief. It’s clear that trying to appease the enemy does not work to strengthen the church. Vogts notes that “many of the largest and fastest-growing Lutheran church bodies in the world” have cut “historic ties” to ELCA” in favor of LCMS. Nuclear disarmaments & freezes, women’s “reproductive health” issues, racial & ethnic quotas, race card-mania, a zealous LGBT advocacy, open borders, redistribution of wealth —-You name it and they were out there painting a pious veneer onto some very thorny secular movements. Here is a comment from our post on the TCN at the St. Louis Seminary. Comment by Eric Rachut, M.D. I was sick of their lack of depth in the scriptures and lack of sacraments. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Inc., including Mission Central (in Mapleton, Iowa), is an IRS registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse? Join us as we do God's work in Christ's name for the life of the world. we are not obeying God by going and telling the good news. The church was formerly home to North Trinity Lutheran Church. That’s not something to praise and gloat about! The church can adapt to a diverse world, but not at the cost of our own piety! Their servant had tries to be their lord and master. God loves God’s people. And that Jesus gave us a specific plan. 500 years after the Reformation, initiated by Martin Luther, I would like to remind everybody of his great discovery , which still is a gift to us: “Freedom” according to Galatian 5, 1! The Pew Research Center recently found that the percentage of American adults who identified as Christians dropped 12 percentage points in the last decade alone. I remember many an Easter Sunday spent singing “This is the Feast of Victory for our God!” after a trip from Wisconsin to see my Grandparents and their enthusiastic friends meeting in God’s house. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. Only rain falls from the sky.”. Comment by Requiescat in Pace on May 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm, At at earlier point in my life, I would have classified your comment as pure satire. he didn’t say, go to church. if you continually kick people while they’re down they’ll want to pull themselves up to believe they deserve what they have. As the ELCA website explains, the denomination resulted from the January 1, 1988, merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America following a 1987 conference in Columbus, Ohio. Unless the Church finds a way to adapt to a changing culture, Christianity is fully and rightly doomed. You, my friend, need to do more ‘research’ than swallow what Time magazine says. Yet when considering the characteristics of the churches with growth and those in decline, womens ordination seems to be a factor during the period of decline. We gather to worship, pray, eat and serve. 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