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Fewer Americans Believe Homosexuality is A Sin (no surprises here)

January 11th, 2013 Comments off

File under: no surprises here.

Fewer Americans believe homosexuality is a sin. Via Stetzer.

A November 2012 survey of adults in the United States found 37 percent affirm a belief that homosexual behavior is a sin – a statistically significant change from a September 2011 LifeWay Research survey asking the same question. At that time, 44 percent answered, “Yes.” In contrast, the percentage of Americans who do not believe homosexuality is a sin remains nearly the same between the two surveys – 43 percent in September 2011 and 45 percent in November 2012 indicate this belief, with an increase in the percentage of those unsure of what they believe. Seventeen percent in the November 2012 survey said, “I don’t know;” an increase of 4 percent over the September 2011 survey. The November 2012 survey also reveals Americans in the South (40 percent) are the most likely to select “Yes” to the question “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” as are Americans who attend religious services at least about once a week (61 percent), and those calling themselves “born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian” (73 percent). Americans who never attend religious services are the most likely to say they do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin (71 percent).

 

changeinbelief

 

Augustana College to Permit Same-Sex Weddings in Campus Chapel

November 29th, 2012 6 comments

 

Signs of the times….

Augustana College to allow same-sex ceremonies

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 7:08 am

Augustana College in Rock Island will now allow same-sex ceremonies on campus.

President Steven Bahls has sent out an email announcing his decision to allow same-gender ceremonies after a recommendation from campus chaplain Richard Priggie.

Priggie tells WNIJ Radio ( http://bit.ly/TvIroB) that several gay couples expressed interest in having a ceremony. He says that led him to request the president’s approval.

The school is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. According to the email, the church left it up to Bahls to decide whether or not to open the campus to same-sex ceremonies.

Couples who wish to have a ceremony at the college’s Ascension Chapel must be affiliated with Augustana. Illinois allows civil unions, and couples also can hold “rites of marriage” or “blessings of unions” by a pastor.

Categories: Homosexuality

Responding to President Obama’s Announcement — Challenge and Opportunity for the Church

May 10th, 2012 4 comments

Rev. Ed Stetzer had an excellent blog post today on this, and I’m passing it along.

After both Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pushed for acceptance of same-sex marriage over the weekend, North Carolina became the 30th state to amend its constitution to define marriage as an act between one man and one woman.

Now President Barack Obama has affirmed his support of same-sex marriage. In an interview with ABC News, President Obama stated:

I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married…I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

President Obama’s statements should come as no surprise. His refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Actand his comments about “evolving” on the issue both pointed to this moment. I tweeted last weekend that I expected such a move from the President. To me, the surprise is the timing of his announcement. I, like many others, expected this announcement after he had won a second term in November– though it appears he hasplanned to do so before the Democratic National Convention. This announcement accelerated the timeline of an inevitable conversation.

So how do we as evangelical Christians respond?

Last year I wrote a brief post on the future of the evangelical response regarding homosexuality after Howard Schultz withdrew from speaking at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. In that post, I listed five principles to consider about the issue of homosexuality and evangelical churches. I’ve fleshed those principles out a bit here.

The issue is not going away and you cannot ignore it or seek to downplay your views.Since Stonewall, the gay rights movement has continued to gain influence and homosexuality is increasingly a public issue to which you must have an answer. Evangelicals have responded poorly at times and earned a reputation for intolerance. Now, in seeking a more biblical and grace-filled response, we cannot erase our past mistakes, however, we can control our attitudes and responses in the future by being clear and gracious at the same time.The culture sees this as a “justice” issue– Christians discriminating on the basis of immutable characteristics.
Christians have always believed and taught that God’s standard and intent is a man, a woman, a marriage, and a lifetime. To us, that just makes sense and it seems clear in the scriptures, but to an increasing number in our culture, this is simply discrimination. President Obama clearly justifies his reason for supporting gay marriage because of the Golden Rule– the idea that we should treat others justly, as we would want to be treated. So, we should not be shocked at their response. Many people believe that we are discriminating against other people by restricting marriage from gay couples– much like keeping black people out of a certain section of a restaurant. They see that as unjust and us as bigots.

