Rev. Dr. Kevin S. Kanouse, bishop of the ELCA's Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area, spoke to the youth of his synod while in Detroit for the ELCA's National Youth Gathering and told them he is gay.
ELCA transgender pastor Megan Rohrer tweeted this -
Two gay news websites also reported this
A few days later, Bishop Kanouse wrote a letter to his synod explaining what happened. (read here) There are a number of things to be said about this letter:
1) The bishop spoke to 400 youth and adults announcing he was gay, something that was previously unknown.
This is what you subject your children to when you remain in a denomination that has denied God's Word regarding homosexuality.
2) The bishop spoke of his homosexuality saying that is how God made him. He wrote, "Being gay is not a sin. My sin was a lifetime of denying that the God who created me, also accepts me and loves me. It was faithlessness."
If the bishop means "same-sex attraction" is not a sin, but rather a temptation, when he writes, "(b)eing gay is not a sin," then I agree. But if he means acting on that attraction in thought and deed, then he is 100% wrong. How do you think the youth understood this message from the bishop?
3) The bishop painted a dark picture of the Biblical view of marriage and homosexuality if his letter is any indication. He writes, "the arguments defending those few scriptures condemning gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual persons sounded more and more hollow. It did not sound like the truth of the Gospel I have been preaching."
4) Bishop Kanouse says he and his wife of 40 years, "are both committed to our marriage."
I commend him for this decision and pray that they remain committed to their marriage in every way.
Then strangely enough Bishop Kanouse wrote this about the same event on his facebook page -
Click the day and date link below to view the post yourself -
Does God speak like that? Who is really speaking to this man? I would be very upset if I had sent my children to the youth gathering and they were indoctrinated toward believing same-sex attraction is from God and that it is good. This man needs us to pray for him, as do all who listened to his non-God-glorifying message.
Exposing the ELCA asked this question of it readers -
Would Jesus attend a gay wedding?
Here are the results -
50.09% (289 votes) answered "No."
49.91% (288 votes) answered "Yes."
Total Votes: 577
(by Robert Benne. Posted on a Lutheran forum)
I found a good deal to agree with in the reflections on “After Schism” by my friend and colleague, Paul Hinlicky. My memories are still fresh of both of us standing outside the first ELCA Assembly in 1989 in Chicago, smoking cigarettes and fuming about what was happening therein, as well as of his dramatic gesture—he disgustedly threw a torn copy of The Lutheran from the pulpit in Boe Chapel at St. Olaf College--at one of the Called to Faithfulness Conferences in the early 90s. So we share a long period of resistance to the trends operating in the ELCA from its conception in the Committee for a New Lutheran Church. However, from 2009 onward we have taken different paths. As he makes clear in his article, he continues his tortured existence in the ELCA and in the new incarnation of CORE. I chose to shift my commitment and soon my membership to the North American Lutheran Church. I spiritually left the ELCA when it made its fateful decisions in 2009. Strangely, I found that defeat liberating—I no longer had to fight against something forever and ever, but rather could reorient my energies for something, first toward CORE in its earlier version and then toward the NALC, which it birthed.
I have served in several capacities in the NALC since its founding. For six years after those 2009 decisions we have continued to belong to an orthodox ELCA congregation, the same one to which Paul belongs, so I fully agree with him that there are genuine Lutheran Christians as well as orthodox Lutheran parishes remaining in the ELCA. But I see little hope that the slow movement of the ELCA toward liberal Protestantism will abate. Indeed, the path away from orthodoxy was dramatized by the election of a male bishop “married” to another man. So, after making a decision some years ago to cast my lot with the NALC, my wife and I will bring our local parish membership in line with that decision by joining St. John Lutheran in Roanoke when that parish joins the NALC in September.
As a member of the Commission on Theology and Doctrine of the NALC, I want to remonstrate a bit with Paul about several of his comments about the NALC. The first one concerns his chastising the NALC leadership for its “playing fast and loose with the truth in the process leading up to its now ‘pending’ application for membership in the Lutheran World Federation.” As he notes, one of the two reasons for wanting to join the LWF—against considerable resistance from many NALC parishes—was to respond positively to requests by African churches to help them stand for orthodoxy in the LWF. The other was to enter into world-level ecumenical conversations through the LWF.
