In debate class you learn to recognize a slippery slope argument. The slippery slope argument states that some small first step will inevitably have some monumental impact, much like pushing an object over the edge of a slope will cause that object to slide all the way to the bottom. For example, Mr. Fuddy argues, “We shouldn’t let our kids go to dances. If a boy and girl dance together, they’re going to have sex too!” Can dancing provide temptation? Sure, especially the way some people dance today. But does it inevitably lead to sexual immortality? No. In debate class, Mr. Fuddy’s statement would be called illogical and dismissed on the grounds of being a slippery slope argument.
Here’s a premise that some might call a slippery slope argument. If you reject one teaching of God’s Word, you will eventually reject all of it. Some might say, “Nooooo! You can reject ‘minor’ portions of God’s Word and still hang onto the fundamental message of Christ.” First of all, I’d like to debate whether anything God tells us can ever be called “minor.” But secondly, I’d stand by my premise. Church history has demonstrated that premise to be true, again and
Take the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) recent declaration that the church should work towards allowing openly homosexual men and women to serve as public ministers. That is a clear departure from the Word of God’s teaching about homosexuality, as well as it’s teaching about qualifications for public ministers. However, it is not suprising.
The ELCA has been walking away from the authority of Scriptures for quite some time now. It began almost a century ago. With the rise of Darwinism, Genesis 1 and 2, which teach that God created the world in six 24-hour days, began to be scrutinized. ELCA bought whole-heartedly into this higher-critical method of studying Scripture. But they are by no means alone! Today, many Christians accept that the world is billions and billions of years old as “fact.” “Carbon dating tells us this rock is a million years old!” So what? When Adam was a second old, he looked like a grown man. On the sixth day of creation when God created the oak tree, had you cut one down and counted the rings it would have appeared to have been centuries old. God not only created the stars. He created stars that had already gone supernova and were just now streams of light that had the appearnce of being eons old. In other words, God created the universe with an ancient appearance. The church had accepted that fact for centuries. But, in the early 20th century, some decided they now knew better than the only One who was actually around to witness Creation. And so they ripped out the pages of Genesis 1 and 2 (or at least, claimed it was story rather than history).
So ELCA’s new stance on homosexuality was fairly easy to see coming. If it was so easy to toss aside what God’s Word says about the Creation of all things, was it not just a matter of time before God’s teachings on sexuality were tossed out too?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Scripture teaches that humans are human from the moment of conception (Psalm 51:5), and yet the ELCA Social Statements teach that abortion is permissible in certain circumstances, and includes fetal abnormalities among them.*1
Even Christ is under attack in the ELCA. One widely used ELCA theological textbook, Christian Dogmatics by Carl E. Braatten, states, “The preexistence of Christ is an integral part of the myth of the incarnation”*2 (emphasis mine). He calls the incarnation myth! The same book goes onto explain that the physical resurrection of Christ is not an absolute certainty. (Follow this link, from the ELCA’s “What We Believe” portion of their website, if you want to cry. It is the worst possible “explanation” of the resurrection – http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/New-or-Returning-to-Church/Dig-Deeper/The-Resurrection.aspx ). We are no longer talking “minor” points of doctrine! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (15:14). Deny the resurrection, and you’re more of a cult than a church.
Many ELCA clergy deny the reality of anything miraculous in Scripture. The Flood, Jesus’ miracles, etc. – They would say these are all just myths and fables. The Bible is a buffet from which you can choose what you like and dismiss what you don’t. It’s really just a form of idolatry, trying to invent one’s own personal religion.
Those same clergy would probably call me closed minded for my belief that all of Scripture – every book, paragraph, and sentence – is what it claims to be: the very Word of God. And that’s fine. Call me close minded. But what you can’t call me is illogical for suggesting that if you reject one teaching of God’s Word, you’ll eventually reject all if it. The ELCA is the latest case-study in church history to prove that to be very, very true.
By Jonathan Hein
Pastor, Beautiful Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church (WELS)
*2 Page 545