Though it is easy to make the case in the church that homosexual practice (and marriage) is incompatible with scripture, it will be an exceedingly difficult case to make in today’s culture.
I mention in my new book Subversive Kingdom an example of running for school board. A half a century ago you would not have been considered for public office in most communities without a strong record of service in and loyalty to a local church. Today that same qualification, if the church teaches biblical truths about homosexuality, is a detriment to one’s candidacy in many areas of our country. This will become more of an issue in days to come. Believing what the Bible says about homosexuality will hurt your reputation and will be hard to defend as a “good and right” view in society.

Building bridges and showing grace and love is needed, lacking, and essential when dealing with people with different views and values.
Some Christians seem driven by the need to take every opportunity to condemn homosexuality. Instead, I do not think you or I need to begin every conversation with a statement of our opposition of homosexuality. We can, indeed, show grace and friendship to those who struggle, while believing and teaching what the scriptures clearly say. Without hiding our beliefs, we need to look for opportunities to have conversations, build relationships, and show grace.

At the end of the day, all evangelicals will still have to deal with an issue on which the evangelical view is perceived as narrow and bigoted.
Evangelicals will continue to be pressured to accept a worldview rooted in cultural acceptance rather than biblical revelation. While President Obama’s thoughts on certain issues may evolve, the biblical teaching has not. We can listen to Dan Savage and decide to “ignore” the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, or we can live with the fact of what the Bible teaches and recognize that, because of such, our reputations will suffer.

Homosexuality is not an easy issue. Christians have said a lot of unhelpful things about the subject over the years– but that does not mean we cannot say helpful things now. The most helpful truth is the biblical truth. In the midst of a complicated issue, we need to admit to poor engagement in the past, speak of the complexities of the issues involved, but always point to biblical truth and change that can be found in Christ.

Liturgical Naming Rite for a Transgendered Member

February 6th, 2012 18 comments

When the time to reprint the Lutheran Service Book Agenda rolls around, this won’t be in it. A rite for the renaming of a person who decides to have his/her private bits snipped and tucked to turn themselves into a new him/her/he/she.

No, I’m not making this up, I picked this up off the web site of one of the champions of the ELCA’s gay agenda. Here it is:

(Prayers of the People)

Presider:

Holy One of Blessing, in baptism you bring us to new life in

Jesus Christ and you name us Beloved. We give you thanks for the renewal

of that life and love in Mary Christine Callahan, who now takes on a new name.

Strengthen and uphold him as he grows in power, and authority, and

meaning of this name: we pray in the Name above names, Jesus, your Son,

whom with you and the Holy Spirit, the Triune God, we adore. Amen

 

(Lindsey) A reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians.

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no

longer male and female; for all are one in Christ Jesus

The word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

 

(Laying on of hands)

Let us pray:

We pray for your servant Asher, with thanks for the journey and awakening that

have brought him to this moment, for his place amongst your

people, and for his gifts and calling to serve you.

 

O God, in renaming your servants Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Peter,

and Paul, you gave them new lives and new tasks, new love and new hope.

We now hold before you our companion. Bless him with a new measure

of grace as he takes this new name. Write him again in your

heart and on your palm. And grant that we all be worthy to call ourselves

Christians, for the sake of your Christ whose name is Love, and in whom,

with you and the Spirit, we pray. Amen

 

The Giving of the name

 

Pr. Nadia: By what name shall you be known?

Kate: The name shall be Asher 

Asher: My name is Asher

 

The community may respond by repeating

Your name shall be Asher

 

Pr. Nadia: Bear this name in the Name of Christ. Share it in the name of Mercy. Offer it

in the name of Justice.

 

Christ is among us making peace right here right now.  The peace of Christ be with you all. And also with you.

Great Video on Gay Marriage from Pastor Fisk

May 11th, 2011 4 comments

Homosexual Advocacy Group Claims “Progress” in Advancing Their Cause in The LCMS

April 10th, 2011 14 comments

An ELCA pastor-friend of mine was kind enough to alert me to a fund raising letter that the gay-rights group, “Lutherans Concerned,” recently sent out, in which they claim they are working with certain “LCMS leaders” and making “some good progress” with “friends” in “LCMS leadership.” Lutherans Concerned is the lobbying group that, in close cooperation with ELCA leadeship, worked very hard to get the ELCA to embrace homosexuality as an acceptable “lifestyle.”

