Schism in Lutheran charities

The Associated Press has a good and remarkably objective story on how the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) is stopping its co-operation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in military chaplaincy and charity work.  From journalist Rachel Zoll:

The latest casualty of the long-running Protestant conflicts over the Bible and homosexuality is a massive network of social service agencies that work in areas ranging from adoption to disaster relief.

The theologically conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod announced this week that direct work with its larger and more liberal counterpart, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has become “difficult if not impossible,” because of doctrinal differences, including the 2009 decision by liberal Lutherans to lift barriers for ordaining gays and lesbians.

Neither denomination would discuss the potential financial impact Wednesday. Many Lutheran-affiliated agencies receive substantial state and federal money through contracts and grants that would not be directly affected by any split. However, similar to Catholic Charities, Lutheran agencies are some of the biggest service providers in their communities and have been struggling to meet increased demand for help during the recession.

Just one of the joint Lutheran agencies, Lutheran Services in America, said on its website that it encompasses more than 300 health and human services organizations with a combined annual budget of more than $16 billion.

“We recognize that this is a difficult issue. It’s complicated,” said the Rev. Herb Mueller, first vice president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, based in St. Louis. “We’re trying to take a nuanced and caring approach to all of these situations that’s also faithful to what the Bible teaches on these issues.”

The Rev. Donald McCoid, an ecumenical officer for the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said, “we are deeply concerned about the ministries of care that may be challenged by the recent action of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.”

The Lutherans are among several church groups facing fallout over recent steps toward accepting same-sex relationships. The Episcopal Church caused an uproar among fellow Anglicans worldwide in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Just this month, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) formally lifted the celibacy requirement for unmarried clergy, striking down an obstacle to gay and lesbian ordination.

The situation for Lutherans differed in that decades of splits and mergers had already largely divided the religious community along theological lines. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with about 4.5 million members, was formed from church bodies with Danish, Finnish, German and Swedish backgrounds. The merger that led to its latest incarnation occurred in 1988.

Yet, even with separate denominations, Lutherans continued to work together in a wide range of joint ministries such as Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Lutheran World Relief. Among the cooperative agencies are organizations that offer health care to senior citizens, support for the disabled, job training, tutoring and housing, along with finding homes for foster children. Mueller said in an interview that 81 of the 120 recognized service organizations of the Missouri Synod cooperate in some way with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Twenty-two of the agencies offer adoption services or foster care, he said.

The 2.3 million-member Missouri Synod has been studying the issue for more than a year through its Committee on Theology and Church Relations. This week, the panel issued a 15-page document of guidelines for churches, congregants and ministries on how they should decide whether to continue direct joint work with the Chicago-based Lutherans.

The only immediate announced break was for the Missouri Synod to stop its practice of training military chaplains with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The president of the Missouri Synod, the Rev. Matthew Harrison, said in a statement that the decision, effective next year, was based on the ELCA decision on gay ordination, and on the military’s plan to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy. The two denominations had trained military chaplains together for decades, but

However, the guidelines for evaluating the joint relationships made it clear that cooperative work in many of the agencies is likely to end.

via Gay split causes upheaval for Lutheran charities – Faith and Values – TheState.com.

Why can’t the two denominations work together to deliver relief for earthquake victims and the like, just because they differ about homosexuality?  Explain.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    I imagine that the reasoning is something like this: Relief is relief – if you’re a disaster victim you’ll gladly take assistance from Lutherans (of any stripe), Catholics, Muslims, Atheists, whatever. If you’re beaten up, robbed, left for dead on the side of the road, you’ll even accept the help of a benevolent Samaritan. But religious-oriented aid agencies have traditionally (and understandably) linked their relief to their teachings. So Lutheran relief agencies, in addition to bringing material relief, have stressed the primacy of presenting the Gospel of Christ. The idea being that, in the hierarchy of problems afflicting mankind, losing a limb in an earthquake is high on the list but our universally broken relationship with God is numero uno. So a Lutheran relief organization would not choose to be linked in a formal way to another group that gets the Gospel wrong. Example: instead of the Samaritan coming upon the injured man, say an LCMS Lutheran and a Buddhist find him. They, cooperatively, tend to his wounds, bring him to the hotel, provide for his ongoing care. This is a good thing. What they ought not do, however, is then form the LSMS/Buddhist Relief Organization – joining two religious entities that have greatly disparate notions of how best to treat the whole man. Too much is ultimately at stake.

