| Evangelical Lutheran Church votes to allow sexually active gays as clergy|
[i]Almost unbelievable. - Chris[/i]
[b]Lutherans to allow sexually active gays as clergy[/b]
By PATRICK CONDON
Associated Press Writer
20 August 2009
MINNEAPOLIS The nation's largest Lutheran denomination took openly gay clergy more fully into its fold Friday, as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to lift a ban that prohibited sexually active gays and lesbians from serving as ministers.
Under the new policy, individual ELCA congregations will be allowed to hire homosexuals in committed relationships as clergy. Until now, gays and lesbians had to remain celibate to serve as clergy.
The change passed with the support of 68 percent of about 1,000 delegates at the ELCA's national assembly. It makes the group, with about 4.7 million members in the U.S., one of the largest U.S. Christian denominations yet to take a more gay-friendly stance.
"I have seen these same-gender relationships function in the same way as heterosexual relationships bringing joy and blessings as well as trials and hardships," the Rev. Leslie Williamson, associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Plaines, Ill., said during the hours of debate. "The same-gender couples I know live in love and faithfulness and are called to proclaim the word of God as are all of us."
Conservative congregations will not be forced to hire gay clergy. Nevertheless, opponents of the shift decried what they saw as straying from clear Scriptural direction, and warned it could lead some congregations and individual churchgoers to split off from the ELCA.
"This will cause an ever greater loss in members and finances. I can't believe the church I loved and served for 40 years can condone what God condemns," said the Rev. Richard Mahan, pastor at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Charleston, W.Va. "Nowhere in Scripture does it say homosexuality and same-sex marriage is acceptable to God. Instead, it says it is immoral and perverted."
David Keck, a delegate from the Southern Ohio Synod, said he feared that by embracing partnered gays as clergy that the ELCA was heading down a road that would ultimately lead to "the blessing of same-sex unions as the policy of this church," he said.
Mahan said he believed a majority of his congregation would want to now break off from the ELCA.
Other leaders indicated they might leave as well, but ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson said after the vote he was committed to keeping opponents of the new policy within the ELCA fold.
"I'm pleading with people to stay in there with us in this conversation," Hanson said.
In September, Lutheran CORE the group that led the fight against the changes is holding a convention in Indianapolis to discuss the next steps. It also encouraged ELCA members and congregations to direct finances away from ELCA churchwide organizations and toward "faithful ministries within and outside of the ELCA."
Other Christian denominations in the United States have struggled to remain united in the face of such debates. In 2003, the 2 million-member Episcopal Church of the United States consecrated its first openly gay bishop, a move that alienated American Episcopalians from its worldwide parent church, the Anglican Communion. The divide has led to the formation of the more conservative Anglican Church in North America, which claims 100,000 members.
But ELCA supporters of its change said failure to ratify it ran just as great a risk of alienating large portions of the membership, particularly those from younger generations.
The Rev. Katrina Foster, pastor at Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, said Lutherans heard similar warnings about flouting Scripture when they made past changes that are now seen as successful chiefly, the ordination of women.
"We can learn not to define ourselves by negation," said Foster, who is a lesbian. "By not only saying what we are against, which always seems to be the same against gay people. We should be against poverty. I wish we were as zealous about that."
Tim Mumm, a gay man and an assembly delegate from Whitewater, Wis., said the Scripture that guides opponents of the more liberal policy was written by mortals, at a much earlier time, and doesn't reflect what many Christians now believe.
"I believe for me to marry a woman would be wrong even sinful," Mumm said.
Some ELCA congregations had already been flouting the ban on noncelibate gay priests by hiring pastors in gay relationships. Some synods looked the other way, while others removed such priests from their rosters.
It was such divisions and inconsistencies in enforcement that an ELCA task force aimed to finesse when it began several years ago to draw up the ministry recommendations and a broader social statement on human sexuality, which passed earlier this week.
Under the new policy, heterosexual clergy and professional lay workers will still have to abstain from sex outside marriage. The proposed change would cover those in "lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships."
Click [url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090822/ap_on_re/us_lutherans_gays]HERE[/url] to read the full article.
| 2009/8/22 0:32||Profile|
| Re: Evangelical Lutheran Church votes to allow sexually active gays as clergy|
Forgive me, but I am almost angry and saddened almost to the point of tears. It is unbelievable to me that ANYONE could or would remain in fellowship with a denomination that embraces such a notion!