The letter makes a disturbing claim:

“Additionally, we are making some good, albeit very slow, progress with a few friends in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod leadership, however details must remain confidential to protect them and our continued progress.”

The question is: Is this actually true? Much depends on how they are using the word “leader.” The Synod’s president and vice-presidents are clearly not those they have in mind. Frankly, I call “baloney” on this and assert that this organization is simply lying. Lutherans Concerned is well known for making all kinds of false assertions and doing whatever they need to do to advance the cause of homosexuality; however, it is also necessary to state that liberal organizations in The LCMS, like the DayStar organization, have in fact published materials that reflect this point of view. It is very small, and consists mostly of older retired, Seminex-era pastors and a few retired professors, but … one can never be too careful with these things and so we can be grateful to Lutherans Concerned for “coming out” on this issue. I would not know which “LCMS leaders” they are referencing, since, to my knowledge there is not a single LCMS “leader” who would support the Lutherans Concerned agenda. But they are making this claim.

The ELCA pastor who sent this to me said to me:

“You are only too aware of the devastating effect Lutherans Concerned has had in the ELCA, I wanted to let a few trusted folks in the LCMS know about this. I have no other info than this, but seeing as it comes from Emily Eastwood, it is pretty official. While I believe Missouri has strengths and resources lacking in the ELCA, still these are treacherous times. Share this with whoever you wish; if you want a copy of the entire letter just let me know and I will send one to you.”

Categories: Homosexuality

Support for Same Sex Marriage Moving Up

October 9th, 2010 Comments off

The Pew Forum reports that polls this year have found that more Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally than did so just last year. In two polls conducted over the past few months, based on interviews with more than 6,000 adults, 42% favor same-sex marriage while 48% are opposed. In polls conducted in 2009, 37% favored allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally and 54% were opposed. For the first time in 15 years of Pew Research Center polling, fewer than half oppose same-sex marriage.

Read the whole report here.

Categories: Homosexuality

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

September 23rd, 2010 12 comments

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.

A Parody of the Lutheran Faith

August 26th, 2010 1 comment

Robert Gagnon, author of what has proven to be the most devastatingly thorough critique of the so-called “scholarship” that homosexual advocates have used to try to change the Christian Faith on these issues, and others, has an excellent article, titled “Ed Schroeder Parodies the Lutheran Faith.” Available here

FYI…more on Gagnon:

He is the author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001; 520 pgs.); co-author (with Dan O. Via) of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003; 125 pgs.); and, as a service to the church, provides a large amount of free material on the web dealing with Scripture and homosexuality. In addition, he has published scholarly articles on biblical studies in Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Novum Testamentum, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Horizons in Biblical Theology, and The Christian Century.

Categories: Homosexuality

It’s Not Just About Homosexuality

August 24th, 2010 7 comments

A good video making an important point. There will be the temptation among people  who are swayed by emotional arguments to think that the homosexuality issue in the Church is just about homosexuality and does not involve anything else. Check it out:

Categories: Homosexuality

The Dodoma Statement: Lutherans in Tanzania Speak Out Against Homosexuality Decisions of ELCA

July 20th, 2010 5 comments

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania adopted a statement regarding decisions being made about homosexuality by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other world Lutheran churches. The statement was posted by the church to the Internet this week. Here is it.

THE DODOMA STATEMENT
(Kiswahili)

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1        The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT hereinafter), thanks GOD that in His immeasurable wisdom, and through His Son Jesus Christ, all believers worldwide have been joined as one body; thus, making us be in communion. In this way, we can walk together to prosper in God’s mission.

1.2        In our relationship as one body, we have co-operated in many and varied ways through both trying and undemanding issues. We were able to hold together all this time because of God’s favor, and also through our unrelenting devotion in the entire Church, in regular services, where we confess the Creed and believe in God’s Church as being One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic. Therefore any action in any church which is abnormal and non-conforming to the received and affirmed position and teachings of the church over the centuries in the whole Church of God, will inevitably produce shock and varied reaction from other churches around the world.

1.3      Currently, one such abnormal incidence, as viewed by ELCT, is the one associated with some churches – especially in Europe and America – deciding to accept same-sex marriages. The respective churches give several reasons in an effort to justify their decisions; and here we briefly make mention of only a few of such reasons.

