ELCA Decides to Roster Practicing Homosexuals as Pastors, Deacons, Etc., by Pr. Rossow

At  4:44 P.M Central   time the ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted 559 to 451  to allow practicing homosexuals on their roster of professional church workers, including pastors. This decision furthers the ELCA’s fall from scriptural truth which began with the rejection of Biblical inerrancy, continued with the adoption of women’s ordination, and now includes the endorsement of the sin of homosexuality even to the point of allowing practicing homosexuals into the office of the holy ministry.


As we warned yesterday, the LCMS needs to pay close attention to this. It is hard to find anyone in the LCMS  who openly agrees  with the ELCA’s new position on homosexuality but they are there.  After all, there is a music director in our syond who is a gay activist and despite having knowledge of this for six months, President Kieschnick has not exercised his responsibility and authority to bring an end to this unacceptable situaiton.  Also, there  are many who support women’s ordination within the LCMS.  They too are not all that visible but the path toward women’s ordination that  they have supported is quite visible and even official. It was just three years ago at the last LCMS convention that the  synod  voted to allow women elders, chairs of congregations and communion assistants.  Is it not clear that we are headed down the same path as the ELCA?


The ELCA has allowed the culture to determine its theology. The current leadership of the LCMS allows the culture to determine our practice in areas of worship and as noted above the holding of church office and communion assistant. Neither theology nor practice should be determined by culture but should be solely caused by Scripture. We pray that you will use the next 11 months left until our own synod convention to learn more about this LCMS slide toward allowing the culture to determine our doctrine and practice and to do what you can to stop it.

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.


ELCA Decides to Roster Practicing Homosexuals as Pastors, Deacons, Etc., by Pr. Rossow — 24 Comments

  1. It is very clear we are headed down the path of the ELCA. It’s been clear for years. We aren’t 10 years behind them.

    The question is, when the LCMS finally crosses the same cultural Rubicon, what do the “faithful remnant” of the LCMS do, where do we go?

  2. When Bishop Hansen, upon passage of the resolution, asked for an “appropriate” hymn to be sung (he then scratched the word “appropriate”), they sang “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee,” as if God the One were guiding the vote to ordain openly gay clergy. I frankly thought they might sing “Deck the Halls” so that they could “don their gay apparel.” A sad day in the so-called (sogennanten) Christian Church. Kyrie Eleison.

  3. Lutheran Church–Canada News

    A statement from Lutheran Church–Canada

    Ordination of Homosexuals in the Lutheran Church

    AUGUST 21, 2009 – In Minneapolis this afternoon, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a resolution to allow for the ordination of those in committed, monogamous, same-sex relationships. The vote was 559 in favour, 451 against. The following statement was prepared at the request of President Robert Bugbee of Lutheran Church–Canada by Dr. Edward Kettner, professor at Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton.

    As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its current convention has approved the ordination of people in “committed same-sex relationships,” it needs to be noted that the ELCA does not represent all Lutherans in the United States or North America. In its actions the ELCA is going against, not just the history of the Christian Church and against the practices of the covenant religion of Israel as expressed in the Old Testament (First Testament), but against the Bible, which the Christian Church has always recognized as the very Word of God itself. The traditional Christian understanding continues to be held by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the United States and by Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) in Canada, as well as by a number of smaller conservative bodies in both countries.


    For more than two hundred years much of Christendom has come to reject the previously universal recognition of the Bible as the Word of God written. By using methods of scriptural interpretation which see the Bible as a human book, a record of human response to the idea of God, rather than as God’s declaration of Himself, His nature, and His activities to the world, parts of the church on earth now look at Scripture with what is called a “hermeneutic [biblical interpretation] of suspicion” rather than the traditional hermeneutic of trust.

    Under this new method of interpretation, words which previously were seen as the authoritative Word of God revealed through His apostles and prophets are now viewed as words composed by men seeking to maintain their power over others. In this understanding, the words of Scripture regarding marriage, which declare it to be the union of man and woman, and ideally one man and one woman in a lifelong union, are replaced by a preference for talking about “intimacy,” and commitment between two people that may not always include marriage in the traditional sense, or even, in recent years, a relationship between a male and a female.