Sin is still sin! We now have churches and men who name of the Name of Jesus who are under the spell of the god of this world! They are trying to redefine evil as "good." They would prefer to call "poverty" a shame rather than a reprobate lifestyle! Yes, God certainly loves EVERY person -- but he cannot ignore sin! He cannot ignore those who contribute to the population of Hell by neglecting to proclaim the whole council of God out of fear of being labeled "intolerant." Brethren, these evil doers are not labeling Christians as "intolerant" -- they are labeling GOD!
I knew a good brother in college who used to attempt to equate those who don't want our tax dollars to pay for expensive social welfare programs as being in worse shape as those who promote abortion. He used to say that conservatives don't want to pay for abortions, but they also don't want to take care of the welfare babies who are not aborted. I explained to him that there is a world of difference between an opinion about fiscal policy and the cold blooded MURDER of the unborn! I explained that, while most "poor" Americans are not "poor" by the historic or international definition of the word, we will always have the poor amongst us. We can always give to those in need by choice. However, we still must raise our voice in opposition to the murder of the unborn!
A couple of years ago, I spoke with a Christian who actually supported homosexual marriage. While he opposed homosexuality as a lifestyle and also recongnized it as a sin, this person said that the government should not have the right to define "marriage" as only being between a man and a woman. I explained that COMMON LAW and TRADITIONAL LAW has already defined marriage as between one man and one woman -- and it is the humanists of this "new morality" who are attempting to redefine morality to suit their own lusts!
Recently, a local congregation was featured in an article in a local newspaper. This congregation is growing tremendously (and I have visited it several times). However, I never felt comfortable. It wasn't about what was being preached there; rather, it was a hesitation that I felt because of what was NOT being taught there. It seemed like the messages were nice, well-packaged sermons meant to encourage people who call themselves "Christians." I never heard a speaker admonish the congregation to HATE sin, to live in holiness, or to constantly consider the things of the Lord. Rather, it was a nonoffensive message that seemed to go out of its way to be nonoffensive. Sure enough, one of the Church leaders admitted in the article that they purposely do not discuss issues such as abortion or homosexuality (which they called "political" issues). These are not "political" issues! These are matters of righteousness and unrighteousness!
I suppose that I am incensed by all of this nonsense! There are some things that are abundantly clear from the Word of God! Yet, as this article demonstrates, some of these modern "Christians" don't believe that the Word of God is divinely inspired. Tim Mumm, a gay delegate from Wisconsin who participated in this Lutheran vote, states at the end of the article that "[i]Scripture that guides opponents of the more liberal policy was written by mortals, at a much earlier time, and doesn't reflect what many Christians now believe[/i]." In other words, this man obviously does NOT believe that the Word of God is inspired, and prefers to pick and choose which passages would apply to his lifestyle.
Is it me, or does I Timothy 3 appear to be becoming more and more reflective of this generation? May God help us -- and set us apart from this counterfeit and Satanic version of Christianity!
| 2009/8/22 1:05||Profile|
North Central Florida
| Re: |
Dear Brother Chris,
You ask, 'Is it me . . ,' -- NO! You are not alone with this feeling. It sickens me and makes me full of righteous anger. If God hates it, it tastes bad in my mouth.
You ask how anyone can stay in a Church like this, they stay because they choose to stay. Either they are hearing what they want to hear or they are so Spiritually dead they can not hear anything. It disturbs me to even call one of those 'Social Clubs' a Church.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
| 2009/8/22 1:59||Profile|
| Re: |
For these institutions, the real debate isn't about homosexuality.
Tim Mumm...said the Scripture that guides opponents of the more liberal policy was written by mortals, at a much earlier time, and doesn't reflect what many Christians now believe.
The real debate is over Sola Scriptura. Christians on the left and right are eshewing a scriptually sound knowledge of God in their minds, and instead are increasingly preferring to be instructed by their feelings.
| 2009/8/22 2:16||Profile|
| Re: |
Forgive us Lord.
Read this article that John Piper wrote in regards to a very relevant issue with homosexuality and the church. A few days ago?
[url=http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1965_the_tornado_the_lutherans_and_homosexuality/]The Tornado, The Lutherns and Homosexualality[/url]
| 2009/8/22 2:42||Profile|
| Re: Evangelical Lutheran Church votes to allow sexually active gays as clergy|
This does not surprise me at all. This division is painful but necessary. Somehow I am relieved that these false Christians finally come out of their closets and show their real nature. We have to be prepared that even the majority of Christendom will embrace these positions.
At the end of the Bible, in Revelation 22 it says:
11Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
14"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
| 2009/8/22 12:55||Profile|
| Re: |
And there was more then one commentator that noticed this and considered it a warning from God.
| 2009/8/24 17:40||Profile|
| Re:Was God in the Whirlwind? by jan Markell |
Here is one eye witness commentator.
