Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Outbreak!

"Pr. Cynthia Hileman, assistant to ELCA Chicago Bishop Paul Landahl led the worship service preceding this congregational meeting. In her sermon, Pr. Hileman praised the congregation for their persistence, patience, and, most of all, for their hope through a long and difficult time."

Go here and you will find why the above is so upsetting:

Friday, September 22, 2006

ELCA Task Force on Human Sexuality Works to Finalize a Third Study

September 22, 2006

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The task force coordinating studies in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) concerning human sexuality met here Sept. 15-17 to work on finalizing the text of "Set Free in Christ: Talking about Human Sexuality" -- a study guide designed to engage the 4.85 million-member church in thoughtful discussion and theological discernment on topics that may be addressed in an ELCA social statement on human sexuality.

"We're signing off on a study, not a social statement," said the Rev. Peter Strommen, bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Minnesota Synod, Duluth, and task force chair. "Our objective is to finalize text that gives the ELCA a discussion tool to engage in before the social statement on human sexuality is written," he said.

The current overall work of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality is the development of a social statement on human sexuality for the ELCA. The 2001 assembly mandated the church to engage in studies on human sexuality. The first emphasis dealt with questions about the blessing of same-gender unions and the ordination of people in committed gay or lesbian relationships, in which the task force issued its report and recommendations on homosexuality in January 2005. The 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly took action on those recommendations. The second emphasis is the development of a social statement on human sexuality.

A proposed social statement on human sexuality is due in early 2009. The proposed document will be presented to the ELCA Church Council with a request by the task force to place the document on the agenda of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly for action.

Set Free in Christ: Talking about Human Sexuality, is the third in a series of studies developed by the task force under the banner of "Journey Together Faithfully," said the Rev. Roger A. Willer, senior research associate, ELCA Church in Society.

The first study looked at common convictions held among ELCA predecessor church bodies regarding sexuality, said Willer. The second study focused on homosexuality and ministry issues, such as same-sex blessings and ordination. The third study takes the journey further in that it broadens the focus to aspects of human sexuality in this society that have not been extensively covered in either of the two previous studies. The conversations and feedback from all three studies will be considered in the task force's work to develop a first draft of a social statement on human sexuality, he said.

"Each chapter of the (third) study is dedicated to a different aspect of human sexuality," said Willer. "We'll talk about sexuality and power, sexuality in economic situations, sexuality and culture, sexuality and social institutions such as marriage and a number of other topics, many of which have not been broached in our other discussions. So what does it mean for us, as a church, to have (some) common convictions about sexuality in terms of the contemporary complexities of life, where people are living longer, getting married later in life, feeling economic insecurity and more?" he said.

"The task force is aiming the study at the church basement, that is, settings where members can talk together about faith and morals. Still, we hope the study will be used in college classrooms, campus ministry settings and senior citizen homes," said Willer. "There's a wide array of places in which the study can be used (in addition to) congregations," he said.

"One of the most unique parts of our study is that we're grounding it in an evangelical ethic that's been very beautifully articulated through the Lutheran tradition," said Strommen. The New Testament Book of Galatians will serve as the biblical framework for the conversation, he said. It "is not all that directly applicable to human sexuality, but we're saying, 'let's go there first,'" said Strommen.

"The themes in Galatians are often called the 'Epistle of Freedom,'" said Willer. "Galatians will help set the framework for conversation and return us to the basics, that we are saved by God's grace through faith. Grounded in that freedom to seek the neighbor's good, what does it mean to be sexual beings?" he said.

Set Free in Christ: Talking about Human Sexuality will be available to the church starting Dec. 4, 2006. Copies of the study may be pre-ordered through Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Minneapolis, the publishing ministry of the ELCA. The task force will receive responses to the study through Nov. 1, 2007. - - -

Audio comments from the Rev. Peter Strommen related to this story are on the ELCA Web site at .

Information about the work of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality is available at on the ELCA Web site.

For information contact:

John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or ELCA News Blog:

“There’s no point in us making the curriculum more queer-positive if people can take their kids out,”

“There’s no point in us making the curriculum more queer-positive if people can take their kids out,” Peter Corren told the Province yesterday. “This is the public education system. The School Act is quite clear ... religion does not play a role in what is taught. We just want the policy to be followed.”

We have seen the future (it is North by West)!

Read it here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

O Canada!

