Lutheran CORE (a collection of ELCA reform groups) Plans Next Steps, Intends to be ‘Free-Standing’ Synod

ELCA NEWS SERVICE

September 10, 2009

 

Lutheran CORE Plans Next Steps, Intends to be ‘Free-Standing’ Synod

 

CHICAGO (ELCA) — Saying the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has “fallen into heresy,” because of actions taken at last month’s churchwide assembly, the chair of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) said the organization intends to be a “free-standing synod” which will carry out ministries apart from the ELCA.

 

In addition CORE is expected to consider initiating conversations with member Lutheran congregations and reform movements in the United States and Canada toward a possible reconfiguration “of North American Lutheranism,” said the Rev. Paull E. Spring, State College, Pa., Lutheran CORE chair.   Spring is a former bishop of the ELCA

Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod. Those and other ideas will be discussed when Lutheran CORE holds a convocation Sept. 25-26 at Christ the Savior Lutheran Church, Fishers, Ind. Nearly 700 people have registered as of Sept. 8, said the Rev. Mark Chavez, Landisville, Pa., CORE director and vice president, WordAlone Network, New Brighton, Minn.

 

WordAlone is a member of Lutheran CORE. Lutheran CORE is a coalition of pastors, lay people, congregations and reform groups in the ELCA. CORE expressed distress and sadness over the assembly’s decisions on human sexuality.   The assembly

adopted by a two-thirds vote an ELCA social statement, “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” which CORE said changed ELCA teaching and policy on same-gender relationships.   Voting members also directed that changes be made to ELCA ministry policies to make it possible for people in committed, same- gender relationships to serve as ELCA associates in ministry, clergy, deaconesses and diaconal ministers. CORE opposed that change, citing biblical teaching on marriage and homosexuality.

 

Following the assembly’s decisions on sexuality, CORE announced it was ending its relationship as an independent Lutheran organization “officially recognized” by the ELCA.   The organization is also encouraging ELCA members and congregations to send finances directly to ministries they support versus giving to the ELCA.

 

More than 1,000 people have contacted Lutheran CORE since the assembly, most expressing sadness and asking questions, Spring said. However, CORE is “encouraging people to remain in the ELCA — for now,” Spring said in a telephone interview with the ELCA News Service. “I myself intend to remain on the ELCA clergy roster and remain a member of an ELCA congregation,” he said, adding that he and others may not participate much in the ELCA beyond the congregation.

 

Despite his own “disappointment and shock” over the assembly’s actions, Spring said he hopes Lutheran CORE can “be a visionary, future- oriented group.” “We have no desire to look back at what happened in Minneapolis. We need to look to the future with confidence, amid much uncertainty,” Spring said.

 

CORE’s 2009 convocation is expected to adopt a proposed constitution, authorize proposals for developing fiscal plans and authorize its steering committee to initiate conversations with “congregations and reform movements” within Lutheran CORE, Lutheran Congregations for Mission in Christ, and other compatible organizations, Spring wrote in a Sept. 4 e-mail to CORE supporters. There’s also much planning to do over the course of the next year, he said.

 

Convocation speakers include the Rev. Kenneth H. Sauer, Columbus, Ohio, former bishop of the ELCA Southern Ohio Synod and former chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops; Ryan Schwarz, Washington, D.C., a CORE steering committee member and runner-up in the election for ELCA vice president at the 2009 assembly; plus Spring and Chavez.

 

“We will try to be churchly,” Spring said of the upcoming CORE convocation.   “We are trying to be responsible.   There’s a lot at stake here, including the future of Lutheranism in the United States.”

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

Lutheran CORE (a collection of ELCA reform groups) Plans Next Steps, Intends to be ‘Free-Standing’ Synod — 13 Comments

  1. I love It! Suddenly, the ELCA has ““fallen into heresy,” because of actions taken at last month’s churchwide assembly”

    What happened to the ordination of women? What happened to their denial of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture? what happened to fellowship with deniers of the real presence and baptismal regeneration? Oh wait! Suddenly, the approval of practicing homosexuals on the clergy is upsetting to them>

    The problem is that even now they don’t recognize the origin of this abomination. It was preceded by the abomination of woman’s ordination, the denial of Scriptural authority, and it could be traced back a few more issues as well. They sound so pious, but sadly they are white washed graves. They are doing exactly what Jesus spoke of in Mark 7 “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

  2. I love It! Suddenly, the ELCA has ““fallen into heresy,” because of actions taken at last month’s churchwide assembly”

    What happened to the ordination of women? What happened to their denial of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture? what happened to fellowship with deniers of the real presence and baptismal regeneration? Oh wait! Suddenly, the approval of practicing homosexuals on the clergy is upsetting to them>

    The problem is that even now they don’t recognize the origin of this abomination. It was preceded by the abomination of woman’s ordination, the denial of Scriptural authority, and it could be traced back a few more issues as well. They sound so pious, but sadly they are white washed graves. They are doing exactly what Jesus spoke of in Mark 7 “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

  3. A lot left unsaid, of course.
    Will they retain female clergy, fellowship with PECUSA, UCC, UMC, MORAVIAN, REFORMED? Adhere to JDDJ?
    They intend to remain in ELCA?
    “Fallen into heresy” rings more than a bit hollow.
    Ed

  4. Heresy isn’t something you step in, muck into, or “fall into”.You choose it or choose not to raise the alarm. It is a choice, not making a choice or acting, is actually an action. “We are trying to be…”
    Why don’t we all “DO”.
    Do or do not, there is not try.

