Lutherans heatedly debate ‘marriage, family and human sexuality’
More sad news of the false doctrine embraced by many churches who are part of the LWF. The Latvian Archbishop was the only voice from European Lutheran churches who spoke out opposing the liberal church’s views of homosexuality.
By Peter Kenny
Lund, Sweden, 23 March (ENI)–Blessings for people living in
same-sex relationships triggered heated debate at a meeting of
the main governing body of the Lutheran World Federation in the
southern Swedish city of Lund, this week.
The LWF, which first met in Lund 60 years ago with a Europe in
ruins and recovering from the devastation of the Second World
War, on 22 March found divisions rearing that have torn apart the
Anglican Communion and created discord in other Christian
The disagreements hinge mainly on attitudes to homosexuality
within the Church. In the Lutheran grouping, churches in the
North tend to be more accepting of homosexuals in partnerships,
with most of the opposition coming from the global South,
including African countries, as is the case in the Anglican
Leaders of Lutheran churches from around the world, and members
of the LWF council, the group’s main governing body, heard some
church representatives, especially from Africa, speak out
strongly about the dangers of giving blessings to people in
"If God had wanted people from the same sex to have relationships
he would have created Adam and Adam, not Adam and Eve," said
Satou Marthe, a woman delegate from Cameroon.
Still, while African speakers warned that there should be open
debate on the issues, they refrained from using the word
In order not to focus on the issues of human sexuality alone, the
council of the LWF appointed a task force in September 2004 to
review research from member churches, and "to propose guidelines
and processes for dialogue by which respectful discussion can be
pursued" on "marriage, family and human sexuality".
Archbishop Janis Vanags of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of
Latvia, however, noted, "Our church does not see it as helpful
when homosexuality is discussed with family and marriage." He
said that in his church homosexuality was considered a sin, and
the church believed that people should repent of their sins and
seek forgiveness, just as Martin Luther had said they should do.
African participants congratulated the Latvian archbishop after
his speech for his forthrightness, and as a lone European voice
on the issue.
The day before the debate, the Church of Sweden announced at a
media conference that matrimony should be reserved for
heterosexual couples, but that the church would give blessings to
same sex couples in committed, faithful relationships.
The church thereby went against a recommendation by a Swedish
government commission that proposed changing the law in order to
accept both same-sex and heterosexual relationships within the
legal framework of marriage.
Bishop Munib Younan, the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, hinted that life could be
made difficult for Christian leaders in the Middle East, a region
with different norms on partnerships, through decisions such as
the one by the Swedish church on same-sex blessings.
"We need to have more debate on what we mean by the family," said
Younan. He said the issue could cause an ecumenical crisis.
LWF general secretary, the Rev Ishmael Noko, said the federation
does not have a stand on the issue yet, and he urged members to
listen to one another in tolerance.
A lack of time, however, meant that the proposed guidelines for
discussing the issue of human sexuality did not succeed in
getting full acceptance. LWF president, US Bishop Mark Hanson,
who chaired the debate, said the report would be raised later
during the 20 to 27 March council meeting, and discussed in
regional meetings. [597 words]
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23 mars 2007