One of the requirements for membership of a new body in the LWF is that the contiguous churches—the ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada—would have to give their approval. That didn’t happen so our application was put on “pending” status, with the accompanying question from the LWF about whether we would practice altar and pulpit fellowship with those churches. We replied that NALC parishes could and would practice such on an ad hoc basis. We knew there were orthodox ELCA pastors who could faithfully serve NALC parishes, and we had little doubt that NALC pastors could serve in orthodox ELCA parishes. Meanwhile, however, the ELCA has remained silent on the matter while a number of ELCA bishops have played a mean-spirited game of hardball. ELCA pastors who want to serve NALC parishes—even supply preach for them—have been threatened with expulsion from the ELCA. So, the truth is that there is far more hostility to pulpit and altar fellowship in the ELCA than in the NALC. The next step, as I understand it, is that the ELCA, ELCIC, and the NALC are supposed to have joint conversations on a number of issues before anything further can happen.
A second item concerning the NALC is Paul’s intimation that NALC cast CORE into outer darkness because it would not “play a stronger role in facilitating exodus from the ELCA” and therefore not help increase the growth of the NALC. The story is more complex than that. Under Steve Shipman the direction of CORE bent more and more toward remaining in the ELCA as a shelter for the orthodox and as a prophetic voice within the ELCA. Little energy was given to helping churches find their way out of the ELCA into the NALC. Meanwhile, the funds to support CORE were drying up and the NALC had to pick up the bill for some of CORE’ s functions, including the Theological Lectures held between its Convocation and the NALC Convocation. Since CORE had morphed back into a reform and renewal within the ELCA and has abjured its role in helping congregations leave, there is little reason for the NALC to subsidize the organization. However, CORE members continue to serve in various capacities in the NALC, including Paul himself in its planning committee for the newly-named Braaten and Benne Theological Lectures.
Third, Paul opines that if the NALC has dallied with the Navigators it can certainly relate to orthodox elements in the ELCA, the implication being that the NALC was theologically lax in its dalliance. Truth is, Bishop Bradosky received sharp criticism for his work with the Navigators from some pastors within the NALC. He assured them he was interested in some of the techniques of evangelism and discipleship practiced by the Navigators rather than its theology. Heavens knows Lutherans need to get better at both. To abate any fears the Commission asked Nathan Yoder to draft a paper on discipleship, which he has done in solid Lutheran fashion. It is currently being reviewed by retired Bishop Paull, Spring, David Yeago, and James Nestingen. Theology is taken seriously in the NALC.
One of the great opportunities in building a new church is that we have the chance to do things right. The first thing we have tried to do right is to make sure Lutheran theology provides the guidance system of the church, not fashionable ideologies that have so flummoxed the ELCA. That’s what happened with the Navigators episode. Further, we are trying to do public witness properly, avoiding the ponderous social statements and promiscuous political advocacy we enjoyed in the ELCA. Likewise, with evangelism, both at home and abroad, and with theological education, which is going to be held closely to the life and needs of the church.
Another of the benefits to building a new church is that one can orient energies toward the future and distance them from the battles of the past. That’s why I don’t recognize at all Paul’s suggestion that the NALC, along with the LCMS, is “forced perpetually to define themselves over against the heterodoxy of the feared other.” He might be right about the LCMS, which is always fighting among contending “feared others” within the church itself. But, as far as I have experienced the NALC, there is little dwelling on the battles of the past with the ELCA. The doctrine of marriage and the requirement that baptism is necessary for participating in the Eucharist are settled teachings. “Pioneer evangelism” (bringing the Gospel to lands and peoples who have never heard it) is accepted without any debate whatsoever. With the aid and blessing of the Holy Spirit, we want to move on to building a viable church not obsess about the past.
Further, I do not think the NALC proudly thinks “orthodoxy is something we own.” We are quite aware that all human formulations are marred by sin and finitude. As Paul asserts, “Orthodoxy is yet an unfinished project” in the sense that what is implicit in the Bible and the Great Tradition can become explicit through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And new historical challenges have to be grappled with in ways that apply old truths in new ways. But there is an “apostolic faith,” a Great Tradition, a
“mere Christianity” that is settled and non-negotiable. The ELCA has denied at least two key doctrines of that apostolic faith: the Great Commission (it rejected “pioneer evangelism” in 1999); and the Christian doctrine of marriage (it has a male Bishop “married” to another man. Its doctrine will have to catch up with its practice.) More fundamentally, it submits doctrine to the manipulated decisions of a theologically and biblically uninformed assembly.