  • Pete

    I imagine that the reasoning is something like this: Relief is relief – if you’re a disaster victim you’ll gladly take assistance from Lutherans (of any stripe), Catholics, Muslims, Atheists, whatever. If you’re beaten up, robbed, left for dead on the side of the road, you’ll even accept the help of a benevolent Samaritan. But religious-oriented aid agencies have traditionally (and understandably) linked their relief to their teachings. So Lutheran relief agencies, in addition to bringing material relief, have stressed the primacy of presenting the Gospel of Christ. The idea being that, in the hierarchy of problems afflicting mankind, losing a limb in an earthquake is high on the list but our universally broken relationship with God is numero uno. So a Lutheran relief organization would not choose to be linked in a formal way to another group that gets the Gospel wrong. Example: instead of the Samaritan coming upon the injured man, say an LCMS Lutheran and a Buddhist find him. They, cooperatively, tend to his wounds, bring him to the hotel, provide for his ongoing care. This is a good thing. What they ought not do, however, is then form the LSMS/Buddhist Relief Organization – joining two religious entities that have greatly disparate notions of how best to treat the whole man. Too much is ultimately at stake.

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  • fws

    So let me try to wrap my brain around this.

    The LCMS has stopped jointly training their military chaplains with the ELCA (great move!), because

    a) some in the ELCA, at least in their new liturgies, seem to deny the Holy Trinity? No.

    b) Some in the ELCA have declared , militantly so, that Christ is not the only way to be reconciled to God? No. Not that either…

    c) The ELCA now is in full communion with churchs like the UCC, the UPC, the Anglicans etc who are not even Lutheran? Nope. Not that either….

    ok. so why?

    d) Gay and lesbian soldiers will no longer be required to lie about their being gay. Yes! That’s it! So gays in the military has always been a fact, but now that they, maybe, might decide to be honest about it this means that we can’t train our chaplains with the ELCA. I really don’t get that. I am gay. I don’t lie about it (at least not to the pastor). I am a member of an LCMS affiliated church. Would I chose membership in many ELCA churchs. No. Does my pastor feel free to inform me that I am a) a sinner and b) I am a forgiven sinner? Yes. So the issue here is?

    and then there is also …

    e) The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing. So I can see this looking threatening to the LCMS. Maybe the LCMS is reconsidering their own “Don’t ask, dont tell ” policy? Again, I don’t really get this either.

    So along with dr veith, explain this to me.

  • fws

    So let me try to wrap my brain around this.

    The LCMS has stopped jointly training their military chaplains with the ELCA (great move!), because

    a) some in the ELCA, at least in their new liturgies, seem to deny the Holy Trinity? No.

    b) Some in the ELCA have declared , militantly so, that Christ is not the only way to be reconciled to God? No. Not that either…

    c) The ELCA now is in full communion with churchs like the UCC, the UPC, the Anglicans etc who are not even Lutheran? Nope. Not that either….

    ok. so why?

    d) Gay and lesbian soldiers will no longer be required to lie about their being gay. Yes! That’s it! So gays in the military has always been a fact, but now that they, maybe, might decide to be honest about it this means that we can’t train our chaplains with the ELCA. I really don’t get that. I am gay. I don’t lie about it (at least not to the pastor). I am a member of an LCMS affiliated church. Would I chose membership in many ELCA churchs. No. Does my pastor feel free to inform me that I am a) a sinner and b) I am a forgiven sinner? Yes. So the issue here is?

    and then there is also …

    e) The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing. So I can see this looking threatening to the LCMS. Maybe the LCMS is reconsidering their own “Don’t ask, dont tell ” policy? Again, I don’t really get this either.

    So along with dr veith, explain this to me.

  • fws

    There was a recent meeting between the LCMS and ELCA as to what to do with joint works of mercy.

    The LCMS side felt that they needed to try to deal with and treat the errors in the ELCA. So what is it they chose to present to try to get the ELCA to see the error of their ways? The Holy Gospel? The Law?

    Nope? What then? The Lutheran Confessions? Nope.

