‘You Touch Me and Set Me on Fire’: Student Performs in Drag in ELCA’s Luther Seminary Chapel

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A student at Luther Seminary in Minnesota, which is stated to be the largest seminary of the apostate Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), recently performed in drag in the Olson Campus Center chapel as part of the annual “Lip Sync Battle” held at the location. The video of the performance has generated both applause and sorrow from viewers.

Anders Nelson, who is in his final year of studies and desires to enter into the ministry, posted a video of his performance as “Rhonda F’Plause” to social media on Dec. 10, writing, “Here’s Rhonda F’Plause’s debut performance at Luther’s Annual Lip Sync Battle! I think she did Dolly proud!”

Nelson, wearing a long blonde wig and a very short pink dress, danced to the song “Baby, I’m Burnin'” by Dolly Parton.

“Your eyes reflect love and desire/I see that you need me/I need you to please me/You touch me and set me on fire,” the lyrics state. “I cannot resist you/Each time I kiss you/Then everything goes up in flames.”

During the second verse of the song, Nelson grabbed a fan reflect the song’s “burning” theme, shaking his hips, which drew laughter from the crowd. After kicking his legs up into the air, he later made his way down through the pews to entertain some of those present up-close. One man in the front began to clap along as others laughed.

The audience cheered at the end of the performance.

“[N]eedless to say, I had fun getting into drag for Luther Seminary’s annual Lip Sync Battle!” Nelson wrote. “Rhonda F’Plause made her debut and I took home the trophy!”

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While some commented under Nelson’s video that the performance was “awesome,” “amazing” and “a powerful witness to God’s goodness, abundance and joy,” others expressed sorrow over the condition of the ELCA.

“Lord, have mercy. Call all those in the ELCA to repentance and draw them back to you. For they have swayed from your Word of truth and followed their flesh and own wills. Maranatha! Lord, come quickly,” one viewer wrote.

Nelson responded with the assertion that “commenting on strangers’ posts … doesn’t seem to reflect on God’s love too highly.”

“I can assure you that the Triune God is present here at Luther Seminary,” he wrote. “I can also assure you that amateur drag performances aren’t the only thing happening here; we witness to the abundant grace and love of God through our studies and service.”

One Lutheran pastor, R. Daniel Carlson, then replied to Nelson with exhortation, pointing to Deuteronomy 22:5, which states that it is an abomination to the Lord for a man to wear a woman’s garment.

“Do you presume to know more than God? Do you think the Lord has changed His mind?” he asked. “Be holy! Humble yourself before the Lord and do not insult Him by answering the liar’s question ‘Did God really say …’ with ‘No He didn’t, or at least He didn’t mean it.’ Pursue holiness and godliness, and do not follow the patterns of this world.”


In his message “Profit and Loss,” the late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle declared, “It is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’ What do you know of this holiness? Can you say that God the Holy Spirit has actually begun the blessed and never-dying work of sanctification within you?”

“… Do you strive not to be conformed to this world? Do you profess to regulate every thought and word and action by the Holy Scriptures? Do you hunger and thirst after a complete mortification of sin, and look forward with longing to the time when Satan shall be bound, and there shall be no more struggle between the flesh and the spirit?”

“… Is your Bible your daily food, a light to your feet and a lantern to your path? Are you above the fear of men, and can you think lightly of their praise in comparison with that which is of God? Do you count all things but loss, if you can but win Christ? Do you count the life that now is, as nothing compared with that which is to come? Oh! If you know not something, however little, of these things, tremble for yourself and repent!”

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