Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lutheran CORE to Launch New Denomination

Shrimp here, with an announcement on the Lutheran CORE web site. We'll note that this announcement of a New Lutheran Church is for those leaving the ELCA, and that Lutheran CORE itself intends to remain a "free standing synod" for congregations inside and outside the ELCA. The press release is also available as a pdf document here. Shrimp out.

Lutheran CORE leaders announce that a new Lutheran church body will be formed for those leaving the ELCA

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. — Leaders of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) have voted to begin work on a proposal for a new Lutheran church body for those who choose to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they announced Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The votes by ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August to allow pastors to be in committed same-sex relationships have created a biblical and theological crisis throughout the ELCA and conflict in local congregations. Many congregations and individuals are considering the possibility of leaving the ELCA or have chosen to redirect giving away from the national church.

More than 1,200 Lutherans gathered in Fishers, Ind., Sept. 25-26 unanimously voted to authorize the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee "to initiate conversations among the congregations and reform movements in Lutheran CORE and other compatible churchly organizations leading toward a possible reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism" and to bring a recommendation for action in 2010. The Lutheran CORE Steering Committee decided Tuesday that a new church body likely will be necessary and directed that work begin on a church body proposal.

"Many ELCA members and congregations have said that they want to sever ties with the ELCA because of the ELCA's continued movement away from traditional Christian teachings. The vote on sexuality opened the eyes of many to how far the ELCA has moved from Biblical teaching," said the Rev. Paull Spring of State College, Pa., Lutheran CORE Chair.

"Lutheran CORE will aid in the formation of a Lutheran church body for those congregations and individuals that choose to end their affiliation with the ELCA. This church body will stand where Lutherans have always stood and will center its life on the mission of the church to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ," said Spring, the retired bishop of the Northern Pennsylvania Synod.
A special working group will draft the church body proposal. The recommendations are to be released in February to allow interested individuals and congregations time for feedback. Final proposals will be brought to the Lutheran CORE Convocation Aug. 26-27 in Columbus, Ohio.

The working group will also bring recommendations for the continuation of Lutheran CORE as a free-standing synod that will serve both Lutherans in the ELCA and those in other church bodies. This working group will be in conversation with other Lutheran church bodies about ways to work together. Lutheran CORE has expressed an interest in working closely with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, an association of Lutheran congregations which many ELCA congregations have joined. The proposed church body is intended to provide a place for congregations that desire a more a traditional denominational structure.

"We have not made any firm decisions about what this church body will be or how it will be structured. That reality will come into focus as the working group meets with the members of Lutheran CORE who are looking for a new church body and with other Lutheran church bodies in North America," explained Ryan Schwarz of Washington, D.C., who chairs the working group.

Lutheran CORE to continue as free-standing synod

Lutheran CORE will continue to exist as a free-standing synod. Both those within the ELCA and in this new church body will be able to continue in fellowship through Lutheran CORE.

"Lutheran CORE is committed to be a church fellowship for Lutherans who affirm the authority of Scripture — both those who choose to remain affiliated with the ELCA and those who choose to end their affiliation with the ELCA," Spring said.

"It is important that those who want to uphold the authority of Scripture work together. We need each other. To be an effective witness, Lutherans — both those who remain affiliated with the ELCA and those who end that affiliation — need to work together. Lutheran CORE hopes to continue to provide that church fellowship and serve that common mission," he added.

"This new church body and the Lutheran CORE free-standing synod will make it possible for congregations to work together in mission and to relate to other Lutherans worldwide," Schwarz said. "Lutherans around the world have been scandalized by the ELCA's actions. Lutheran CORE will work closely with Lutherans around the world who share our commitment to Scripture as it has been understood by generations of Christians."

"We are not leaving the ELCA. The ELCA has left us. Lutheran CORE is continuing in the Christian faith as it has been passed down to us by generations of Christians. The ELCA is the one that has departed from the teaching of the Bible as understood by Christians for 2,000 years," Spring said. "The division in the ELCA is not only about sex. It is about the authority of Scripture in the life of the church. The crisis in the ELCA is a direct result of the actions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly."

"We grieve that it has become necessary for so many to leave the ELCA and for so many others to alter their relationship with the ELCA, but we are heartened by the clear sense of mission and ministry that is motivating these changes," the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee said in a letter to members of Lutheran CORE announcing the decision."


John said...

Hatred is a dumb reason to start a new denomination.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness, John, that is not why they are doing it!

Steven said...

No, John is correct. The entire lot is upset of something their narrow are afraid of. It is not our place on this earth to deny anyone the right to serve our Lord!

Anonymous said...

Here I stand, I can do no other...oh no wait, sometimes it's easier to run.

Anonymous said...

Though I do not begrudgeanyone leaving any denomination I find it quitefunny that the croup coordinatng it has recieved funds/support from the ELCA untill recently. Is Core planning on paying any of it back? If this were a clean break I would not say a word. However, this does not come off that way and my fellow seminarians were puzzled when we heard of it.

Clam said...

Don't know where you got that erroneous information. Lutheran CORE has never received a dime of funding directly or indirectly from the ELCA. It is entirely supported by contributions from individuals and congregations.

