Skip to comments.Lutheran Leaders Respond to Slaying in Wichita Church
Posted on 06/01/2009 1:52:19 PM PDT by lightman
Lutheran Leaders Respond to Slaying in Wichita Church
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), issued a statement in response to the May 31 murder of Dr. George Tiller at Reformation Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Wichita, Kan.
Tiller was serving as an usher for Sunday morning worship when he was shot and killed. A suspect was arrested later in connection with the killing.
"Dr. George Tiller and his wife, Jeanne, were gathering with the people of Reformation Lutheran Church to worship and to celebrate Pentecost -- the coming of the Holy Spirit to God's people," Hanson said. "In the wake of his death we pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort his family and all who mourn."
"We pray for the courage to be peacemakers, rejecting violence as a means of resolving differences. We trust God's promise that neither death nor life nor anything in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord," Hanson said.
The Rev. Lowell R. Michelson and the Rev. Kristin M. Neitzel are pastors of Reformation Lutheran Church. The congregation is part of the ELCA Central States Synod, led by Bishop Gerald L. Mansholt.
Michelson and Neitzel posted a public statement on the congregation's Web site, noting that Tiller had been a longtime member of the congregation.
"In the wake of this tragic event, our deepest concern is for the family of George Tiller. We ask the community to join us in prayer for them as they face the difficult days ahead. Our hearts ache with them. We also ask that the family's privacy be respected," the pastors said.
They added that counselors were helping members of the congregation. "We pray for healing and peace to be restored. We offer our thanks for the many prayers of support from across the country," Michelson and Neitzel wrote.
In a letter to the ELCA Central States Synod, Mansholt wrote: "In this time of tragedy and sorrow we give thanks to God who comforts us in times of need and loss. In the midst of things we are unable to understand or comprehend, we continue to trust in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to life eternal. In that promise of God there is healing and hope for the whole world."
-- -- -- Bishop Hanson's full statement is at http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Office-of-the-Presiding-Bishop/Messages-and-Statements/090601.aspx on the ELCA Web site
"As I live, says the LORD GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn back from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?"
Be sure to visit www.lutheransforlife.org
Do they think the torture and mass murder of innocent children is just fine ? shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
This church was obviously unsuccessful (and probably never tried) to turn “doctor” Tiller from his evil ways.
ELCA? Explains everything.
I kinda like Psalm 58:10 better.
I had prayed hard that Tiller’s eyes would be opened and he would turn from the sin of abortion. I am saddened that this man’s life was ended before he repented.
As soon as I heard about this I knew it was an ELCA church. No other Lutherean denomination would put up with an unrepentant murderer in their midst. I pray for all those around the man who was murdered, and I pray they repent too.
I’m ELCA, and I was disappointed that any Lutheran would chose to disobey the Bible and kill unborn babies.
Sorry to be cynical, but that's the way I see it. Ever study the career of Rev. Wright? He didn't get anywhere when he tried to preach a traditional brand of Christianity to serve his community. Once he decided to specialize in the "hate whitey liberation theology" shtick, his attendance and contributions skyrocketed.
The ELCA’s health-care provider pays for selective abortion.
I’m not a Lutheran, so I am only speculating here. Perhaps those who are Lutheran can answer my question. The name of the church, the Reformation Lutheran church, implies to me that they are perhaps some sort of breakaway Lutheran church. Please educate me if I am wrong.
The congregation chose “Reformation” as its name. It is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) hence this statement from the national church office.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, the largest Lutheran denomination in the USA. Pro-choice on abortion, sadly.
Seriously get out now! Find yourself a Bible believing denomination, or an unaffiliated Bible believing Church. ELCA has lost it’s connection with Christ. Trust me, it was hard to break out of my shell too, but it had to be done, and for you and countless others, it has to be done. Tradition be damned!
It got so bad that we left about 15 years ago for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod which is very different from the ELCA
I was raised Missouri Synod.......I am SO thankful for that solid background...
