In a completely unforeseen development–sarcasm doesn’t translate well over blogs–the ELCA (Evangelical?Lutheran?Church? in America) voted not to discipline either congregations or church workers who continue to live in homosexual relationships. (You can read the substitute motion, which passed, here. Not sure how to find the rest of it.)
I love this part: the Assembly wants its leaders “to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those congregations and persons who call into the rostered ministry otherwise-qualified candidates….” First, I’m not sure what it means to “demonstrate restraint” in such a case, other than “not to do it.” Second, if they are “otherwise” qualified, they are not completely qualified. What sort of theological confusion is it (I realize there’s no shortage of that these days) that believes that people can separate the unrepentantly sinful part of themselves from the “otherwise-qualified” part? As if we were divisible into “homiletic ability,” “pastoral care,” and “sexuality”?
Nor does the Assembly want its leaders to discipline those who live “in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this
church.” The lack of a comma after “faithful” is confusing. Are they faithful(ly) committed? or is committed now a noun that is inseparable from “same-gender relationship”? As for “mutual” and “chaste,” I have no doubt about the first and every doubt about the second. I know this is hard to hear in our cultural setting, but not every sexual relationship, no matter how “mutual,” “faithful,” and “committed,” is chaste. Surely the ELCA has rendered itself impotent to oppose any sexual relationship that is mutual and faithful (whatever faithful could possibly be construed to mean in this context). Oh, you and your brother are mutually and faithfully committed to each other? Sure, we’ll marry you! Oh, you are in a mutual, faithful, committed relationship with your father’s ex-wife? Sure, we’ll marry you. (What do you mean, St. Paul condemned it? Who’s he?)
Is there anything else but pomp and ceremony that can still be removed from the ELCA? How will the remnant (i.e., the real faithful ones) act? Of course, if sharing pulpits and altars with those who deny our Lord’s bodily presence (for example, here) didn’t cause them any real heartburn, why should this? This is merely the harvest of forty years of doctrinal apostasy. But, if this is the last straw for you, get out now. It ain’t getting any better.