    The LCMS guys gave a powerpoint presentation on … drumroll….

    The Natural Law theories of one St Thomas Aquinas! Yes! Thats it! The way to fix the ELCA is to tell them to read the “Summa” of St Thomas Aquinas! How that will return the ELCA to Confessional Lutheranism I am really clueless to understand.

  • fws

    There was a recent meeting between the LCMS and ELCA as to what to do with joint works of mercy.

    The LCMS side felt that they needed to try to deal with and treat the errors in the ELCA. So what is it they chose to present to try to get the ELCA to see the error of their ways? The Holy Gospel? The Law?

    Nope? What then? The Lutheran Confessions? Nope.

    The LCMS guys gave a powerpoint presentation on … drumroll….

    The Natural Law theories of one St Thomas Aquinas! Yes! Thats it! The way to fix the ELCA is to tell them to read the “Summa” of St Thomas Aquinas! How that will return the ELCA to Confessional Lutheranism I am really clueless to understand.

  • Rose

    Romans 1:32: “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
    LCMS does not want to give the impression of approving.
    Matthew 18:6 “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

  • Rose

    Romans 1:32: “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
    LCMS does not want to give the impression of approving.
    Matthew 18:6 “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

  • SKPeterson

    The snarky answer fws is that when someone has completely abandoned everything “Lutheran” you have to go back to Aquinas and where everything has gone wrong since. Think of it as denominational catechism. Especially, since the ELCA has become quite like the old joke about the Anglicans – they’re for apostolic succession in everything except the Bible.

  • SKPeterson

    The snarky answer fws is that when someone has completely abandoned everything “Lutheran” you have to go back to Aquinas and where everything has gone wrong since. Think of it as denominational catechism. Especially, since the ELCA has become quite like the old joke about the Anglicans – they’re for apostolic succession in everything except the Bible.

  • Joe

    Frank @ 2 – I agree with much of what you wrote in that post. Why now if not before? In my opinion, in the past LCMS leaders lacked the will to do what was necessary. The split should have occurred in 1988 when the ELCA was first formed. Its new position on homosexuality is simply the latest symptom of its “original sin” – the denial of the truth and veracity of Scripture. (I say this as one who grew up in the ELCA). I was a delegate to the last convention where we tasked the CTCR with this review and analysis. I can say that many of the delegates wanted an immediate and complete split. The recent ELCA policy on homosexuality was rightly discussed as the newest symptom. Much discussion was had about the issues you listed.

    I have no adequate explanation as to why all the public comments are focusing so much on the homosexuality issue. I think it would be better to focus on the prime issue and all of its symptoms. Perhaps, shame is what causes us in the LCMS to act as if this latest ELCA decision is something new that excuses our prior failure to speak clearly.

    Frank @ 2 – I don’t know why they went with that approach, but the LCMS (via the CTCR and the seminary faculty) is working on a full response to the ELCA’s basis for the their conclusion re: homosexuality. If you followed what the ELCA did, you will see that they have developed a theory of “bound conscience” that basically holds that if your conscience leads you to an answer then the answer is okay. They claim this is what Luther proclaimed at Worms. Of course, we all know that Luther said it was not safe to go against conscience only after he declared that his conscience was bound by the Word. The ELCA’s formulation over looks that bound to the Word portion. Hopefully this response will be more profitable to an future discussions with the ELCA and will also allow us to discuss the prime issue.

  • Joe

    Frank @ 2 – I agree with much of what you wrote in that post. Why now if not before? In my opinion, in the past LCMS leaders lacked the will to do what was necessary. The split should have occurred in 1988 when the ELCA was first formed. Its new position on homosexuality is simply the latest symptom of its “original sin” – the denial of the truth and veracity of Scripture. (I say this as one who grew up in the ELCA). I was a delegate to the last convention where we tasked the CTCR with this review and analysis. I can say that many of the delegates wanted an immediate and complete split. The recent ELCA policy on homosexuality was rightly discussed as the newest symptom. Much discussion was had about the issues you listed.

    I have no adequate explanation as to why all the public comments are focusing so much on the homosexuality issue. I think it would be better to focus on the prime issue and all of its symptoms. Perhaps, shame is what causes us in the LCMS to act as if this latest ELCA decision is something new that excuses our prior failure to speak clearly.

