“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution at its annual assembly urging bishops to refrain from disciplining pastors who are in “faithful committed same-gender relationships.” The resolution passed by a vote of 538-431.”
“The ELCA, which has 4.8 million members, had previously allowed gays to serve as pastors so long as they abstained from sexual relations.”
“Since the ELCA was founded in 1988, the group has ordered three pastors in gay relationships to be removed from their ministries. The most recent case was decided in July when the ELCA’s committee on appeals voted to remove an openly gay pastor from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta.”
““The Church ... has just said, ‘Do not do punishments,’” said Phil Soucy, spokesman for Lutherans Concerned, a gay-lesbian rights group within the church. “That is huge.””
“A gay-lesbian rights group within the church”, hmmm…?
Before we quickly judge against the ELCA, we must first take a look at what they believe to make sure we are not holding them to a higher standard than that which they have placed on themselves.
First we will take a look at their belief concerning Scriptures, since most often Christianity considers this to be the Word of God.
According to their official website, concerning Scripture, “ELCA Lutherans confidently proclaim with all Christians that the authority of the Bible rests in God. We believe that God inspired the Bible’s many writers, editors and compilers. As they heard God speaking and discerned God’s activity in events around them in their own times and places, the Bible’s content took shape.
The Bible’s reliability lies not in reading it as science or proscription, but as humankind’s chief witness to God, reflecting on faith as it is to be lived. Again, ELCA Lutherans judge all Scripture through the window of God’s chief act - that of entering human flesh in Jesus of Nazareth - and they interpret Scripture by listening to the living Jesus in the context of the Church.”
“The Bible is the only norm of doctrine and life -- the only true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
The New Testament is the first-hand proclamation of those who lived through the events of Jesus' life, death, and Resurrection. As such, it is the authority for Christian faith and practice. The Bible is thus not a definitive record of history or science. Rather, it is the record of the drama of God's saving care for creation throughout the course of history.”
Since the official site displays the “NRSV”, I shall quote from it.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. 29They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters,* insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious towards parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32They know God’s decree, that those who practise such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practise them.
So, the ELCA claims to adhere to Scripture, whereas their respected NRSV clearly notes that the sin of homosexuality (whether by man or woman) is “unnatural”, “shameless acts”, “error”, and “deserve to die” (note “deserve to die”, not “go out and kill them”), so how can this same ELCA ask Christians to not punish acting or non-acting homosexual clergy but accept them, without violating the very Scripture they hold to and the very God they claim to love?
Could it be because of their misconception of sin? They conclude, “Lutherans believe that all people live in a condition which is the result of misused freedom. "Sin" describes not so much individual acts of wrongdoing as fractured relationships between the people of creation and God. Our every attempt to please God falls short of the mark. By the standard of the Law, of which the Ten Commandments are a classic summary, God expresses his just and loving expectations for creation, and our failure to live up to those expectations reveals only our need for God's mercy and forgiveness.”
My friend, every single act of doing that which God has said not to do and not doing that which God has said to do is every bit each an individual sin per person per time it is committed and thereby defiles the person more and more as their sin nature is shown to be at war against the Spirit.
Scripture declares, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”