    Behind this change lurks an understanding of “freedom” which is in fact license, which flies against God’s clear word in Genesis 1 and 2 and restated by Christ in Matthew 19:3-6. Since a pastor is one who is to have a good reputation among Christians and before the world, for the church to ordain people who clearly flout the Word of God in their actions throws both the Word of God and the office of the Holy Ministry into contempt, and gives the rest of the world an excuse to continue in its sin.

    LCC and Homosexuality

    Lutheran Church–Canada desires to reach out with the Gospel to everyone, including the homosexual, to provide real healing of the person, so that their lives may begin to reflect the holiness God desires of all of His people. Those who may have such inclinations and who struggle against them are welcome in our churches, will receive forgiveness of their sins, and may serve in the office of ministry. Those who flout the clear Word of God, refuse to call sin what it is, and who seek to justify their behaviour, disqualify themselves from the office and indeed put their eternal salvation in jeopardy.

    We recognize that our view is decidedly counter-cultural, but we know that we must continue to maintain the clear teaching of the Scriptures. We regret the decision of the ELCA, which, even by its own admission in its resolutions at this convention, goes against everything the Scriptures clearly teach and which the church has confirmed over the last 2000 years and even before.

    More information:
    Ian Adnams
    Director of Communications
    Lutheran Church–Canada
    [email protected]
    204-895-3433 ext 2224

  4. Terrible, terrible: homosexual pastors! My question: why do we get so upset about this vote, but on this site no one comments on the fact that the ELCA also adopted full communion fellowship with the United Methodist Church by 958-51 votes. Is that not at least equally tragic? 90% of those people who were against homosexual pastors apparently had no problems with communing with Methodists?

    Now, I understand: we’re perhaps more scandalized about the homosexual issue because that’s a matter of “natural law” which even sin-blinded reason can in many cases still identify as wrong (not all who are against homosexual relationships are Christians). So, we might think: What does it say about a group of people claiming to be Christians, that is, being the kind of people who have their mind renewed by the Holy Spirit, that they don’t “get” that homosexuality is a sin? So, in this sense, homosexuality is a more “basic” issue than entering into communion fellowship with the UMC.

    On the other hand, we should perhaps be more scandalized by the agreement between ELCA and UMC which was made possible, in part, by the fact that the ELCA veered off the orthodox Lutheran position on the Lord’s Supper, in particular the question of the presence, not of “the person of Christ” in the Lord’s Supper, but of Christ’s body in the bread and his blood in the wine. The ELCA’s notion of “personal presence” is the standard ecumenical stuff, but it’s clearly less than Lutheran, as the recent ELCA-UMC agreement also does not say anything about the unworthy, i.e., about the question of whether those who commune without faith (that is, unworthily), also are given Christ’s body and blood to consume.

    What I’m saying is this: let’s note the lack of “law” in the ELCA’s public theology. But let’s also not overlook the ELCA’s lack of pure gospel! This can also be considered quite “fundamental”.

    In other words, let’s not fall for a “moralist” appraisal of the ELCA that would be worthy of conservative American Evangelialism. Let’s go for a “Lutheran” appraisal of the ELCA that knows something about the right distinction of law and gospel!

  5. Holger,

    You’re comments are right on. There is a limit to what we can do here. For sure, the full communion with the UMC is more far reaching than the homosexual issue. Hopefully in due time we can get to that issue. Actually, we would welcome a post from you on this matter if you an oblige.


  6. Hey, Holger — I agree with you. I was explaining to someone just this afternoon that this “full communion” business is best explained in the way that public service announcements used to try to disuade teens from contracting AIDS by telling them to remember that, when they had sex with their partner they were also having sex with all of their partner’s previous sex partners. Sorry if the analogy offends someone but the argument works for “full communion,” too. When ELCA is in communion with someone they are also in communion with all those with whom that group is in communion.

    Kinda paints a picture, huh. Kyrie eleison.

  7. Yes, Tim. I understand. And I certainly appreciate the “real-time reporting” you’ve been doing here over the last couple of days. That’s great work and esp. relevant as there are still those out there who, in the LCMS, believe that, if we could only get rid of the “radicals” in the ELCA (and the LCMS: here people like us, I think), we could have some good old fellowship with the ELCA again.

    The homosexual issue plays into the hands of those folks in the LCMS: see, see! the radical liberals by a narrow margin managed to commandeer the entire church body to endorse “their” agenda.

