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August 25, 2009

21

LCMS Statement on ELCA Homosexual Clergy Vote

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

The following is a statement released by the LCMS regarding the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s recent vote on allowing homosexual clergy)

The two largest Lutheran church bodies in the United States are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with 4.8 million members and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) with 2.4 million members.

On Friday, Aug. 21, the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to open the ministry of the ELCA to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in “committed relationships.” In an earlier action, the assembly approved a resolution that commits the ELCA “to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has repeatedly affirmed as its own position the historical understanding of the Christian church that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as “intrinsically sinful.” It is therefore contrary to the will of the Creator and constitutes sin against the commandments of God (Lev. 18:22, 24,20:13: 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 1 Tim 1:9-10; and Rom. 1:26, 27).

Addressing the ELCA assembly on Saturday, Aug. 22, I responded to their aforementioned actions, stating: “The decisions by this assembly to grant non-celibate homosexual ministers the privilege of serving as rostered leaders in the ELCA and the affirmation of same-gender unions as pleasing to God will undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA. It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies. The current division between our churches threatens to become a chasm. This grieves my heart and the hearts of all in the ELCA, the LCMS, and other Christian church bodies throughout the world who do not see these decisions as compatible with the Word of God, or in agreement with the consensus of 2,000 years of Christian theological affirmation regarding what Scripture teaches about human sexuality. Simply stated, this matter is fundamentally related to significant differences in how we [our two church bodies] understand the authority of Holy Scripture and the interpretation of God’s revealed and infallible Word.”

Doctrinal decisions adopted already in 2001 led the LCMS, in sincere humility and love, to declare that we could no longer consider the ELCA “to be an orthodox Lutheran church body” (2001 Res 3-21A). Sadly, the decisions of this past week to ignore biblical teaching on human sexuality have reinforced that conclusion. We respect the desire to follow conscience in moral decision making, but conscience may not overrule the Word of God.

We recognize that many brothers and sisters within the ELCA, both clergy and lay, are committed to remaining faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, are committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, and strongly oppose these actions. To them we offer our assurance of loving encouragement together with our willingness to provide appropriate support in their efforts to remain faithful to the Word of God and the historic teachings of the Lutheran church and all other Christian churches for the past 2,000 years.

Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

“Transforming lives through Christ’s love … in time … for eternity …” John 3:16-17

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21 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don Keck
    Sep 27 2009

    Dear Dr. Kieschnick:
    I have grown up in ELCA churches and I was deeply shocked by this decision. I have spoken to many fellow christians and clergy. I have studied scripture and I can not find any reason to support the ELCAs decision. This is causing major discord between my wife and I since I wish to leave and she does not. I appreciate your comments and thank you for them.
    Regards,
    Don Keck

    Reply
  2. Don Keck
    Sep 27 2009

    Dear Dr. Kieschnick:
    I have grown up in ELCA churches and I was deeply shocked by this decision. I have spoken to many fellow christians and clergy. I have studied scripture and I can not find any reason to support the ELCAs decision. This is causing major discord between my wife and I since I wish to leave and she does not. I appreciate your comments and thank you for them.
    Regards,
    Don Keck

    Reply
  3. Pat
    Sep 28 2009

    Don –
    My husband and I have been brought up in the Lutheran church – LCA then ELCA. We are now preparing to transfer to the LCMS. I suggest that you and your wife both check out the ELCA website (www.elca.org) and search “salvation”. We were appalled that the ELCA is teaching universalism – in that everyone, no matter what they believe or even if they deny Jesus, goes to heaven – because there is no sin that God wont forgive, even if you dont ask for forgiveness. It only follows that if there is no sin, then a homosexual cannot be deemed a sinner and the lifestyle must be good in God’s eyes. The next step will be marriages sanctified by the ELCA. We pray for our ELCA friends daily.

