I was in need of boat mechanic and found one that makes house calls. Remarkable, almost as good as finding a doctor that would do that!
So, he comes out to our house and together we spend about 4 hours in the water working on the family pontoon boat. Actually, he’s doing the work and I’m holding tools some of which I drop in the shallow water. Fortunately, he is a patient man.
Four hours is a long time and we get to talking and he asks me what I do for a living. I tell him that I’m assistant pastor. He asks me where and I tell him the name of our church and he instantly recognizes the name as a type of Bible church. (It’s Missio Dei Fellowship and means God’s Mission, Latin, not Spanish.)
He tells me where he goes to church and we recognize that we are brothers in the Lord. Nice. Glad I picked this guy to fix my boat.
From there it gets more interesting. He tells me that he and his wife were life-long Lutherans (Evangelical Church of America) and had belonged to a rather large one in the area. About five years ago they decided to leave. The issue was the ELCA’s stance on homosexuality and the ordination of gays\lesbians etc.
The man’s reasoning was spot-on. How could they stay and approve of something that the Bible clearly does not approve of? He was surprised that only thirty families left the church over the issue. Like I said, it’s a large church. If thirty families left our church we’d have to close the doors.
What he said next was even more remarkable. Here was a man who was baptized into a large denomination and presumably for most of his life thought he was a Christian. Yet, as part of his story, he told me he became a Christian only in 2009 at his new Bible church. (see John 3:1-8 to understand what he meant. No really, look it up!)
I was listening to talk radio the other day and a woman commented that many so-called Christian Churches were leading the charge towards gay marriage and they were rejoicing with the SCOTUS decision to strike down DOMA. This is true enough and the ELCA is certainly part of that. The woman’s voice was filled with grief and despair as she lamented so-called Christian churches turning their liberal\progressive backs on Scripture.
I wanted to call her and share with her the story of my new friend the boat mechanic.
I wanted to tell her that God is still at work. He’s not asleep at the wheel and he is not powerless to affect change in the hearts of people that he will claim as his sheep. For example, Jesus said this about the sheep who are truly his:
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
(John 10:14-16 ESV)
The sheep, like my new friend, will listen to the shepherd’s voice (Scripture). The Good Shepherd knows who they are and the sheep know who the Good Shepherd is. These sheep will be brought into the sheepfold, period, regardless of the apostasy shown by any group that calls itself Christian. The gospel will not be stopped by an unconstitutional SCOTUS nor by a denomination that ignores or spins Scripture to pursue their goals of political correctness.
I thought of the thirty families that left the ELCA. I pray they landed somewhere where the truth is still the truth like my friend did.
These days there are good reasons to leave churches that no longer take God’s Word seriously. The Good Shepherd will gather them, guaranteed. My new friend is proof of that.
- ELCA Lutherans elect first openly gay bishop (religionnews.com)