For people who disagree with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's policy changes on homosexuality, these have been trying times. Yet we are told, "The ELCA took pains to not declare winners and losers. But to rather acknowledge that we were not of one mind as a church body around these issues. That we affirm and support people of conscience who have conflicting views over this." - ELCA Saint Paul Area Synod Bishop Peter Rogness (watch here)
The truth is the ELCA does not affirm or support your view if you believe what Scripture says about homosexuality. They call your view “sinful” and view you as sinner for holding to Scripture.
Read this confession made July 2010 at the San Francisco ELCA Rite of Reception:
"Friends in Christ as we gather, we seek to speak the truth of the difficulties we have witnessed in our church.
Our church of the reformation has been too long captive to bias and misinformation.
We have not remembered the life giving words of our own Confessions.
We have not respected the gift of sexuality, nor the joy, delight and vulnerability sexual intimacy creates among loving partners.
We have not honored faithful and loving promises, marriages, and covenantal relationships.
We have not acted quickly enough for some who have died and have not made it to this day.
We have not accorded all families with the dignity and respect they deserve.
We have not spoken up.
We have betrayed fellow members of the body of Christ because of cultural prejudice.
We have misused Scripture as a tool of discrimination.
We have forced celibacy upon too many, a gift God grants to only a few.
We have encouraged silence and complicity.
We have promoted invisibility and dishonesty.
We have hardened our hearts with bitterness and condescension.
We have intimidated and disciplined, censured and expelled.
Our actions have destroyed faith and have led people away from the gospel's call to love and justice." (read here or watch here)
This confession claims that because of the ELCA's previous Scriptural based policies on homosexuality, the ELCA church body members (all of us in the denomination) are guilty of sin for believing and following them.
The ELCA changed its Scripture based policies on homosexuality in August of 2009. But what about those of us who still hold to the Biblical view? If following what Scripture says on homosexuality was a sin before the ELCA’s August 2009 policy change, in the ELCA's viewpoint, it would still be a sin to follow it today.
The ELCA confesses our sin again at the September 2010 Rite of Reception in Minneapolis, MN.
Former Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Herb Chilstrom reads,
"Blessed be the Holy Trinity, one God, who forgives our sin. Whose mercy endures forever.
Friends in Christ, as we gather, we seek to speak the truth of the church's troubled history with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of God. Too often our valued heritage of grace has been overwhelmed by messages of shame. We have fallen short in honoring all people of God and being an instrument of that grace . . .
We have dishonored faithful covenants and withheld from families the respect that they deserve. We continue to debate the worthiness of sanctioning couples whose unions are legally recognized and whose minds are implicitly rooted through the long standing fidelity of bonds of parenthood.
We have disciplined, censured and expelled when we could have listened, learned and included.
We have studied God's people withholding justice so long and countless dying believing their identities and relationships were not worthy of blessing or the church and baptizing.
Throughout our history many have left the church, others have hidden within the church and still others have been cast out of the church for speaking the truth of their lives. It is time to change our history. It is time to seek forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. This rite of reception is an overture to new beginnings throughout our church. . .
Already we have seen an oppressive policy overturned." (watch here)
I'd like to make a few points:
1) The ELCA invents a new sin. That sin is "believing what God said in scripture." And they confess this sin.
2) There are many of us in the ELCA (for now) that still believe what God said in scripture regarding homosexuality. Again, the ELCA views our position as sinful toward GLBT people.
3) As the two Rite of Reception services show, the ELCA doesn't respect our view, no matter how much lip service they give us saying they do.
4) What the ELCA does want is for us to remain in the ELCA and to continue sending them money.
5) How long will the ELCA allow you, your pastors or your church to hold the view that homosexuality is wrong, especially since they see this view as sinful?
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