    Reply
  4. Pat
    Sep 28 2009

    Don –
    My husband and I have been brought up in the Lutheran church – LCA then ELCA. We are now preparing to transfer to the LCMS. I suggest that you and your wife both check out the ELCA website (www.elca.org) and search “salvation”. We were appalled that the ELCA is teaching universalism – in that everyone, no matter what they believe or even if they deny Jesus, goes to heaven – because there is no sin that God wont forgive, even if you dont ask for forgiveness. It only follows that if there is no sin, then a homosexual cannot be deemed a sinner and the lifestyle must be good in God’s eyes. The next step will be marriages sanctified by the ELCA. We pray for our ELCA friends daily.

    Reply
  5. Oct 22 2009

    I was raised catholic attending catholic schools.
    When I converted to Lutheranism in my local ELCA church I was excited.
    I had found a loving God, not one who punishes you for every thing you did.
    I did not become a Lutheran to point fingers or condemn sinners, if I knew it was going to happen , I would have stayed catholic!!

    Reply
  6. Oct 22 2009

    I was raised catholic attending catholic schools.
    When I converted to Lutheranism in my local ELCA church I was excited.
    I had found a loving God, not one who punishes you for every thing you did.
    I did not become a Lutheran to point fingers or condemn sinners, if I knew it was going to happen , I would have stayed catholic!!

    Reply
  7. Anonymous
    Nov 8 2009

    Don’t you understand what the Bible says about homosexuality? Do you believe the Bible is the word of God or not.
    The Bible is pointing fingers not us.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous
    Nov 8 2009

    Don’t you understand what the Bible says about homosexuality? Do you believe the Bible is the word of God or not.
    The Bible is pointing fingers not us.

    Reply
  9. Ken Meyers
    Nov 24 2009

    One does not have to search very hard to find contradictory scriptures. Jesus is Lord of the church and his life should be the final authority. Jesus never discriminated against anyone. Everyone and anyone was acceptable to be in his company.

    The Church has always been at odds with science. This conflict over homosexuality is just the 21st century equivalent of the Church vs Galileo. Years ago the American Psychological Society, after studying the scientific evidence, determined that homosexuality is a normal form of expressing love. And they went on to declare that attempting to get a person to change could be seriously harmful.

    Reply
  10. Ken Meyers
    Nov 24 2009

    One does not have to search very hard to find contradictory scriptures. Jesus is Lord of the church and his life should be the final authority. Jesus never discriminated against anyone. Everyone and anyone was acceptable to be in his company.

    The Church has always been at odds with science. This conflict over homosexuality is just the 21st century equivalent of the Church vs Galileo. Years ago the American Psychological Society, after studying the scientific evidence, determined that homosexuality is a normal form of expressing love. And they went on to declare that attempting to get a person to change could be seriously harmful.

    Reply
  11. Chris
    Dec 4 2009

    This is a difficult subject. Yes, Jesus never discriminated against anyone, but he also told the woman caught in adultery (a known biblical sin) go and sin no more (John 8:11, NLT).

    Unfortunately the bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. If the spiritual leader of a church knowingly continues sin (by being in a permanent relationship), he or she can not properly lead others.

    What if the pastor is cheating on his wife with 3 girlfriends and has no intention to stop? Does the church just let it go because Jesus loves everybody? The bible tells us these issues need to be addressed.

    When did homosexual behavior become acceptable in the church? Just because the majority of people (and science) think it is acceptable, it becomes acceptable? What’s next, where do we draw the line??

    Chris

    Reply
  12. Chris
    Dec 4 2009

    This is a difficult subject. Yes, Jesus never discriminated against anyone, but he also told the woman caught in adultery (a known biblical sin) go and sin no more (John 8:11, NLT).

    Unfortunately the bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. If the spiritual leader of a church knowingly continues sin (by being in a permanent relationship), he or she can not properly lead others.

    What if the pastor is cheating on his wife with 3 girlfriends and has no intention to stop? Does the church just let it go because Jesus loves everybody? The bible tells us these issues need to be addressed.

    When did homosexual behavior become acceptable in the church? Just because the majority of people (and science) think it is acceptable, it becomes acceptable? What’s next, where do we draw the line??

