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The Mainline’s Mainstreaming of Homosexuality

March 27th, 2009
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This coming summer, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will be voting on whether or not to accept actively homosexual persons as pastors in their church. The decision to do so appears to be a fait accompli, since at their last churchwide assembly they voted to put a moratorium in place on any disciplinary activities against any of their pastors who were involved in homosexual relationships. The deck has been stacked in favor of the motion to adopt homosexually active clergy by only requiring a simple majority vote; but as one of my ELCA pastor friends reminded me, one never knows how this may, or may not, turn out. We will have to wait and see.

The recently released study Bible from the ELCA openly advocates for revisionism on these issues. In its comments on 1 Cor. 6:9, the ELCA Bible declares that the two terms that appear here, which have historically been translated to refer to homosexuality and homosexuality activity, have, in fact, been mistranslated by all modern versions and then it asserts that "neither term applies to homosexuality or the lives of gay
and lesbian people." (p. 1881). In the book of Ezra, the ELCA Bible contains the following: "What is Christian marriage? Marriage is a holy and a permanent union instituted by God and affirmed by Jesus. In choosing a life partner, his or her commitment to faith and life of the church will be of extreme importance." (Note for Ezra 9:1-4). Not a word here about what our Lord says bout marriage: that it is a one flesh union of a man and a woman.

This trend in the ELCA reflects the trends throughout mainline Protestanism's clergy ranks. Two recently completed surveys confirm that acceptance of homosexual behaviors and so-called "marriage" is high among many mainline protestant ministers. You will be interested in reviewing 2008 Mainline Protestant Clergy Voices Survey and then the Pew Forum's survey showing that mainline clergy are in favor of societal acceptance of homosexuality. Here is a graphic depiction of the results of the Pew survey:

Picture 5Source

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  1. R Keyes
    March 27th, 2009 at 09:05 | #1

    In contrast, it would be nice to note what our study Bible says about the passage and perhaps even a reference to an orthodox history of how the passage was/is understood.
    Thank you
    McCain: We’ll be putting more samples as we move along, but you can see what we say about homosexuality in the notes at Romans 1 at the samples page over at: http://www.cph.org/lutheranbible
    As for the Great Commission, The Lutheran Study Bible accepts Christ’s word about making disciples of all nations to mean we should be about making disciples of all nations.

  2. March 27th, 2009 at 11:13 | #2

    Perhaps this is uncharitable. However, I am wondering if the “Mainline” church bodies have crossed a line now. Arguably, that line was crossed a long time ago. But perhaps with the the church bodies that have left the Word of God behind and choose to ignore it and yet maintain the appearances of a Christian denomination – it is best that their teaching and practice continue to drift further from the historic Christian Faith. What I mean is that it is going to become increasingly difficult for people to say “there really is not much difference between the churches.” I hear people still say that about the differences between the Lutheran church bodies. They look pretty similar a lot of times on Sunday mornings and if you don’t listen carefully they may even sound similar. There are even some truly faithful people and pastors there also. And so people who have traditionally been associated with these church bodies see no reason to leave since they don not perceive a significant difference. Perhaps the more distant the church bodies get from the Word and our Lord’s teachings the better in that it will make it undeniably clear that there are radical differences! Though, it seems uncharitable to say so.
    McCain: Mike, you make a good point. And it got me to thinking that here we definitely have a case that proves that no amount of beautiful liturgy in the world can safe-guard a church from false doctrine, in fact, it may even become a “cover” or “window dressing” for a lot of false doctrine.

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