Monday, February 23, 2009

LCMS President's Response

President Kieschnick of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod sent the following message Sunday evening (thanks to Dave Benke (President of the LCMS Atlantic District) at ALPB Forum Online.

[Update: see it here on the LCMS site]

To: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
From: Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
Subject: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Document “Report and Recommendations on Ministry Policies”
Date: February 22, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace be with you, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

It is with great disappointment and deep sadness that I share with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod these brief comments on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Task Force on Sexuality document “Gift and Trust” and the “Report and Recommendations on Ministry Policies.” The “Report and Recommendations” document recommends that the ELCA undertake a process that would result in the incorporation of “structured flexibility in decision making to allow, in appropriate situations, people in publicly accountable, monogamous, lifelong, same-gendered relationships to be approved for the rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” The two documents were released February 19 by an ELCA task force and are expected to be considered by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August.

If this recommendation should be adopted by the Churchwide Assembly, it would constitute a change in the ELCA’s present position, which precludes “practicing homosexuals” from being included on its rosters. More importantly, it would constitute a radical departure from the 2,000-year-long teaching of the Christian tradition that homosexual activity, whether inside or outside of a committed relationship, is contrary to Holy Scripture.

As the ELCA Task Force Report itself states, “This church [the ELCA] does not have biblical and theological consensus on this matter.” It therefore concludes that the ELCA “must seek a common way to live and serve in the midst of disagreements” such as “the understanding of the nature of sin,” “the interpretation of the Bible,” “how the Bible guides our lives,” and “the level of disagreement the ELCA can bear.”

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has repeatedly affirmed the biblical truth and historical understanding of the Christian church that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as “intrinsically sinful” and is therefore contrary to the will of the Creator and constitutes sin against the commandments of God (Lev. 18:22, 24,20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 1 Tim 1:9-10; and Rom. 1:26, 27).

Our prayer in the LCMS is that our gracious God will penetrate the lives and hearts of the leaders and members of the ELCA in the coming months as they discuss, debate, and determine the outcome of the task force report and its recommendations.

In the meantime, it behooves us in the LCMS, in a spirit of sincere humility, love, care, and concern, to continue to endeavor faithfully to honor Resolution 3-21A of the 2001 Convention of our Synod that while “we cannot consider [the ELCA] to be an orthodox Lutheran church body … we of the LCMS recognize that many of our brothers and sisters of the ELCA remain faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and we resolve to reach out to them in love and support …”

God’s grace, mercy, and peace be with us all.

Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

1 comment:

Shrimp said...

FYI, we've updated this post to include a source from the LCMS website. See beginning of the main post. S.

The good ship ELCA...

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