From the AP – ELCA Reinstates Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pastors, by Pr. Rossow

I was at a wedding reception last night and referred to the ELCA as “apostate.” Not everyone appreciated that determination. I realize it is debatable but to me, the ELCA is beyond being a mixed (heterodox) denomination. I realize there are still believing Christians in the denomination but for the life of me I cannot figure out why they stay. The ones I have talked to have admitted that neither they nor there pastors are doing anything to protest the decisions of the ELCA General Assembly. That makes no sense to me.

Thanks to Pr. Roger Gallup for alerting us to this Associated Press story. It reminds us how far the ELCA has moved away from Christ’s true word and how important it is for us in the LCMS and for all Christians, to beware of adapting the culture to the Christian faith.

SAN FRANCISCO — Seven pastors who work in the San Francisco Bay area and were barred from serving in America’s largest Lutheran group because of a policy that required gay clergy to be celibate are being welcomed into the denomination.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will add six of the pastors to its clergy roster at a service at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco on Sunday. Another pastor who was expelled from the church, but was later reinstated, will participate in the service.

The group is among the first gay, bisexual or transgender Lutheran pastors to be reinstated or added to the rolls of the ELCA since the organization voted last year to lift the policy requiring celibacy.

Churches can now hire noncelibate gay clergy who are in committed relationships.

“It’s going to be an extremely glorious and festive ceremony because it’s the culmination of decades of work to welcome LGBT people into the ELCA,” said Amalia Vagts, executive director of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, a nonprofit that credentials openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for ministry.

Megan Rohrer, one of the pastors who will participate in Sunday’s rite of reception service, grew up in South Dakota and attended a Lutheran college where she said students tried to exorcise her “gay demons” by throwing holy water on her. Some of those people are now Lutheran pastors in South Dakota, she said.

Rohrer, who is transgender and a lesbian, was ordained by four congregations in San Francisco in 2006, but could not join the ELCA roster until the denomination’s national assembly approved the new policy in August.

“I didn’t really believe the policy was going to change as quickly as it did,” she said.

Rohrer said she is hopeful Sunday’s service will be a “symbol” to young people that the Lutheran church is working toward becoming more welcoming of people of all different backgrounds.

Jeff Johnson, another one of the pastors who will be added to the roster, said the ELCA’s position for years of not accepting the choice of some congregations to ordain gay clergy was painful and disappointing.

“The actions the church is taking on Sunday affirms the decisions of those congregations,” Johnson, pastor of the University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley, said. “The church is respecting our family, our partners, the choices we’re making.”

A small number of congregations have voted to leave the ELCA in response to the August vote. Johnson and Rohrer want Sunday’s service to heal some of the rifts.
Johnson said the goal, in part, is to show people the church has space for many different opinions.

“There’s room for them,” he said. “It’s a tolerant church.”
The special rite of reception that will be used for the first time on Sunday was developed specifically to welcome gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pastors, said Melissa Ramirez Cooper, a spokeswoman for the ELCA.

Two more rite of reception services are scheduled for September in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area and another will follow in Chicago ,Cooper said.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

From the AP – ELCA Reinstates Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pastors, by Pr. Rossow — 82 Comments

  1. @Rose #48
    Rose,

    Valpo ceased being Lutheran many years ago in every way except in its name. With the ever increasing number of non church worker related course being offered at our own Universities, I have the same concern about them. They give out more and better scholarships to those not in the church worker programs. I know because two of my chidlren attended one of the Concordias. I warn children as much as a pastor is able. Please note that many of the things that effect Valpo also effect our Concordias! I know of at least four where there is open communion practices in the campus chapel and such things. I am confident that our campuses also have their share of homosexuals attending classes. Whether they are open or not I would not know. I know that our seminaries while they do a great job, must not convince some people because I had the unfortunate obligation as a circuit counselor to preach in a congregation whose pastor admitted he was a homosexual and had been since early in his college days. This is not a condemnation of what the seminaries are doing but I am simply pointing out a fact of how well they are able to disguise themselves as being non homosexual.

    Other than that what I have always done is point out that God still considers it a sin for which repentance must come. Same as with adultery, and other types of sexual sins.

    IF this has not answered your question to me, then hit me again and I will try again.

  2. @Rev. Roger Sterle #51

    “I know that our seminaries while they do a great job, must not convince some people because I had the unfortunate obligation as a circuit counselor to preach in a congregation whose pastor admitted he was a homosexual and had been since early in his college days.”

    Do you mean he had told the congregation, and then quit?

