Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on ELCA

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy to serve churches as pastors. Last weekend the ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, voted in convention to allow openly gay men and women to be ordained and pastor their churches. The resolution was passed by a majority of 619-407. To say that I disagree with this resolution is an understatement. I think it flies in the face of God's word.
In Colossians 2:8 it says: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." The ELCA, in my opinion is trying to be "culturally relevant" (I actually saw that phrase in a Twitter message the other day. However, once one goes does that path of "culturally relevant" it becomes a slippery path. You start to give in to society a bit more and bit more and before long you start to mirror society. The ELCA lost its cultural relevance this past weekend when in convention they voted the way they did.

If you read the Scriptures, we are constantly reminded time and again not be of the "world.' We see this particularly in John 15:18-19 when Jesus says "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." We, as Christians are in the World, but not "of it." In short, we are not to be 'lemmings' in search of a cliff.

It is my fear that the ELCA has done exactly that. The ELCA's liberal (I hate using that term) interpretation of scripture has, to say the least, weakened it. In short, I am afraid that ELCA has decided that, in fact, it is a good idea to "do as the Romans do," or perhaps it is better said to "do as the Corinthians did." I do not think that it was God's intention, or Jesus' mission validate sinners and their sin. No, Jesus' mission was bring them up from their sin, to make them holy in God's sight.

The church is culturally relevant by not being of the world, by being in the world and not of it, by being a beacon of light to a dark world that is full of sin, that is where its "cultural relevance" lies.

Pres. Gerald Kieschnick, the president of the LCMS, Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod, addressedthe ELCA convention with very profound words of sadness. He said:
I speak these next words in deep humility, with a heavy heart and no desire whatsoever to offend. The decisions by this assembly to grant non-celibate homosexual ministers the privilege of serving as rostered leaders in the ELCA and the affirmation of same gender unions as pleasing to God will undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA. It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies. The current division between our churches threatens to become a chasm. This grieves my heart and the hearts of all in the ELCA, the LCMS, and other Christian church bodies throughout the world who do not see these decisions as compatible with the Word of God, or in agreement with the consensus of 2000 years of Christian theological affirmation regarding what Scripture teaches about human sexuality. Simply stated, this matter is fundamentally related to significant differences in how we understand the authority of Holy Scripture and the interpretation of God’s revealed and infallible Word.

The LCMS is not antigay, or homophobic. We believe that sinners must be ministered to and brought the words of Salvation and Grace through Jesus Christ, but we will and and cannot put a stamp of approval clothed in church jargon of sin, any sin. We believe that we are all fallen from God and only through His son Jesus Christ are we forgiven.

I will continue to pray that ELCA will come to its collective sense, but I fear it is too late. The die is cast.