President Kieschnick Speaks Firmly and Clearly to the ELCA but in the Context of Doctrinal Strife as a Lutheran Trait (including the text), by Pr. Rossow

President Kieschnick addressed the ELCA Churchwide Assembly this morning and spoke clearly and firmly against their decisions this week to endorse homosexuality.  We have reproduced the text of the address at the end of this post.

 

First let it be said that this address will need to be digested and discussed over time before we will be able to understand it more completely. These are some initial comments intended to spark a part of that digestion and discussion.

 

President Kieschnick quoted the Formula of Concord and was quite clear that there is a path toward concord among Lutherans and that path is through agreement on Scripture. He then prefaced his criticism of the actions of the ELCA this past week by saying that he speaks out of humility and with a heavy heart. He made it clear that the decisions of the ELCA were unscriptural.

 

Last night we suggested that these actions should bring and end to any cooperation with the ELCA. President Kieschnick did not go that far but he did make it clear that this action of the ELCA may create a chasm  between the ELCA and the LCMS.

 

President Kieschnick was clear and firm. However, he chose to cast the entire presentation in the context of striving toward harmony. For instance, early on he mentioned that Lutherans have known discourse from the very beginning. We were born out of discord with the Roman Church. He also said that we have had disagreements with the ELCA in the past and even have disagreements in our own synod.

 

This is all true but casting the address in this form weakened the message. For an entire week we have listened to ELCA members address the assembly from the delegate microphones using the notion that we live under the cross of Christ as an excuse for a lack of consensus on doctrine and practice. President Kieschnick’s address softened his rebuke of the assembly by making it appear as though discord is the norm. He also gave the impression that we will continue to dialogue on these matters. For sure, it is fine for us to keep sitting across from the table from the ELCA in hopes that our true confession of Scripture will finally sink in but it is now time to cut any other ties with this sinful “communion.” There can be no more room for us to sit on high school associations, immigration boards, and various other committees with practicing homosexuals who claim to be Christian or those who commune with those who allow practicing homosexuals at their communion rail. Maybe even more so, we can no longer sit on “Christian” boards with those who are in full communion with the United Methodist Church. (President Kieschnick did not address this concern.)

 

As always your comments are appreciated.

 

The Text of the Address

(Thanks to BJS reader “Carl Vehse” for providing the text of the address.)

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Over the years in my life in ministry, these words from St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 [19-21] have become especially meaningful:

 

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting mankind’s sins against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.   Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.   We implore you, on behalf of Christ; be reconciled to God.   For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

What a blessing it is to know that our sin is forgiven, removed from us as far as the east is from the west   because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s cross.   And what a humbling privilege and huge responsibility it is to know that God is making his appeal through people like you and like me, people with feet of clay, that the world might be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.

 

I bring you these greetings on behalf of the 2.4 million members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at a difficult time in the world and in the church.   Economic pressures bring great burdens.   Strife finds its way into the LCMS, the ELCA, worldwide Lutheranism and the Christian Church as a whole.   Mankind’s inhumanity to mankind manifests itself Satan continue to rear their ugly heads in both venues.

 

Lutherans are no strangers to discord and divisiveness.   The Lutheran Church was born under such conditions.   Yet we also know the path to concord expressed in these rather straightforward words in the Formula of Concord, written during a notable time of doctrinal controversy and discord in the church.   Hear these words from the Kolb-Wengert translation [Note: pp. 525-6]:

 

“For these controversies are not merely misunderstandings or semantic arguments where someone might think that one group had not sufficiently grasped what the other group was trying to say or that the tensions were based upon only a few specific words of relatively little consequence.   Rather, these controversies deal with important and significant matters, and they are of such a nature that the positions of the erring party, neither could nor should be tolerated in the church of god, much less be excused or defended.

 

“Therefore necessity demands explanation of these disputed articles on the basis of God’s word and reliable writings so that those with a proper Christian understanding could recognize which position regarding the points under dispute is in accord with God’s Word and the Christian Augsburg Confession and which is not, and so the Christians of good will, who are concerned about the truth, might protect and guard themselves from the errors and corruptions that have appeared among us.”

 

As writers of this Formula pledged themselves, and I quote, “to the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments as to the pure and clear fountain of Israel, which alone is the one true guiding principle according to which all teachers and teachings are to be judged and evaluated.”

