Today I picked up a copy of "The Concord", the student newspaper of my alma mater, Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This seminary was somewhat liberal when I graduated in 1979, today it has become extremely liberal.
The lead article of the May 2017 issue is an open letter to the ELCA's Presiding Bishop, bemoaning the fact that not everyone in the ELCA is open to homosexuals in the ministry. He writes: "I came out to my parents as gay...All were incredibly support of me...as I began the process of living into this new identity, and discovering my newfound, wholly, authentically, God-created self...I began to realize that the love and support I had received is by no means universal in the ELCA...I simply have been betrayed by the same Church that I have grown up in...It has hurt me and I will not stand for it..."
In 2009 when the ELCA decided to ordain practicing homosexual pastors, the agreement was that each congregation could follow its "bound conscience" on whether to call such pastors or not. Only one point of view on homosexuality (the liberal one) finds space in the ELCA's national magazine and here we have a seminarian (future pastor) refusing "to stand for" those who disagree. One can only wonder how long the ELCA will be able to truly respect the "bound conscience" of conservatives on this issue. But, truth be told, so many conservatives have left the ELCA that it may become a moot point.
Pastor Tom Brock