1.3.1 They claim that church teachings on marriage, according to the Holy Scripture, are directed to “man and woman” – giving them room to decide; as opposed to the age-old interpretation, meaning that marriage is only for “man and woman”. In this way they erode the foundation, bit by bit, to weaken the authentic Biblical truth that marriage is between “man and woman” only. They introduce these “new and misguided” interpretations which negate long-held Church teachings and understanding of the Word of God dating from time immemorial. Some of the verses in the Bible that fall prey to the pundits and supporters of same-sex marriages are as follows: Gen.1: 27-28, 2:24; Mt.19:5-6a; Rom.1:26-27a and Gal.3:28.

1.3.2   And that, what is essential in marriage or other forms of matrimony is love. Provided the two love each other, they claim, such relationship is correct and legal.

1.3.3 And that the circumstances nowadays, they claim; are different from conditions and settings in biblical times as regards what is, and what is not legal in love and marriage. They further claim that the question of values, virtues and morals changes with time, places and circumstances. Such claims distort what is classified as sin to depend on where and how it is committed. In this connection they want the whole Church to adopt their view regarding love and marriage especially between same sex partners as having evolved over time. Furthermore, they claim that the church is not changing with the times; and that it is “old-fashioned” to reproach and reprimand same-sex lovers and proponents. They insist that the whole Church should shake up and move with the times, like them, in the contemporary circumstances!

1.3.4 They further claim that, marriage laws in the countries where same sex marriages are taking place have changed so much that churches in those countries would have been in dire straits if they did not follow suit to the changed laws. It is our understanding that churches in these countries fear the backlash from political or authoritative vendetta. This will imply that churches in those countries might lose their perks with authorities if they continued in this stance – refusing and rejecting legalization of same-sex marriages.

1.3.5  They further claim that the issue of relationships – marriage, love-making and other forms of copulation – is the prerogative of the affected two individuals. And that they are free to make their own decisions in these matters; and should be left alone to do so – thereby stressing personal freedom as the virtue. So, there are many reasons such as enumerated above that have surfaced through word of mouth, writings and even actions from the churches that have legalized same-sex marriages.

Read more…

Tanzanian Lutheran Church Rejects Same-Sex Marriage

May 4th, 2010 2 comments

What the worldwide Anglican communion has been experiencing; namely, an outcry from more conservative members of its fellowship in Africa, is now happening across the Lutheran World Federation. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is the latest very large Lutheran church body in Africa to speak out very boldly against the positions on homosexuality being adopted across North American and Western European Lutheran church bodies. Here is a recent ELCT press release on the subject. Please note that the ELCT has 5.3 million members.

ELCT Press Release
Date: April 29, 2010
Press release No. 004/04/2010

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has reiterated her opposition to same-sex marriage and stated that those who are in such unions are not welcome to work in the ELCT because such practice is incompatible with Biblical teaching.

The ELCT Executive Council meeting, held in Moshi on April 27 to 28 this year, received and approved “The Dodoma Statement” prepared in January this year by the ELCT Bishops’ Council. The bishops met in Dodoma to discuss in details steps to take after the decision of some European and American churches to recognize same-sex marriages.

The Statement says: “Those in same sex marriages, and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage, shall not be invited to work in the ELCT. We further reject their influence in any form, as well as their money and their support.”

“This church affirms that love is the essence of a relationship between two people who live, or who want to live, together in marriage. But, with regard to married spouses, this is the love between two people of the opposite sex.”

“This church does not accept reasons offered by advocates of same-sex marriage and its legitimacy unless it is based on the Word of God and Biblical teaching; therefore, we reject inappropriate and false interpretations of scripture produced to justify the marriage of people of the same gender.”

“This church encourages and supports all those around the world who oppose churches that have taken the decision to legalize same-sex marriage.”

“We appeal to those of like-mind with us to continue to be salt and light in our relationships. We should direct our energy into maintaining the unity and cooperation between us. Such unity will help us avoid falling into a state which would further injure the body of Christ, that is, the Church.”

“We urge every believer in the ELCT to be very careful, alert and discerning lest they loose their faith in the face of this strange doctrine that could easily seduce people in this age of globalization.”

“Those supporting same-sex marriages have started to do all they can to destroy one Biblical passage after another in order to legalize homosexuality and affirm that marriage is not necessarily between a man and a woman. They do so by putting forward their new and wrong interpretation – one which displays an attitude and understanding which differs from that which has existed for many years in the Church regarding the meaning of marriage in accordance with the teachings of the Word of God.”