ELCA is proabortion.
My former church is doing well now that it no longer has a revisionist pastor.
I do understand that there are many ELCA members who are appalled at what’s going on in your denomination. Having learned that Tiller was a member of a church, it came as no surprise that it was an ELCA congregation. There are churches in a few other denominations that would also welcome a murderer like Tiller.
Years ago I worked with a fellow who was Missouri Synod, I knew that ELCA was liberal, but the Pastor and Pastorette
Thank you for all your insights. shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
who shared some of features of different Lutheran denominations.
will receive special treatment for embracing and providing succor
to those who torture and murder of innocent children.
NAsbU James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers,
my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
NAsbU 2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people,
just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will
secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master
who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
Years ago I worked with a fellow who was Missouri Synod,
I knew that ELCA was liberal, but the Pastor and Pastorette
“I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech. “ Leviticus 20:3-5
In the 1850’s Wichita’s state was called “bleeding Kansas”.
As I read your post the Battle Hymn of the Republic is playing in my head.
Would you have allowed George Tiller to be an usher at your Lutheran church?
Of what sin should he have repented of?
Apparently he was fully accepted in the Lutheran Church as a member in good standing and as an Usher. He may have even baptized some of the babies he "prematurely delivered."
Obviously if he had some kind of ongoing sin in his life that required repentance, the Lutheran Church would not have elevated him to such a high position within their church.
Obviously he was as good a Christian as anyone else in his congregation. Maybe better.
There are even pro-choice groups within the Catholic Church. Catholics voted 55% for Obama so dont pretend the Catholic Church is a pure church--it is not.
I might point out that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod excommunicated Tiller so not all Lutheran churches accept abortion.
Good for the LCMS again.
It was strange. I grew up in a small German town with the ALC and there was a LCMS church in a neighboring town but there was always a prejudice against the LCMS. I never knew what it was but it was there. I believe it is still there and that is why those at the ELCA church will not leave and go to the neighboring LCMS.
The members of the ELCA congregation do not know the blessings that are waiting for them.
I have a current LCMS friend who can explain the whole thing and I need to sit down with her again and let her explain it to me.
You should use a sarcasm tag. Someone might think you’re serious.
You betcha. I used to be WELS, I know there is no way that evil man could have ever been a member. The difference is repenting, and not. Tiller was an unrepentant murderer. His murder was dispicable as all murders are and I mourn for his family.
Absolutely, you are totally correct but I wasn’t referring to anything like that. When we were young these things were not issues at all. There was no substantive reason for the prejudice—it was just there and I’m sure the LCMS church people felt the same way about the ALC people but they didn’t know why.
I do appreciate your tone and I admire your devotion. Of course, I reject that Peter was made head of the church and that that of the Papacy but other than that, we have much in common.
Time for a little catechetical refresher:
The Fifth Commandment.
179] Thou shalt not kill.
180] We have now completed both the spiritual and the temporal government, that is, the divine and the paternal authority and obedience. But here now we go forth from our house among our neighbors to learn how we should live with one another, every one himself toward his neighbor. 181] Therefore God and government are not included in this commandment, nor is the power to kill, which they have, taken away. For God has delegated His authority to punish evil-doers to the government instead of parents, who aforetime (as we read in Moses) were required to bring their own children to judgment and sentence them to death. Therefore, what is here forbidden is forbidden to the individual in his relation to any one else, and not to the government.
182] Now this commandment is easy enough, and has been often treated, because we hear it annually in the Gospel of St. Matthew 5:21ff, where Christ Himself explains and sums it up, namely, that we must not kill, neither with hand, heart, mouth, signs, gestures, help, nor counsel. Therefore it is here forbidden to every one to be angry, except those (as we said) who are in the place of God, that is, parents and the government. For it is proper for God and for every one who is in a divine estate to be angry, to reprove and punish, namely, on account of those very persons who transgress this and the other commandments.
