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September 22, 2009

Scripture Isn't Clear?

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

“Scripture is not clear on a lot of sexual issues,” said the Rev. Stan Abraham, pastor at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Soquel and Trinity Lutheran Church in Watsonville. “And because it is not a cut-and-dry issue, the ELCA’s decision is reasonable at this particular time.”

The Missouri Synod’s position is that you can be a gay or lesbian member of the church, but not a practicing clergy member, celibate or not.

“It was a good decision for the ELCA to allow each congregation to decide whether or not they want to allow for the ordination of gay men and lesbians in committed relationships,” said Abraham. “The decision will not impact the good relationships we have with our colleagues at the ELCA.”

I have said it many times — the problem with Christianity is Christians. We bring our own sinful biases into the church, whether they be on social issues or political ones, and we tend to make these more about ourselves and our biases than the Word of God. To be honest, I’ve done it enough in my short ministry that I try to always take a breather or go for a walk before I either open my mouth and insert my foot. I pray that “foot in mouth” issues become less of a problem for me in the future than they have in my past.

This is something all clergy people should pray for and work towards. Why?

When an LC-MS pastor says that the Word of God isn’t clear on sexual issues, well, before he inserted his foot he should have opened up the Bible.

The Bible is clear — sex is a gift from God that is supposed to be within the confines of a marriage. While society believes sex is just sex and everyone should be doing it, God tells us otherwise. It is not that hard; we have the Word and that is what we preach.

But we also preach the repentance of the sinner and forgiveness given to each of us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Absolved of sin, we are obligated as those who forgiven to act better, to work in our lives to be better people. This includes the areas of intimacy.

This is where the church must stand. If sex outside the marriage bed is wantonly accepted, then God’s Word is ignored. The Church must never ignore the Word, no matter how much the people want us to.

That is why I am disappointed in Pastor Abraham. The sins of sex are cut and dry. But so is forgiveness through Christ to those who break them.

Read more from ELCA, LCMS

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