Our Newest “Thorn in the Flesh”? by Ginny Valleau

Here is another post we received from guest correspondent Ginny Valleau that shows the real-world impact of continuing to maintain relationships with the ELCA after their decisions this year and in the past.

The LMA-MnN (Lutheran Mission Association Mn North) received word from the ELCH (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti), that some folks are seriously questioning Lutheran churches because they have heard that “Lutheran” churches now accept homosexual Pastors—even allowing them to marry other homosexuals. This arises out of the ELCA’s unbiblical acceptance of homosexual pastors at their 2009 Convention.

Some of the Haitian District Presidents met last week in Port au Prince, Haiti, and discussed the problem. One of the participants was Rev. Eliona Bernard, North Haiti District President and President of the ELCH (in fellowship with the LCMS) Seminary. Rev. Bernard relayed this information during a phone conversation last weekend with Lil Spilde, of the LMA-MnN.

LMA-MnN is a non-RSO organization of mostly LCMS lay people based in MN North District. Since about the year 2002, they have been helping support the Haitian Lutheran pastors who bring God’s Word to this Caribbean nation.

Apparently some of the Lutherans of Haiti, who struggle for church buildings and schools, not to mention food, shelter, clothing, medicine and education, know more theology than the ELCA Assembly that met last summer in Minneapolis. Haiti is a country that has enough problems with poverty, hunger, hurricanes, joblessness, disease, and Voodoo. Now we must add the ELCA to the list.

Is ELCA the “thorn in the flesh” that we must bear? Not only are we called on to deal with ELCA’s unbiblical acceptance of homosexual pastors last summer, but their approval of women pastors in the pulpit did not help Lutherans minister to the Muslim world; it is hard to get a Muslim to respect Lutherans or our faith when “Lutherans” allow women pastors.

What can be done about this? We don’t know, but a good beginning might be to terminate all ties between the LCMS and ELCA. Below is a proposed resolution to cut all ties with the ELCA Synod, but to continue to reach out in Christian love to individual ELCA members. (This is also posted on the LCMSpolitics.org site.)

LCMS also needs to immediately stop the wasteful meetings between LCMS and ELCA executives…until the LCMS is prepared to soundly rebuke the ELCA for their heresies.

Meanwhile, we will trust in the efficacy of God’s Word as we continue our work in Haiti and the rest of the world, in spite of the ELCA. Lord, have mercy!

Ginny Valleau
Independence, MO

Terminate All Cooperative Ministries between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the LCMS, while Continuing to Reach out to ELCA Church Members in Christian Love and with Clear Biblical Admonition

WHEREAS, God’s Word warns us to, “…watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.” (Romans 16:17-18) and not to be partners with sexual immorality or take part in the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:3-12), and

WHEREAS, at the 2001 Synodical Convention of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Resolution 3-21A was passed, which, in part, Resolved that “we cannot consider them [the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)] to be an orthodox Lutheran church body,” but that we would continue to reach out to them in love and support, and

WHEREAS, since that time the ELCA has moved further and further from God’s Word until on August 21, 2009, their Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis, MN, voted to ordain homosexual men and women in committed monogamous relationships to serve as pastors, and

WHEREAS, President Gerald Kieschnick said in The Lutheran Witness (October 2009, Vol 128, #10), when referring to the recent ELCA action: “…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.” And

WHEREAS, cooperation between the ELCA and the LCMS is likely to confuse the public who may interpret such cooperation to mean that the LCMS and ELCA agree regarding the unbiblical position of the ELCA in this and other points of doctrinal divergence, and may further confuse our Synod’s identity as distinct from the ELCA, therefore, be it

Resolved, that LCMS church members be encouraged to continue to reach out in Christian love to ELCA church members with clear biblical admonition, and be it further

Resolved, that the LCMS terminate all cooperative ministries between the LCMS and ELCA.

November 3, 2009

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, LCMSsermons.com, 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 KNFA.net.


Our Newest “Thorn in the Flesh”? by Ginny Valleau — 17 Comments

  1. I strongly support this resolution. There are enough obstacles to proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in this sin filled world, within and without of our LCMS.

  2. I believe a resolution was passed in 2004 (and perhaps in 2007, also) to the effect that we would continue to review our working relationships with _ _ _ A. JF and SP objected to some amendments that were proposed, but I don’t have the proceedings handy. You might want to add such resolutions to the “Whereas’s”.


