Friday, June 19, 2009

The Necessity of Resistance

Shrimp here, with this statement presented by the WordAlone Network's Theological Advisory Board to the recent WordAlone Network Annual Convention, which accepted it.

The Necessity of Resistance

Approved April 27, 2009 by the WordAlone Network Annual Convention and referred to Lutheran CORE for consideration.

First, the biblical witness concerning marriage, the family and sexual practices has established an historic consensus which has held ecumenically throughout the church’s history. This long term and virtually universal consensus of interpretation demonstrates compellingly that the biblical word has functioned clearly and authoritatively on the issues. Whatever ambiguities remain have been and can be clarified in light of this agreement. Those who wish to change the accepted guidelines and expectations for clergy in the ELCA have yet to justify the reconsideration of issues settled by the Scripture and accepted by all but a minuscule minority of Christians.

Secondly, while appealing for unity, the proposal presented for the decision of the Minneapolis churchwide assembly is in fact profoundly divisive. All of the evidence available demonstrates that Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and most Protestants strongly oppose changing the biblical standards. Voting for the proposed changes will thus take the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America out of the stated biblical and ecumenical consensus of the church, isolating it from the visible unity with other Christians.

Thirdly, the proposal presented for action by the church council of the ELCA at its Minneapolis churchwide assembly in August of 2009 brings the church into a state of confession—as defined by Article X of the Formula of Concord—in two ways. It proposes to compromise the plain sense of Scripture, setting aside the authority of the biblical word. Further, if the ecumenical consensus is overturned by vote of the churchwide assembly, the majority would forcibly remove those who oppose such changes from the historic and virtually universal consensus prevailing in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. As such, the proposal presented by the church council is both schismatic and coercive.

Declaring this proposal in statu confessionis, that is, declaring a state of confession means that the proposed action must be resisted on biblical grounds. This opposition takes the form of refusing to support those institutions and officers of the ELCA who have betrayed their true purposes. It is incumbent on the officers of the church, its bishops and pastors, all of whom have taken oaths to preach and teach according to the Scripture and the Lutheran Confession to join this resistance. Their failure to respect their promises has placed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in schism.

Tip o' the claw to the Institute of Lutheran Theology blog. Shrimp out.

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The good ship ELCA...

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