Skip to comments.Lutheran Theologians Respond to ELCA Task Force Documents
Posted on 03/20/2009 3:10:26 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston
ELCA NEWS SERVICE March 20, 2009
Lutheran Theologians Respond to ELCA Task Force Documents 09-069-MRC
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Three theologians of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) responded unfavorably to content in two documents released by the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality.
The task force released Feb. 19 a proposed social statement on human sexuality and a report recommending a process to consider changes to ministry policies that could make it possible for Lutherans in committed same-gender relationships to serve as ELCA associates in ministry, deaconesses, diaconal ministers and ordained ministers. Recommendations for both documents will be considered at the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the church's chief legislative body, Aug. 17-23 in Minneapolis.
According to the Rev. Carl E. Braaten, the ELCA is at a crossroads. Braaten, Sun City West, Ariz., is co-founder and director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. He's also professor emeritus of systematic theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, one of eight ELCA seminaries.
The social statement "professes not to know the difference between right and wrong on crucial matters of human sexuality," he said. The task force has made "a proposal to the church that takes one side of a controversial issue on which it does not expect that a consensus will emerge soon or ever."
If the ELCA assembly is to adopt the social statement and approve the task force's recommendation, Braaten said, "That would constitute a radical departure from the overwhelming consensus that has prevailed in historic Christianity through 20 centuries." He said many pastors and congregations will choose not to leave the ELCA but "remain and protest as a confessing movement."
According to Dr. Robert D. Benne, the social statement avoids making "normative judgments about homosexual conduct by neglecting the testimony of the Bible and the Christian moral tradition on that issue." Benne is professor emeritus and director of the Center for Religion and Society, Roanoke College, Salem, Va. Roanoke is one of 28 colleges and universities of the ELCA.
"I believe it is incontestable that the Scriptures and the moral teaching of the Christian church throughout the ages -- and presently that of the ecumenical church -- proscribe homosexual relations of any sort," Benne said.
"I am not satisfied with appeals to sincerity and tolerance, especially since I think Christian teaching is clear. And I am certainly not satisfied with those appeals when the recommendations of the task force lead to no teachings at all on the subject, but yet lead to sharp changes in practice," he said.
"There definitely is a sense in which we can live with our differences when it comes to public policy," Benne said. "But the sexuality issues under discussion have to do with the teaching and practice of the church. They strike much closer to the core of Christian life and teaching -- what does it mean to love the neighbor in sexual matters?"
The Rev. Paul R. Hinlicky, Roanoke's Tice Professor in Lutheran Studies, said he's contemplating a "divorce." "Not from my wife of 35 years, but from my denomination." He wrote for The Lutheran Forum that the ELCA "has come up with a different plan for a new future," putting "our covenant itself to a vote in August."
"The historic Christian tradition and the Lutheran Confessions have recognized marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman," said Hinlicky. But they appear in the proposed social statement "as memories of the way we used to be." He noted that some in the larger Christian community conclude that marriage is "also the appropriate term to use in describing similar benefits, protection, and support same-gender couples entering into lifelong monogamous relationships."
"The real voice of the people of God across the world and through the ages seems to matter not at all," said Hinlicky, "any more than Holy Scripture as parsed by the Lutheran Confessions. Surely, this church's congregations, if given an honest and secret ballot would overwhelmingly reject the manipulation of language and meaning involved in calling marriage anything other than that relation in Scripture and Confession."
- - -
The task force's report and recommendation on ministry policies and social statement are available at http://www.ELCA.org/faithfuljourney on the ELCA Web site.
Robert Benne's comments are available at http://tinyurl.com/cjtxwu
Carl Braaten's comments are at http://tinyurl.com/d22hg8 and
Paul Hinlicky's comments are at http://tinyurl.com/cz4jar on the Internet.
For information contact: John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or email@example.com http://www.elca.org/news
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog
Sadly, I agree with that. Happily, though, the exodus of individuals and families will continue apace.
Anybody for a MASS exodus to LCMS?