WAS GOD IN THE WHIRLWIND?
By Jan Markell (from Olive Tree Ministries)
My home state of Minnesota has lots of lakes, bitter cold, and Lutherans. Over 150 years ago, Scandinavians targeted this state and its climate, perhaps because it resembled their homeland. Ironically, the fathers and grandfathers of today's Lutherans left Sweden back then because they saw corruption and bad doctrine within Lutheranism in Scandinavia. But these Lutheran immigrants built Bible-believing churches for future generations. No doubt they would be crushed at such a culmination of apostasy in recent years.
Wednesday, August 19, was an average day. It was cool with not enough humidity to stir up a storm. No unusual weather patterns were forecast in the Twin Cities' metro area. As I was out driving, there were no tornado sirens. It was going to be a memorable day, nonetheless.
During the week, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was holding its annual convention in downtown Minneapolis. Attendees were using the facilities of the Minneapolis Convention Center and Central Lutheran Church which is directly across the street. At this year's convention, a blatant pro-homosexual position validating "chaste" same-sex relationships was to be voted on. It was to be voted on at 2 PM on Wednesday, August 19.
Then for the first time in decades, a tornado touched down in downtown Minneapolis at, you guessed it, 2 pm. The tornado went through the western section of downtown, causing damage to the Central Lutheran Church building, which was being used as a central meeting place for the convention. There was extensive roof damage at the Minneapolis Convention Center where the actual conference was assembled as well as votes on same-sex issues were actually cast. The church steeple on top of Central Lutheran Church was struck and split in two. It was left hanging upside down. The church was built in 1929 and certainly has had no tornado activity near it to date.
Meteorologists agree that such activity in a downtown area is extremely rare. Many could not recall when this had last happened to an area of structural cement rather than suburban homes or rural areas.
The vote was delayed past 2 PM but it did pass that same day. It passed by just one vote and it acknowledged the validity of same-sex relationships that are "chaste, monogamous and lifelong." There was a whirlwind outside of the convention center and inside -- to the degree that one person said, "We trust that the weather is not a commentary on our work." Conservatives in the ELCA, also observing the weather aberration, said it could have been a warning from God and an expression of His anger.
The ELCA went on to vote two days later to allow homosexuals to serve as pastors. If the tornado was a warning from God -- and we don't know that it was, but one could make a case for it -- those voting for abomination didn't get the message.
While we have no final word from God as to whether He sent the tornado, we can observe how God treated rebellious people and nations throughout the Old Testament who would not turn away from sin. If God didn't send the whirlwind, He did allow it. A holy God never approves of sanctioning sin and lifestyles that are destructive.
We can be sure of one message for it is right out of the Bible. A calamity happened near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed. Jesus said, "Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13: 4-5).
Apostasy is allowed to remain rampant because the Bible is no longer preached in many churches. The liberal churches have plunging membership and ask why. It should be obvious that at least a remnant is not pleased with letting the world come into the church.
Additionally, churches are not preaching about God's judgment today. Rather, it's the gushy gospel with a God who doesn't hold to biblical standards anymore or else the church has changed the standards. Some would say those standards are outdated. "What would Jesus do?" is a bumper sticker or bracelet but not a guideline for holy living. However, today outfits like the ELCA even twist the words of Jesus. As the saying goes, the Ten Commandments are now the ten suggestions.
Lives were spared in this event, unlike the story in Luke 13. God was gracious. He is infinitely patient. Nonetheless, on a day when no severe weather was predicted or expected, a tornado forms, baffling the weather experts, most saying they've never seen anything like it. It happens right in the heart of the city. As if steered by an unseen hand, it targets a convention center whose occupants are talking about condoning blatant sin. To add emphasis, the hand then causes the tornado to tear into Central Lutheran Church just blocks away. This church was providing alcohol for attendees. Trees and homes just south of the downtown area had some damage.
God's message is repent because none of us will otherwise escape God's judgment. The message in many calamities is to repent while there is still time. I wonder if the ELCA delegates and leaders are even listening.
Since the vote on Friday I have heard from good Lutheran people who plan to leave the ELCA. May their vote with their feet send a message that urges others to follow them. The ELCA is likely not going to change, so lovers of truth and the Bible in all liberal denominations should take a cue from disgusted ELCA members now looking for a new church home.
God's Word cannot be mocked and whether He was in the whirlwind or not, the message is clear. We serve a holy God who does not sanction wickedness.
| 2009/8/24 18:03||Profile|