 

Discord can become concord when Christian individuals and Christian church bodies are faithful to the Holy Scriptures, which reveal the gospel of God’s grace, forgiveness, and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

 

The very fact that I represent a denomination known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at an assembly of a denomination known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America bears witness to the fact that, sadly, and regrettably, in spite of the Holy Word and mercy of our God, the confessions affirmed by the constitutions of both our church bodies, and the faithful example of those who have gone before us, schisms exist, not only in the Christian Church but also in the Lutheran Church.

 

We have doctrinal differences that separate us.   That is no secret.

 

I speak these next words in deep humility with a heavy heart and no desire whatsoever to offend.

 

The decisions by this assembly to grant non-celibate homosexual ministers the privilege of serving as rostered leaders in the ELCA and the affirmation of same-gender unions as pleasing to god will undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA.

 

It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies. The current division between our churches threatens to become a chasm.

 

This grieves my heart and the hearts of all in the ELCA, the LCMS and other Christian church bodies throughout the world who do not see these decisions as compatible with the Word of God or in agreement with the consensus of 2,000 years of Christian theological affirmation regarding what scripture teaches about human sexuality.

 

Simply stated, this matter is fundamentally related to significant differences in how we understand the authority of Holy Scripture and the interpretation of God’s revealed and infallible Word.

 

Only by the mercy of our almighty god does hope remain for us poor, miserable sinners.

 

By his grace, through word and sacraments, the evangelical witness and authentic message of sin and grace, law and gospel must resound to a troubled world so desperately in need of his love in Christ.

 

May God grant each of us sensitivity, humility, boldness, courage, faithfulness and forgiveness as we continue to strive toward god-pleasing harmony and concord in what we believe, teach, and confess.

 

We have much to accomplish in the mission our Lord Jesus has entrusted to us.   May God have mercy upon us all and grant us his peace in Christ.

 

 

[CV Note: I took this from the convention video caption and converted it to paragraph form; please identify any remaining spelling or grammatical errors I missed or made.]

 

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

President Kieschnick Speaks Firmly and Clearly to the ELCA but in the Context of Doctrinal Strife as a Lutheran Trait (including the text), by Pr. Rossow — 37 Comments

  1. “IT WILL ALSO NEGATIVELY AFFECT THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN OUR TWO CHURCH BODIES. THE CURRENT DIVISION BETWEEN OUR CHURCHES THREATENS TO BECOME A CHASM.”
    Pretty weak!
    He said “It WILL also negatively affect…” When will that come about? “The current division between our churches THREATENS to become a Chasm.” What more has to happen that would make it more than just “division”? What would they have to do to close the division?

  2. While the SP’s comments had some spirit to them, I would have liked to hear him say that all associations between the two bodies would now have to come into immediate review. I sit in a town with two LCMS and two ELCA congregations. From the ELCA side they see a great problem with abortion and nothing with homosexuality nor female pastors. Family ties are always constantly seeking a sharing of the communion rail. It has not happened and probably will not happen in my time here. I think it is time for a broader voice from our pews asking the LCMS to break all ties with the ELCA.

  3. Rev. Kusko,

    I agree. All ties need to be broken. It is time for us to cease bringing greetings to the ELCA. It is wrong for us to share greetings as though we were extending the right hand of fellowship.

    TR

  4. From the sound of the audience responce to his address, I didn’t get the feeling that they felt rebuked. Perhaps it was just that once again we agree to disagree and life goes on.

  5. It seemed as if roughly half of the audience gave a standing ovation, while half sat on their hands. I can’t help but thinking the half that was standing will vote again. However, this time it will be with their feet.

  6. Presiding Bishop Hanson, members of the assembly, special guests, friends in Christ.

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Over the years in my life in ministry, these words from St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 [19:21] have become especially meaningful:

    “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting mankind’s sins against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you, on behalf of Christ; be reconciled to God. For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

    What a blessing it is to know that our sin is forgiven, removed from us as far as the east is from the west because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s cross. And what a humbling privilege and huge responsibility it is to know that God is making his appeal through people like you and like me, people with feet of clay, that the world might be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.

    I bring you these greetings on behalf of the 2.4 million members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at a difficult time in the world and in the church. Economic pressures bring great burdens. Strife finds its way into the LCMS, the ELCA, worldwide Lutheranism and the Christian Church as a whole. Mankind’s inhumanity to mankind manifests itself Satan continue to rear their ugly heads in both venues.