    Frank @ 2 – I don’t know why they went with that approach, but the LCMS (via the CTCR and the seminary faculty) is working on a full response to the ELCA’s basis for the their conclusion re: homosexuality. If you followed what the ELCA did, you will see that they have developed a theory of “bound conscience” that basically holds that if your conscience leads you to an answer then the answer is okay. They claim this is what Luther proclaimed at Worms. Of course, we all know that Luther said it was not safe to go against conscience only after he declared that his conscience was bound by the Word. The ELCA’s formulation over looks that bound to the Word portion. Hopefully this response will be more profitable to an future discussions with the ELCA and will also allow us to discuss the prime issue.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    To which of the solas do the ELCA still hold?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    To which of the solas do the ELCA still hold?

  • Stephen

    So, in essence and in either case, doctrine comes last, if at all. The ELCA leadership may be setting the Scriptures to one side as a secondary consideration in their deliberations, but it seems the LCMS has done this already with the Confessions, opting instead for scholasticism.

    Blame it on the homos.

  • Stephen

    So, in essence and in either case, doctrine comes last, if at all. The ELCA leadership may be setting the Scriptures to one side as a secondary consideration in their deliberations, but it seems the LCMS has done this already with the Confessions, opting instead for scholasticism.

    Blame it on the homos.

  • Bill Cork

    The LCMS and ELCA do not “train” military chaplains, they “endorse” them. The military does the training.

    Second, look at the LCMS report itself. It doesn’t say this. It doesn’t stop anything. It issues guidelines for how to cooperate in externals.

    See the document, Principles for Cooperation in Externals with Theological Integrity (2010 Res. 3-03), on the LCMS webpage. http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1363

    And Zoll is wrong. This does not end common endorsement. The report says explicitly,

    “The case of military chaplaincy is particularly thorny. It is separate from this question because it involves communio in sacris by definition. Moreover, it involves governmental policies and procedures and involved endorsement procedures. It therefore requires its own, discrete analysis in cooperation with personnel from ministry to armed forces.”

    So, don’t pay attention to headlines. Read the details. Read the primary sources. And don’t skip the footnotes, as Zoll did.

  • Bill Cork

    The LCMS and ELCA do not “train” military chaplains, they “endorse” them. The military does the training.

    Second, look at the LCMS report itself. It doesn’t say this. It doesn’t stop anything. It issues guidelines for how to cooperate in externals.

    See the document, Principles for Cooperation in Externals with Theological Integrity (2010 Res. 3-03), on the LCMS webpage. http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1363

    And Zoll is wrong. This does not end common endorsement. The report says explicitly,

    “The case of military chaplaincy is particularly thorny. It is separate from this question because it involves communio in sacris by definition. Moreover, it involves governmental policies and procedures and involved endorsement procedures. It therefore requires its own, discrete analysis in cooperation with personnel from ministry to armed forces.”

    So, don’t pay attention to headlines. Read the details. Read the primary sources. And don’t skip the footnotes, as Zoll did.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#8 That last sentence is uncalled for.

    @Veith – it is my understanding that joint acts of physical mercy are not necessarily at an end. What Synod is looking at is how much joint Word and Sacrament ministry is happening, and where that is happening it must end. IMO that is for the best. The ELCA governing body has made it clear they no longer hold to the clear proclamation of Scripture and so we should not be entangled with them any longer. I am glad to hear about the Chaplain situation. Chaplancy was always a sticky point with our views of fellowship. Now, chaplaincy will be less sticky.

    Also, the issue of homosexuality is more the spark than the whole reason, forcing us to do something we should have done long ago but didn’t because of money issues. Why the wrongful ordination of women didn’t do it or the denial of the Scriptures as the word of God didn’t do it, or even ELCA’s blind eye towards Ebeneezer (aka Her Church) in San Fran, I don’t know.

    What we have is an administration who is willing to tackle these tough issues along with the issues that are dividing our own fellowship in the LCMS, for which I am thankful.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#8 That last sentence is uncalled for.