  3. It would be appropriate if some additional whereases could be included in the resolution similar to statements made by Bishop Obare and the Evangelical Church in Kenya concerning the E_CA and the Church of Sweden:

    “that these Church Bodies have rejected the faith of Christendom as have been confessed all along starting with the Apostles and the fathers as is also confessed today in the three ecumenical creeds.”

    “that these church bodies have out rightly rejected the Authority of the Scriptures as the Word of God”

    “that, most seriously of all, it is nothing less than a denial of the transformative power of the love we know in our Savior Jesus Christ, Who seeks all sinners in order to restore them to communion with the Father through the ministrations of His Holy Spirit in Word and sacrament.”

  4. I am a former member of the Episcopal Church USA. When that church made a concordat of intercommunion with the ELCA about a decade ago I knew the direction that church was going. I finally left the ECUSA when they ordained Gene Anderson, a homosexual man, as a bishop of the church. I was not suprised when the ELCA took the direction it did recently. I am only surprised (but heartened) that it took so long.

    I am now in the process of joining an LCMS parish. There is also a WELS parish in my town. If the LCMS fools around too long on this issue I may be darkening its door. I feel like I am running out of options.

    BTW, I am also big on liturgy.

  5. Dennis,
    This is going to take a while. This won’t even be considered until the convention in 2010. Then you need a few years to untie all the legal & financial knots. If you are in it for congregation alone, pick a good one. If you are congregation + principle, I’m WELS now (life long LCMS, 3 generations) it was a good choice for us. WELS does have it’s church growth movement (church & change) but it is keeping it at bay a bit better. Yes, we are running out of options, and the churches are running out of time.

  6. Because the issue of homosexual pastors and women pastors affects WELS and ELS as well as LCMS, I wonder how they are handling the problem of folks here and abroad who think “Lutheran is Lutheran, period”.

  7. There’s alot more in common than the women pastors & glbt thing Lil. What do I a new WELS, do? Personally, should I be asked, I say I am a Believer. When the question of what church I attend is asked, I state my denom. Your right, to anyone outside the “Lutheran community” Lutheran is Lutheran. But, this has been going for centuries. It is a part of the playing field. We’re honest, forthright & true, & now, we are creative, but ALWAYS BIBLICAL.

  8. Ginny, you asked a very interesting question. Do you happen to know who Nadia Bolz-Weber is? If you dwell outside our denom, you may use google & get spit out to her site. Many in her or our own denom, have no clue who she is. Many here at BJS, don’t know who she is. But…she comes into play in the article you wrote. Here is a direct quote from her
    Sarcastic Lutheran blog:

    The cranky spirituality of a post modern gal. Emerging church ala Luther.
    *warning, should you look up her quotes, tweets, or blogs, she has a mouth like a drunken sailor* ck Christianity21.

    Ck out Apprising Ministries, look her up. Is she the face of Luther? Emerging, NO KIDDIN’, more like morphing. But…into what exactly? That or rather, who is why we need to re explain what a Lutheran is, what Luther taught, and what “Lutherans” believe. No thanks to those like Nadia, or those who presently reside at Kirkwood Ave.

  9. I think we need to use this ? that has been sadly given to us, and turn it into an opportunity to confess boldly to others what Lutherans REALLY believe, teach, and confess, which is the TRUTH of the Scriptures, and not what some group with the greatest number is trying to say “we” believe. We, as individual Lutherans can tell others the truth that there is a difference between us, by reach out to hurting E*CA’ers and try tell them. Sadly, many have been pulled into the false teaching and lies. They defend what they have wrongly been taught. Until we in the LCMS take a real stand against it, how will they know we are seriously concerned for them?

  10. I also strongly support the resolution. I have thought for several years that this action should have already been taken. In addition, we need to be very clear in our witness both of our position and in pointing out the false teachings and practices in ELCA. This would also serve as notice to the world that ELCA does not represent all Lutherans. I believe all of this can be done in such a way that individuals in ELCA can see they have a more Lutheran alternative. At the same time, those who are interested in joining a more coservative body need to be carefully catechized. Not only have they been comfortable with women pastors, the loose treatment of Scripture, etc., but in my experience many of them have never even seen Luther’s Small Catechism.

