News Releases and Information Bulletins
PRESS RELEASE - Religion Editor
CCM Verax Information Service
9th October 2002 - For Immediate Release
Title: SHOCK AS ELCA PROPOSES TO DROP REFORMATION DAY
Shock and betrayal characterize reactions of many members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to the news that the denomination is urging its nearly 11,000 parishes to drop Reformation Day and to replace it with a nondescript ecumenical observance.
(Seeds ... Parish, page 2 at http://www.elca.org/co/seeds/septoct02.pdf - whole excerpt below)
The day in question is October 31, otherwise known as All Saints' Eve or Halloween. On that day in 1517, an Augustinian Friar and Professor of Biblical Theology at Wittenberg University, Martin Luther, issued his famous 95 Theses against indulgences. To his mind, indulgences lacked Biblical warrant and also led souls astray from their true "justification by grace through faith alone."
Subsequently, Luther was excommunicated from the church and sentenced to death. For centuries thereafter, Lutherans have celebrated "Reformation Day" to remind themselves of Luther's bold steadfastness in speaking the truth and setting the faithful back on the right path.
In recent years, many ELCA members have expressed concern that the denomination's ecumenical policies and agreements are undermining the church's faith and integrity. This is particularly the case with "Called to Common Mission" (CCM), the full communion agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church in the USA. CCM requires the ELCA to adopt hierarchical "episcopalian style" bishops in order to become acceptable to the Episcopal Church for full communion.
To allay ELCA members' concerns, denominational officials have repeatedly assured members that the ELCA's ecumenical actions make no noticeable changes to the ELCA.
Despite these previous assurances, the denomination's new advisory to drop Reformation Day will confirm within and without the denomination that ELCA leaders are in fact sacrificing the church's Protestant truths on the altar of an illusionary ecumenical god of hierarchical "visible unity."
Under the banner of CCM Verax, faithful Lutherans from across the United States are organizing to keep and to celebrate Reformation Day. CCM Verax also invites Christians of all denominations to affirm the central principles of the Reformation. These principles include: Christ Alone and the priesthood of all believers, Scripture Alone and the Bible as successor to the apostles, Word Alone and justification by Faith Alone, true unity under the cross without the curse of hierarchical uniformity.
The following excerpt
is taken in its entirety from the ELCA's publication "Seeds for the
Parish" (Sept-Oct. 2002), section "Consider This looks at several
autumn festivals," p. 2 http://www.elca.org/co/seeds/septoct02.pdf.
Reformation Day is often celebrated on October 31, the anniversary of Martin Luther 's nailing of the 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Many congregations regularly celebrate this day, although it is usually transferred to the last Sunday in October. Readings and prayers for such a celebration are given in Lutheran Book of Worship on page 36. However, with most ELCA congregations using the Revised Common Lectionary, which attaches particular readings to a particular span of days in the year, you will lose the same Scripture readings every three years if you continue to substitute the Reformation texts. In light of our church's commitment to ecumenical relations, it may be a good idea to shift away from a focus on the 16th century Lutheran Reformation and its readings ("the truth shall set you free") and move toward an ecumenical celebration of reconciliation and the on-going reformation of the church. On that day, you might keep the liturgical color red and still sing "A Mighty Fortress" to remember our common history, but consider using the readings appointed for the day. Perhaps a pastor from a full communion congregation could be invited to preach or preside on that day with laypersons invited to read Scripture and pray."
CCM Verax exists to tell the truth about "Called to Common Mission" (CCM), the ecumenical agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church in the USA. The truth is that CCM is arguably the greatest act of deception ever cultivated by an ecclesial denomination in the history of North America.
Having this purpose, CCM Verax seeks neither to rescue the ELCA from itself nor to establish an alternative church for those who wish to leave the ELCA. In order to fulfill its mission, CCM Verax will endeavour to expose the deception and fallacies associated with and arising from CCM. CCM Verax invites like-minded individuals, congregations, and ecclesial bodies to join CCM Verax in this mission.
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