Some Bible passages that have been misused and given another interpretation to defend same-sex marriage are the following: Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24, Matt. 19: 5-7, Rom. 1:26-27, Gal. 3:28, etc.

The statement goes on to say: “The ELCT and other people worldwide who support our stand on the issue of opposing same-sex marriage believe that the Bible cannot be interpreted according to people’s wishes or according to other authorities or to culture. Rather, the Bible is self explanatory and is merely translated into various languages without altering the meaning.”

“The ELCT accepts that moral values may change among people as their situations change; however, ELCT believers know and believe that there are some things that cannot change, such as people having noses, ears and mouths.”

“This church believes that, based on the teaching of the Word of God, there are values that cannot be adjusted even under the pressure of changing conditions and locations. One of these unwavering values concerns the issue of marriage and its meaning.”

Issued by:
Office of the Secretary-General, ELCT

###

==================================================
Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Coordinator,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania
Box 3033, ARUSHA, Tanzania.
Phone: +255-27-250-8856/7
FAX: +255-27-254-8858
E-mail: Elizabeth Lobulu

Why Gay Marriage Failed in Maine

January 4th, 2010 1 comment

Here is a very interesting overview of how, and why, the people in Maine voted down their legislature’s effort to legalize “gay marriage.” I put the words “gay marriage” in quotes because there is nothing “gay” or “marriage” about so-called gay marriage. Here is the link to the full story, and here is a snippet:

We all knew we were the little guy going up against the big guy, but we prevailed. We prevailed because the people of Maine—the silent majority, the folks back home—spoke with their votes,” Mutty said, according to the Bangor Daily News. Connolly ruefully agreed, explaining in a column for the Huffington Post: “It’s clear that polling research, both ours and others’, did not capture the intensity of Yes on 1 support…. We weren’t alone: our opponents, political observers, and field operatives all believed a high turnout benefited the No on 1 vote. With voting approaching 60 percent in Maine, it’s clear that wasn’t true.” Some gay marriage backers lashed out in anger. “In the future those who oppose gay marriage now will appear as ignorant, mean, and foolish as those who opposed interracial marriage 50 year ago,” wrote Michael Stone in the Portland Progressive Examiner. But others openly wondered if the gay marriage crusade was worth it. “Throughout this and other gay-marriage campaigns, some queer activists have expressed their own discomfort about feeling obligated to fight for an institution about which they feel ambivalent while other essential battles—against HIV/AIDS, homelessness, domestic violence, and general discrimination—struggle for money and media attention,” wrote Deirdre Fulton in the Portland Phoenix.

Categories: Homosexuality

Here’s How a Lutheran Bishop Should Speak About Ordaining Actively Homosexual Persons

November 17th, 2009 1 comment

Kenyan Lutheran bishop rebukes Swedish church on lesbian bishop
ENI-09-0898

By Fredrick Nzwili
Nairobi, 16 November (ENI)–The executive committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya has expressed shock, dismay and disappointment at the consecration of the Rev. Eva Brune, a lesbian who lives with her partner, as a bishop in the Church of Sweden.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible this unfortunate and anti-scriptural development in a church body that bears the name of the great reformer, Dr Martin Luther,” said Archbishop Walter Obare, the leader of the ELCK in a statement on 13 November, after the church’s executive committee meeting in Nairobi.

Brune, aged 55, who lives in a legal relationship with her partner, was consecrated as the bishop of Stockholm in a ceremony at Uppsala cathedral on 8 November. The Rev. Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, a female pastor, was consecrated as the bishop of Harnosand in northern Sweden, alongside Brune.

Obare said that at the time of Martin Luther, the church in Sweden was a pillar of the “Biblical Reformation” but it had “now decided to go apostate by consecrating a lesbian woman” and he described the action by the church as a “rejection of Christendom”.

The Kenyan archbishop’s letter on behalf of the executive committee of the church was co-signed by the general secretary of the denomination, the Rev. John Halakhe.

“We … are watching with shock, dismay and disappointment these recent developments on what we would call ‘the mega’ church bodies in the world, when they work so hard and tirelessly to lead the world into religious-less society,” said Obare.

He referred also to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s decision in August to allow homosexuals to serve as pastors in the church.

