Home > Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Homosexuality, Homosexuality and Feminism > Lutheran Church Apologizes for, At One Time, Being Faithful to God’s Word. What Would Luther say?

Lutheran Church Apologizes for, At One Time, Being Faithful to God’s Word. What Would Luther say?

September 23rd, 2010
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The Rev. Anita Hill received acclamation by the assembly on Saturday during the Rite of Reception at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul.

This from Dr. Al Mohler’s blog.

The great moral revolution on the issue of homosexuality collides with the total surrender of a liberal denomination and the result is the church’s apology for having once stood on biblical grounds. That was the picture just a few days ago when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America welcomed three lesbian ministers into the clergy roster through a “Rite of Reception” ceremony held last Saturday at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul, Minnesota.

As the Star Tribune reported: “In a ceremony that started with a public mea culpa and ended with a prolonged standing ovation, three lesbian ministers were officially embraced Saturday by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”

This comes in the wake of the denomination’s vote this past summer to rescind a policy that prevented clergy in homosexual relationships from bring listed on the church’s official clergy roster. Since then, conservatives have moved to organize a new Lutheran denomination.

The most interesting part of the “Rite of Reception” was a confession voiced by the congregation. Look closely at this:

We have fallen short in honoring all people of God and being an instrument for that grace . . . . We have disciplined, censured and expelled when we should have listened, learned and included.”

That’s right — the church actually confessed the “sin” of having once stood on biblical ground, and the “sin” of exercising church discipline.

Given their new policy on homosexuality, it is the one who affirms the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality that is called to repent, rather than the unrepentant homosexual.

What would Martin Luther say? It would doubtless be colorful and thunderous. But here is something he did say that fits the situation perfectly:

“You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.”


Jeff Strickler, “Anita Hill, Two Other Lesbians in Committed Relationships Welcomed as ELCA Pastors,” The Star Tribune [Minneapolis, MN], Sunday, September 19, 2010.

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  1. Robert
    September 23rd, 2010 at 22:16 | #1

    Truly satanic. Thinking back 30, 40 or 50 years, did you ever think you would see such a disgrace?

  2. September 23rd, 2010 at 22:52 | #2

    I still have contact with members of the ELCA congregation that my wife and I left. Most do not approve of what is going on, but they shrug their shoulders and say, “Hey, what can we do, and all of that stuff is so far away and does not affect us, and anyway we still have out little congregation that will be untouched no matter what.”

    They are wrong. I don’t think they appreciate just how deeply imperialistic the ELCA’s political philosophy has become. Like the imperialists of old, the ELCA’s leadership views itself as a moral and intellectual vanguard speaking Truth to Power. They cannot understand why the reactionary homophobic heathen will not yield to the ELCA’s wise and enlightened rule, but are prepared to bravely cut through the fog of ignorance by any means necessary. In short, the ELCA will “civilize” Lutherans remaining in the ELCA in order to save them from themselves – whether they wish it or not.

    Prophecy is a risky business, but I predict the ELCA will start sending out groups of gay/lesbian pastors and members of the ELCA’s leadership to engage in “dialogue”, which means lecturing the backwards natives in the advantages of joining the empire of modern progressive Christianity. Pastors and congregations who balk at this will be noted as “troublemakers” and dealt with accordingly. The centralized control the ELCA enjoys (especially in the call process) will make this easy.

  3. Norman Teigen
    September 24th, 2010 at 07:48 | #3

    This inclusivity business is pretty far-reaching in our culture, and it is, of course, now a part of many churches. You and your readers may be familiar with an August 10, 2010 essay in The Christian Century by Kenda Creasy Dean. To briefly summarize, the movement in American Christianity is towards a theology of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. The tenets of MTD are: 1. a god exists who created and orders the world and watches over life on earth 2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair 3. the central goal life is to be happy and feel good about one’s self 4. God is not involved in my life except when I need God to solve a problem 5. good people go to heaven when they die.

    The ELCA action falls under 3. above. One should be nice to every one. There is no right and wrong.

    The book under review in this issue of The Christian Century was: Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, published by Oxford University Press.

  4. Richard
    September 24th, 2010 at 09:10 | #4

    I love that quote from Luther! Terrific!

  5. Marion
    September 24th, 2010 at 10:22 | #5

    I wonder if they will say the same thing if and when they move against those who resist their anti-Biblical doctrine and practice: “We have disciplined, censured and expelled when we should have listened, learned and included.”?

