At the same Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly of the ELCA, on February 18th, the following occurred: “Minneapolis-area Lutherans Oppose Marriage Amendment” and “Svennungsen is new bishop of ELCA’s Minneapolis synod” They go together hand-in-hand. The former was legalized in the ELCA in 2009 and the latter was legalized in 2 of the 3 PCBs (actual acronym for “predecessor church bodies” in the merger period) in the ’70s. The latter led to the former and the underlying sub-text is clear: lack of Scriptural authority and from it, confessional subscription.
The quote for this posting’s title is from Bp. Svennungsen after her election. The photo of her in the assembly with her hands to her cheeks looks as if she just was told “to come on down” on “The Price is Right”. The price is not right and I am not thrilled and excited. Too many of my brothers and sisters in the LCMS seem to be almost thrilled by the demise of the ELCA. I pray I am over-reaching and plain wrong in that analysis. This is a profound sadness. The vote to oppose the marriage amendment was overwhelming. The previous Minneapolis Bishop said about the new bishop’s election: “What it signals is the beginning of , or the continuing of, our church to not be a northern European club and to move into a diverse global and welcoming community.” In other words, we are moving totally into the world and wanting to be a part of it. No longer, “in the world but not OF the world”. I think we are at the fork in the road. One has taken the wide and easy road and the others, the road less traveled, the hard and narrow path. It is time to say “good-bye” and pray it will be ‘auf wiedersehen” , always praying for repentance for us all.
In a picture caption regarding the marriage amendment, this telling statement: “The Rev. Andris Sedlins, of Plymouth, spoke against passing the resolution. Some synod members felt the issue was one for Christians to address individually, not as a denomination.” (emphasis my own) And that is allowed in the ELCA and this speaks to the greater crisis indicated that in the ELCA’s “bound conscience”, they can no longer “believe, teach and confess” as the Church. I think it is a no-brainer that the ELCA is no longer Lutheran. Reading the article about the Committee on Lutheran Cooperation and the quote from Rev. Mark Hanson, my sense of his comments is that his adherence to being Lutheran is a fading memory. The greater and deeper crisis was succinctly stated by German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg in 1996:
If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”
But for the sake of Pr. Sedlins, and many faithful Lutherans in the ELCA, we must pray for them, listen to them, encourage them and encourage them to leave. The ELCA is no longer the Una Sancta. I think we are at Frost’s fork in the road.
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.