Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Transformation Vs. Affirmation

Much has been written about the decision of the ELCA to officially allow the ordination of practicing homosexuals. The Christian church should certainly be deeply saddened by this and crying out "Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy!" God sent a tornado to knock the steeple cross at the ELCA church across the street upside-down just prior to the vote. The vote passed by 66.6% (559-451). The decision is really a symptom of the much deeper problem of unbelief in God's Word and a shift away from the Lutheran confessions. On NPR I heard one minister say that this is really a debate between two different Gospels--the Gospel of Transformation vs. the Gospel of Affirmation. If that is a legitimate representation then we are not dealing with a battle between orthodox Lutherans vs. heterodox Lutherans. Neither the Gospel of Transformation nor the Gospel of Affirmation are theologies of the cross. They are both theologies of glory. We are dealing with a battle between old-school Methodists and new-school Methodists. This would explain why the vote to bring the United Methodist Church into full communion with the ELCA passed by 98% (922-15). When Pelikan left Lutheranism for Eastern Orthodoxy he said, "When the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist, I became Orthodox."

The Gospel of Affirmation and the Gospel of Transformation share a common problem--they both deny sin and therefore the need for a Savior. The Gospel of Transformation teaches that real Christians do not sin. If God saved you then he transformed your life and you will stop sinning. If you are a homosexual and God has really saved you then you will no longer lust after another person of the same sex. It creates one group of people who have fooled themselves into thinking that they have attained this perfection and another group that live in despair because they recognize how sinful they really are. The Gospel of Affirmation denies that sin is sin which is what those who hold to the Gospel of Transformation have to do in order to convince themselves that they are really saved. Nobody in these systems can ever experience forgiveness. They walk around continuously with guilt because deep down they know that they are sinners but will not admit it. Homosexual clergy are not content with being treated like other clergy. They want to be celebrated for being homosexuals. They need more and more affirmation from the people around them to drown out the guilt of their own consciences. I cannot imagine how horrible it must be to live that way. The church keeps telling you that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing so you are doomed to live your life without forgiveness.

The Theology of the Cross says that your homosexual lusts and heterosexual lusts and hating and gossiping and meddling and coveting are real sins. You have really sinned and are really worthy of God's temporal and eternal punishment. But the Lamb of God has taken all your horrible and rotten sins upon Himself. The Lamb of God shed His blood for your sins. The Lamb of God has fully paid for your sins. The Lamb did not come for the righteous but for sinners.

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