    Lutherans are no strangers to discord and divisiveness. The Lutheran Church was born under such conditions. Yet we also know the path to concord expressed in these rather straightforward words in the Formula of Concord, written during a notable time of doctrinal controversy and discord in the church. Hear these words from the Kolb-Wengert translation [Note: pp. 525-6]:

    “For these controversies are not merely misunderstandings or semantic arguments where someone might think that one group had not sufficiently grasped what the other group was trying to say or that the tensions were based upon only a few specific words of relatively little consequence. Rather, these controversies deal with important and significant matters, and they are of such a nature that the positions of the erring party, neither could nor should be tolerated in the church of god, much less be excused or defended.

    “Therefore necessity demands explanation of these disputed articles on the basis of God’s word and reliable writings so that those with a proper Christian understanding could recognize which position regarding the points under dispute is in accord with God’s Word and the Christian Augsburg Confession and which is not, and so the Christians of good will, who are concerned about the truth, might protect and guard themselves from the errors and corruptions that have appeared among us.”

    As writers of this Formula pledged themselves, and I quote, “to the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments as to the pure and clear fountain of Israel, which alone is the one true guiding principle according to which all teachers and teachings are to be judged and evaluated.”

    Discord can become concord when Christian individuals and Christian church bodies are faithful to the Holy Scriptures, which reveal the gospel of God’s grace, forgiveness, and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

    The very fact that I represent a denomination known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at an assembly of a denomination known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America bears witness to the fact that, sadly, and regrettably, in spite of the Holy Word and mercy of our God, the confessions affirmed by the constitutions of both our church bodies, and the faithful example of those who have gone before us, schisms exist, not only in the Christian Church but also in the Lutheran Church.

    We have doctrinal differences that separate us. That is no secret.

    I speak these next words in deep humility with a heavy heart and no desire whatsoever to offend.

    The decisions by this assembly to grant non-celibate homosexual ministers the privilege of serving as rostered leaders in the ELCA and the affirmation of same-gender unions as pleasing to god will undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA.

    It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies. The current division between our churches threatens to become a chasm.

    This grieves my heart and the hearts of all in the ELCA, the LCMS and other Christian church bodies throughout the world who do not see these decisions as compatible with the Word of God or in agreement with the consensus of 2,000 years of Christian theological affirmation regarding what scripture teaches about human sexuality.

    Simply stated, this matter is fundamentally related to significant differences in how we understand the authority of Holy Scripture and the interpretation of God’s revealed and infallible Word.

    Only by the mercy of our almighty god does hope remain for us poor, miserable sinners.

    By his grace, through word and sacraments, the evangelical witness and authentic message of sin and grace, law and gospel must resound to a troubled world so desperately in need of his love in Christ.

    May God grant each of us sensitivity, humility, boldness, courage, faithfulness and forgiveness as we continue to strive toward god-pleasing harmony and concord in what we believe, teach, and confess.

    We have much to accomplish in the mission our Lord Jesus has entrusted to us. May God have mercy upon us all and grant us his peace in Christ.

    [CV Note: I took this from the convention video caption and converted it to paragraph form; please identify any remaining spelling or grammatical errors I missed or made.]

  7. Too sad, but typical “business as usual”. Rebuke, condemn, but indirectly allow to continue. End it now, all of it, down to the most innate partnership. If we continue to hold hands with unrepentantly proud sinners, we will be soiled indeed, in some ways, we already are.

  8. Thanks Pastor Rossow for putting some context on this speech. I look forward to reading the whole thing. The speech is good as far as it goes, and I will give Pres. Kieschnick credit for that. I understand his desire to be diplomatic. Sometimes it is difficult to walk that line between evasion and sounding like a hack. But I agree with you, Pastor Kusko, what more has to happen for the division to become a chasm? I don’t think we are at the point of it being “threatened” anymore.

    That being said, I wonder what we will do in response to this. Will we cut off at least some ties as you suggest Pastor Rossow?

  9. I’m pretty pleased with what Pres. Kieschnick had to say. Yes, it could have been more forceful.

    From the alpb.org forum, the ovation was 50/50. Not everyone received Pres. Kieschnick’s words kindly. There is a lot of hurting taking place within the ???A. The level of pain and trauma is something that I cannot imagine.

    Pres. Kieschnick’s comments were good. Not great, but good. But I sure liked his opening Scripture reference from 2 Corinthians.

    And I’m just glad I wasn’t in his place. Not sure what I would have said.

