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.”
Office of the Secretary-General, ELCT
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania
Box 3033, ARUSHA, Tanzania.
E-mail: Elizabeth Lobulu