Great Stuff Found on the Web — Saving Thelma and Louise

A publication from the ACELC found here:


I remember a few years back how our nation expressed so much impatience with gridlock in congress. We heard how people just wanted something to get done. We were tired of going nowhere. It made me think of a couple of women in a car at the edge of the Grand Canyon. With the image of Thelma and Louise in my mind, it occurred to me that there are times when a foot on the brake is better than a foot on the gas pedal!

At the Southern District Convention last week, I heard the tension between those who wanted to step on the gas and those who wanted to hit the brakes. I don’t believe that either one was trying to be reckless. No one wants to drive the Synodical bus over the cliff. However, it occurs to me that we’ve got our Thelma and Louise moments!

For instance, our Southern District was considering a resolution for a partnering relationship with the five million member Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Mekane Yesus. We heard from their President. We heard from people who had been there. We heard how it’s time for us to tell the world about Jesus. Well, who can argue with that? And who doesn’t want to be a positive influence on other church bodies? When there are so many other directions possible, and so many other influences, it is nothing but fraternal for us to want to reach out a helping hand, provide resources and positive, confessional encouragement. However . . .

When brothers came to the microphone to express concerns over that church body’s ordination of women (which appears from their website to be something they consider a positive thing), I heard from some that familiar sentiment: We’re tired of gridlock! I can appreciate that, especially when people have gotten excited about something and want to move forward.

However, when you’re edging toward the cliff, depressing the brake pedal is a good thing! In our Synod today, there are strong sentiments in favor of ordaining women. Others are doing it, why shouldn’t we? More to the point of last week’s convention, I seemed to detect in a few remarks the idea that “We in the LCMS don’t ordain women, but others do. It’s part of their culture,” as if that makes it okay.

During floor discussion, the EECMY was commended for its stand against homosexuality. But, isn’t that something many in our own country are comfortable with? We don’t do it, but many do. With logic like that, it’s only a matter of time before our own Synod goes the way of others, since we live in a world that continues to influence us, and the more it does, the more people will consider it acceptable, whatever “it” happens to be.

We’re tired of gridlock! We want to tell people about Jesus! We want to lend a helping hand! Fine, but let’s be sure what the Scriptures say, and not simply what a culture – ours or any other – happens to deem permissible. What does God say? And so, what Jesus are we talking about? The one who does ordain women or the one who does not?

The Christ of Holy Scripture is the One Who died for sins. The Christ we are called to speak about is the One Who has real forgiveness for real sins – sins which sinners recognize and confess to be sins. If that doesn’t include same-sex orientation, then it doesn’t need Jesus and His forgiveness. If it doesn’t include Johnny having two daddies or Madeline having two moms, then it probably doesn’t include the Bridegroom being represented by women pastors so that the Bride is effectively served by a bridesmaid rather than by a man who stands, like a groomsman should, in the stead of Christ. But if it does, then it’s time we stopped relegating such things to whatever a community or culture allows and start addressing them according to God’s Word, because sinners need repentance and forgiveness, and that’s the reason to speak of Jesus!

I don’t think anyone wanted to run the bus over a cliff last week, and I know those who were giving taps to the brake pedal were not trying to slow down the genuine work of reaching the lost with the saving Gospel of Christ Jesus. Quite the contrary! However, if we want the world to not just hear the name “Jesus” repeated, without really getting to the Gospel; if we want them to actually benefit from His mercy, we need to clearly diagnose the nations’ ills according to God’s Word. We need to lovingly call sin what it is, so that Christ may be applied as the Cure! If we just want to end gridlock and move forward without being clear what constitutes sin, I’m not sure how we’ll ever get talk about Jesus where it needs to be, namely, by applying His death and resurrection, His Baptism, Absolution and Holy Supper, to the very things people and a culture may accept and approve, but which God calls sin and for which He has provided a Savior.

Pr. Rick Sawyer
Vice-chairman, ACELC

Posted in Found on the Web Tagged permalink

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff Found on the Web — Saving Thelma and Louise — 6 Comments

  1. …then it’s time we stopped relegating such things to whatever a community or culture allows and start addressing them according to God’s Word, because sinners need repentance and forgiveness, and that’s the reason to speak of Jesus!

    So, we’re going to preach sermons against homosexuality. Why? My congregation’s average age is 192. I’m quite sure this is not a sin we struggle with. I mean to about 99.99999 percent of us it’s as irrelevant as preaching against the eating of “four legged insects” (Lev 11:20-23). And if the law is administered improperly of what value is the Savior?