While I agree with Paul that God is working a shake-up of the Christian churches and perhaps realigning them anew in which denominational lines may be re-written or become obsolete, it’s a kind of Docetism that suggests that we can bracket church membership out of our lives at this point in history. As some Lutherans have argued, the church is included in the Gospel, and one simply has to take membership in a concrete body seriously. One cannot airily float above them all.
Finally, I do not think Paul has to worry about being “forced to shelter elsewhere.” The ELCA has no stomach for any forthright dismissals or heresy trials; it would much rather ignore you. Besides, who in the ELCA would be able to argue with the theologian who just finished a 1000-page systematic theology entitled Beloved Community—Critical Dogmatics after Christendom?
Robert Benne, Jordan-Trexler Professor Emeritus at Roanoke College
Professor of Christian Ethics, Institute of Lutheran Theology
Exposing the ELCA has posted a couple articles on this topic but this blog has a few more details that you probably haven't heard.
Asher O'Callaghan was ordained as a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America a few weeks ago at Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber's church. The pictures contained in this Facebook post by the ELCA's Rocky Mountain Synod has at least 2 other transgender persons pictured, one being ELCA pastor Megan Rohrer and the other, seminary student Nicole Garcia. Also included in the pictures are controversial ELCA pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber and ELCA bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod.
The following is an article by Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock -
ELCA ORDAINS A TRANSGENDER PASTOR
Here is the report: Asher O'Callaghan is the first known transgender person to be ordained through the regular ordination process of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. O'Callaghan will serve the Rocky Mountain Synod in Denver, Colorado, and he (my comment: in reality, she) has been called by Zion Lutheran Church in Idaho Springs, Colorado.
O'Callaghan said “...we truly are living in a new day. The Church is changing: There's no need to choose between living life as your fullest self and belonging to a community of faith...there are congregations who will affirm, respect, and celebrate our faith and our gender identities.”
Sad. Being a woman but thinking you are a man is not "living life as your fullest self". It is sad confusion, and now the ELCA will put that confusion in the pulpit.
O'Callaghan will be ordained at House For All Sinners and Saints in Denver. The pastor at this church is Nadia Bolz-Weber, popular speaker at ELCA events (including a past ELCA Youth Gathering). She uses the "f" word in her Christian books and speeches and denies Christ's substitutionary atonement. Pastor Bolz-Weber also held a "re-nameing" worship service for a transgender person, putting God's blessing on this person switching sexual identities.
I'll say it again "This isn't my grandma's Lutheran Church." Please show this article to your ELCA friends and urge them to join a more Biblical denomination.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock
(You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
The ELCA's Sierra Pacific Synod was at the ELCA goddess worshiping Ebenezer Lutheran Church (Herchurch) in San Francisco today. They posted three pictures of their time there and included this message -
"Today's worship at Ebenezer/Herchurch was warm and welcoming! A joyful way to start a new week."
The ELCA is plainly and simply an evil denomination. The 1st commandment means nothing to them, the Bible is arbitrary.
The ELCA National Youth Gathering in Detroit, MI takes place July 15-19. 35,000 teenagers are expected to be there. I have relatives going. And you can bet they will be taught the ELCA's anti-Biblical views on all the issues, from homosexuality to anti-Israel propaganda, if previous years are any indication. (see here) And today I run across this tweet from the LGBTQ activist organization (ReconcilingWorks) announcing they are coming to greet your youth.
The theme of this year's ReconcilingWorks booth is "Find another word." Isn't that apropos? The ELCA has been trying to find any other word than God's Word since 1989.
(The following articles were written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and twitter - here.)
Once upon a time, a Lutheran bishop would say "Of course, Holy Scripture forbids homosexual behavior and gay 'marriage'". Today Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wrote this:
"The ELCA social statement... neither endorses nor forbids same-gender marriages and recognizes that we have differing understandings and convictions on this matter...We seek to see our differences as a gift to be celebrated as we live out that which unites us..."
Did you catch that? The fact that there are orthodox believers and also heretics in the Church who promote homosexual behavior is a "gift to be celebrated". No, it is a tragedy to be mourned.
She also stated "the ELCA Ministry to and with Same-Gender Couples and their Families Working Group remains in the process of completing its work. A report of the group's findings and possible recommendations will be presented to the ELCA Church Council at its November meeting."
Who is chairing this working group? George Watson, an ELCA member who is in a homosexual relationship.
At a time when our nation desperately needs to see the Church stand for Biblical values, the best the ELCA can offer is: Lets all agree to disagree.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.
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Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11