  3. @Joe Sarnowski #5

    There is another, less “sinister” reason: some of them consider their church “home” and would prefer to “fight” for their homes rather than just abandon them. I don’t know if its the right decision or not, but it certainly is motivated by the right reason (in my opinion).

  4. I think we have to keep joint-ministry and joint mercy work separate.

    During my freshman year in college the University Lutheran Chapel at the Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis was a “joint ministry” of the LC-MS, ALC, LCA and AELC (OK, I’m getting old.) The
    LC-MS ended this joint ministry my sophomore year, and the conventional wisdom was that this action would end Lutheran campus ministry at the U of M because the congregation was too small to support two centers. What happened though was that, once both groups were free to stop walking on egg shells and be themselves, both independent centers ended up larger than the joint one had been. I haven’t kept up w/ the ELCA folk, but the LC-MS Chapel on the U of M campus (www.ulcmn.org) is still a thriving Confessional powerhouse. In my experience joint ministry per se impairs the “witness” of both the LC-MS and ELCA. There’s no “upside” to doing that.

    I can support our new President in his call for joint efforts w/ ELCA in charity work though, because If I or my family had malaria in Africa, there’s a good chance that I’d be more interested in reducing administrative costs and efficiently getting medical care to folks like me. If we pay twice as many administrators to do the same work, it means less money for meds and doctors, and more sick and dead people.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  5. What are your thoughts on Thrivent? Should we comingle our funds w/ELCA? Does ELCA have a separate LCEF-type foundation for planting churches or do they use Thrivent funds?

  6. Rose,
    I might be the wrong person to ask on that. I buy insurance to protect my family in case I die before retirement, not as a theological statement. I do the same thing w/ plumbers, mechanics, roofers etc., I’m looking for vocational competence, not a yellow-pages advert w/ a fish, or Luther Rose next to the phone number.
    It might not apply, but I seem to remember the LCEF board elections bucking the general pro-Harrison convention trend.
    Sorry for my Thrivent knowledge gap,
    -Matt Mills

  7. The technique in comment #28 of closing one’s eyes is dangerous. Laity in all denominations need to keep their eyes wide open, their ears open, and guided by sound theology and doctrine, call unrepentant sinners to repentance, or else leave.
    “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14.

  8. @Pumpf #53
    Where in God’s Word does it say we need to stay in a church of false doctrine and fight? But, there are plenty of Romans 16:17 directions. Also read 2 John 1ff, Titus, 2 Cor. 6:1ff, 1 Timothy 1,2,6 …you are compelled to leave!

    According to our Lord, the most dangerous thing on earth….is false doctrine!

  9. REsponding to a few points: Thrivent, which used to be AAL and Lutheran Brotherhood. We accept life insurance these days, but when AAL was started (one of my ancestors had policy #1) it was a theological scandal. What, you mean you aren’t relying on God to take care of you? Interesting how “we’ve changed our minds” on this, right or wrongly.

    Regarding whether disgruntled ELCA people should move into an LCMS church, I’d just say, what makes any LCMS person think that the judgmental attitude demonstrated by many LCMS people on the web, in blogs, in semi-official web sites, etc. is welcoming? Jesus spoke pretty harshly about judgementalism. This attitude that seems to say that any other Christians aren’t quite a pure as those in the LCMS seems to be heresy to me. I’ve seen much written on LCMS websites about the necessity for (LCMS) liturgy, (LCMS) hymns, etc. While I love liturgy and I love many (most?) of the old hymns, I would venture to say that insisting on them as part of pure worship and an necessary to be be truly LCMS, ie “truly Christian” is works righteousness.

    No we are saved by grace. And we all sin, so we all need that grace. Grace freely given to those who believe. Believe in Jesus, not believe in all the specific words of the Bible. I’m not in any way implying that I’m not a Bible believer, but rather, that I’d still be saved if I had never even read the Bible. Or if I had only a simplistic knowledge of the Bible stories.

    Look at the other sins listed in the same paragraphs with the sexual sin references and see if there is anybody you know who escapes from committing at least one of these sins. Yes, we all need grace and we need to look at other Christians as our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  10. Lois,
    Yes, we try to escape from sin. When we fail, we repent of sin.
    But we don’t practice sin.
    We don’t affirm lifelong, committed relationships with/in sin.

  11. Rose :
    Lois,
    Yes, we try to escape from sin. When we fail, we repent of sin.
    But we don’t practice sin.
    We don’t affirm lifelong, committed relationships with/in sin.

