The March of Ecumania
On one hand, it seems only appropriate; John Wesley would no more acknowledge the United Methodists than Martin Luther would claim the ELCA. On the other hand... can there be anyone with an ounce of intellectual integrity who can claim that there is any sense whatsoever in which the ELCA can be meaningfully be called a Lutheran church body?
No. We're way past that point. That question was relevant shortly after the ELCA's founding. Perhaps it would be better to ask whether there's anything the ELCA stands for, other than radical Left Wing politics and brain-dead post-modernism. The Real Presence bit the dust back when intercommunion was declared with the Reformed. Except, of course, that a belief in the Real Presence has never been a given among the rationalists of the ELCA anyway. Theoretically, Calvinists believe in at least a spiritual presence (whatever that means) of Christ's body and blood in the Supper- though in the Reformed denominations with whom the ELCA is in full communion that is even more passe than belief in the Real Presence is in the ELCA itself. The United Methodists, of course, are thoroughgoing Zwinglians, denying that the Supper is anything but a symbolic memorial meal. With this new arrangement, the de-Lutheranizing of the ELCA's theology of the Eucharist is complete. It has never been a church in which the Gospel has been dependably proclaimed in its purity. There can now be no question whatsoever of the Sacraments being administered there in agreement with the Gospel. The ELCA now fails the test of AC VII completely.
Maybe the real question is why the ELCA continues to use the word "Lutheran" in its name. The same applies, of course, to the "Lutheran" World Federation.