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{ ELCA } A house divided
The Herald (Puyallup, WA) ^ | 2/21/10 | Joan Cronk

Posted on 02/21/2010 1:44:48 PM PST by SmithL

If Pastor John Vaswig or Pastor Kim Latterell were to leave their East Pierce County Lutheran churches, their congregations could replace them with a gay or lesbian clergy member.

In August 2009, the church-wide assembly of the Ecumenical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) voted to allow churches to call pastors who are in a committed, same-gender relationships to head up their congregations.

Many other important issues were discussed and voted on at the assembly meeting in Minneapolis, but this decision is the one that generated the most interest. John Brooks, spokesman for the ELCA, said that most of the churches affected have embraced the issue.

“We have 10,400 congregations in the ELCA and only 135 of those have taken votes as to whether or not to continue as members of the ELCA,” said Brooks.

Of those 135, there are 97 churches that are still in the consultation process. Brooks said that those 97 congregations represent less than 1 percent of the membership in the ELCA.

Puyallup’s Pilgrim Lutheran Church is one of those that suffered from the decision.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church took a vote and a number of members, including the acting senior pastor, chose to break off and form their own congregation. They established a new congregation which now meets at Ballou Junior High School.

“Now we are two churches instead of one,” said Mike Deal, a Pilgrim Lutheran parishoner who spoke as an individual and not on behalf of the church.

He and his wife have made the decision to stay with the original Pilgrim Lutheran Church.

“I feel very strongly that it is a matter of equality and civil rights,” he added.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church officials declined to comment.

Brooks said the decision by the assembly just offers congregations another option for calling pastors.

“Congregations in our denomination have always had the right and opportunity to call their own pastors as they see fit, following a specific process,” he said.

No congregations will be required to call any pastor that they do not believe is a good fit, “and that includes gay and lesbians in a committed relationship,” Brooks said.

Vaswig, senior pastor of Mt. View Lutheran Church in Edgewood, said this decision does have an impact on his congregation.

“We have some individuals that are upset by this decision,” said Vaswig, “but it is a complicated world that we live in. Ultimately it is the unity achieved by God in Christ for the sake of the church that trumps the division of the homosexuality issue,” he said.

Vaswig said that this decision has a lightning rod effect “because people get excited about the issue of sex.” He added that in the 1970s it was a hot button issue when the church began to accept women as clergy, and that could have divided the church.

Vaswig has taught several classes dealing with the issue since the decision and has folks on both sides of the argument.

“I say that most of them don’t tithe and the text says to tithe, so you are basically picking up issues you agree with and others you don’t agree with,” he said.

“Some churches are seeking to live in a day that no longer exists,” he added.

Vaswig acknowledges that a few families are still struggling with this issue and as a result may feel they need to leave the congregation. Currently there are gay and lesbian couples in Mt. View’s congregation.

Theology does matter to Vaswig and he said culture should not dictate what we do and what we say, but that members should acknowledge changes and embrace a faithful and Christian response.

“The question for many,” Vaswig said, “is does the issue of homosexuality and the permitting of the ordination of gay and lesbian folk become a source of division, or a matter of deepening the possibility of living as the one body of Christ in the mystery of God’s reconciling grace.”

At Creator Lutheran Church in Bonney Lake, Latterell devoted an entire sermon to this subject. After the service a lawyer from Tacoma, Jim Hushagen, who attended the national assembly, gave a report to the congregation.

“It was a very good conversation,” Latterell said. “It was pretty obvious in that meeting that we had three or four families that would choose not to be part of the ELCA any more.”

Latterell said he is very supportive over this move and added, “Our church background is that gays and lesbians have for quite a long time been able to serve as pastors, but have had to take a vow of celibacy.”

He urges his congregation to yield and not be stubborn, but willing to listen. In his sermon he explained how this decision could affect the congregation.

“In short,” he said, “if you as a congregation want to have a married or civil-unioned or long-term, faithful, monogamous gay or lesbian pastor, you can. You don’t have to, but if you want to, you can give it a try.”

