A statement from Lutheran Church–Canada
Ordination of Homosexuals in the Lutheran Church
AUGUST 21, 2009 - In Minneapolis this afternoon, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a resolution to allow for the ordination of those in committed, monogamous, same-sex relationships. The vote was 559 in favour, 451 against. The following statement was prepared at the request of President Robert Bugbee of Lutheran Church–Canada by Dr. Edward Kettner, professor at Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton.
As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its current convention has approved the ordination of people in “committed same-sex relationships,” it needs to be noted that the ELCA does not represent all Lutherans in the United States or North America. In its actions the ELCA is going against, not just the history of the Christian Church and against the practices of the covenant religion of Israel as expressed in the Old Testament (First Testament), but against the Bible, which the Christian Church has always recognized as the very Word of God itself. The traditional Christian understanding continues to be held by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the United States and by Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) in Canada, as well as by a number of smaller conservative bodies in both countries.
For more than two hundred years much of Christendom has come to reject the previously universal recognition of the Bible as the Word of God written. By using methods of scriptural interpretation which see the Bible as a human book, a record of human response to the idea of God, rather than as God’s declaration of Himself, His nature, and His activities to the world, parts of the church on earth now look at Scripture with what is called a “hermeneutic [biblical interpretation] of suspicion” rather than the traditional hermeneutic of trust.
Under this new method of interpretation, words which previously were seen as the authoritative Word of God revealed through His apostles and prophets are now viewed as words composed by men seeking to maintain their power over others. In this understanding, the words of Scripture regarding marriage, which declare it to be the union of man and woman, and ideally one man and one woman in a lifelong union, are replaced by a preference for talking about “intimacy,” and commitment between two people that may not always include marriage in the traditional sense, or even, in recent years, a relationship between a male and a female.
Behind this change lurks an understanding of “freedom” which is in fact license, which flies against God’s clear word in Genesis 1 and 2 and restated by Christ in Matthew 19:3-6. Since a pastor is one who is to have a good reputation among Christians and before the world, for the church to ordain people who clearly flout the Word of God in their actions throws both the Word of God and the office of the Holy Ministry into contempt, and gives the rest of the world an excuse to continue in its sin.
LCC and Homosexuality
Lutheran Church–Canada desires to reach out with the Gospel to everyone, including the homosexual, to provide real healing of the person, so that their lives may begin to reflect the holiness God desires of all of His people. Those who may have such inclinations and who struggle against them are welcome in our churches, will receive forgiveness of their sins, and may serve in the office of ministry. Those who flout the clear Word of God, refuse to call sin what it is, and who seek to justify their behaviour, disqualify themselves from the office and indeed put their eternal salvation in jeopardy.
We recognize that our view is decidedly counter-cultural, but we know that we must continue to maintain the clear teaching of the Scriptures. We regret the decision of the ELCA, which, even by its own admission in its resolutions at this convention, goes against everything the Scriptures clearly teach and which the church has confirmed over the last 2000 years and even before.
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