    This hits on the head the problem I see in dealing with this issue. I honestly believe that we believe that sexual sins are worse than other sins, which is wrong. I am sure there are plenty of people in the church who commit one sin or another that they are unrepentant of whether they are aware of the sin or not. I am not excusing sexual sins. While what the ELCA is doing is scandalous, I am concerned that we as a synod are being equally scandalous by not doing enough for those who are homosexual. The issue is not as cut and dry as we would like it to be. I struggle with this issue because of the family members I have that are gay and the friends and colleagues who are gay. I have known some church workers who are gay and have since left the church. How do we minister to them? We address this issue like we would a man and woman who are living together. It is harder to say that to someone who is gay, because it also is a denial of who they are. I think this issue needs to be treated with far more Gospel than law. How can we tell them that Jesus does not love them for who they are. Yes I know He loves them, but to them that is a different story.

  12. Old, old tired arguments, Lois. Life insurance and homosexual pastors are hardly the same issue. LCMS members do not think they are purer than others, but at least we know where the back door of our church is if it should ever become the unrepentant, heretical ELCA.@Lois #59

  13. andrew :
    @lutheranlady #44
    Yes Homosexuality is a sin. But preaching the Law alone will not fix it. The idea that you can fix people with the Law is very non-Lutheran theology, yet, in this particular issue it is the method most used.
    That being said, however, Lutheran theology requires that a person repent and DESIRE to change his or her life. That is as far as the Law can go. Forgiveness precedes the change itself, including the ability to stop behavior. The Gospel must be offered at repentance, not withheld until the behavior ends.

    [snipped here]

    Further, we have done a very good job of preaching the Law. I seriously doubt there is a single person in the gay life today who has any misunderstanding of how the conservative churches view their behavior. I have met literally hundreds of people who have left the gay lifestyle. I also have a handful of friends in the gay lifestyle. I have yet to meet one single homosexual who did not know clearly that the conservative Church says homosexuality is wrong. We have preached the Law. We must continue to preach the Law. but the Law changes absolutely NO ONE.

    QUOTED FOR TRUTH. In my field/subculture, I have encountered many people from Christian backgrounds who are now away from the Faith because of not just “Law only”-application, but actual spiritual, emotional and physical abuse. Met a person who is now a Buddhist, and still resents and had flashbacks of the behavioral reprogramming the Calvinist parents forced the person to attend, amongst other things.

    I’m not squicking over the 6th Commandment. That’s iron clad. Single guys in the ministry should wait until male/female marriage or practice chastity when called to do so. I’m squicking over how nonLutheran Christians assumed that if you change the behavior and force men and women to have a sexual response towards the opposite sex–Pavlov style, you will be no longer ‘gay’. I get disgusted over people getting abused and ostracized by communities and disowned by families.

    I recommend reading some articles by Eve Tushnet, a celibate Catholic lesbian. She offers an alternative between pretending to be straight and embracing nonmarital sexuality: the gift of friendship as a discipline. Mind you, she bases things on her Catholic theology.

    (I know I’m opening a can of worms. Don’t question my quia-ness or my Christian convictions. I’m sensitive. :/ )

  14. @Andrew Strickland #61
    Andrew, what do you want us to be doing for the homosexual?

    The ones I know are “fine, thank you.” Don’t tell them there is anything wrong with what they do. They don’t intend to listen. And now that their ‘lutheran’ church approves, why should they?

  15. @Helen #64
    Helen,
    That is the 20 billion dollar question. This is not an issue of some condone it, but we do not. This is a serious issue and is not being addressed sufficiently in the LCMS. Why don’t they listen? They do not listen because they are being rejected. I do not see rejecting people as the right answer. Not all are rejected in the LCMS, but the larger message that comes across is one of rejection and people seem to be ok with that. I know there is a huge danger here, how do you minister to people who have hardened hearts. Option A: Go down the road of the ELCA, Anglicans, or several other denominations and call it not a sin.
    Option B: Push them away-we don’t need them.
    Option C: Ignore it
    Option D: Reach out to them with the Gospel with a healthy mixture of law. Far to often in our synod option b and c are used.

  16. @Father Robert #58
    My first reaction would be to get out. But I think (dangerous, eh) it is noteworthy that some people still consider their church families as “families” and want to change them. Like I said, I think I’d have to leave… but who is going to exert more “pressure” on the ELCA to change- me (LCMS pastor) or the members of the ELCA?