September 19, 2006


Winnipeg, 19 September 2006 -- At the fall meeting of National Church Council (NCC), members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) met September 14-16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to discuss matters relating to the business of the church. Agenda items before NCC members included a discussion on the motion adopted at the 2006 Eastern Synod Convention regarding the blessing of same-gender couples. In response to questions following the motion's approval at the synodical convention, NCC issued the following statement:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) is a church comprised of three distinctive areas: our congregations, synods and national office. Each area brings its own unique and important element to the church as a whole; united for the same mission outcome. All three expressions, working together, form the foundation of our church. When we work together, we fulfil our vision of being a church In Mission for Others.

Many members of the ELCIC are aware of a motion defeated at the 2005 National Convention regarding a local option to bless same-gender couples. Recently, at its 2006 Convention, the Eastern Synod passed a motion with similar wording allowing for a local option to bless same-gender couples.

After careful consideration, based on the Constitution and Bylaws of the ELCIC National Church, as well as National and Synodical policies, the National Church Council has notified the Eastern Synod that its 2006 resolution on the blessing of same gender couples is beyond its constitutional authority. Therefore, National Church Council urges congregations and pastors of the ELCIC to continue to abide by decisions made at the 2005 National Convention.

At the same time, National Church Council acknowledges that there are deep and significant differences of opinion concerning this issue. To assist with understanding and addressing these areas, the Council has agreed to:

1. Invite a consultation with the Eastern Synod to determine how its concerns may be addressed.
2. Develop a social statement on human sexuality for consideration by the 2009 National Convention for deliberation by the ELCIC. In addition, this task force will produce a progress report that will be provided at the 2007 National Convention.

National Church Council has also ratified a motion, which will be presented at the 2007 National Convention, to reconsider a local option for pastors and congregations to bless same-gender couples.

As a church In Mission for Others, we are all part of one body. When we are faced with difficult topics of conversation, we must be open to dialogue to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. National Church Council encourages ELCIC churches to allow the Holy Spirit to call, gather and enlighten us as we move forward together.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why I Wrote a Book on Homosexuality

by Francis MacNutt
September/October 2006 issue

Like most of you, Judith and I share the pain of many friends who are members of churches that are being torn apart by the issue of homosexuality. We have dear friends on both sides of the divide. We also think we have learned something about healing that could lead to solving the conflicting opinions about homosexuality. We also believe that we haven’t as yet had a real opportunity to share what we have learned and experienced.

That’s the reason I wrote a short, easy to read, book entitled Can Homosexuality Be Healed? (Chosen Books). In it I share several key ideas which some Christians have not yet heard. The basic key we want to share with you, naturally, in relation to the healing ministry, is that homosexuality can be healed. By this we mean that someone whose sexual orientation is directed to the same sex, can become a heterosexual through Jesus’ saving power when we pray. We believe this, not only theoretically but we have seen it happen over a period of many years.

Again, in our experience, most church leaders are not aware that such a change is even possible!

The common belief, reinforced by gay activists, is that their orientation is 1) genetic, and 2) unchangeable.

Therefore, they propose that the true Christian response is for the church to accept the homosexual community and also to accept their homosexual lifestyle. "Inclusivity" is the key word. To those churches who disagree with them and teach that sexual activity directed to the same sex is forbidden by Scripture (e.g. Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27), the homosexual activists respond by saying, "I was born this way, and this orientation just doesn’t change. I was born as a sexual human being, and my emotional drive to union with the person I love needs to be expressed. I am not a celibate, and it’s wrong for you to demand that I live without a sexual companion." Otherwise, as one older homosexual wrote to me, "The loneliness that I feel in my life is overwhelming." This man is living a single life but "the discouragement and loneliness at times are unbearable."

For traditionalists who support the stand that same-sex intercourse is wrong, it seems harsh to insist on living out this norm with only the help of willpower. A few homosexuals, like the elderly man I just quoted, can sustain a sexless lifestyle, but most cannot sustain such a lonely life.

In our experience, the homosexual orientation can be changed, but most church leaders have never heard of this possibility, so they face a dilemma: they either have to accept an active homosexual lifestyle, or they simply condemn homosexual actions without offering the help that most homosexuals need to change. Where are the church leaders who can say, "We understand your pain. We also know that you probably didn’t choose the homosexual lifestyle. We understand why you are angry with us because we simply condemn your lifestyle without reaching out to help you. But now we are here to help you if only you will give us a chance to pray with you for healing."