He said this decision could be a deal-breaker to some, but he was praying and believing that God’s church and spirit could hold them all together, despite their differences. He added that, “God is far more open than us on lots of things.”

Brooks said that at the present time, members of the ELCA are still operating under the policy that existed before the assembly’s decision. The new policy has yet to be written and he does not anticipate that happening before April 2010.

One of the things that must appear in the new policy, said Brooks, is some kind of definition about “what is a publicly, accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship?”

Brooks said he wishes he could fast forward to five years from now. “Just to see what has happened in that time with this decision, because it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that we were talking about this.”

In the meantime, Latterell said he hopes his congregation is “tender enough to still love each other with respect and compassion.”


TOPICS: Current Events; Mainline Protestant; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: abominationtogod; disordered; elca; exodus; falseministers; fauxchristians; gaychurch; homosexualagenda; icky; luciferian; lutheran; nonchristiancult; perversion; sick

1 posted on 02/21/2010 1:44:48 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Yep, deal breaker, but the church has been going that way for a long time now.


2 posted on 02/21/2010 1:49:11 PM PST by Gnomad
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To: SmithL
Brooks said the decision by the assembly just offers congregations another option for calling pastors.

Like saying that going bisexual "just offers another option for Saturday night." Like Obamanoid Robert Gibbs, the arrogance of these leftwing secular pseudochristian posers is nauseating.

3 posted on 02/21/2010 1:51:07 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: SmithL

“God is far more open than us on lots of things.”


No...He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God never contradicts what he has written. He also warns never to add or take away from his word.


4 posted on 02/21/2010 1:51:41 PM PST by Spudx7
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To: SmithL

Sins committed and or tolerated in the name of “equality and civil rights” are subject to God’s “Supra-constitutional” oversight. Christians may have to choose between what is “constitutional” and what is Biblical...and the chasm is getting wider and harder to bridge.


5 posted on 02/21/2010 1:54:26 PM PST by mdmathis6
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To: SmithL
if you as a congregation want to have a married or civil-unioned or long-term, faithful, monogamous gay or lesbian pastor, you can. You don’t have to, but if you want to, you can give it a try.”

You can have a homosexual preacher who enjoys doing a little fisting on Sunday morning, before he uses the same hand to give you the body of Christ at Holy Communion. You don't have to, but if you want to, you can give it a try.

6 posted on 02/21/2010 2:02:14 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: SmithL

These are the same reasons raised by those that accepted and endorsed women’s ordination: (1) It is an issue of equality and justice (2) The church has to change with the times (3) God’s grace means that you can ignore the law (Gospel Reductionism). Using those reasons, you can justify or rationalize anything. It is nothing other than cultural relativism. The contemporary culture determines what is meant by equality and justice, and what is moral. There is nothing objectively or intrinsically good or bad. Many ancient societies accepted and promoted pedophilia. It was considered a virtue by the Spartans as was killing slaves as long as you did not get caught. Getting caught was bad. I could justify these acts using the same arguments that you find in the ELCA.


7 posted on 02/21/2010 2:05:33 PM PST by Nosterrex
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To: lightman

Exodua Ping


8 posted on 02/21/2010 2:06:31 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

“Come out from among them”-St. Paul


9 posted on 02/21/2010 2:07:55 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: SmithL

This is NOT a matter of equality and civil rights - it’s a matter of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!


10 posted on 02/21/2010 4:37:08 PM PST by Gumdrop
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To: Nosterrex

That line of reasoning was first used to embrace the use of artificial birth control.

Then it was used to embrace divorce and remarriage after divorce, first for the laity, then for the clergy.

Then and only then came the push for women’s ordination.


11 posted on 02/21/2010 6:39:35 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...


Lutheran (EL C S*A) Ping!

* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.

Keep a Good Lent!

12 posted on 02/21/2010 6:40:16 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: SmithL
“Some churches are seeking to live in a day that no longer exists,” he added.

Pastor Vaswig, may I refer you to Malachi 3:6a?

