Skip to comments.ELCA Taskforce Recomends Non-Enforcement of Current Sex Policy
Posted on 01/13/2005 11:02:08 AM PST by sauerkraut
The ELCA Sexuality Study Taskforce, created by the 2001 Churchwide Assembly, has recommended that the ELCA keep current policies opposing the ordination of clergy actively in same sex relationships and the blessing of same sex unions, but then advises ELCA bishops not to enforce them.
In effect this means that the taskforce is actually recommending what is known as local option, meaning that any bishop or congregation can do whatever they want on such issues, no matter how widely a practice may conflict with Christian teaching. Local option is not acceptable to traditional Christians because it creates chaos, confusion and division in the church by subverting genuine Christian teachings.
All peopleincluding individuals engaged in same sex behavior--are welcome in Christian churches to receive the call to repent from sin and receive the divine gift of new life through the gracious love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
However, biblical faithful ELCA members are not willing to change the Word of God in order to fit current expressions of sexual behavior that have become more prominent in western culture. Traditional Christians believe that the teachings of scripture continue to apply to Christians today and offer new life and salvation through transformed lives.
The report was confidentially released to ELCA clergy on January 12, 2005, and was made public at noon on January 13, 2005. It also included several minority reports which called for the retention and enforcement of current policies, and alternatively for radical changes for those in engaged in same sex behavior.
It was clear that the taskforce report is an attempt to appease the great super majority of ELCA members who apparently support the traditional teachings of the church on human sexual behaviorbased on the Biblewhich are taught by Christian churches throughout the world. Only a few, small sectarian radicals in ultraliberal denominations like the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ in the U.S. and the Church of Sweden in Europe, have departed from the universally held norm. The ELCA report includes statisticsbased upon the number of respondents who contacted the taskforce--which indicate that only a very tiny minority of ELCA membersless than 15%--actually favor any change to current policy.
However, the ELCA is rapidly losing members--dropping from 5.2 million members to 4.9 million members since 1999--due to the reckless leadership of radical liberal leaders like ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson. Giving to the national church has also plummeting in the ELCA, forcing the ELCA to eliminate some 70 churchwide employees last year alone. Radical leaders like Hanson, some bishops, seminary professors and pastors, have openly created division and dissention within the ELCA by promoting policies which directly contradict the Bible and official Lutheran doctrine. The ELCA study exemplifies the great ideological disparity between national and synod level bureaucrats over and against the vast majority of the ELCA members, who remain faithful to the traditional teachings of scripture.
The taskforce report is an apparent attempt to avoid an outright schism within the ELCA by calling for no official change in policy, but then caters radicals by asking bishops to refuse to enforce these very same policies in regard to the blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of clergy openly involved in same sex behavior.
Such maneuvers appear to be the last gasps of a dying church body. How can any church body be united in mission if it cant be united in theology, practice and biblical interpretation? How can an authentic expression of the Christian church allow for open departures from basic Christian teaching?
And how can a church body survive when it makes lip service to policies and doctrines but then turns the enforcement of those policies into some kind of joke? Could a community, for example, position speed limit signs along its roads and then ask the police to not enforce the speed limits? Would there not be serious ramifications for such reckless irresponsibility by having drivers drive at any speed they choose, and thus endangering the community as a whole?
By calling for bishops to abdicate the enforcement of discipline with clergy involved in same sex behavior for reasons of good conscience, the ELCA also opens the door for clergy to also demand for the acceptance of multiple partners as well as many other sexual aberrations. How could a bishop have any influence over a pastor, for example, engaged in an extramarital affair or initiating a sexual relationship with a parishioner or a member of the congregations youth group?
Last year, the director of the study, the Rev. Dr. James Childs, a professor at Trinity Seminary, Columbus, OH, was listed as a defendant in a successful multimillion dollar lawsuit placed against the ELCA, a Texas synod, and Trinity Seminary. This suit was directly the result of the non-enforcement of current ELCA sexuality policies in regard to a pastor who was convicted of pedophilia, child pornography and inappropriate acts with teenage boys. A lot of young people and their families suffered because of the alleged negligence of ELCA leaders in regard to the enforcement of Christian teachings and current policy in regard to clergy sexual behavior .
Apparently, the ELCA did not much mind the legal crisis and human cost which will likely now continue and begin to emerge even more frequently by not enforcing basic Christian standards of behavior.
While the ELCA taskforce may have made these specific recommendations in order to avoid an immediate schism, in the end these recommendations can only result in the complete collapse of the ELCA.
And in the meantime, other than the glee expressed by self-identified gay activists, the only real benefactors of the taskforce report will be the litigious trial lawyers.
VERBUM DEI MANET IN AETERNUM
The Rev Christopher Hershman MA STM DMin
You're kidding, right?
I don't have all the links saved from my infoquest last year, but I investigated other Lutheran denominations and came away with a definite 'no' for LCMS. They were heavily divided, as they were decades ago, and it sounded like serious fighting at their annual high-level meeting, which included their top people. I would suggest a current websearch on them and related topics, looking deep, including their high-level meeting minutes. There are a lot of highly unaware folks in ELCA churches; hopefully it's not the same at LCMS.