    The gospel-issue (with the Methodists) actually plays into our hands, so to speak, as it can be used to demonstrate — in a gospel-centered way — to those who’d like to welcome ELCA-members (from their families, of course) to LCMS-altars how deep the corruption has gone in the ELCA: 95% of the delegates agreed they wanted to be in fellowship with the Methodists. “Radical liberals” all of a sudden are everywhere… (I can write more about this issue tomorrow, if you so desire.)

    Alan, yes, good illustration: communion is like getting married to someone. You got to be on the same page and not still be married to any previous or concurrent partners who aren’t on the same page anymore.

  8. Holger,

    That would be great if you want to write that up. You can send it to my e-mail here on the site or my personal e-mail: trossow(at)bethanylcs(dot)org.


  9. Gay “marriage”/clergy and communion with Methodists are related. They both rely on a disembodied, Gnostic spirituality.

    For the former, sexual organs and God’s purposes for them are irrelevant. What is important is the fulfillment of our need for bodily pleasure. For the latter, we are all just free spirits and should be able to “commune” with anyone, that is, partake of Christ spiritually, in order to fulfill our emotional need for inclusion.

    What the ELCA has done today is that they have tried to put a spiritual dress on the rotting corpse of carnality. I stand by that last comment, although I distance myself from the actions taken by the Assembly today.

    Robert at bioethike.com

  10. Let me see if I understand this. When you say:

    when they had sex with their partner they were also having sex with all of their partner’s previous sex partners. Sorry if the analogy offends someone but the argument works for “full communion,” too. When ELCA is in communion with someone they are also in communion with all those with whom that group is in communion.

    are you saying that if a church body is in fellowship with, say, members of the Lutheran World Federation (which defines its members as all being in fellowship with one another), then you ar ein fellowship with all of the LWF?

    So, for instance, if a church body were in fellowship with the Latvian, Finnish, or Kenyan Lutheran churches, all of which are members of the LWF, then they would be in fellowship with other LWF members, right? Like, for instance, the ELCA? And then, therefore, they would be in fellowship with the United Methodists, right?

    So, tell me: ARE you LCMS folks actually in fellowship with the United Methodists by virtue of your fellowship with LWF bodies, or eill the LCMS folks here retreat from your illustration?


  11. Holger,

    Thank you for your post. As Confessional Lutherans, we desire to hold all articles of faith and practice in common. Our Lord has given to us to believe, teach, and confess without exception.
    Pastor Wollenburg, I love the analogy–I mean, parallel–that you draw between the two issues+ issues at hand. Our Lord who gives His very body and blood to us in His Supper distributes to us the benefits of His very death for us. In communion fellowship, we give common witness of His death until He comes. Likewise, in godly marriage, a man and a woman profess together all articles of doctrine and practice for better or worse, for richer or poorer,etc. till death parts them.
    May our Lord keep His Church, which He has cleansed with His blood spotless and without blemish–His true Church, that is–till He comes again for her. (Eph. 5:25-27)

  12. Well, Eric, as you know, I am caught by my own illustration. As you surely know, that does not please me. I do not offer excuses. I am inconsistent. I wish it were not this way. I long for everything to be completely consistent. I long for myself and others to be perfectly consistent. I know that my words seem like a copout/sellout. My prayer remains: Kyrie eleison.

  13. Robert C. Baker (#9). A brilliant analysis. You have seen this with great clarity for what it is and what it is not: It’s all about “ME”, and has nothing at all to do with religion, or Christianity. Both these actions are almost totally I-centered, and they totally ignore God–he is nowhere to be found. Marriage becomes a meaningless and unneccessary ritual. Holy Communion becomes only a social event, like a cocktail party or pot-luck. No forgiveness of sins here. And so marriage–an image of Christ and the Church, and Holy Communion–a union of Christ and His Church–are perverted and soiled, trampled underfoot, debased and devalued, rendered common and devoid of transcendence.
    The ELCA rejoices. The world laughs. We weep.

    Can anyone tell me what premarital counseling between a heterosexual couple and a homosexual pastor is like? I’m having trouble imagning it.