183] But the cause and need of this commandment is that God well knows that the world is evil, and that this life has much unhappiness; therefore He has placed this and the other commandments between the good and the evil. Now, as there are many assaults upon all commandments, so it happens also in this commandment that we must live among many people who do us harm, so that we have cause to be hostile to them.
184] As when your neighbor sees that you have a better house and home [a larger family and more fertile fields], greater possessions and fortune from God than he, he is sulky, envies you, and speaks no good of you.
Thus by the devil’s incitement you will get many enemies who cannot bear to see you have any good, either bodily or spiritual. When we see such people, our hearts, in turn, would rage and bleed and take vengeance. Then there arise cursing and blows, from which follow finally misery and murder. Here, now, God like a kind father steps in ahead of us, interposes and wishes to have the quarrel settled, that no misfortune come of it, nor one destroy another. And briefly, He would hereby protect, set free, and keep in peace every one against the crime and violence of every one else; and would have this commandment placed as a wall, fortress, and refuge about our neighbor, that we do him no hurt nor harm in his body.
186] Thus this commandment aims at this, that no one offend his neighbor on account of any evil deed, even though he have fully deserved it. For where murder is forbidden, all cause also is forbidden whence murder may originate. For many a one, although he does not kill, yet curses and utters a wish, which would stop a person from running far if it were to strike him in the neck [makes imprecations, which if fulfilled with respect to any one, he would not live long]. 187] Now, since this inheres in every one by nature and it is a common practise that no one is willing to suffer at the hands of another, God wishes to remove the root and source by which the heart is embittered against our neighbor, and to accustom us ever to keep in view this commandment, always to contemplate ourselves in it as in a mirror, to regard the will of God, and with hearty confidence and invocation of His name to commit to Him the wrong which we suffer. Thus we shall suffer our enemies to rage and be angry, doing what they can, and we learn to calm our wrath, and to have a patient, gentle heart, especially toward those who give us cause to be angry, that is, our enemies.
188] Therefore the entire sum of what it means not to kill is to be impressed most explicitly upon the simple-minded. In the first place, that we harm no one, first, with our hand or by deed. Then, that we do not employ our tongue to instigate or counsel thereto. Further, that we neither use nor assent to any kind of means or methods whereby any one may be injured. And finally, that the heart be not ill disposed toward any one, nor from anger and hatred wish him ill, so that body and soul may be innocent in regard to every one, but especially those who wish you evil or inflict such upon you. For to do evil to one who wishes and does you good is not human, but diabolical.
189] Secondly, under this commandment not only he is guilty who does evil to his neighbor, but he also who can do him good, prevent, resist evil, defend and save him, so that no bodily harm or hurt happen to him, and yet does not do it. 190] If, therefore, you send away one that is naked when you could clothe him, you have caused him to freeze to death; if you see one suffer hunger and do not give him food, you have caused him to starve. So also, if you see any one innocently sentenced to death or in like distress, and do not save him, although you know ways and means to do so, you have killed him. And it will not avail you to make the pretext that you did not afford any help, counsel, or aid thereto, for you have withheld your love from him and deprived him of the benefit whereby his life would have been saved.
191] Therefore God also rightly calls all those murderers who do not afford counsel and help in distress and danger of body and life, and will pass a most terrible sentence upon them in the last day, as Christ Himself has announced when He shall say, Matt. 25:42f : I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not; sick and in prison, and ye visited Me not. That is: You would have suffered Me and Mine to die of hunger, thirst, and cold, would have suffered the wild beasts to tear us to pieces, or left us to rot in prison or perish in distress. What else is that but to reproach them 192] as murderers and bloodhounds? For although you have not actually done all this, you have nevertheless, so far as you were concerned, suffered him to pine and perish in misfortune.
It is just as if I saw some one navigating and laboring in deep water [and struggling against adverse winds] or one fallen into fire, and could extend to him the hand to pull him out and save him, and yet refused to do it. What else would I appear, even in the eyes of the world, than as a murderer and a criminal?
