President Kieschnick appointed a commission to address implications of the ELCA’s recent heretical decision to allow and ordain practicing homosexuals into the Office of the Holy Ministry. You can read it here: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=16740.
The authors of the document are to be commended for being clear that the ELCA has violated the clear teaching of Scripture.
It would have been nice if they had taken a stronger position on implications. The authors are misguided in the way they characterize Lutheranism. The authors describe Lutheranism as being in a state of confusion and this gives an odd feel to the document. Lutheranism is not in a state of confusion. The ELCA is in a state of confusion and long ago denied Lutheranism when they gave up on the inerrancy of Scripture.
It is also misguided to suggest that the LCMS should continue to cooperate with the ELCA in non-word and sacrament work. Can the church do anything meaningful that does not involve word and sacrament? This is an outrageous position that the Task Force takes.
If I have been hurt by a natural disaster and I have a team of ELCA/LCMS folks serving me, will I not be confused about the LCMS’s theology if I then have the ELCA half of the team preach their heterodox “gospel” to me?
There is a time to be nice and cooperative and a time not to be. There is no compelling reason to cooperate with a denomination that spits on the word of God.
The authors of the document think there is a compelling reason:
In areas where we currently have working arrangements with ELCA congregations and entities, the status of those working relationships is dependent on policies and actions taken by the various entities from national to local levels. We do not believe the ELCA’s recent sexuality decisions should necessarily or summarily end our work together in these agencies. (p. 5)
Just because we have arrangements that are dependent on local or national levels does not mean that we should cooperate with people who deny the authority of the Bible and thereby deny the authority of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who breathed the words of the Bible.
We would encourage brothers Lehenbauer, Meyer, Nadasdy, Nafzger, Wenthe, Wohlrabe, Vogel and Kieschnick to adopt the spirit of Paul when addressing heresy and apostasy instead of writing from this position of weakness and confusion. Here is a sample of how Paul addresses heresy and apostasy:
Romans 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospelâ€” 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
The document takes a clear stand on Scripture but why these fine theologians do not have the gumption to lead us to cut off all cooperation with the ELCA is an enigma. I know that many of the authors on the list know full well that doctrine and practice cannot be separated and that any good that there might be in cooperating with those who deny Christ’s word (I really can’t think of any) is cancelled out by the fallout from such cooperation.
When I was a child, my mother and father invested a lot of time in getting to know who I was hanging out with because they knew how important it was to my formation. The same kindergarten wisdom should apply to denominational cooperation.
Hey guys, it is not that hard to say it:
“Because the ELCA has taken another drastic step away from Scriptural truth, based on their faulty view of the fallibility of Holy Scripture, the LCMS shall cut off any formal ties of cooperation with this body that denies our Lord’s Word.”
We ask President Kieschnick and his task force to reconsider this. Where are the Biblical leaders in this Synod?