    Obviously, they are not “there” because they agree with things… and are actively working to bring the ELCA back into conformity with God’s Word. Even as I type this, I realize the next question: where were they 20 years ago?

  17. The days of “being in dialogue” with the apostate ELCA should now be OVER. We have, in our Lord’s love, been “in dialogue” with the ELCA since their diabolic inception in 1988. See how much “influence” the LCMS has had on the ELCA? When will we learn, and when will we admit that the “cry for more dialogue” is overwhelmingly coming from Seminexers in the LCMS who continue to “hope” we will one day be with the ELCA? The ELCA is not Evangelical, nor is she Lutheran. We confuse the “Lutheran” world by continuing to pretend the ELCA is either Evangelical or Lutheran. The days of dialogue should now be over, in our Lord’s love. Apostate is apostate. Lord, have mercy.

  18. @Johannes #67
    Johannes,

    Thanks for posting that – I actually wound up advising that task force anonymously. A quote or two in there are mine and I noticed they used some of what I wrote in the text itself. I mention that because I have always been very happy with the way it turned out. But I have been disappointed in how little it has been utilized.

    In the end, there was one big flaw in that document – it was intended to be used when a person comes to the pastor and says, “I am homosexual.” In the 13 years since it was released I have asked many pastors if they have read it. Probably about 70% say no. Usually the reason is that they have never had anyone come to them and confessed homosexuality.

    Waiting for someone to come to us before dealing with homosexuality in a Law/Gospel manner is too late. By the time a person is open about their temptation they have almost always determined which way to go already, whether to practice celibacy or to look for a “partner.” At that point we are too often dealing with a person whose mind is made up and who may have a hardened heart. All we can do at that point is to offer the Word of God, point to the cross while remaining firm on our stance that homosexual behavior is wrong, and pray that God will wake them up to the sin.

    We live in a real world and what we need to do is to learn to be pro-active. Homosexual temptation usually begins in the early teens, for some as early as 10. From that point until late teens/early twenties, the child is listening intensely to see what the church has to say about him or her. They listen to conversations in coffee hour between adults They overhear radio programs like “Issues Etc” that mom and dad are listening to in the car or at home. they play close attention to what the pastor says about it in sermons. Our real mission work is not in the gay community but within our own congregations to our youth.

    If they hear homosexuality preached in the Law portion of the sermon and then not mentioned as specifically in the Gospel, they will receive the impression that the Gospel does not include them. If they hear the adults in church coffee hour talking about how awful homosexuality it without showing any compassion for those who struggle, they will wonder how Christ will respond to them if they fall into sin. How do you think they feel when the people around them are discussing breaking all ties with the ELCA over this issue when for decades we have overlooked the acceptance in the ELCA of pastors who negate of the Word of God or deny the resurrection? We say all sins are the same yet winked at false doctrine of all kinds while being shocked at this particular sin.

    The point is that we have the mission field right inside our own churches and we need to be thinking that way. the question is not how do we reach out to those who are already in the gay lifestyle but how do we make sure that when our children overhear the Law on this issue they overhear Gospel as well?

    Essentially it comes down to a few steps

    1: being willing to talk about homosexuality – it needs to be included in the sermon now and then. it needs discussed in confirmation class. It needs to be brought up in youth bible studies. In each of these cases both Law and Gospel need to be addressed. The ELCA is useless to me because they deny my sin. I can receive acceptance from them but never true forgiveness and acceptance won’t take me to heaven. Keep the Law – but add a huge dose of Gospel.

    2: being aware of when homosexuality is being discussed among members during coffee hour, etc and add the Gospel and compassion to the conversation.

    3: connect the means of grace to homosexuality. What would be wrong with a pastor, for instance, saying something like this in a sermon, “Do you struggle with homosexual temptation, a desire for pornography, alcoholism, greed, or guilt for a secret sin? Are you afraid that your sin is too great for God to forgive? Communion is here for you. Christ gives you His very Body and Blood. He was not afraid to touch the lepers. His touch made them clean. He rejoices for you to touch his physical presence here at the Lord’s Table and to offer you His forgiveness.”

    If we are going to answer God’s call for workers in the harvest, a harvest which, I pray, will include many repentant homosexuals, then our attitude needs to change. We are thinking in terms of acceptance vs rejection. That needs to stop. The ELCA refuses to call homosexuality a sin – this kind of acceptance sends the sinner to hell. The LCMS has tended to preach only Law and then wait for homosexual sinners to come and ask for forgiveness. That is rejection and it sends sinners to hell too. Instead we simply need to focus on real forgiveness by presenting Law and Gospel together – always – in every discussion of homosexuality – no exceptions – including internet discussions like this one.

