Monday, June 29, 2009

Open Letter from the Silesian Lutheran Church

Shrimp here. This open letter from Bishop Stanislav Piętak of the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (the largest Lutheran church in the Czech Republic) was sent to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, its ELCA Companion Synod, and is posted on the Lutheran Forum web site.
Český Těšín, May 4, 2009

Dear Bishop and Leaders of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod,

I greet you with thankfulness for your interest in the partnership with our church. With joy I look back to the time of your visit in January. Shared dialogues are bringing a lot of useful impulses. I also warmly thank you for inviting the leadership of our church, which will be led by vice-bishop Jan Waclawek. For sure we need to get to know each other and join our strength for the task of evangelization of this world to which we are called by our Lord Jesus Christ.

During communism we secretly dreamed that one day we might be able to work together with Lutheran churches from the U.S.A., Scandinavia, and other Western countries. We suffered the attacks of atheistic ideologies and repressive forces of totalitarian leaders, and we prayed for freedom. That is why we view freedom as a precious gift from God which brings a great opportunity for faithful service to our Savior.

We are troubled whenever we hear that the freedom is misused to put down God’s ordinances. As a clear example we see accepting of other ways of sexual relationship than those in the marriage of one man and one woman. I am convinced that we are not called to make sin tolerable. We can share our love to people who have an attraction to the same sex by calling them to repentance in faith in their Savior Jesus Christ, not by redefining the biblical stand on sin.

We closely observe the discussion which is going on in your church body. We pray that your synod would take a clear Biblical stand this summer and vote against accepting the proposed social statement on human sexuality. Any other stand would be very disappointing for us and would threaten our partnership. According to our constitution, our ministry is incompatible with anyone or any organization which is in any way defending the homosexual lifestyle.

But even if the statement is accepted, we hope for continuing partnership. Even though we would not be able to cooperate as church bodies, we are sure that we can develop our partnership through those in your church body who are opposing this statement and who are faithful to the Scripture even in the area of human sexuality.

Nevertheless, we continue to pray for good news from your church and for continuing partnership, and we do it with a hope to be joined in fulfilling Christ’s command to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments” (I John 5:2).

With wishes of God’s blessing in following our Lord Jesus Christ,

Stanislav Piętak, Bishop of the SECAC
The Silesian church's Wikipedia entry notes that it has a cooperative relationship with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.

And this is as good an excuse as any for Shrimp to encourage you to check out Lutheran Forum's section on on the ELCA sexuality reports, which offers considerable commentary on the upcoming ELCA decisions.

Shrimp out.

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