193] Therefore it is God’s ultimate purpose that we suffer harm to befall no man, but show him all good and love; 194] and, as we have said, it is specially directed toward those who are our enemies. For to do good to our friends is but an ordinary heathen virtue, as Christ says Matt. 5:46.
195] Here we have again the Word of God whereby He would encourage and urge us to true noble and sublime works, as gentleness, patience, and, in short, love and kindness to our enemies, and would ever remind us to reflect upon the First Commandment, that He is our God, that is, that He will help, assist, and protect us, in order that He may thus quench the desire of revenge in us.
196] This we ought to practise and inculcate, and we would have our hands full doing good works. 197] But this would not be preaching for monks; it would greatly detract from the religious estate, and infringe upon the sanctity of Carthusians, and would even be regarded as forbidding good works and clearing the convents. For in this wise the ordinary state of Christians would be considered just as worthy, and even worthier, and everybody would see how they mock and delude the world with a false, hypocritical show of holiness, because they have given this and other commandments to the winds, and have esteemed them unnecessary, as though they were not commandments, but mere counsels; and have at the same time shamelessly proclaimed and boasted their hypocritical estate and works as the most perfect life, in order that they might lead a pleasant, easy life, without the cross and without patience, for which reason, too, they have resorted to the cloisters, so that they might not be obliged to suffer any wrong from any one or to do him any good. 198] But know now that these are the true, holy, and godly works, in which, with all the angels, He rejoices, in comparison with which all human holiness is but stench and filth, and, besides, deserves nothing but wrath and damnation.
I have family that are Catholic and consider them fellow Christians. I have kinder feelings about the Catholic church than the ELCA where I also have family.
I find nothing good about the ELCA.
The name doesn’t imply any kind of breakaway group. All ELCA churches choose some kind of name at their beginnings - there are lots of ‘Reformation Lutheran Churches’ out there in the ELCA
Thank you for posting this, lightman. It looks like nearly everyone gets condemned as a murderer in this piece (since murdering is done in all sorts of ways - even with the tongue), which is classic Lutheran theology. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I suppose - under these circumstances - that no one would be in worship if we barred sinners from it. Anyone heard of simul justus et peccator? Any Lutherans bashing other Lutherans should be ashamed of themselves.
There’s a lot of Pharisaism in these posts, frankly. Who knows what was in the heart of Dr. Tiller? Who knows what he wrestled with? None of us knows. And if murder is murder - and if murderers shouldn’t be allowed to worship - or even usher!! - then what on earth do we do with our military members of congregations who have been overseas and who have killed (a killing that is regularly held up as patriotic and moral rather than sinful and immoral)? I sure wouldn’t bar them from worship. Would any of you??
And please let’s cut the ELCA bashing. My ELCA church preaches Christ crucified - for my sins and the sins of the world, and this is what St. Paul calls preachers to do. Our job as believers is to confess our own sin and note the log in our own eyes and beg for God’s mercy like the tax collector who went away justified - not condemn others like the Pharisee, who was not thereby justified.
>Who knows what was in the heart of Dr. Tiller? Who knows what he wrestled with? None of us knows.
Yeah, but supposedly he offered his clients baptisms for the aborted baby, as well as photographs of the dead child, a possible urn with his or her’s ashes, among other things.
The Bible teaches that abortion is wrong. If Tiller was feeling guilty, would he have continued to perform abortions? Also, Jesus didn’t preach acceptance of wrong behaviors. Yes, He said ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’, but he meant that people are sinful and should take a look at themselves before criticizing others. However, He hasn’t ruled out people from makingjudgements about specific actions which are contrary to God’s law.
>then what on earth do we do with our military members of congregations who have been overseas and who have killed (a killing that is regularly held up as patriotic and moral rather than sinful and immoral)?
Not the same, IMO. Abortion kills a unbord child, in other words it takes a innocent life. Our troops kill members of Al Qaeda, or the Taliban, or the Iraqi insurgents, who aren’t innocent.