Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of the conservative Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod said he is greatly troubled by the recent resolution adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) seeking official acceptance of gays and lesbians in the
Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of the conservative Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod said he is greatly troubled by the recent resolution adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) seeking official acceptance of gays and lesbians in the pulpit.
On Aug. 11, the final day of its 2007 Churchwide Assembly in Chicago, the ELCA passed a resolution which “prays, urges, and encourages synods, synodical bishops, and the presiding bishop to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in disciplining those rostered leaders in a mutual, chaste, and faithful committed same-gender relationship who have been called and rostered in this church.” (See related article.)
Kieschnick says the action by the ELCA is clearly inconsistent with historic Lutheran doctrine and, more critically, flies the face of the teaching of Scripture.
“News of this action troubles me greatly and is causing serious concern and consternation among the members and leaders of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS),” Kieschnick said.
“We in the LCMS hold firmly to the conviction that, according to the Holy Bible, homosexual behavior is “intrinsically sinful.” We are deeply disappointed that the ELCA, by its decision, has failed to act in keeping with the historic and universal understanding of the Christian church regarding what Holy Scripture teaches about homosexual behavior as contrary to God's will and about the biblical qualifications for holding the pastoral office.”
While conservative Lutherans believe that homosexuality is a sin according to the Sciptures, Kieschnick said those enslaved by this sin are by no means beyond the redeeming grace of Christ.
“The LCMS firmly believes that the sin of homosexual behavior, like every sin that fallen human beings commit, has been paid for in full by the life, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” he said.
“The LCMS also believes that we must continue to reach out in love to all people on the basis of what God's Word alone teaches about human sinfulness, God's grace in Christ, and the new life empowered by God's Holy Spirit.”
In a resolution it adopted at its 2001 convention, the LCMS acknowledged that the ELCA still includes many genuine believers who remain faithful to the Gospel and resolved “to reach out to them in love and support.” In his Aug. 13 statement, Kieschnick further encouraged Christians to pray that the ELCA will continue to study the matter and that God will grant them grace to bring their views in line with the Bible’s teaching.”
“As President of the LCMS, it is my ongoing hope and fervent prayer—as stated in my remarks to the 2003 ELCA Assembly—that the ELCA's continuing study and deliberation of this matter will be made in the light of the biblical understanding of human sexuality and the qualifications for the pastoral office,” he said.
“I also pray that God the Holy Spirit will lead and guide all Christians and Christian denominations everywhere to seek wisdom and truth from God's inspired, inerrant, infallible Word on this and other critical issues in our contemporary church and culture.”
Read Kieschnick’s full statement.
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