Skip to comments.ELCA assembly slips practicing gays in back door to pulpit
Posted on 08/12/2007 3:56:41 AM PDT by Zender500
While the churchwide assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America shut the front door for now on allowing ministers in same-sex relationships to serve the denomination, they essentially told them to go to the back door and come in.
The assembly, meeting in Chicago this week, voted to refer most resolutions on homosexual behavior and ordination standards to a task force on human sexuality that is preparing a social statement for the 2009 churchwide assembly, thus taking the resolutions out of consideration at this assembly. More significantly, the assembly closed the front door when it defeated a resolution that would have changed the standards, allowing practicing homosexuals to become lay ministers and be ordained.
But the assembly opened the back door when it voted 538 to 431 to urge bishops, synods and the presiding bishop to refrain from disciplining pastors or lay ministers in committed same-sex relationships. This resolution was recommended by a discipline committee that defrocked a practicing homosexual but delayed enforcement until after the assembly and made clear its opinion that the standards needed loosening. Twenty-one synod assemblies had approved resolutions recommended by that discipline committee this spring.
"Some synodical bishops will use this as an excuse to ordain people in same-sex relationships and to certify lay ministers even though the 'Vision and Expectations' and 'Definitions and Guidelines' on ministry haven't changed. It's deceptive and lacks integrity," said Pastor Paull Spring, who is chair of Lutheran CORE, which along with WordAlone is working to renew and reform the ELCA.
WordAlone Network President Jaynan Clark Egland added: "I don't know as a Christian, as a pastor and as a parent what really would be worse--a church with no Biblical standards to govern our ministry or standards we don't intend to enforce. To refrain from discipline in the home is bad parenting, but we're about to do so in Christ's Church."
"Isn't this really a local option? Talk about introducing even more chaos to the ELCA's roster. Some bishops already are allowing people in same-sex relationships to serve. More may join them. But not all will look the other way and still may discipline. This leaves the ELCA with inconsistent patterns of discipline and standards, and possibly increases the church's liability in legal cases involving sexual impropriety," Egland said.
"The assembly spoke against making any change now by referring the main resolution on ordaining practicing homosexuals to the human sexuality study task force. It's a shame they opened this door allowing ordinations of persons in same-sex relationships," Spring commented.
The campaign to get homosexual behavior before the assembly prior to consideration of the social statement in 2009 seems to have started with an Atlanta, Ga., pastor's confession to his bishop that he, a known homosexual, had a "committed relationship" with another man. A discipline hearing was scheduled and held in early February.
The hearing committee ruled that the pastor was in violation of current ELCA standards and should be removed from the denomination's clergy roster, but delayed his removal until Aug. 15, after the assembly. The discipline committee also questioned the appropriateness and constitutionality of present ordination standards.
That committee also asked the ELCA's 65 synods to pass resolutions requesting the 2007 assembly to begin the process to change the standards to allow for non-celibate clergy and lay ministers. In addition the committee asked the synod assemblies to consider other resolutions for the churchwide assembly to go easy in the meantime on disciplining any ministers serving the church who are in homosexual relationships. Both sides appealed the ruling.
In July, the appeals committee ruled that Brad Schmeling, the Atlanta pastor, should have been removed from the roster in February and removed him effective with their findings. The appeals group also chastised the discipline committee for overstepping its bounds by delaying the pastor's removal, for commenting on the standards and for asking this year's assembly to approve changing them.
About an hour before the assembly ended, when more than 400 voting members had departed, the assembly approved by a margin of 318 to 309 a motion that calls for ELCA bishops to discuss their accountability to the "adopted policies, practices and procedures" of the ELCA. The motion further directs the bishops to bring to the 2009 assembly a document that clarifies the lines of accountability. Perhaps the assembly realized it had voted for chaos earlier in the day by urging bishops not to uphold standards.
Back door? No problemo.
It's also a shame the ELCA can't accept plain Biblical truth, but instead needs years of "study" to determine if the Bible really means what it plainly says. The ELCA continues to become a Jesus Seminar writ large.
The golden rule of interpretation is: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studies in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise. God in revealing His Word neither intends nor permits the reader to be confused. He wants His children to understand." [Dr. D. A. Waite, Ephesians, p. 10]
The ELCA's motto: "Bible proscriptions against sin making you feel bad, Bunky? No problemo. We'll just legislate them out of existence in our next ELCA Convention."
FRiends, I was once ELCA. I left in 2005. I am now a Catholic. You might want to look at it.
FReepers, the road that has led the ELCA to this point has been a long one, and provides an enlightening study of how a single issue can infiltrate an organization and phagocytize its hierarchy. Even if one is not particularly religious - or not religious at all - the de facto homophile takeover of the ELCA should be a warning (not that there is a dearth of them).
Alhough it is not commonly known outside Lutheran circles, a few years ago, the ELCA “Lutherans” (who are NOT to be confused with Wisconsin Synod or Missouri Synod Lutherans) formally allied itself with the Episcopalians (yes, the Vickie Gene Robinson organization); the already-liberal ELCA national organization then walked off the gay cliff. It took them until yesterday to hit the bottom.
(Not that they won’t start digging to go lower.)
The new ELCA hymnbooks are now replete with “hymns” that talk about “mother earth” and a vague, non-gender-specific deity, and many services encourage a type of dancing that lacks only a statue of Pan or a maypole. The theological training in the ELCA’s seminaries would stun the average Lutheran of even twenty years ago, but when the candidates are taught by professors who openly advocate abortion on demand and euthenasia, one can’t expect much solid grounding in Biblical matters.
They are now squarely “of the world,” not “in the world.” Niteowl 77 and myself were both raised as ELCA Lutherans (the ELCA swallowed up the older ALC and LCA organizations many, many years ago), and the creeping apostacy has been a greivous thing to watch.
Every Protestant denomination goes this way sooner or later, because they are all run democratically.
“Every Protestant denomination goes this way sooner or later, because they are all run democratically.”
As an ELCA member, it’s my opinion that the ELCA is run by left-wing elitists who are afraid to split the church. That’s why they have been kicking the “homosexual” can down the road for at least 10 years.
While this position might enjoy support from liberal Lutherans in places like Minneapolis, it will not play well in the Lutheran heartland of the Midwest.
We met with the priest Tuesday evening, I start classes in September.
My wife is Catholic, recentely annuled 1973 marriage, but still unable to take communion.
I am ELCA, and we need to complete paper work for previous marriage for me, which the priest is handling.
After seeing the ELCA thread this morning, confirms I am making the correct move!
I think it was St. Paul who advised Christians to “...come out from among them...”
LOL. Who elects the Pope, Emperor Constantine?
Don’t homos already use the ‘back door’ for entry? ;)
I was ELCA in 2005. I went LCMS. You don’t have to go all the way to Pedophiles R Us (RC)!
By the end of the discussion, folks were asking me what the LCMS believes and about the various LCMS churches in our area, several of which I have visited over the last few months. People are going to start bailing over this, or rather continue bailing.
I grew up LCMS and that is probably where I will return.
I have a friend who is pastor at Lord of Glory Lutheran Church, LCMS, in Grayslake. I hope you visit for a Christ-centered experience.
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