    @Veith – it is my understanding that joint acts of physical mercy are not necessarily at an end. What Synod is looking at is how much joint Word and Sacrament ministry is happening, and where that is happening it must end. IMO that is for the best. The ELCA governing body has made it clear they no longer hold to the clear proclamation of Scripture and so we should not be entangled with them any longer. I am glad to hear about the Chaplain situation. Chaplancy was always a sticky point with our views of fellowship. Now, chaplaincy will be less sticky.

    Also, the issue of homosexuality is more the spark than the whole reason, forcing us to do something we should have done long ago but didn’t because of money issues. Why the wrongful ordination of women didn’t do it or the denial of the Scriptures as the word of God didn’t do it, or even ELCA’s blind eye towards Ebeneezer (aka Her Church) in San Fran, I don’t know.

    What we have is an administration who is willing to tackle these tough issues along with the issues that are dividing our own fellowship in the LCMS, for which I am thankful.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #2,

    “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here.”

    That is quite a statement, that the LCMS would knowingly ordain gay pastors. Are you basing this on known fact and policy, or on the presumption (with which I would not argue) that a certain percentage of pastors must be gay? IF the latter, then we have also ordained murderers, thieves, drunkards, child molesters and a whole lot of philanderers. That would hardly comprise a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about these matters.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #2,

    “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here.”

    That is quite a statement, that the LCMS would knowingly ordain gay pastors. Are you basing this on known fact and policy, or on the presumption (with which I would not argue) that a certain percentage of pastors must be gay? IF the latter, then we have also ordained murderers, thieves, drunkards, child molesters and a whole lot of philanderers. That would hardly comprise a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about these matters.

  • kenneth

    Seems that #10 has hit the mark. Joint operations could follow from charity even to the point of emergent church/buddhist/lcms. It is a battle for souls and if the lcms moves to far of the politcal map we will be marginalized. Ablaze, perhaps won’t work well if the solas are up front as a barrier to cooperation.

    Yet if the trend really is extreme liberatarianism we could be, in the end prevented from proclaiming the gospel. That could lead to end times senarios. Come Lord Jesus shouldn’t be a timid prayer though.

  • kenneth

    Seems that #10 has hit the mark. Joint operations could follow from charity even to the point of emergent church/buddhist/lcms. It is a battle for souls and if the lcms moves to far of the politcal map we will be marginalized. Ablaze, perhaps won’t work well if the solas are up front as a barrier to cooperation.

    Yet if the trend really is extreme liberatarianism we could be, in the end prevented from proclaiming the gospel. That could lead to end times senarios. Come Lord Jesus shouldn’t be a timid prayer though.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I think Joe is more or less right fw. I think had Harrison been president when all those other tragedies started to occur we would have broken off with them much earlier. It just happens to be that homosexuality is the issue now, when there is somebody in office willing to do something about the strange bedfellow relationship we have with the ELCA.
    That and I also think that the internal battles within synod are simmering down just a bit, or maybe I’m just blessed to live in Utah where it is easier to ignore the infighting and concentrate on bigger fish that need to be fried.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I think Joe is more or less right fw. I think had Harrison been president when all those other tragedies started to occur we would have broken off with them much earlier. It just happens to be that homosexuality is the issue now, when there is somebody in office willing to do something about the strange bedfellow relationship we have with the ELCA.
    That and I also think that the internal battles within synod are simmering down just a bit, or maybe I’m just blessed to live in Utah where it is easier to ignore the infighting and concentrate on bigger fish that need to be fried.

  • Joe

    Bill – in addition to the CTCR report there was a formal announcement re: the chaplaincy program. It can be found here:

    http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1362

  • Joe

    Bill – in addition to the CTCR report there was a formal announcement re: the chaplaincy program. It can be found here:

    http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1362

  • Steve in Toronto

    A few questions: 20 years ago I worshiped at the Ohio State Universities Joint ELCA/ LCMS chapel how common is/was joint chaplaincy at Universities? How did the LCMS justify joint chaplaincies in the past when the two churches are/were not in communion? What impact will this policy have on the lives of men and woman in the military? Will the LCMS be commissioning more Chaplains to mister to service men that are now without shepherds?

