The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod overwhelmingly passed a resolution reaffirming its traditional, biblical stance on gender identity and sexual orientation, while also calling for churches to “minister compassionately” to people who identify as LGBT.
At the LCMS’ 67th Regular Convention in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday, Resolution 11-03A, titled “To Encourage Synod to Develop Resources to Aid Congregations and Schools regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues,” passed with 96.8% of the vote.
Among its points, the resolution reaffirmed “the biblical truth that God created humanity as male and female” and commended people who “continue to live chaste and decent lives in repentant faith” in spite of “same-sex attraction and gender identity confusion.”
It also condemned “acts of abuse” against LGBT individuals and called upon churches to "minister compassionately” to people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Floor Committee 11 Chairman, the Rev. Terry Forke, president of the LCMS Montana District, said that issues of sexual orientation and gender identity “are in people’s lives every single day.”
“They don’t know how to handle it, they’re afraid,” said Forke, as quoted by blogs.lcms.org. “So we thought it was very important to encourage our people to recognize these issues as a way to demonstrate the love of Christ to people who are lost and confused and need a word of help.”
As the LGBT movement continues to hold wide acceptance in mainstream American culture, some theologically conservative churches are making strides to clarify their stance on the matter.
Last month, for example, the Presbyterian Church in America's General Assembly voted to approve an overture endorsing the Nashville Statement.
“’The Nashville Statement,’ carefully worked out by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in 2017, is a timely statement that speaks into the current confusion surrounding gender and sexuality within the evangelical church (including the PCA) and the broader culture,” stated the Overture, approved by the PCA in a vote of 803 to 541.
“Signed by many leaders within the Reformed and evangelical world, it is a balanced and biblically faithful attempt to ‘speak the truth in love’ (Eph. 4:15) on one of the most pivotal and controversial issues facing the church today.”
Held in Tampa, Florida, from July 20-25, the LCMS convention was centered on the theme of “Joyfully Lutheran,” which was inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” reads the Bible passage, as rendered by the New International Version.