As conservative congregations ponder leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over its decision to give the green light to noncelibate gay clergy, one minister says there are Lutherans returning to the denomination because of the gay-affirming vote.
"I hope the story of people returning to the church gets told," the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling told the ELCA News Service. "We hear a lot about those who are in pain because of the changes and talk about leaving."
Last month, during the churchwide assembly of ELCA's chief legislative body, delegates voted 559-451 to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in "life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships" to be ordained. more >>
Though the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) decided last month to adopt policies that disregard the long-standing – not to mention biblical – understanding of homosexuality as sin, the church body’s leader is urging his flock to continue the conversation on this topic and others.
“I opened our recent Churchwide Assembly with these questions: ‘What shall be our witness?’ ‘What stories shall we tell?’” noted ELCA’s presiding bishop, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, in a video message posted on the newly launched "Our Faithful Mission Together" section of the denomination's website. “Those questions remain before us.”
Last month, during the triennial gathering of ELCA’s chief legislative body, delegates voted 559-451 to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in “life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships” to be ordained. more >>
The Reformed Church in America has no plans to end its full communion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the Lutherans' recent vote to allow noncelibate homosexuals to be ordained.
"Cutting ties with the ELCA over their Assembly’s narrow decision would witness to the world that Christians will fight and divide themselves from one another, and break the bonds of Christian fellowship, over such an ethical difference," RCA spokesman Paul Boice told The Christian Post.
More than ten years have passed since the two denominations entered into full communion and began recognizing each other "as churches in which the gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered according to the Word of God" and providing for the orderly exchange of ordained ministers. more >>
Preachers all over the world have had plenty to say about the tornado that swept through downtown Minneapolis on August 19th, 2009. It was 2:00 p.m. when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathered to begin deliberations on a new sexuality statement that allows gay marriage and set the stage for the ordination of practicing gay clergy. It was 2:01 p.m. that the tornado touched down, knocking the cross off the steeple of Central Lutheran Church, the largest ELCA Cathedral in North and South America, where the assembly gathered for worship. By the end of the afternoon the assembly endorsed the sexuality statement which prevailed with 66.6 percent of the vote. It was exactly 10 years to the day that the ELCA accepted the Historic Episcopate in their full communion agreement with the Episcopal Church- who also voted recently to accept gay marriage and the ordination of practicing gay clergy.
The leaders of the Lutheran reform movement declared confirmed confidence in their positions against the proposals and saw the tornado as a warning to proponents. Rev. John Piper agreed. An eyewitness of the funnel cloud, he was completely certain that the tornado was a sign of God’s judgment against the denomination.
But I disagree. more >>
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wrapped up its 2009 Churchwide Assembly on Sunday with calls for caution as well as unity.
Just before members returned to their respective cities, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson urged them to be cautious in their reports to their congregations and not to use the word "fear."
After pledging to speak well of those who attended this year's assembly and of the denomination, Hanson said, "One way I will speak well of you is not to use the word 'fear' to describe those who oppose the actions that prevailed in many of our discussions. It's not helpful to our life together. It's not respectful of deeply held convictions shaped by theology and Scripture and faith," as reported by the ELCA News Service. more >>
The president of the second largest Lutheran denomination in America told delegates of the largest that their decisions this past week to allow and support rostering of those in “life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships” would “undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony” in their church body and beyond.
“I speak these … words in deep humility, with a heavy heart and no desire whatsoever to offend,” the Rev. Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), told the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly on Saturday.
“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,” he added on the second-to-last day of the weeklong gathering of ELCA’s chief legislative authority. “It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies.” more >>