  5. Eight years ago when I was a member in the ELCA, I was also involved with Word Alone. At that time I was under the delusion that this church body could be turned around with the help of “so called” bible-believing confessional groups like Word Alone. As I began to investigate these groups, particulary their statements on scripture, I found they were very weak. I then called and talked to Rev. Mark Chavaz. I asked him point blank “Do you believe the bible is the infallable inerrant Word of God?”. He hee hawed around my question. I then asked him “Is your view of scripture similar to the LCMS?”, he said no. That was a enough for me, shortly after my family and I joined the LCMS. Now looking back and analyzing these such groups, their authority is not the Word of God. They actually hold to some type of “selective/church/christian tradition” as their authority, which is why they have no problem with womens ordination or their fellowship practices. I laugh, but at the same time I cry, when they make statements like: “the ELCA has fallen into heresy”. Because they use the “proper language”, many (including myself at one time), believe these groups are bible believing / confessional christians. They are actually nothing but generic moderate liberal mainliners, who dress and talk like lutherans. I cannot help it, but my heart goes out to those sincere christians, who put their trust in groups like this thinking their doing somthing biblical. Actually the only biblical thing to do and what sould have been done 40 years ago, is what Saint Paul tells us in Romans 16:17. Thanks for letting me vent.

    MM

  6. I love It! Suddenly, the ELCA has ““fallen into heresy,” because of actions taken at last month’s churchwide assembly”

    A great article on the ridiculousness of this victorian approach to maintaining civic morality can be found at Touchstone magazine.

    But reader beware, it might hit close to home.

  7. Interesting MM – I think that this maybe the catalyst for synodical realignment. If a “conservative” group forms out of the ELCA as a new synod you can bet your bottom that the liberal folks in the LCMS will push for fellowship with them. I predict that they’ll make claims that we have to accept women’s ordination and open communion among those folks because we can’t push them too far to fast – we’ll have to fix it latter after we bring them into the fold. (Sound familiar?)

  8. “It doesn’t mean a separate denomination.” Good point, they call their districts Synods – so it would be like the English District in the LCMS? But it would make a mass exidous much easier later.

  9. Joe,

    The other interesting thing is that these folks insist on very little. Even in the ELCA you can belong and not endorse the new statements on sexuality so it will make it even eaiser for liberal LCMS congregations to join this new group.

    TR

  10. If a “conservative” group forms out of the ELCA as a new synod you can bet your bottom that the liberal folks in the LCMS will push for fellowship with them. I predict that they’ll make claims that we have to accept women’s ordination and open communion among those folks because we can’t push them too far to fast – we’ll have to fix it latter after we bring them into the fold. (Sound familiar?)

    Very familiar: that is the LCMS’s policy wrt foreign church bodies (such as those affiliated with the Lutheran World Federation) already.

    EJG

  11. I grew up in the LCA which became the ELCA and now I am a member of a LCMS church. I am a layman so please be nice! Honest but nice – that is all that I ask.

    In a response to Michael, I think he is right on track. Really – where do we cut the line and say what is or isn’t heresy? or an abomination as someone else said earlier on.

    Those in the ELCA that are a part of CORE have decided that homosexuality is the deciding factor. Its listed in the Bible as a sin numberous times. It fits in with our current socio-political situation where there are definitive – last stand type – posturing legally and politically all related to this one issue/sin. Taking it from that point of view its clear why it was a major mover.

    As we are located in the Twin Cities area (MN) I will tell you that soon after the convention we had about 200 more people that Sunday. We never polled anyone but the timing was interesting.

    The big question is in what they will do. Frankly, I have no idea. Sure some will leave. Perhaps some place where that issue has been resolved. It could be LCMS but I can tell you that I don’t see that its “being a Lutheran” that is an issue as much as the issue of wanting some basic biblical integrity.

    So that opens up people to look outside of the ELCA and check all types of denominations. Since the SBC and the non-denominational groups don’t have that as an issue I would imagine they could visit those churches just as much as to go to a LCMS one. Because of the need for biblical integrity its not a hard step to think of it as a need to find a place where biblical teaching can deliver on a desire to rekindle their faith or sustain their belief. A church where they can “feel” more “alive and where people have not lost their faith… Please don’t rail against me I am just calling it as I see it.

    Now if the LCMS can tap into the moment without losing its integrity that could be a wondrous moment. Ideas anyone?

    Thank you for your time!

  12. Troy,
    Some of us who speak with a bite are also “exiles.”
    I happened to “be there” during all the mergers but the last: in ALC when it joined ELC and a Danish synod; in ULC when it joinedthe other Danish synod and the Swedes to become LCA (I think that’s right).
    Then we moved to a town where the only Lutheran church was LCMS. And there I stayed, even when we moved a few more times. I moved physically, but the synods moved theologically, further than I did.
    And now? I don’t know! lcms inc. is rotten but my congregation is headed by Pastors who left ALC to go to seminary at CTS. They know what’s going on, and we have sound preaching. But the group who will come out for serious study of the BOC is small.
    We are all strangers and pilgrims here on earth…

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