This is the great secret that we would like to share with the church in a way that makes sense — spiritual, scriptural and human. Unfortunately, only a few Christians know that homosexuals who wish to change their orientation can actually change and become heterosexual.

Consequently, when we speak to homosexual audiences about the possibility of healing, they often become angry — understandably so, because by speaking about their healing you are implying that they are sick. They reject the label of being considered sick because they have so often been condemned by Christians; they naturally react strongly to one more condemnation.

The evangelist Tony Campolo, who struggles between the desire to be faithful to Scripture and, at the same time, to be loving to homosexuals, writes about his interior conflict:

During a particular research project, I interviewed more than 300 gay men and found not one who had chosen to be homosexual…. For the 300 men I interviewed, the imprinting of the orientation occurred so early in their psychosocial development that none could remember ever making a choice. Yet I often hear Christian preachers say that homosexuals have decided to be other than God intended them to be.1

No wonder most homosexuals believe their orientation was given by nature, and thereby God–given, rather than something they purposely chose. Since they usually have had to face a painful struggle to accept their orientation — and to accept themselves — we can understand why they fight to keep their hard-earned sexual identity and eagerly join the homosexual community, who will understand and love them.

Understandable as these strong feelings are, we also know that homosexuality can be changed. In order, however, for church leaders to come to realize that change is possible, several misunderstandings have to be directly confronted, the most obvious being the misconception that homosexuality is a condition that cannot be changed.

What most people don’t realize is that even secular psychotherapy has a considerable success rate in re–directing the homosexual’s lifestyle. For example, a summary of scientific studies from 1930 to 1986 reveals a composite success rate of more than 50% — success meaning anywhere from "considerable" to complete success. Even so, the American Psychiatric Association (in 1973) struck homosexuality from its list of illnesses. This dramatic change was largely due to gay activists exerting extreme pressure on the Association, even at a time when 69% of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosexuality a disorder.2 The same kind of pressure is now inside the churches, and anyone who states that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong will risk being labeled homophobic and is likely to be asked, "If scientists and the APA consider homosexuality normal, why do you stubbornly remain in your prejudiced ignorance?"

Prayer for Healing

Well beyond what counseling can do, what we want to add to the issue of homosexuality is the possibility of Jesus changing the homosexual’s sexual orientation and re–directing it to the opposite sex. Except for a few strong Christian organizations like Exodus and Regeneration, and authors such as Leanne Payne and David Kyle Foster, few prominent Christians speak of the very real possibility of homosexuals receiving inner healing to help them become heterosexual.

To us, healing prayer seems to be the only viable option for those Christians who believe that living a homosexual lifestyle is wrong. Without a real belief in healing, a Christian traditionalist can only offer homosexuals a command to repent, which will lead the homosexual to respond in anger or despair. Our belief and experience leads us to proclaim that healing does take place when we pray for inner healing and, occasionally, deliverance. We personally believe that the success rate of this approach is close to 100%.

The one caution, and it is a big one, is that this usually takes time. Rarely have we seen a homosexual healed with only one prayer or one session; the ordinary process takes perhaps six months, with an hour’s session once a week. The basic issue does not usually stay in the physical, sexual level but goes much deeper. For example, the male homosexual may not have received the love he needed from his father, and his homosexual activities are an attempt to fill up that void in his life.

But where do we find Christians who do not condemn homosexuals themselves but do not agree with them that homosexual activities (some 80% engage in anal intercourse) are morally acceptable? In addition, where do we find mature Christians who understand how to pray for inner healing and are willing to spend the time to pray the homosexual into the fullness of life?

And that’s why I wrote the book, Can Homosexuality Be Healed? I wanted to offer hope to those churches who believe that Jesus can change the homosexual’s orientation and, beyond that, will raise up a whole generation of wise prayer ministers who will see the homosexual through to his or her complete transformation.

Unless we really believe in prayer for healing, we are condemning the homosexual community into accepting their condition and the churches into being tempted into accepting their lifestyle.


1 "Holding it Together," Sojourners, May-June 1999, p. 28,30.

2 Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, p. 218. This is an excellent book by a Jewish psychiatrist, it gives much of the background of the inner struggles of the psychiatrists in the face of the gay activism.

Christian Healing Ministries · 438 West 67th Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32208
All content of this web-site (including graphics, text and other elements) Copyright © 2006Christian Healing Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...