up of all ships
The Holy Christian Church to which we Christians, worldwide, belong and which we espouse, is not identical with the ELCA or any other institutional denomination. So when we speak of issues facing the church today it's something like referencing the whole of "His Majesty's Fleet".
The fleet is made up of, 1.) All the ships of ages past that sailed under the Lord Jesus; 2.) All the ships that now sail under His word of grace and truth; and 3.) All the ships that He will yet commission while time shall last. The fleet (church) faithfully sails the stormy seas of history, from one generation to the next, to proclaim a Gospel of regeneration and new life.
Dr. James A. Nestingen, seminary professor emeritus, recently said: "98 percent of the world's Christians stand with you, and the traditional teaching of the church." (regarding same gender sexual practices). In other words, 98 percent of the world's Christians stand for and confess the traditional interpretation of "the faith once delivered to the saints".
Some of the current leadership in the ELCA, and the few who eagerly follow their revisionist interpretations of Scripture -- "God is doing a new thing" -- talk as if they are now in command of His Majesty's entire fleet. They are not. At best, they are mutineers, hijacking a ship, not the fleet.
Other ships are trying to come to the aid of the hijacked ELCA: African churches; southeast Asian churches; churches of the Lutheran World Federation; ecumenical partners in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches; brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod; and other traditionally Christian churches. They are calling to "turn about." "If you take this course," they say, we cannot go with you." But their concern is dismissed as homophobic.
The ELCA leadership stubbornly presses on: Since we can't agree on how to interpret the captain's chart and compass the rest of you are using, we decided that everyone should set sail to wherever their own bound conscience takes them.
Now hear this. Now hear this. This is the captain speaking. To what other fleet or command could your conscience be bound if not this one?
Rev. Norman P. Olsen