This letter is in response to the discussions happening over having same-sex marriages performed at Salem Lutheran Church, as there are two gentlemen seeking to be married there. God loves these two men immensely. That is 100% true. And He loves everyone reading this. We are undeserving of His love. Jesus Christ came to offer us all salvation and forgiveness of sin. We all need that forgiveness.
Sadly, the people encouraging same-sex marriages are encouraging people to embrace something God does not desire for them. God speaks specifically in the Bible, saying to not engage in same sex relationships. It is one of a host of sins of which God has lovingly warned us to refrain and from which to repent. That doesn’t mean He hates people with same-sex attraction, just the opposite; out of love He wants the best for them and that is not found in homosexual love.
Christ defined marriage to be between one man and one woman. God’s Word also says sex should not be between people of the same gender. He has defined what is good and what is not, for our good. When we sin, as all do, He says, “Turn away from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is near!” (Matthew 4:17) Repentance is “turning from sin.” I don’t know why some have same sex attraction and some are susceptible to other sins, but God desires to give people the power to refrain from it and wants us to help one another do so.
When we sin, there is forgiveness with repentance. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32), and in the New Testament book of Acts we read, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). As Christians, we should not enable or bless sinful behavior but lovingly encourage people to repent, to turn away from sin.
One of the foundational questions in this conversation is “What is the loving thing to do?” Love leads people to the Lord where we receive truth, promises, a relationship with Him, freedom and so much more. Love invites people to repent, of any sin, so as the verse from Acts above says, “our sins may be wiped out,” and we will be refreshed. That is love. That is grace. Those are promises that invite us to truly live.
It is out of love for the people of Lake Mills and of the LGBT community that I write this. Sadly, and discouragingly, those who share this Biblical understanding are often labeled as “not loving” and worse. I care about these two gentlemen, and it would not be right of me, Salem Lutheran Church or anyone else to bless or encourage people to embrace something God says not to do.
(See letter here)
A bit of background information:
- I know one of these gentlemen who is seeking the same-sex wedding. When the two men posted a video on Facebook talking about their hope to have a wedding at this ELCA church in which one of them grew up, it seemed that everyone who responded, encouraged them, and I wrote to them saying much of what was in this letter to the editor.
- I grew up in this town and went to this church for a few years before moving.
- The church, Salem Lutheran, has had a hard 10 years. After the ELCA's 2009 votes allowing homosexual weddings and pastors who are practicing homosexuals, this church voted to not allow gay weddings. But the church stayed in the ELCA. Now after a decade of turmoil, the church is revisiting the issue. In fact, I've been told by a couple people that the congregation recently voted to allow gay weddings.
- Let this be a warning to all ELCA churches who think they can ignore the heresy and false teaching in the denomination, believing that it will not affect them.