The LCMS has always had infighting. I think it is what old Lutherans do for fun. The fighting since 2000 has been about the Synod leaders and their approach to thing like 911.
WELS has its own problems also.
LCMS (I was a convention delegate) is divided along the lines of doctrine and practice (modern marketing schemes substituted for mission and worship). Many think that the division is over doctrine and mission but...they're just wrong AFAIC.
The feminazi voices are not as loud as they think themsleves to be.
WELS and ELS are the most likely refuge of many who will leave (my count shows about 1/3 of the 6200 "congregations") but both WELS and ELS have a an active contingent of those who prefer a "business model" approach to church as well as some trouble with their teachings regarding the Office of Holy Ministry (overly broad in respect to the practice of laymen and overly narrow in respect to the clergy themselves).
An apt description.
Well, as long as there's food!
Apparently, they are keeping gay acceptance at bay.
This was an interesting site on LCMS when I was searching: http://www.reclaimingwalther.org/
From the report at http://www.elcawebstatus.org/tfreport.pdf page 10:
"The majority of the responses expressed opposition to the blessing of same-sex unions and to the ordaining, commissioning, or consecrating of people in such partnerships. However, a significant number of responses expressed approval of such practices. Others proposed alternatives that would permit those congregations or synods that wish to call partnered gay and lesbian candidates to do so without making it the policy of the whole church. Still others counseled delay in decision or gave no opinion."
LOL - I think ALL the synods have had infighting. Have certainly seen my fair share of it! :)
I should have seen this coming - ELCA congregations have already "enjoyed" this "local approach" on a variety of other topics.
The lack of a Theological backbone on issues like this is one of the things that pushed my wife over to Catholicism. I'm staying on in the (perhaps vain) hope I can still have some influence in my local church to somehow counteract the influences of the liberal synodical leadership. By all accounts we "biblical faithful ELCA members," as he puts it, still comprise a substantial majority of the ELCA.
I am sure you didn't mean decades ago. The ELCA has only been in existence for 17 years -- one decade and 7 years...
I don't know. The LCMS fights are sometimes pretty nasty. For instance, when I was a child my LCMS school was closed because the principal had the nerve to invite black children ohmygodalmighty to sing for a Sunday service.
As it stands, this recommendation is to be voted on by the national assembly in August. There are lay as well as preacher delegates, and I would guess there will be a lot of jockeying before then to avoid putting this reco to an up-or-down vote. There will be some interesting fireworks in August, regardless.
One approach is to move to require a two-thirds majority. This would sink the reco without a trace, but would be difficult to pass.
The other approach is to defer voting on the reco as a whole, tabling the measure for an indefinite future. This would cause the homosexuals to raise havoc, as they are salivating to get married in "Lutheran" churches, and get jobs as preachers. This probably will not be done by the colluders in charge, UNLESS it is tacitly understood to include the "no enforcement" provision alluded to, ie the frog-in-the-saucepan analogy you cite.
Even at that, though, the homosexuals may not be willing to go along. They are demnding equal "dignity" and public approval, not just tacit acceptance.
Bottom line, schism will be a fact whether the apostates want it or not. Actually they don't much care. More than once I have read in The Lutheran, "disagree or protest if you want, just don't take it out on our 'ministries' by with-holding offerings."
The future of the ELCA as a coherent denomination will be determined in August, at the latest.
While biblically faithful ELCA members may still comprise a substantial majority of the ELCA, they are so silent. And, I believe, highly uninformed (by their own choice?). Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren succumb to false teaching. Did you know the Lutheran Youth Organization of ELCA voted last year on these issues? Guess what they decided?
A friend of mine held out hope for the ECUSA, until pro-gay teaching showed up in their children's Sunday School literature. They're now in a non-denominational congregation. I've come to believe that the considerations for parents of young children (like me) vs. empty nesters is significant with these issues.
And, I believe, highly uninformed (by their own choice?).
Also true, and unfortunately a probable cause of your first observation. Even some of the older members I've seen in congregations would rather just "not deal" with issues like this because they're afraid of conflict. Or even worse they haven't a sufficient grasp of the word to be able to debate effectively on the subject. We've drifted a long ways away from the primacy of The Word as Luther taught. It's aggravating because it was Luther that advocated getting the Word of God into the vernacular language in the first place.
Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren succumb to false teaching.
No self-respecting parent I know would subject their children to such heresy, or live in a congregation that actively advocated such. When my child starts Sunday School, I'm confident that OUR Sunday School teachers will "walk the walk." If I'm wrong, I'll follow your good friends' lead.
Problem is, if we keep leapfrogging congregations and denominations as opposed to engaging the falsehoods and working to turn the Church around (and I'm not just talking about Lutheranism), we are merely succumbing to the powers of darkness and allowing the Church to be subverted. Where do we draw the line?
Joy and Peace,
"Where do we draw the line?"
I'm not sure. In the congregation we left, key leaders chose to avoid conflict, and the pastor sided with the ELCA. So, I was faced with either fighting or fleeing. I chose not to drag my young children through a spiritual environment of fighting and false teaching. Rather, we left to seek a church which will equip and armor them for the world around them with the true word (which we think we've found, and what a change!).
Comprimise here, comprimise there, pretty soon, you're really comprimised.
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