    Jeremy

  10. Being a simple layperson here, could anyone elaborate on the process in which the LCMS would cut all ties with the ELCA?

    Let’s hope it is simple and quick – and we have leadership that is decisive. To drag out such decision making will be harmful and leave the door open for debate (and we saw what debate produced on Friday).

  11. Kristen,

    I am no expert on LCMS polity but I beleive it would take a motion at the convention which would require that all RSO’s (registered service agencies of the LCMS) consist of boards of directors that would be entirely LCMS members. Right now an RSO can have up to one third members from other denominations.

    I am sure there are other ways of doing this as well but the RSO issue is a minimum in my opinion.

    TR

  12. Thanks Pastor, I recently moved to the Northwest District from the Midwest – and I have been a bit shocked at the current state of things here. I appreciate your contributions to the recent discussions – I hope you are a voting member!

  13. “It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies. The current division between our churches threatens to become a chasm.”

    Best construction: If Kieschnick does not personally have the power to cut off all ties with the ELCA, he may have justifiably felt that a stronger statement would be inappropriate and could possibly even prove untrue.

  14. Kaleb,

    But he could have said that he will do what he can to move the LCMS to that point.

    TR

  15. I probably would have done that, but at the same time, there’s a case to be made that when speaking in the office of president, he is supposed to speak for the synod rather than for himself. I really do think this is a case where his actions in the future will tell us much more than his choice of words here.

  16. Weak, just plain weak. He’s trying to be all things to all people instead of a theologian. Oh, I forgot – he’s not a theologian, is he. He’s an administrator?

  17. Actually, he’s a politician, and that’s really the point I’m driving at. Those may not be strong words from our point of view, but from a political point of view I wouldn’t call them weak.

  18. Whether a theologian or politician or a mixture of both, Pres. Kieschnick needed to take the firmest stance, even if he had to cut away from toing the tender line. Unfortunately, what he did was leave room for multiple interpretations of his words. As I say, the ELCA needed to hear Pastor Harrison’s comments. For, he brought forth the Law with all its serverity and the Gospel with all of its promise for repentant sinners.

    Is Pres. Kieschnick a politician? Well, if that’s what we would deem him to be. Is he, first and foremost, an ordained member of the clergy? Yes. In either case, there should be no tension between the two vocations. In each, our Lord desires to convey the message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

    Take an example from the realm of national politics. Would have we, should have we expected the late Pres. Reagan to shrink back from calling the Soviet Union (in the 1980s) the evil empire? No. He was speaking, I presume, from his vocation as President and as a Christian. Sure, the rampant political correctness craze hadn’t take such a firm grip on postmodern America yet. Even so, he called Marxist communism exactly what it is–evil.

    How much less should we expect our synodical president to speak on the ELCA’s departure from God’s clear and inerrant Word? Pres. Kieschnick should have spoken as boldly as we heard Pr. Harrison speak–calling the ELCA’s further drift an apostasy.
    May God have mercy on us, that we remain faithful to His Gospel, renewed by His Word for clarity of thought and trust until His return in glory.

  19. “I speak these next words in deep humility with a heavy heart and no desire whatsoever to offend.”, “…additional stress and disharmony…”, “…negatively affect the relationships…”, “…threatens to become…”.

    Sadly, the CWA’s actions may be described by Mt. 15:8-9.

    And, sadly, President Kieschnick has chosen to ignore Ann Coulter’s Rule No. 3 in her book, How to Talk to a Liberal [or an Ecclesiastically Liberal Church Assembly] (If You Must).

    Rule No. 3: “You must outrage the enemy. If the liberal you’re arguing with doesn’t become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage, you’re not doing it right. People don’t get angry when lies are told about them; they get angry when the truth is told about them. If you are not being called outrageous by liberals, you’re not being outrageous enough. Start with the maximum assertion about liberals and then push the envelope, because, as we know, their evil is incalculable.”

    Or, one can read pretty much about the same rule in C.F.W. Walther’s Law and Gospel explanations of Thesis VI and Thesis VIII.

  20. I’m no great supporter of SPK; however, must score this as a win for him. He, for him and for them, spoke firmly and clearly. Is it a bit of a sliding scale? Sure, a bit. But that’s ok. He still did take a clear stand against the apostacy that the ELCA officially ratified this week. Did he go far enough? Most likely not.

    But for today, anyway, I’m pleased with our president.