The Church of Sweden, with 6.9 million members is the largest single church belonging to the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation, while ELCK has 100 000 members.

“This act by the Church of Sweden constitutes a loveless and callous disregard of the spiritual condition of those caught in homosexual bondage,” said Obare. He termed women’s ordinations into church service as a recent and unfortunate innovation that is at the “epicentre of spiritual lesbianism in the church today”.

The Kenyan bishop noted, “We feel compassion for those among us who are caught in homosexual bondage and want them to know the transforming power of God’s forgiveness and love.”

The Rev.Halakhe said the acceptance of homosexuality in Europe and North America is causing discomfort among some LWF members ahead of the body’s once-every-seven-years assembly to be held in Stuttgart, Germany in 2010.

“Churches in Africa and Asia will bring it up in the assembly. We feel this time it has gone too far [with the ordinations],” he told Ecumenical News International on 15 November.

Asked if the ELCK would leave the LWF if actions such as those by the Church of Sweden continue, Halakhe said, “We have not been pushed by anybody, but if we are, we will definitely leave.” [495 words]


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Categories: Homosexuality

Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families

April 7th, 2009 9 comments

In light of the news out today that now Vermont has formally legalized homosexual marriages, and the news last week from Iowa’s Supreme Court overturning a ban on gay marriage, I thought the following resource would be helpful. The Lutheran Church, that is, those Lutheran churches that remain true to the historic Biblical teachings of the Lutheran Church, believes and teaches that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s Word and will, and seeks to minister to those who are struggling with homosexual inclinations. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod put out an excellent resource a number of years ago: A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families. Here is the Synod’s convention resolution that called for this document.

WHEREAS, Many voices in our society as well as in various church bodies are expressing the view today that homophile behavior is an acceptable alternative lifestyle; and

WHEREAS, The Word of God clearly condemns homophile behavior in Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:26-27, and 1 Cor. 6:9; and

WHEREAS, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in convention in 1973 stated: “That the Synod recognize homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful”; and

WHEREAS, The Commission on Theology and Church Relations document on Human Sexuality, A Theological Perspective, states, “Whatever the causes of such a condition may be, . . . homosexual orientation is profoundly ‘unnatural’ without implying that such a person’s sexual orientation is a matter of conscious, deliberate choice. However, this fact cannot be used by the homosexual as an excuse to justify homosexual behavior. As a sinful human being, the homosexual is accountable to God for homosexual thoughts, words and deeds.” (Human Sexuality, A Theological Perspective, p. 35); and

WHEREAS, The redeeming love of Christ, which rescues humanity from sin, death, and the power of Satan, is offered to all through repentance and faith in Christ, regardless of the nature of their sinfulness; and

WHEREAS, The need exists to make available a carefully developed Law/Gospel ministry plan to congregations and other institutions in order to minister to those who are troubled by their homosexuality; and

WHEREAS, It is necessary for the church to expose and resist the sexual idolatry of our society; therefore be it

Resolved, That The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, in convention, reaffirm the position it stated in 1973, “That the Synod recognize homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful”; and be it further

Resolved, That the President of the Synod direct the appropriate boards and commissions to develop a plan for ministry usable by congregations, campus ministries, institutions, and agencies in the Synod, for the purpose of providing biblical and Gospel-oriented ministry to persons troubled by being homophile in their sexual orientations and to their families; and be it finally

Resolved, That the goals to be pursued by such a plan for ministry be

  1. to offer to our world biblically alternative models of sexual celibacy outside of a committed, permanent heterosexual marriage and same-gender social, but not genitally sexual, deep friendships;
  2. to confront the individual with his/her sinfulness, and call him/her to repentance;
  3. to help the individual recognize that God can rescue individuals from homosexual orientation and practice;
  4. to assure him/her of forgiveness in Christ, contingent upon sincere repentance and faith in Christ, and to assure him/her of the love and acceptance of the church;
  5. to assist the individual to rely on Christ’s love and strength to abstain from homophile behavior;
  6. to help the individual to bear his/her burden without fear of recrimination and rejection by his/her sisters and brothers in Christ;
  7. to find ways of ministering to families which include persons of homophile orientation;
  8. to do all this patiently, persistently, and compassionately in the love and Spirit of Christ, who says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Categories: Homosexuality