"For I am the LORD, I change not."

Seems pretty clear to me.

13 posted on 02/21/2010 6:50:26 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg (No apologies.)
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To: lightman

Good point, and one I had forgotten about (the birth control angle). Sadly, WELS is the only major synod I know of that actually takes a stand on the pill. Though I know a few LCMS pastors who are quietly questioning the synods view of birth control.


14 posted on 02/21/2010 6:50:45 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: lightman

You are right. It does feed upon itself. The same methodology of what is called deconstructionism undermines not only the Scriptures but what Christians have believed, taught, and confessed for two thousand years. That is the problem with cultural relativism. Everything become relative including morals and commonsense.


15 posted on 02/22/2010 9:43:47 AM PST by Nosterrex
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To: Nosterrex

Some theological systems teach a weighing or amalgamation of Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason.

In the ELCA it is clear that Experience and Reason trump Scripture and Tradition. The weight and authority accorded to each is probably—greatest to least—in the order listed in this paragraph.


16 posted on 02/22/2010 10:31:32 AM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini)
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To: lightman
I've followed this debate in the ECLA for what...the last 17 years? Since the first 'discussion?'

I understand that people are of many minds when it comes to religious belief. That's why there are denominations. You can go anywhere you want, believe whatever you want.

Listening to this prattle the only words that jump to my mind are, "Get thee behind me!"

Nobody's stopping them from starting the GCLA. In the bigger picture, no one is stopping them from starting the Gay Scouts, either.

I mind the disengenuousness. I mind that he has so little regard for his flock that he does not feel the need to tell a better quality lie.

A lie, by definition, is not just the intentional telling of a falsehood. It is also offering facts that, while technically true, leave a false of misleading impression.

He's lying. I know that God is truth, and I know who the King of Lies is.

I understand why they want to chain themselves to believers. Theres' no good reason, however, for believers to be chained to the spiritual corpse the ECLA has become.

17 posted on 02/22/2010 11:36:34 AM PST by gogeo ("Every one has a right to be an idiot. He abuses the privilege!" Groucho Marx)
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To: lightman

Don’t forget abortion.


18 posted on 02/22/2010 1:24:52 PM PST by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
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To: SmithL
Exposing the ELCA
19 posted on 02/23/2010 5:25:24 AM PST by From The Deer Stand
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To: SmithL; All
This is an old article from Jan 6

It is begging for an update.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church took a vote and a number of members, including the acting senior pastor, chose to break off and form their own congregation. They established a new congregation which now meets at Ballou Junior High School.

Now we are two churches instead of one,” said Mike Deal, a Pilgrim Lutheran parishoner who spoke as an individual and not on behalf of the church.

He and his wife have made the decision to stay with the original Pilgrim Lutheran Church.

“I feel very strongly that it is a matter of equality and civil rights,” he added.

I will have you know that I (right way right) am a member of this church, (the portion that split and left) and it has has been nothing but a genuine blessing to those that did leave!

It has been absolutely incredible what God has done in blessing our holding to His WORD and set out into the wilderness as we have done.

To God be the Glory!

This is a link to the home page of Living word Lutheran Church.

http://livingwordlutheranchurch.com/index.html

The "we are now two churches" statement made by Mike Deal in this article is ridiculous!

The have their clubhouse at Pilgrim, and we have church!

Even though it meets at a school, we just truck it all there, it takes an hour to set up and we are very happy and at peace with doing so.

There has already been tremendous growth and there will be more.

The whole assumption that this is all about a sexual issue is wrong.

What this is about is the ELCA taking up every left wing liberal political social cause placing it over the authority of God and ramming it down the throats of the membership. Well, now they are hitting the gag reflex!

It's been over due!

20 posted on 02/25/2010 2:27:42 AM PST by right way right
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To: right way right

I’m glad it’s working out for you. A lot of congregations are having a very difficult time. Satan must be very happy with the outcome of the 2009 CWA.


21 posted on 02/25/2010 7:50:05 AM PST by SmithL
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