Tuesday, April 26, 2005

the elca will decide in 2005 what it means to be faithful

A Faithful Journey Through the Bible and Homosexuality?

The Use of Scripture in Two 2003 ELCA Documents: Journey Together Faithfully, Part Two: The Church and Homosexuality and the Companion Background Essay on Biblical Texts
with Responses to the ELCA Task Force's "Reports and Recommendations" (Jan. 13, 2005) and the ELCA Church Council's "Recommendations to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly on Sexuality Studies" (Apr. 11, 2005)

You can go to the link below then Click for PDF Version. If you are a member of the ELCA, you need to do this, save it, print it, study it.

The Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America in 2001 directed the ELCA to study the blessing of homosexual unions and the ordination of people in committed homosexual unions. The ELCA Church Council established the Task Force for the ELCA Studies on Sexuality. The Task Force, in turn, produced study guides, the most noteworthy of which were Journey Together Faithfully, Part Two: The Church and Homosexuality (in which Terence Fretheim, Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, played a significant role in formulating the sections on Scripture's witness) and the companion piece Background Essay on Biblical Texts (written by Arland Hultgren, Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, and Walter F. Taylor Jr., Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary). Both study guides skewed the biblical witness against homosexual practice in the direction of a pro-homosex reading.

The study guides, available in Aug.-Sept. 2003, were sent to all ELCA churches along with a survey. Over 28,000 surveys were returned to the Task Force. Largely on the basis of those surveys the Task Force recommended to the ELCA Church Council, on Jan. 13, 2005, that the ELCA retain its policy that ministers abstain from sexual relationships outside of marriage, including homosexual relationships, but that the policy not be enforced, at least on a local option basis. On the basis of this recommendation, the ELCA Church Council recommended on Apr. 11, 2005 that the ELCA permit candidates for ordained office and ordained ministers to be in committed homosexual unions, as "exceptions" to a general policy, so long as such persons receive synod support to do so and the Conference of Bishops concurs. If the Churchwide Assembly meeting in August 2005 approves this recommendation by a two-thirds majority, it will become official church policy. Although the Task Force and Council presented their recommendations as no change in the official church policy, it clearly creates a de facto new policy for the ELCA that will ultimately result in a full embrace of 'committed' homosexual activity.

This pdf file provides a 6-page critique of the Task Force "Report and Recommendations," a 12-page critique of the Church Council's "Recommendations," and a 30-page critique of the use of Scripture in Journey Two and Background Essay. As lengthy as the critique of the two study guides is, further material needs to be added on the interpretation of Pauline texts; the exploitation, orientation, and misogyny arguments; and the application of analogies. But already readers will find a critique of the interpretation (or lack thereof) of the creation texts and their reuse by Jesus and Paul, as well as a full critique of the Old Testament witness and the witness of Jesus.

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