ELCA’s New Proposed Standards for Pastors: Bishops Apologize for Offending LGBTQIA Community, Straight and Gay Pastors Should Marry their Partners, Cohabitation is Forbidden, but is Sex Outside of Marriage?
(The following article was written by Rev. Tom Brock of pastorsstudy.org. You can follow Pastor Brock on Facebook - here and Twitter - here.)
Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and speaker at the ELCA Youth Gathering, has stated publicly that she enjoys having sex outside of marriage with her boyfriend. She signed a statement by a group of ELCA leaders called “Naked and Unashamed” which wants to overthrow the old 1990 ELCA rules that said pastors should not have sex outside of marriage.
The ELCA bishops are presently working on a new set of standards for ELCA clergy to reflect the fact that the ELCA now ordains practicing homosexuals. The bishops state::
“We express our profound grief and deep regret for the times when Vision and Expectations (the 1990 rules) has been misused to single out, marginalize, and block people seeking to be leaders in this church when their peers were not always held to the same vision and expectations. This has caused considerable pain that has disproportionately been borne by those who have been historically marginalized or excluded from leadership in the church because of their gender, sexuality, race, or status. We apologize to those whose treatment under this document has made them feel targeted and less than the beloved children of God that they are.”
I think this means, in part, that the bishops feel bad for not supporting practicing homosexual pastors and their partners in the past. That all changed in 2009 when the ELCA voted to allow non-celibate homosexual pastors.
The proposed new statement reads that “Those who serve as (ELCA) pastors and deacons reflect a variety of sexual orientations and diverse gender identities…the greatest sexual intimacies should be matched with marriage. Pastors and deacons, as public witnesses to this church’s respect for marriage, are therefore to live in accordance with the understanding that deepening degrees of sexual intimacy are aligned with deepening levels of commitment to one another and the relationship. Such relationships are to be exclusive, monogamous, consensual, and in the ELCA, require marriage before cohabitation for those serving as pastors and deacons.”
Thus, in this new statement, cohabitation (living together) is forbidden for ELCA pastors. I believe this means that a homosexual pastor living with a partner in a sexual relationship now needs to get “married”. This is tragic. What if the homosexual pastor gets “married” and then later comes to realize that homosexual behavior is sin? But now the pastor has been saddled with a “marriage” at the insistence of the bishops of the Church. This is the strange new world of the ELCA.
And what about a heterosexual pastor like Bolz-Weber who engages in sex with her boyfriend, presumably in a “loving, monogamous relationship”? Since only cohabitation is explicitly forbidden by the proposed statement, is she allowed to continue to be sexually active and face no discipline?
The statement is in its rough draft form and hopefully the language will eventually make it clear that both cohabitation and fornication are forbidden. But we shall see. I believe the greatest error of the statement is telling homosexual pastors they must “marry” their sexual partners.
Back in 2009 the ELCA agreed that the conservative view regarding homosexual behavior would be honored alongside the liberal view. Where is the conservative view being honored in the ELCA today? What if an ELCA bishop were to say “I hold to the conservative view and I refuse to ordain a practising homosexual”? Would such a bishop be allowed in the ELCA?
You can read the entire proposed new statement in the link below at the very bottom. And I hope it will make you consider leaving the ELCA if you are still a member.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
PS If you want to read what ELCA Pastor Bolz-Weber said in a podcast about how great sex is with her boyfriend, I have edited out her foul language below. As you read it, keep in mind she is an ELCA pastor in good standing with the denomination and spoke to 31,000 ELCA teens last summer:
Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber: “But I get together with my boyfriend and start having sex and it was like 'holy s___,’ I was like, it felt like an exfoliation of my whole spirit. I'm like 'This is so good for my brain chemistry, and my body, and my heart. And I’m like f___ man, why in the world would the Church say ‘Don’t do this?’ Like I could tell it was what I needed, and it was so good.”
For new proposed standards for ELCA pastors:
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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