  11. Maybe a name change IS the answer to this problem. If we weren’t called “Lutheran” we wouldn’t be unequally yoked together with the beliefs and practices of other “Lutherans”. However, my original question is still not answered. What do the ELS and WELS Synods do about this problem?

  12. Concordia Lutheran Church of Sikeston, MO passed this very resolution at its 9 Nov. 2009 Voters’ Meeting and the overture has already been sent to the Synod. May it somehow see the light of day come July 2010.

  13. Friends in Christ –

    I offer this with love and prayer. I have family in LCMS. I was raised in LCMS.

    I find the opinions expressed in response to the posting of Ginny Villeau’s article truly saddening and sad. Among the problems I find are the following:

    1. Neither the article, the resolution, nor the responding opinions refute the Biblical basis for ELCA’s action. ELCA’s action is very well-grounded in theology. Obviously many in this forum think otherwise, but I would hope that a Christian, loving person would provide at least some vestige of the basis for such vitriolic opposition. To say “it’s in the Bible” without a thoughtful presentation of where and what the context of the scripture is not especially helpful. Regarding the ELCA position, complete Bible-based study guides are available at the website, ELCA.org. The guides describe the issues from more than one side.

    2. If you are indeed so willing to read “homosexual” in the Bible where it doesn’t occur, perhaps you would also be willing to explain the LCMS position regarding divorce by lay and ordained ministers. Are you comfortable with the “literal” interpretation of Christ’s teaching about divorce? What do you do with members or clergy of LCMS that divorce? Give them a “prepare for hell” brochure and directions to the back door? To its credit, LCMS doesn’t use a “literal” interpretation to define its ministry vis-a-vis divorce. Similar enlightened readings of other scripture might actually be helpful.

    There are obviously differences within ELCA on this issue. That’s one reason why the matter was under prayerful study and discussion for at least ten years.

    Peace to you.

  14. Dennis –

    Thank you for your post. It’s a reminder that we are still dealing with pre-conceived notions.

    There has been plenty of “thoughtful presentation” about the condemnation of homosexuality in both the New Testament and Old Testament. The show “Fighting for the Faith” has covered it, among other places.

    We all deal with sin, whether it is divorce, homosexuality, straight-up adultery, or any of the other commandments. There is a world of difference between denying that such behavior is sin and repenting of that sin and trying to do better.

  15. @Dan at Necessary Roughness #15
    Dan – Thanks for your reply.

    I’m not sure if I see the same “literal” reading of Christ’s teaching about divorce. Both Matthew and Mark would seem, to a superficial reading, to indicate that someone who divorces and remarries is living in adultery. Is a divorced and re-married man, living in “adultery” on a day in, day out basis, accepted as a minister in LCMS? If such a person were to repent, wouldn’t truthful repentance seem to require divorcing the second wife at some point? Wow, those “literal” readings can really be problematic! I’d be interested in knowing how it is resolved in LCMS.

    Actually, I don’t believe that is the true literal meaning of Christ’s teaching on divorce, nor do I believe that the Bible says “homosexuality” as we understand it today is a sin. Actually, I don’t believe the word “homosexual” is found in any recognized translation. But that’s just the beginning of why I was raised in LCMS, but neither my wife nor I are now members.

    Don’t feel obligated to reply, but I encourage all to continue in prayerful study of these issues. Let us love one another, in thought and deed. There is so much more that binds us than divides us.

  16. Dennis, I’m just a layman. I don’t know the ins and outs of LCMS synodical politics, nor is it something I especially care about.

    The literal, historical-grammatical method of interpreting scripture isn’t the problem. If there are divorce and remarriage shenanigans in the LCMS or any other church body, that doesn’t mean that such behavior isn’t sinful, nor does it excuse other sinful behavior.

    It would seem to me, as someone who is not familiar with all of the LCMS by-laws, that a divorced pastor should not divorce again but resign his call. Scripture if I recall correctly actually takes a tolerant view of bigamy, but not for overseers.

    I know of one vicar whose wife divorced him, and it was her fault. Because he didn’t commit the adultery, he went on to take a pastoral call. I think that’s fine.

    The reason for your disagreement is that you believe the bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality. That’s the case you need to make. LCMS hypocrisy is not a good defense for the toleration of sinful behavior. Let God be true and the LCMS be a liar, if need be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.