  14. Johannes
    “Can anyone tell me what premarital counseling between a heterosexual couple and a homosexual pastor is like?”
    It isn’t a very “Lutheran” thing to do, but read “Humanae Vitae” http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html by Pope Paul VI and you will actually come close to the answer.
    I would propose that what we are seeing is only the natural consequence of the mainline christian acceptance of contraception as a norm.

  15. Pastor Stefanski,
    How right you are and your analogy is spot on! If anyone within the LCMS synod has any doubt, I found this link yesterday
    -New Dimensions Counseling & Counsulting (CA)-
    4 agencies (partners in mission spot) are listed on it’s site:

    -Lutherans Concerned http://www.lcna.org
    (GLBT organization-check out the website)
    -**LCMS MISSION STATEMENT** yes, it is there & it sends you right to our synod site!
    -Pacifica Synod ELCA

    The LCMS already in fact does partner/support GLBT organizations, albeit by proxy!!! Begs belief how many silent partnerships the Synod is in with this. Now would be the time to ask what of…

    ELCE-lutheran joint mission within United Kingdom
    SELK-lutheran joint mission within Germany
    Lutheran World Relief
    Lutheran Social Services

    this list goes on & on. Can the horrid implications be more evident? I, personally, see no way, the LCMS is in a position to or would now cut it’s ties, THOUGH IT MOST CERTAINLY SHOULD. We have had many chances NOT to endevor in partnership, silent or not, KNOWING FULL WELL THE STANDS THEY TAKE NOW AND HAVE IN THE PAST.

    The question of the hour is, from my view in the pew, is..
    How many of our OWN will leave, if LCMS does not cut all ties, endevors or partnerships with ELCA? We are not just judged by the company we keep, WE BECOME A PRODUCT OF IT.
    May the Lord be merciful to those in the ELCA and merciful to those who choose to contiue to partner with it.

  16. How many of our OWN will leave, if LCMS does not cut all ties, endevors or partnerships with ELCA? We are not just judged by the company we keep, WE BECOME A PRODUCT OF IT.

    While I do not disagree with you, my unfolding of Pr. Wollenburg’s comment was more targeted to the specific issue of ‘fellowship’–that is, of bodies being in communion with one another–not in what might be classified as ‘cooperation in externals’, but regarding with whom one communes.

    Well, Eric, as you know, I am caught by my own illustration. As you surely know, that does not please me.

    Indeed I know that it does not please you. Seeing the situation for what it is and being displeased with it is where the correction of it starts. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that more in Missouri will simply conclude that you and I are wrong than will see the reality and feel about it as you do. (And in this, I do not speak of the liberal majority in the LCMS, but of the ‘conservative’ LCMS members/leaders. Within recent memory, I heard a roomful of ‘the cream of the crop’ of Missouri ‘confessionalism’ decry the thinking of your illustration; and then people wonder why I see little hope for Missouri’s reformation.)



  17. Pastor Stefanski,
    I do know what you meant, and it most certainly true, however, does fellowship, truly begin and end with what you mentioned? Or does it follow much further? Co-operating in externals, is CONDONING actions & stands internally. If we continue to “partner in the externals” without looking at who ELSE partners, how is that not hypocritical? How can LCMS publically condemn this (or many other issues) when INDIRECTLY supports it through it’s partnership in various missions?
    LCMS does that in a gambit of ways, (interfaith partnerships, open communion being condemned but allowed, etc) how long before this too comes to our door, directly, like so many other heresies we see and speak of daily here? How can we live in His truth, when we knowingly hold hands with those who directly or worse, indirectly, oppose it?

  18. Co-operating in externals, is CONDONING actions & stands internally.

    As I said, I do not disagree with you; I simply drew a distinction between that which is at the heart of the Church and what is not.


  19. I must not be saying this right, so here is an examples of my reasoning.

    If I give or invest in Thrivent( just a hypothetical), and they give a grant to ELCA, and they in turn give it to Lutherans Concerned, am I not supporting Lutherans Concerned indirectly? Now, as a pew sitter, I am faced with two choices, knowingly continue & say oh well, or stop because of what they, in their turn, knowingly support. I am not reponsible for the decision, but, I am responsible of my support of Thrivent (just an example have no clue if it did or didn’t) am I not indirectly supporting Lutherans Concerned, by my financial or service support? Of course I am.