    -ghp

  21. I think it is premature to delineate specific consequences of this action. It is too new and emotions are too high. I appreciated the straightforwardness of Pres. Kieschnick’s comments, as well as the humility – stating that we are all in need of God’s grace. The thing that I missed in President Kieschnick’s statement, however, is the call to repentance. Where does he call them to come back to the Word of God? The we proclaim the Law to point out sin for the purpose of calling to repentance. He proclaimed the Law and point out the sin, but he did not call to repentance.

  22. I felt, as others stated, Pres. Kieschnick speech was good for what it was, but I would have also have liked a stronger rebuke.

    While reading the text, I generally felt it was stronger than I expected, but also couldn’t help but think that perhaps the comments were veiled in some other agenda or goals.

    I suppose we will see how this plays out for the LCMS & ELCA. We must pray for both, remember all humans are sinful in nature, and keep our faith in Christ, eventhough we often become frustrated with those around us – including the ELCA. God bless…

  23. The E_CA leaders and their loyalists know of Kieschnick’s ecumenical (aka, unionistic) tendencies, though he may not be for ordination of practicing sexual perverts. Thus he will soften any criticism of their apostasy as he did in his February 22 memo where he included with his obligatory mention of Resolution 3-21A the additional phrase that had been considered and rejected by the 2001 LCMS convention, despite his personal appeal at the convention.

    Knowing that the LCMS elections were coming in 2010, it was to be expected that Kieschnick would be obligated by his “hometown” synod to criticize the E_CA again in his Saturday address. And as expected Kieschnick gave another politically-correct criticism, for which even some of the E_CA members could applaud, since he carefully avoided specific mention of other unLutheran and heretical actions passed in the current and past Assemblies, evne by the some of the applauding members.

  24. Once again, Rick Strickert aka Carl Vehse, blows it.

    Here is what Kieschnick said. Note that he *affirmed* the convention statement. The phrase was *not* rejected by the 2001 convention, but adopted by a large percentage:”we cannot consider the ELCA to be an orthodox Lutheran church body”

    In the meantime, it behooves us in the LCMS, in a spirit of sincere humility, love, care, and concern, to continue to endeavor faithfully to honor Resolution 3-21A of the 2001 Convention of our Synod that while “we cannot consider [the ELCA] to be an orthodox Lutheran church body … we of the LCMS recognize that many of our brothers and sisters of the ELCA remain faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and we resolve to reach out to them in love and support …”

  25. “they (these controversies)are of such a nature that the positions of the erring party, neither could nor should be tolerated in the church of God, much less be excused or defended.” Why, for heaven’s sake couldn’t the SP apply this wonderful quote from the Confessions to what the E_CA had just done this past week? Seems to me that he missed a natural segue to a clear “we condemn” apostasy and forget about the warm fuzzies.

  26. I myself think our President’s comments were possibly muted for many, but he did hit home on their problems. The ELCA continues to move farther away from us and will need more words of rebuke when appropriate, but many inside their Church need reassurance that the LCMS is a Church body that still relies on the Word of God to make decisions and still holds true to the Confessions.

  27. Pastor Prentice,

    You rightly wrote, “but many inside their Church need reassurance that the LCMS is a Church body that still relies on the Word of God to make decisions and still holds true to the Confessions.”

    That is the question for the LCMS, isn’t it. While we rightly mourn the ELCA’s decision, do we still rely on Scripture to make our decisions, do we still hold true to the Confessions (in practice, not only in theory)?

    TW

  28. A couple of points here:

    I think the statement to the ELCA could have been much stronger. The fellowship with non-Lutherans is a great weakness and error.

    The question for us is more to do with the rationale for the changes in the LCMS. If one examines the arguments of Jesus First and DayStar types within the LCMS, the rationale is identical for their agenda.

    1. The Bible needs to be updated or adapted to today.
    2. We need to appeal to, attract, or adapt to the culture for the sake of missions (a Trojan horse of error).
    3. Emotional stories about someone or another who would like the change made.
    4. Thorough-going gospel reductionism in the name of outreach, growth, etc.
    5. The motive of letting “gifted” people use their gifts – a charismatic sort of appeal.
    6. A purely market-driven, sociological pragmatism into order to improve budgets and the financial status of congregations, districts, and synod.
    7. A lack of faith in the power of the Word of God to do what it says (recognizing also that the Gospel is rejectable, since it is a gift).

    All the same arguments the ELCA used are present within the LCMS and that is horrifying. We are implementing the same modus operandi completely.

