ELCA Task Force on Sexuality Recommendations

From the Executive Summary of the Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies:

The recommendation consists of four interconnected resolutions. Each takes a step in the decision-making process. The decisions are to be taken one by one: if the first is approved, then the second, third, and fourth are considered, but only if the preceding ones have been approved.

Step One
Step one asks the assembly whether, in principle, it is committed to finding ways to allow congregations and synods that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.

Step Two
Step two asks the assembly whether, in principle, this church is committed to finding a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church.

Step Three
Step three asks this church whether, in the future implementation of these commitments, it will make decisions so that all in this church bear the burdens of the other, and respect the bound consciences of all. This means that any solution that serves only the conscience-bound positions of one or another part of this church will not be acceptable.

Step Four
Step four proposes how this church can move toward change in a way that respects the bound consciences of all. It recognizes that such respect will lead to diversity of practice. However, the majority of the task force believes that the conscience-bound lack of consensus will be respected most faithfully by providing some structured flexibility in decision-making so that congregations and synods may choose whether or not to approve or call people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve on ELCA rosters.

From the FAQ:

How would “structured” flexibility (#4) affect those Lutherans who are convinced that there should not be any changes to ELCA’s present policy regarding people in lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships?
If this approach to structured flexibility were adopted, it would still protect any congregation, candidacy committee, synod, or bishop by not requiring them to violate bound conscience by approving, calling, commissioning, consecrating, or ordaining anyone in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship.

This will absolutely never work.  It will be impossible to prevent the agenda from also consuming such “protected” congregations, etc.  And what could possibly be the argument for allowing such conscientious objectors to resist this new move of the spirit?

Will the laity leave?  Will pastors leave?

Timotheos

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11 thoughts on “ELCA Task Force on Sexuality Recommendations

  1. It just never ceases to amaze me that the ELCA never once says anything in their Executive Summary (at least as printed above), about God or His Word. Does it simply not matter what God says? Is there confusion about what God says regarding homosexual behavior? Should we vote on what part of God’s Word we want to take seriously?

    In addition to not understanding the Biblical part, and thus the spiritual part, they apparently have no idea about the physical or scientific part of understanding homosexuals and their behaviors.

    From any perspective that is rightly considered, this denomination (ELCA) is deeply troubled when it comes to the issue of how to deal with homosexuals.

  2. I think Jim is asking the right questions, but I think the ELCA answered some of those questions a while ago. I’m pretty sure that the ELCA has an understanding that the Bible contains God’s word, but that the two are not synonymous. Therefore, the reader must determine which parts are actually God’s word, and which aren’t. So there is not especially confusion on what God says about homosexuality in particular, there is confusion as to what God says at all.

    This leads me to wonder how people who are on the more conservative side of the ELCA will argue against the proposal offered. Seeing how they can already say that the Bible has erred in things such as creation, miracles, roles of women, etc—how are they going to agree with those stands, but then turn around and say (for sure) that the Bible has not erred in regard to homosexuality?

  3. The ELCA is tanking in membership. The homosexual agenda is destroying the church. I left my church over this issue in January and now it is no longer financially sound.

  4. Im sadden the ELCA is going the way of the UCC and other mainline churches that has left the Word of God and teach doctrines of demons and will follow the Lutheran book of worship..to a tee..but not the Word of God which Martin Luther fought to translate so people can learn what God really said compare to the false teaching of the Roman church..we as Lutherans are Bible illiterate..we couldn’t defend our faith if a Mormon or Jehovah witness came to our door.
    We got pastors in the pulpit who don’t believe that Jesus rose from the grave..or he was just another way to God..I have heard them argue with them and surprise..of there lack of faith in Jesus.
    They have more faith in the little wafer..then in the Word of God which will stand forever no matter what the ELCA teaches..As St Paul said guided by the Holy Spirit in 2nd Timothy 3:1-5 & Chapter 4:3-5 (look it up and read it for your self).
    The ELCA will split…between those who really know the Lord and follow Him..compared to the members who just go in and come out the same..unchanged. Many are informed by the Gospel..but the real difference is when you have been transformed by the Gospel.