    It does make us feel superior though doesn’t it?

  2. It is difficult to raise objections to those in the Southern District promoting “partnering relationships” with the five-million-member Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Mekane Yesus, when synodical leaders are meeting with and promoting similar euphemistic entanglements with the ACNA and NALC, not to mention the LCMS’s leftwing political fondling in the LIRS with the XXXA (per the CTCR, the “A” stands for Apostasy).

  3. So, um, are we about to lose the Southern District (22,000 members) to the Mekane Jesu Church (5,000,000 plus members). Less see, Christian church been in south since LaSalle or DeSoto, oh give it 400 years. Church been in Ethiopia 1,970 years, from biblical story. So, the Southern District is what? Asking for money. Seeking missionaries from Mekane Jesu. What does the insignificant, miniscule, lame Southern Disctict hope to get out of this? Ah, maybe paying students at Concordia, Selma Alabama. This is a recipe that isn’t making a cake and we can’t yet tell what it’s making.

    Mekane Jesu knows very well the doctrinal positions of the LC-MS. They have given the ELCA one year to straighten-up and fly right and that year is over or almost over, and the ELCA party rages on. Mekane will not respect the LC-MS if we are willing to toss our doctrines to associate with this LWF, and former pal of the ELCA. Being anti-gay marriage/pastors is a long way down the doctrine road. So far in fact it’s a loci that never made it into the big books. And, all of the 3rd world is watching to see what Missouri does so they know if they will need to clean up their doctrinal messes too that the LWF foisted on them over the last 50 years.

    How we handle Makane will affect our relations with all the 3rd world orphan churches. Now, there’s a chance here to really insult our sister churches around the world who have kept their doctrines pure to be in fellowship with Missouri. What were they, just fools because we tell Mekane we really didn’t mean it. Sure you can have your priestesses and whatever other stuff you like from the LWF and ELCA, we just want to be BIG now, forget the doctrines that limit.

    But, I’m over reacting. No district of the Missouri Synod has independently partnered with a foreign church 15 times it’s size. Thilly me.

  4. It would be interesting to get an explanation from the Southern Dist.-LCMS as to what they mean by a “partnering relationship.” Depending on that is involved, maybe the leadership in St. Louis needs to remind some people that that one of the conditions of continued membership in the LCMS is that unionism is not allowed and this includes, under article 6, 2c of the LCMS constitution that, participating in heterodox tract and missionary activities.

  5. In its February 14, 2013, article, “Ethiopian Lutheran church breaks fellowship with ELCA,” the Reporter notes that the 6-million-member “Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), announced Feb. 5 that it had broken fellowship with “those churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage,” namely, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Church of Sweden.”

    The article quotes Director of Church Relations Dr. Albert B. Collver III:

    “These African Lutheran churches remaining faithful to the Holy Scriptures also see it as their duty to call Western churches to repentance for departing from the historic Christian faith,” added Collver. “These churches will seek partners in Africa and around the world who share the same convictions as they do about the Holy Scriptures. The EECMY is an encouragement to churches around the world for being a faithful witness. We as the LCMS need to lift the EECMY up in prayer, so that we can be like Aaron holding up Moses’ hands.”

    LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison acknowledged the weightiness of the situation, saying, “The LCMS is sensitive to the difficulty the EECMY faced in making a decision of this magnitude, and we appreciate the bold and courageous action of EECMY General Assembly. Our church stands ready to talk with the EECMY if or when they are ready, and we invite them for further discussions on how we can together serve the Lord and His people.”

    What is left out of the Reporter article is the fact that the EECMY has some 20 pastrixes through its 21 synods. In 2010, the EECMY Women’s Ministry Forum held a tenth anniversary celebration at Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa for the first EECMY pastrix. And in 2011 an EECMY pastrix was elected as Vice-President of the Birbir Dilla Synod (BDS).

    That the EECMY has had pastrixes for over a decade was also left out of two recent The ABC3s of Miscellany travelblog articles, “EECMY Strategic Plan” and “Ethiopia — CMCR Meeting.”

    There are a number of articles on the EECMY website featuring the ordination and use of pastrixes, e.g., Rev. Tseganesh Ayele, Rev. Adise Itefa, Rev. Zewditu Abdisa, Rev. Mary Nyahieng, and two pastrixes ordained in the Central Gibe Synod.

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