    Sola Scriptura, is the HEART of the Faith. John 1:1-5, you deny the Word, you deny Christ Himself. The Sacraments are not possible without the Word, which in the above is CHRIST HIMSELF. ELCA denied this & thus Him, long ago, ordination of women, interfaith recognition & co operation, open communion, denying the inerrency of Scripture (that ALONE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH)and now, this. How more basic can the attack of the Heart of our Faith get? Without Sola Scriptura WE HAVE NOTHING. When will enough be enough, and the lie of this world be called what it is, even if that lie comes from a “church”?

  20. When I saw the announcement across the bottom of the T.V. screen the decision that ELCA had voted on and accepted. It said the largest Lutheran Church group. If LCMS is a smaller group we can have peace in knowing “Many are called few are chosen”, but we are also reminded we need to share the TRUTH in THE WORD with others who haven’t grasped it.

  21. Sola Scriptura, is the HEART of the Faith.

    Justification by grace through faith is the heart of the faith; it is “the article upon which the Church stands or falls.”

    The authority of Scripture must be maintained for the sake of that article.

    There are things we can participate in with someone (or some group) with which we are not in fellowship (buying a funnel cake from a pro-life group at the fair). HOWEVER, there are times when even such cooperation in externals are blatantly wrong. Thus, as I said, I AGREE with you that Missouri should cease such joint efforts with the ELCA…but I thought that was true years ago.

    You’re communicating just fine–I agree with you. The problem is, my comment was more about the OTHER bodies that the LCMS ‘works with’, i.e., not the ELCA, with whom there is only (supposedly) ‘cooperation in externals’, but those with whom the LCMS is in officially-recognized altar and pulpit fellowship…several of which ARE in fellowship with the ELCA. By going only to the ‘informal’ association with the ELCA and how outrageous it is, the LCMS members get lulled into a false sense of security (and, perhaps, self-righteousness) that fails to see that it is sinful to be in full fellowship with those who are in full fellowship with those you are condemning.

    Again, to be perfectly clear: using Pr. Wollenburg’s statement, above, the LCMS is now in fellowship with the United Methodist Church. How? Both the LCMS and the ELCA are in fellowship with the Kenyans, Latvians, Finns, Sri Lankans (Lanka Lutheran Church, not Lutheran Church in Lanka), and so on. Any conservative LCMS member can go to Latvia on a vacation(!) and commune with an ELCA homosexual pastor and his United Methodist ‘partner’ who have decided on a similar vacation. That is, to me, far more outrageous than cooperation in tsunami relief efforts.


  22. Thank you so much for clarifing the above. Whew!
    I just pray LCMS ACTS, not speaks, ACTS this time. If there was ever time to do so, it is now.

  23. Okay, I have a question. If you go to the history of whether or not the words in the Bible were always translated “homosexual”, I believe you will find that it was not so until the 20th century. So…. if that is true, why do Christians use those verses to prove the point that they feel homosexuality is a sin. Yes, I know there are verses that also say that it is wrong for a man or woman to do that which is not natural. But, if someone is born homosexual – it wouldn’t be unnatural for them to be drawn to someone of the same sex. I think maybe we need to let God be the judge, instead of us trying to be. And, please do not tell me that no one is born that way. I know that there are some who ARE born that way.

    Do your research on the history – an maybe you will have a different opinion after researching the history.

  24. @Maxine #23

    Hello Maxine,

    Yes, please do research the history of the matter. I think you’ll find that the ‘gay’ argument uses rather dubious scholarship, though they are correct that the term ‘homosexual’ is a rather modern one. What was used previously included terms like ‘liers with men’, and ‘sodomites’… yet the meaning is clearly the same.

    I think you’re also correct that we need to let God be the judge, and He has. He has told us clearly in His word what His desire and will for us is. That word clearly places same-sex sexuality as sin.

    I think you may be a bit confused in talking about ‘natural’ though. Regardless of whether homosexuality is entirely biological (which lacks scientific proof), the Bible teaches that we are all sinful from birth, sinful from the time our mothers conceived us. How we are born is not how we are ‘naturally’ meant to be. We are all born fallen and sinful. How we are ‘naturally’ meant to be is how God created us, and how He calls us to return to being.

    We are to be Holy as He is Holy, not fallen as we are born.

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