    • September 24th, 2010 at 11:51 | #6

      Marion, I believe it is already starting to happen. A report is circulating about a pastor who spoke out against the decisions made by the ELCA in August 2009 and he was found guilty of violating his call, which requires of him to speak sportively of the ELCA. And so it goes.

  6. St. Paul
    September 24th, 2010 at 14:28 | #7

    Lord, have mercy! Christ have mercy!

    Galatians 1:2-9 (ESV)
    ” and all the brothers who are with me,
    To the churches of Galatia: [3] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, [4] who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, [5] to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
    [6] I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— [7] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

    The ELCA has been wallowing in her liberalism/heresies for far too long. This is truly a sign of the times in which we live. These are indeed perilous times for the Biblical Christianity, and for Confessional Lutheranism. I never knew I would live to see such a thing happen to a Church having Evangelical Lutheran as their theological identity. I am sure they just did not wake up one day and decided to be take the direction that they have taken. As we might ask in East Africa: ” where did it start raining on them?”. They started, I believe, by loosing trust in the Bible as the true and living Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions as Bible’s true exposition and witness. It all starts with disregard to God and the authority of His Word for faith and life. The ELCA has joined a hue of other Lutheran Church bodies i.e. in Church of Finland,Church of Sweden, Church of Denmark, Church of Norway & Germany in their rejection of the Bible and its true witness in the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. I think that in just a few decades time, these Lutheran Church bodies have managed to destroy the basic tenets of Lutheranism and apostolic understanding of what it means to be a church by what they have done. In these Churches what we are witnessing is , I believe , apostasy of historic magnitude and paganization of Lutheranism in the name of being inclusive. What the ELCA, et al have done by embracing gnostic liberalism has forever damaged the witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church all over the world. Every now and then I have to explain to some of my relatives who are not Lutherans that Lutherans have not always stood against the teachings of the Bible. It is difficult at times trying to explain because to people who are not Lutherans, Lutherans are just Lutherans, they do not see clearly the distinction between those who uphold the Word of God and those who don’t , etc.

    Lord, be merciful to your Church catholic!

  7. Andy
    September 25th, 2010 at 04:03 | #8

    I think it is fair to say the LCMS has disciplined, censured and expelled. Unfortunately too many people expel before listening and learning and before disciplining. I don’t think that this is right or safe.
    Far too many members of the LCMS, in practice, show disdain and disgust towards homosexuals rather than even attempting to build a relationship with them or show them love and mercy.
    I think saying “We’re sorry for not listening.” is something far more people in the world would benefit from.
    The other steps perhaps have strayed, but I don’t think anybody can pretend that our own steps in dealing with homosexuals have been without straying.

  8. Kimberly P
    September 25th, 2010 at 20:29 | #9

    God help us! These are the last days there is no doubt. It deeply troubles me that we as Christ followers are mixed in with this craziness. What a tremendous stumbling block for new believers.

  9. Ken Larson
    September 27th, 2010 at 09:52 | #10

    Heidelberg Disputation 1518
    Luther:

    #19. That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the »invisible« things of God as though they were clearly »perceptible in those things which have actually happened« (Rom. 1:20; cf. 1 Cor 1:21-25),
    #20. he deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.
    #21. A theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.
    -K Larson

  10. John
    October 3rd, 2010 at 22:14 | #11

    As a homosexual and a lifelong Lutheran, I continue be amazed at the reaction of many of my fellow Lutherans to the increased inclusion of homosexuals in worship life. I’ve always been taught that we are all sinners — and in my discussions in church small groups I find that to be validated. The difference is we have taken one sin and placed it on a pedestal. We focus on homosexuality as one of those great ills of mankind. To be gay is to be untouchable. This collective chip on the shoulder of the church — Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormons, you name it — makes it incredibly hard for any homosexual to walk into a church at all much less admit that they are gay. A little validation, an apology — it all goes a long way to sooth the pain that faithful gays have endured. We gay Lutherans simply want to live our lives in fellowship with our fellow Lutherans. It is sad to see so much hate fills the hearts of otherwise God-fearing people.

    • October 3rd, 2010 at 23:05 | #12

      John, people who recognize that homosexual activities are sinful and repent of those activities and resolve to resist those temptations are forgiven. Those who wish the Church to bless what God has cursed, need to repent.

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