  5. I am amazed that the ELCA still considers themselves “Evangelical” and “Lutheran” and even “Church.” They’ve basically turned the Bible into a venture of picking and choosing, and added tradition to what was once “Scripture Alone.” (For more info. see the solas: Sola Christus [Christ Alone], Sola Gratia [Grace Alone], Sola Fide [Faith Alone] and Sola Scriptura [Scripture Alone]. The only thing they claim matters is the ‘Gospel.’ The Law seems to mean nothing to them today, and their gospel is a social gospel–not the classic Law & Gospel of Lutheran Christianity: The Law shows us our sin, and God leads us to repentance. Then, the Gospel shows us our Savior, Jesus Christ. Out of thankfulness to God for His great love and the ultimate Sacrifice of His Son, we desire to live lives that glorify God, with the help of the Holy Spirit. To many scholars in the ELCA, the Bible has been lowered below man’s reason, disected by the historical-critical method, demythologized, and the church”s understanding and direction appear to be dictated by society (St. Paul would say, “the world”), not what God has revealed to us in His Holy Word. This is an attempt to be relevant to society around them (the LCMS approach to relevancy appears to be turning worship services into mini-rock concerts–though not all parts of the Missouri Synod have traded in the historical liturgy just yet). They (the ELCA) seek a fresh breathing of the Spirit to contradict traditional (read: old, out-dated, dusty) Biblical teaching where it is convenient to their theology, preferring the Zeitgeist to direct them as they chant their mantra “love.”

    How do pastors and professors in the ELCA justify their teachings and understandings of the Bible? For a crash course in ELCAology, check out the Lutheran Forum at http://www.lutheranforum.org/

    There is a fascinating article at the above site called: “Two Theologies of Reconciliation”
    by Paul R. Hinlicky — June 20, 2009 Very insightful!

  6. The term most appropriate here is BOHICA. This “bound conscience” paper is a petard or straw man. It is unbelievable to me (a former Episcopalian who has seen his church destroyed by this stuff) that any Lutheran worth his/her salt would read this nonsense and accept it.

    In a nutshell what this thing is intended to do is this:

    1. Insist that there is NO STANDARD, and ignore 2,000 years of the universal Christian teaching.

    2. Interject a concept or tool (the “bound conscience” concept) into the process to prevent discussion of the biblical underpinnings of the proposals (there are none), or the long-term theological and membership impacts to the ELCA from implementing these changes.

    3. Allow for a local-option concept for addressing these issues, which is really just the first step to the acceptance of these theological changes as obligatory.

    Folks, this is EXACTLY how the pro-homosexual lobby took down the Episcopal Church. My diocese alone has lost 30% of its membership since 2003. The national Episcopal Church is suing congregations that have attempted to leave the Episcopal Church to prevent them from taking their buildings and endowment funds with them.

    WAKE UP Lutherans. The same play book is being followed.

  7. AFLC ( American Free Lutheran Church) is a good option for disgruntled ELCA members. It is a conservative Bible teaching church.

  8. The people who are leaving the church or withholding their money over this would have left anyway. They’re the complainers. They gripe about everything. They hold their congregations and synods and the national churches hostage over whatever issue comes along, and if don’t get their way, they leave.

    They did this over the ordination of women.

    They did this over civil rights for people of color.

    They did this over mixed marriages.

    They did this over relationships with other church bodies.

    They did this over opening the ordained ministry to people with physical disabilities (who, as you remember, were not considered worthy models of the goodness of God’s creation).

    They have nothing to contribute. They fight, and stall, and force compromises, and when eventually they’re on the receving end of the need to compromise, they leave. They can’t stand to see other people not suffering.

    The only thing sad about their going that their children will be the ones hurt, by being raised in churches where they’ll hear only hate. May God help them.

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