  19. MBW #36

    “”There are still Lutheran Christians in ELCA.

    MO needs to be both firm and welcoming.””

    I would hope complete catechisis was accomplished prior to them being allowed into membership. I doubt if any current member of an ELCA congregation understands what being Lutheran entails. They certainly need to understand that Scripture is infallible, without error and completely inspired by Gods the Holy Spirit. right now all members of ELCA congregations pick and choose what is right in Scripture. They have been taught this error for at least 30 years. Those folks need complete retraining before they become members. If they refuse the re-education program, then you certainly don’t need them as members to stir up your congregation to error.

  20. William’s quite right about catechesis!

    My e_ca cousin told me she had never seen a Lutheran catechism until she sorted out her deceased father’s personal effects. Her sons were several years out of ‘confirmation’ at the time and that was 20 years ago.

    You simply cannot assume that incoming e_ca understand much beyond rejecting homosexual pastors. The assumption that the Bible is just another book to pick and choose from goes back to the ’60’s at least.

    FTM, it might be a good idea if every new member (no matter what their antecedents) took the Pastor’s instruction class and that that class be long enough to cover essential Lutheran doctrines. Even from lcms you might be transferring someone who came in after a Saturday’s discussion. If they were “born Lutheran” a refresher is still useful.

    [You might, if nothing else, clear up the notion cited here, that “we all believe in the same God”.]

  21. @helen #72

    Helen:

    I believe my church recommends it for everyone coming in, but doesn’t require it from members of other LCMS churches. I’m sure one of the pastors talks to the new members about their faith and makes sure they have a proper understanding, but still recommends the class.

    It’s also recommended for current members to renew their understanding; we frequently have several members take it each time it is offered; it both helps the new members start to be friends with some existing members as well as helps ensure a proper understanding of our members.

    Of course, it’s not required — there should be some way to make everyone take such a class every 5 or 10 years, but .. we all know it’s difficult to get some people in the door just for Sunday services.

  22. In regards to Helen#72

    Well do they still practice Confirmation in elca. And if they do what do they base doctrine and practices or beiefs of the church. Yes I know all is based on HOLY SCRIPTURE but then we have our creeds etc…. Do you think the up coming generations know who Martin Luther was??? Just wondering when I read ALL the above comments. As I wrote JUST WONDERING?

  23. I couldn’t agree more with your observation. A little leaven ruins the whole loaf. Yes we are to be open to people but we do not treat strangers the same way we do family. Let’s say the stranger/visitor is a drug dealer or pedophile. If the church is the family of God, we will use God’s standards as our “house rules” and make family members aware of them. That is catechisis. sp Strangers or visitors come to stay for only awhile and if they have bad manners, we excuse them. But if they want to become part of the family, they need to know what kind of family they are getting into. Maybe some will stay and some will go, but all should be aware we do not condone drug dealing or pedophilia in our house and we ask that they do not try to influence other family members to engage or accept their sin. Apply this to all sins (yes all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) and homosexuality becomes just another sin that needs to be dealt with. They need to repent and as I have said before, sex is not a right outside of marriage no matter what century you live in. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen outside of marriage but it is still wrong. Homosexuals should not be given a pass here just because they prefer the same sex. It is still immoral outside of God designed marriage between a man and a woman. @William Kope #70

  24. @Mrs. Hume #52
    Mrs. Hume,

    Sorry about the delay. The pastor first told his wife and then told the DP who immediately told him he was to no longer minister to that congregation. Then after speaking with the DP he called and spoke with the congregational; president and head elder. This all happened while the district was in convention. So then I gathered the men of the circuit for the telling and praying for not only the pastor and his wife but also for the congregation that was hurting. One comment from the congregation that still haunts me to this day was: “Can’t you just go away and get fixed and then return?” This young man has now married another man and they are living in an open relationship and attending a United Methodist Church.

  25. William Kope :MBW #36
    “”There are still Lutheran Christians in ELCA.
    MO needs to be both firm and welcoming.””
    I would hope complete catechisis was accomplished prior to them being allowed into membership. I doubt if any current member of an ELCA congregation understands what being Lutheran entails. They certainly need to understand that Scripture is infallible, without error and completely inspired by Gods the Holy Spirit. right now all members of ELCA congregations pick and choose what is right in Scripture. They have been taught this error for at least 30 years. Those folks need complete retraining before they become members. If they refuse the re-education program, then you certainly don’t need them as members to stir up your congregation to error.