    Remember, when Luther nailed up the 95 theses he didn’t nail them up on someone else’s church, but on his own. The Lutheran Reformation is about self-examination and repentance. Back to the sources: Bible, Book of Concord, and our liturgy and hymns.

  29. The same arguments used by ELCA (noted in my previous notes) are used in the LCMS for:

    1. open communion (or “close” [as opposed to far] communion]
    2. ignoring the order of creation in discussing the role of women in the church
    3. contemporary worship entertainment and Pietistic worship – volating AC XXIV and Apology XXIV
    4. lay ministry and severely weakened alternate routes
    5. grape juice in communion

  30. Pr. Frahm,

    You make some excellent points.

    With regard to the issue of the practice of open communion by some LCMS congregations, would someone please tell me the difference between practicing open communion on the one hand and practicing communion fellowship between denominations that don’t share the same confession on the other.

  31. Just Sayin’,

    You are correct. The phrase used in Pres. Kieschnick’s February 22 memo was accepted by the convention as one of the Resolved statements. (It was another proposed amendment that was rejected.)

    I still think, however, that his address to the CWA was made in a politically correct manner and avoided specific mention of other unLutheran and heretical actions passed in the current and past Assemblies. In his address he did not refer back to the 2001-3-21A affirmation that the E_CA can no longer be considered to be an orthodox Lutheran church body, but said instead, “We have doctrinal differences that separate us.”

    BTW, Just Sayin’, how about just sayin’ your real name? At least “Carl Vehse” is a positive nom de plume from Missouri Synod Lutheran history, according C.F.W. Walther.

  32. Statement of the president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in response to certain actions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    August 24, 2009

    The two largest Lutheran church bodies in the United States are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with 4.8 million members and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) with 2.4 million members.

    On Friday, Aug. 21, the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to open the ministry of the ELCA to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in “committed relationships.” In an earlier action, the assembly approved a resolution that commits the ELCA “to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”

    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has repeatedly affirmed as its own position the historical understanding of the Christian church that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as “intrinsically sinful.” It is therefore contrary to the will of the Creator and constitutes sin against the commandments of God (Lev. 18:22, 24,20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 1 Tim 1:9-10; and Rom. 1:26, 27).

    Addressing the ELCA assembly on Saturday, Aug. 22, I responded to their aforementioned actions, stating: “The decisions by this assembly to grant non-celibate homosexual ministers the privilege of serving as rostered leaders in the ELCA and the affirmation of same-gender unions as pleasing to God will undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA. It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies. The current division between our churches threatens to become a chasm. This grieves my heart and the hearts of all in the ELCA, the LCMS, and other Christian church bodies throughout the world who do not see these decisions as compatible with the Word of God, or in agreement with the consensus of 2,000 years of Christian theological affirmation regarding what Scripture teaches about human sexuality. Simply stated, this matter is fundamentally related to significant differences in how we [our two church bodies] understand the authority of Holy Scripture and the interpretation of God’s revealed and infallible Word.”

    Doctrinal decisions adopted already in 2001 led the LCMS, in sincere humility and love, to declare that we could no longer consider the ELCA “to be an orthodox Lutheran church body” (2001 Res 3-21A). Sadly, the decisions of this past week to ignore biblical teaching on human sexuality have reinforced that conclusion. We respect the desire to follow conscience in moral decision making, but conscience may not overrule the Word of God.

    We recognize that many brothers and sisters within the ELCA, both clergy and lay, are committed to remaining faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, are committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, and strongly oppose these actions. To them we offer our assurance of loving encouragement together with our willingness to provide appropriate support in their efforts to remain faithful to the Word of God and the historic teachings of the Lutheran church and all other Christian churches for the past 2,000 years.

    Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

    “Transforming lives through Christ’s love … in time … for eternity …” John 3:16-17

    [Editor’s Note: A complete draft of President Kieschnick’s address to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly is posted on the LCMS Web site at http://www.lcms.org.]

  33. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

    The Lutheran LCMS already should have split from the ELCA when they allowed women in the ministry. If we believe in the Bible, and we do, then we live by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God says in the epistles that women cannot preach.

    For me, be Lutheran is to live by God’s Word (Solo Scriptura). The Lutheran ELCA is departing from God’s Word and thus concience. God bless them.

    “To go against concience is neither right or safe.” Martin Luther

    In Christ,

    Lara Muller

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