Friday, July 04, 2008

Bishop tells Lutherans how Tanzanians denounce homosexuality

"Thorny issues"? Methinks it is a thorn that is large enough to gore the ox.

Do read until the end and please leave a comment explaining how the discussion of human sexuality is providing a witness to the gospel for the world. Me also thinks that the Tanzinian bishop is right and is not being passive when he says "such things are not fit to talk about." (he's being biblical too in his Pauline reference but I am sure that will fly over Western heads as they are busy rolling their eyes at the African's uneducated-ness. Bp Laiser may be wise, everyone should, that the gay advocacy strategy is to talk the thing until it is normal. And that my friends, is talking, talking half-truths and bad science and political correctness, not the proclaiming the gospel...

Bishop tells Lutherans how Tanzanians denounce homosexuality
27 June 2008
Peter Kenny

Arusha, Tanzania (ENI). The host bishop at a global Lutheran conference in Tanzania raised the thorny issue of homosexuality when in his opening sermon at a meeting in Arusha of the main governing body of the 68-million-strong Lutheran World Federation, he said same- sex relationships are unacceptable and go against biblical teachings.

"What is the witnessing and the stand of the LWF at the moment as [far as] the whole question of homosexuality and lesbianism is concerned," asked Lutheran Bishop Thomas O. Laiser, from the Arusha region, at the 25 June opening service of the LWF Council. "It is an undeniable fact that this question is not even discussible, and therefore it is not acceptable," he said.

The LWF president, Mark Hanson, who is the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said he believed the Lutheran body has mechanisms to adequately deal with debate and divergent attitudes on the issues of human sexuality. "There are some people who would love to see us fall apart on this issue," he added.

Although Lutheran churches throughout the world hold different views about matters such as the acceptance of homosexuals in church life, and blessings for single sex relationships in some Northern countries, it has managed to avoid the type of divisions that are faced by the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issues.
Tanzanians, some of them in traditional Masai dress, danced and sang during the two-hour service, which officially opened the 25-30 June gathering of the LWF Council. The meeting is being held in Arusha, near the foot of Africa's highest mountain, and with the theme, "Melting Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro: A Witness of a Suffering Creation".
Bishop Laiser, who is himself from the Masai, a distinctive pastoralist tribe in East Africa, said, "I am not standing here to tell you how this matter should be in your respective churches and countries, I am only sharing with you a piece of information on our stand in the ELCT [Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania], your host."

The Tanzanian bishop said that homosexuality, "violates all the principles of what we know about the teachings of the word of God." He referred to St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:9), saying, "No sexual pervertswill inherit the kingdom of God."

Bishop Laiser, who studied for a master's degree in theology at Wartburg Seminary in the United States, stated, "This matter does not only violate the teachings of the Bible, but it is also against the principles of nature."
He added, however, "I am not saying there are no homosexuals and lesbians in Africa and in Tanzania. The worst thing is this strong move to make these perverts officials in the church in the guise of human rights." He said the situation should be "mended" before it is "past mending".

Questioned about this at a press conference LWF president Hanson, said the Lutheran federation is addressing the topic of sexuality in a way that does not stifle discussion. He noted that at its last council meeting in 2007 at Lund, Sweden, the governing body received a report from the LWF Task Force on Marriage, Family and Human Sexuality. The council asked LWF churches to discuss the issues in their congregations, within a biblical context and in an awareness of how these issues could have an impact on relationships with others.

Hanson said that during a visit to bishops in Tanzania and East Africa made before he came to Arusha he had listened to Tanzanian bishops discuss how to grapple with the lingering issue of polygamy in their communities and how to allow people in polygamous families share in the sacraments.

Addressing the LWF meeting's opening service, Hanson had asked for understanding of the convergent issues while these are being discussed.
"I do not think right now it's helpful for the LWF as a communion to take a stance on issues that are being discussed in the member churches - discussed in the context of Scripture, discussed in the context of our Lutheran confessions and theology, (and) discussed in the contexts of our varied (situations related to) marriage, family and human sexuality," he said.

Hanson noted that the churches belonging to the LWF would continue to discuss human sexuality "for the sake of our witness in the world and our witness to that which is core to our faith, and that is the Good News of Jesus Christ".

1 comment:

Bill Payne said...

Children usually understand when a parent says, "no." But we Lutherans can't seem to comprehend God's "no." I believe God means what he says and I trust His judgment.

Bill Payne
Trinity Lutheran Church
Pullman, WA

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