    Chris

    Reply
  13. Kelly
    Dec 9 2009

    Please do not assume that we in the LCMS despise Homosexuals, as a matter of fact we welcome our Homosexual brothers and sisters as fellow sinners in need of Christ.

    We start every service with a serious CONFESSION of our own sins, the ACCEPTANCE of the gift of repentance followed by the Pastor Declaring the words of Christ to us that we are FORGIVEN.

    Romans 1:26-27 Clearly states God’s position on homosexuality and since the Gospel commands us to declare Repentance and the forgiveness of sins by Christ crucified and His Resurrection, how can our homosexual brothers and sisters receive forgiveness if they do not repent? Or more at the point REFUSE the good gift of repentance given by God.

    I would rather die than hold my tongue as a fellow man or woman(made in God’s image) saunters their way into the gates of hell.

    Reply
  14. Kelly
    Dec 9 2009

    Please do not assume that we in the LCMS despise Homosexuals, as a matter of fact we welcome our Homosexual brothers and sisters as fellow sinners in need of Christ.

    We start every service with a serious CONFESSION of our own sins, the ACCEPTANCE of the gift of repentance followed by the Pastor Declaring the words of Christ to us that we are FORGIVEN.

    Romans 1:26-27 Clearly states God’s position on homosexuality and since the Gospel commands us to declare Repentance and the forgiveness of sins by Christ crucified and His Resurrection, how can our homosexual brothers and sisters receive forgiveness if they do not repent? Or more at the point REFUSE the good gift of repentance given by God.

    I would rather die than hold my tongue as a fellow man or woman(made in God’s image) saunters their way into the gates of hell.

    Reply
  15. Kelly
    Dec 9 2009

    Please do not assume that we in the LCMS despise Homosexuals, as a matter of fact we welcome our Homosexual brothers and sisters as fellow sinners in need of Christ.

    We start every service with a serious CONFESSION of our own sins, the ACCEPTANCE of the gift of repentance followed by the Pastor Declaring the words of Christ to us that we are FORGIVEN.

    Romans 1:26-27 Clearly states God’s position on homosexuality and since the Gospel commands us to declare Repentance and the forgiveness of sins by Christ crucified and His Resurrection, how can our homosexual brothers and sisters receive forgiveness if they do not repent? Or more at the point REFUSE the good gift of repentance given by God.

    I would rather die than hold my tongue as a fellow man or woman(made in God’s image) saunters their way into the gates of hell.

    Reply
  16. Jan 12 2010

    I am a member of the Luther Churcch ( E.L.C.A. in Taneytown , md. and I am very disappointed with the outcome of the vote on allowing homosexuals to become clergy.I have been very active in our church for many years and a Lutheran for over 30 years, however after this outcome I am ready to seek out a church that does not welcome homosexuals to their pulpit. Our church at this time, does not, but we are who we associate with, and I do not want to be assoclated with a religion who’s beliefs I do not agree with.!

    Reply
  17. Jan 12 2010

    I am a member of the Luther Churcch ( E.L.C.A. in Taneytown , md. and I am very disappointed with the outcome of the vote on allowing homosexuals to become clergy.I have been very active in our church for many years and a Lutheran for over 30 years, however after this outcome I am ready to seek out a church that does not welcome homosexuals to their pulpit. Our church at this time, does not, but we are who we associate with, and I do not want to be assoclated with a religion who’s beliefs I do not agree with.!

    Reply
  18. Jan 12 2010

    I am a member of the Luther Churcch ( E.L.C.A. in Taneytown , md. and I am very disappointed with the outcome of the vote on allowing homosexuals to become clergy.I have been very active in our church for many years and a Lutheran for over 30 years, however after this outcome I am ready to seek out a church that does not welcome homosexuals to their pulpit. Our church at this time, does not, but we are who we associate with, and I do not want to be assoclated with a religion who’s beliefs I do not agree with.!

    Reply
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