    Our LC-MS congregation has quite a few ELCA “refugees” in the pews for a number of months. They are not members. They have no intention of becoming members of our LC-MS church. They are waiting for their ELCA congregation to switch to something else, like LCORE or L-MC. That process isn’t going too well, but that’s another story. Our pastor feels bad for them and has been communing them even though he and our congregation knows they are short-timers and not members. Our church leadership feels “bad” for them and wants them to have the comfort of the Lord’s Supper in their time of trial.

    Now they are letting them help with education, VBS, etc.

    What do we do about this?!

  26. Can’t marry another man according to God’s law. He said it was not good for man to be alone and created woman, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh that they along with all creation should be fruitful and multiply. I don’t know how we have allowed a generation or two to turn God’s law completely upside down and try to convince us God has now changed His mind and we can all just do as we please. I just don’t understand why the gay people who claim to be Christian think they are exempt from the same laws all other Christians must adhere to. Yes, we all sin, but we are to repent of those sins, not ask others to support us in our sin. We simply must get back to the fact the gay or not, sex outside marriage is a sin.

  27. It grieves me to hear of both a family and a congregation so hurt. But, unfortunately, I have known far too many cases like that.

    In post 51 you said, “I am simply pointing out a fact of how well they are able to disguise themselves as being non homosexual.”

    It’s not that they intend to disguise themselves. It’s that when you are young you really believe you can handle it. I’ve talked to a number of guys where were sure that becoming a pastor would fix them. Others thought that if only they got married they would be cured. Of course, neither worked so they found themselves messing up again and again and every time they told themselves it would be the last time. Finally the guilt got to the point that they could not take it anymore and they told their wife or they brought home a disease or were “outed” by a former lover. By that time a whole family and congregation were hurt in the process.

    In post 51 you also said, “I know that our seminaries while they do a great job, must not convince some people because I had the unfortunate obligation as a circuit counselor to preach in a congregation whose pastor admitted he was a homosexual”

    Again, it’s not so much the convincing that is the problem. Both seminaries do talk about the issue and do discuss it is class – I just talked to a 2nd year student a couple of weeks ago and he let me know it does come up. And most guys who wind up in that position began their ministry believing that homosexual behavior was wrong and thinking they could handle it. But the guilt finally got so bad that rather than face it they convinced themselves it was OK and hurt their family and congregation.

    What they really need to do though is to emphasize confession/absolution. That is really the only thing that works with this issue, to have a confessor (more than one if possible) and talk to him early and often. This is one sin (certainly not the only one) in which secrecy and self confidence are killers. You have to figure out that you can’t fix yourself and that the only healthy thing to do is to take it to God through a pastor and hear His forgiveness spoken directly to you. In fact, I wish they could assign every sem student a confessor and insist they talk to him at least every other week. But I suppose that would be too legalistic.

  28. Good points, Andrew. One last thing I would like to add. We keep talking about gays in the sense that they are sexually active. In light of that, as Christians they should remain celibate or be guilty of fornication just as heterosexuals would be. Being gay simply does not give license for sex. There are millions of people in the world who are not sexually active for various reasons, many of them because of physical disabilities and they live normal, active lives. If the gay community wants to be a part of the church and find acceptance, they have to hear the same exhortation of sexual purity as the rest of the body. The argument here of course is that they can NOT get married because of secular law and therefore cannot have a sexual relationship that is not outside of marriage. Again though, Roman Catholic priests take vows of chastity and seem to do fine except for those who break those vows. They would be under the same exhortation to confess, repent and remain celibate afterward as would all members of the body who are engaged in fornication. You would think this would fall under “what happens behind closed doors is nobody’s business”, but God sees behind all of the doors we tend to want to hide behind when we sin.

  29. @Rick #24
    Thank you for your eloquent and spot on comment. My family and I feel as if we have been through a divorce. Leaving our church was one of the hardest things to do; albeit the right thing to do. We have searched the scripture for any evidence that we might have missed concerning the issue of homosexual practice. It is a sin! ELCA needs to drop the word Lutheran from their title and insert the words “Culturally Correct”.ECCCA; don’t you think?

  30. @Joe Sarnowski #5
    As a former ELCA pastor (I,m now in The Association of American Lutheran Churches), those excuses for staying in ELCA are so true. Thank God that the congregation I pastor left ELCA. Another good representation of ELCA is: Every Looney Concept Allowed.
    The Lord be with you, brother.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.