Anonymous said...

While I certainly think it is a good idea to get out of the ELCA, I hope and pray that any denomination wishing to come out of the ELCA would take the time to consider what went wrong.

Ultimately, it is my opinion that the crux of the problem lay in the unabashed acceptance of the historical/critical/and text/critical methods. Such methods deny historical and textual truth by asking the student to doubt and disbelieve what it written and ascribe some kind of deception on the part of the authors...the chief Author being our Lord Himself.

Such creation and spreading of doubt and unbelief has led the ELCA to where it is today, denying the authority of Scripture while holding to an appearance of religion. Any new body that does not reject the historical/critical or text/critical ideals will follow in the same Welhausenan and Bultmanian heresies that have beset and undone the ELCA.

Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rob Buechler

Marshall Hahn said...

Dear Anonymous Seminarian,
I know you have more to do than to carefully read a news release to see if the headline gets it right or not, but here are a couple things you might pass along to your classmates to help them in their puzzlement:
- CORE has never received any money from the ELCA. (I see Clam has already dissuaded you of that notion.)
- CORE is not planning to BE a new denomination. It has decided to help set up a new denominational structure for those congregations in CORE who have left or plan to leave the ELCA - and for whom LCMC is not a viable alternative. CORE plans to remain a "free-standing synod" that will include congregations from within the ELCA, from within LCMC, from within this new denomination, or which are independent. The congregations I serve are members of CORE and have no plans to leave the ELCA. We are actively opposing the decisions made at the CWA and working with CORE in the mission and ministry of the church. It is a bit confusing, to be sure, but it is the reality we have been given by the decisions of the CWA to change 2000 years of church teaching and practice without any attempt to provide a basis in Scripture or our Lutheran Confessions for doing so.

Marshall Hahn

Anonymous said...

Pastor Hahn, you have summed up my confusion about CORE in a nutshell with these two comments:

1. "It has decided to help set up a new denominational structure for those congregations in CORE who have left or plan to leave the ELCA..."
2. "...The congregations I serve are members of CORE and have no plans to leave the ELCA..."

Does CORE want us to leave the ELCA or not? The ambiguity is frustrating.

Marshall Hahn said...

Dear Confused Anonymous,

I don't think it is so confusing. Since the convocation at Fishers, CORE has said that they are not taking an official stand on whether to leave the ELCA or not. CORE does not officially encourage congregations or people to leave and they do not officially encourage people or congregations to stay. The announcement on helping to establish a new Lutheran denomination is to be of assistance to those congregations within CORE who have expressed a desire to leave the ELCA. This does not include all of CORE. It does not include even a majority of CORE congregations. Most congregations in CORE, like the two I serve, have not taken any steps to leave the ELCA. We are members of CORE because we desire to work together with other congregations that profess an orthodox, confessional Lutheranism. We also desire to present a common witness in opposition to the actions taken at the Churchwide Assembly in August. We will continue to do so within the ELCA as long as this remains a viable option.

Marshall Hahn

Anonymous said...

It is confusing. I have been a member of Word Alone since 2006. Since the collaboration with those to refute and counter the “pro-inclusion” movement I find the number of things I value diminished. I identify as a confessional catholic. Yet my experience at Core meetings I find myself either feeling without voice, or when I do speak I am in a definitive minority. As such I find Core suggestion as a “breakaway” group is hypocritical. For so long we have threatened and attempted to cajole but now one action has occurred. I do not agree with inclusion of woman clergy, yet I attended my church as it fed me. I do not agree with the politics of my presiding Bishops yet I have attended my congregation because I grew up there and felt a sense of community. Now we have the “full inclusion/blessing” issue come up and passed. I had a sense of Armageddon the first Sunday and my Pastor treated it as if someone had died. He was reading Core responses and material. Members who had not felt threatened or wrecked suddenly became anxious. When and informative sessions was called I and others were irate that the Pastor had “created” an opinion for the church. Though we disagreed with the CWA vote, we don not want or seek scaremongering that has been spread around rather recklessly. Since then our Pastor does not read Core material in service but makes it available in our Flyer. But now he also includes information from the ELCA proper. Given equal information many who panicked do not see the promised destruction of the church. Instead they see those that sought “to protect the Church.” We will not be a Reconciling church but neither will we scare others.
This whole shift into a Core led denomination confusion smacks of politics. In watching the changes in Core over the last years has not given me confidence in them at all. I will continue to be a Confessing Catholic. I shall go to my church, participate, and hold my place on church council. I will not give one dime to Core anymore. I wonder how many who sit in churches led by Core Pastors have the opportunity to make up their own mind anymore. I used to read this site for informative articles. Now it comes across as propaganda. Now I do pray for a change in my church to come to a more Confessional understanding and Dogma. But I will not scream “The sky is falling.” I ask others to do the same. I am sorry if this comes off as “raw” but I am at my end in frustration.

My prayers for you all to the Savior the Holy, Living, God and Savior Jesus Christ

P. Erickson, Rochester Minnesota

The good ship ELCA...

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