VERAX PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Date: 06 June
Title: ELCA MAKES HISTORIC ECUMENICAL U-TURN
In 1999, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly adopted the controversial, ecumenical agreement entitled "Called to Common Mission" (CCM), which would purportedly enable "full-communion" with the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA). CCM Verax has consistently argued that CCM is "arguably the greatest act of deception ever cultivated by an ecclesial denomination in the history of North America."
A central element of CCM used by ELCA officials to advance its passage is contained in CCM paragraph 11, which states:
11. "Historic succession" refers to a tradition which goes back to the ancient church, in which bishops already in the succession install newly elected bishops with prayer and the laying on of hands. At present The Episcopal Church has bishops in this historic succession, as do all the churches of the Anglican Communion, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at present does not, although some member churches of the Lutheran World Federation do. The Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888, the ecumenical policy of The Episcopal Church, refers to this tradition as "the historic episcopate." In the Lutheran Confessions, Article 14 of the Apology [to the "Augsburg Confession"] refers to this episcopal pattern by the phrase, "the ecclesiastical and canonical polity" which it is "our deep desire to maintain."
ELCA CCM U-TURN
In April 2004, the ELCA published the results of the Tenth Round of U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, entitled "The Church as Koinonia of Salvation." In this new dialogue, the ELCA has made an astonishing, historic U-Turn from the interpretation of the Lutheran Confessions falsely asserted in CCM paragraph 11. Paragraph 80 of this new dialogue states:
80. Prior to the late 1530s, the theme of succession played little role in Reformation debates on the role and authority of the bishop. The authority and ministry of the bishop, not any particular concept of succession, were the subject of debate. The Lutheran Confessions explicitly regret the loss of the "order of the church" that resulted from the presbyteral ordinations the Lutherans judged to be necessary for the life of their churches, but neither Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession on the power of bishops nor the response by the imperial Catholic theologians to it in the Confutation refers explicitly to succession. Thus, when the Lutheran churches felt compelled to ordain pastors apart from the Catholic hierarchy, they were not consciously rejecting any concept of episcopal succession, for such a concept was not current in theological discussions of the period. Only with the renewed attention to patristic sources in the subsequent debates was such a concept reasserted. Unfortunately, when the writings of such figures as Irenaeus were taken up in the debate, they were used within a canonical argument over validity which the Lutherans could only reject.«
This historic, ELCA U-Turn is consistent with the argument made against CCM by:
- Mark D. Menacher, "Called to Common Mission - A Lutheran Proposal?" Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology 1 (Epiphany 2002), 21-28],
- the CCM Verax worldwide campaign to expose the "grand deception" in CCM.
It is difficult to conceive of any reason or impetus other than these efforts which could account for the ELCA’s return to some semblance of historical accuracy and honesty regarding Article 14 of the Apology to the "Augsburg Confession."
NOT A RETURN TO LUTHERANISM
The CCM U-Turn does not, however, signal that the ELCA desires a return to confessional Lutheranism. Instead, this new dialogue calls for the ELCA to consider a return to the papacy, something contrary to the Lutherans Confessions (see Smalcald Articles Part II / VI.4-5). The CCM U-Turn does show that ELCA officials effectively admit that they cannot deceive all the people all the time.
- How can the institutional ELCA claim to be a Lutheran church when it knowingly misrepresents its Lutheran confessional heritage to pursue its pseudo-ecumenical agenda?
- Under whose Lordship does the institutional ELCA claim to "Make Christ Known" when it abandons the Reformation principle of "Christ Alone" to fabricate church uniformity rather than true church unity?
- What constitutional or legal validity does CCM have in the ELCA when CCM’s adoption was effected by the narrowest of margins through orchestrated, fraudulent propaganda?
- How can responsible members of the ELCA expect to raise their children "always to tell the truth" when the ELCA leadership employs "grand deception" to deprive such members and their children of their Lutheran church home?
- Why should ELCA members tolerate the CCM-corruption in the corporate ELCA any more than shareholders and governmental regulators have tolerated the corruption at corporations such as Enron or WorldCom?
THE LUTHERAN CHOICE
Lutherans are those made free ("eleutheros" in Greek) by the truth of the gospel and by those truths congruent with the gospel (see John 8:31-37). Therefore, the choice for Lutherans is clear and simple.
Scripture says that one cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24 / Lk 16:13). One can denounce the "grand deception" in CCM and provoke the ELCA make an historic U-Turn, or one can seek accommodation in and occasional exceptions to the institutional ELCA’s web of pseudo-ecumenical "grand deception."
CCM Verax has taken the road less travelled, and that has made a difference.