Both Carl Bratten and Bob Benne were professors of mine back in the 70’s. I continue to respect their efforts but am thankful that the Lord released me from the ELCA in 1989 and has allowed me to serve as a pastor in the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.
We are all sinners. We have Ministers that were alcoholics, drug users, thieves. Nothing wrong with them becoming Ministers when they have accepted Jesus Christ,confessed their sins.
That does not mean they can continue to be drunks, drug addicts or crooks.
So how do homosexuals get to be Ministers and to continue with their sin?
This is totally ridiculous and only makes it extremely difficult in teaching our children against the wages of sin.
These religions /churches that are accepting the sin of homosexuality for whatever reason are weakening Religion in general and doing harm to us all.
When the ALC and LCA presented their arguments for the ordination of women into the Holy Ministry, it opened Pandora’s Box. All of a sudden what the church believed and practiced for twenty centuries is important, but those things were ignored when it came to women’s ordination. The ELCA adopted its usual cultural relativism approach to deciding theological issues. The Scriptures and the practice of church catholic are replaced by a liberal and secular agenda. There were many that predicted that eventually the ELCA would be ordaining practicing homosexuals into the Holy Ministry, and the leaders at that time within the ELCA said that would never happen.
God bless you and your work, my friend.
There are about 25 flavors of Lutheran ice cream other than LCMS, WELS, or elca, including ALFC and this one, the new kid on the block, LCMC. Found at lcmc.net. That is where I call home.
Last time I checked the ELCA.org website, their official policy on abortion was they are for it. They take about 3 webpages to kind of “say” that though. False church.
I did it over 3 years ago. I saw this coming and saved my son from it.
At long last, the ELCA News Service is becoming “fair and balanced”.
Keep a Good Lent!
Be sure also to read:
Pastoral Guidance Concerning Same-Sex Unions (Society of the Holy Trinity )
Mr. CGG and I left the ELCA for LCMS at least 15 years ago and couldn’t be happier. We have found a church home that is firmly rooted in the Word. It’s exactly what we want.
Easy. you get some exegetic weasels to reinterpret the scriptures so that they don't really smean that homosexual behavior is a sin. They re-translate the old Greek to make it into something vague and ambiguous and therefore worthy of being disregarded.
Seriously. The ELCA is in the process of redefining homosexual behavior as not sinful after all. Whuddahsupprise
I’m glad that the ELCA still has many conservatives. Have you contacted the CORE leaders and/or synod leaders, to tell them your views about ordaining gays? I emailed about five CORE leaders and said that I agree with them. Next week, I’ll email about 15 synod leaders and tell them that no Christian church should consider ordaining gays or holding gay weddings.
“I am not satisfied with appeals to sincerity and tolerance, especially since I think Christian teaching is clear. And I am certainly not satisfied with those appeals when the recommendations of the task force lead to no teachings at all on the subject, but yet lead to sharp changes in practice,” he said.
Well said, because the appeals are NOT sincere, nor are they tolerant.
The hierarchy of ELCA will be tied up talking about this issue until those with an agenda place enough leaders on such a task force or enough of those teaching from the Bible are finally aliented and leave the communion.
They’ll try to make you vote until you “get it right.”
Best of luck, my Lutheran firends. Our prayers are with you. I would hate to see the homosexual lobby break-up all the beautiful old churches (and congregations) in my area just to suit their own selfish desires!
I did it over 3 years ago. I saw this coming and saved my son from it.
Mr. CGG and I left the ELCA for LCMS at least 15 years ago and couldnt be happier. We have found a church home that is firmly rooted in the Word. Its exactly what we want.
As a lifetime LCMS member, welcome to those that have already come to our Synod, and Bertha, I think you will love our church. Several of our recent new members are former ECLA members and they are very happy with the LCMS. I have visited several other Lutheran Synods and other denominations during my life (when visiting friends), but always thank God for my home church.
One LCMS pastor put it this way: "We preach the Word. We don't translate the Word to suit our need at the time."
What a travesty. My devout German Lutheran grandparents helped build that church. Can you image if they would see their "church" now.
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