  • Steve in Toronto

    A few questions: 20 years ago I worshiped at the Ohio State Universities Joint ELCA/ LCMS chapel how common is/was joint chaplaincy at Universities? How did the LCMS justify joint chaplaincies in the past when the two churches are/were not in communion? What impact will this policy have on the lives of men and woman in the military? Will the LCMS be commissioning more Chaplains to mister to service men that are now without shepherds?

  • DonS

    I guess what stuns me is that this is only happening now. And it makes no sense to me that the LCMS will work side-by-side with the ELCA but not with the Baptists or any other evangelical denomination on such things as relief aid. What of doctrinal purity?

  • DonS

    I guess what stuns me is that this is only happening now. And it makes no sense to me that the LCMS will work side-by-side with the ELCA but not with the Baptists or any other evangelical denomination on such things as relief aid. What of doctrinal purity?

  • fws

    Rose @ 4

    Romans 1:32: “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Keep reading Rose!

    2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

    It seems clear Rose, that Saint Paul’s intent is for everyone, including you, to read Chapter one and feel accused as being guilty of yourself being guilty of what is depicted in chapter 1.

    So , in light of that, your comment does not make alot of sense. Unless you are thinking you are not guilty of the sins listed in romans 1 and chapter one is instead about homosexuality.

  • fws

    Rose @ 4

    Romans 1:32: “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Keep reading Rose!

    2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

    It seems clear Rose, that Saint Paul’s intent is for everyone, including you, to read Chapter one and feel accused as being guilty of yourself being guilty of what is depicted in chapter 1.

    So , in light of that, your comment does not make alot of sense. Unless you are thinking you are not guilty of the sins listed in romans 1 and chapter one is instead about homosexuality.

  • Jon

    It makes little sense to say that this is what the LCMS should have done in ’88 or when the ELCA began to ordain women. The LCMS has long had its reasons for remaining yoked to the ELCA, and, for all I know, those reasons may well have been quite persuasive. But, now that the gays are at issue, those reasons no longer are sufficient. So Stephen @8 is right. “Blame it on the …”

    I suspect what this means is, the LCMS has become simply another American denomination overwhelmed by right wing culture politics, not the gospel. The gays are a GOP wedge issue, and denominations with heavy GOP membership have reacted likewise. “You’re with us or agin’ us based on your views about the gays.” In Christ’s day, the Pharisees said the same thing about the lepers or people bleeding by the side of the road.

  • Jon

    It makes little sense to say that this is what the LCMS should have done in ’88 or when the ELCA began to ordain women. The LCMS has long had its reasons for remaining yoked to the ELCA, and, for all I know, those reasons may well have been quite persuasive. But, now that the gays are at issue, those reasons no longer are sufficient. So Stephen @8 is right. “Blame it on the …”

    I suspect what this means is, the LCMS has become simply another American denomination overwhelmed by right wing culture politics, not the gospel. The gays are a GOP wedge issue, and denominations with heavy GOP membership have reacted likewise. “You’re with us or agin’ us based on your views about the gays.” In Christ’s day, the Pharisees said the same thing about the lepers or people bleeding by the side of the road.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Though I did mention money as a reason for staying together in some of our joint ventures. I also think we still held out hope that the ELCA would change and drop their unscriptural teachings and practices. So, part of what we are seeing is a giving up of that hope. This is why I wrote that the ordination of homosexuals was the spark. The ELCA’s move in this direction is causing many who hoped for reconciliation to give up hope and finally say enough is enough.

    fws, it is not that we have an unwritten DADT policy as we have a blanket assumption that all pastors are sinners. We knowingly ordain sinners and elect them too. What should be the reality is that we are ordaining confessing sinners, who believe and confess that their thoughts and actions are sinful and trust that the Lord is faithful and just and does forgive those sins.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Though I did mention money as a reason for staying together in some of our joint ventures. I also think we still held out hope that the ELCA would change and drop their unscriptural teachings and practices. So, part of what we are seeing is a giving up of that hope. This is why I wrote that the ordination of homosexuals was the spark. The ELCA’s move in this direction is causing many who hoped for reconciliation to give up hope and finally say enough is enough.

    fws, it is not that we have an unwritten DADT policy as we have a blanket assumption that all pastors are sinners. We knowingly ordain sinners and elect them too. What should be the reality is that we are ordaining confessing sinners, who believe and confess that their thoughts and actions are sinful and trust that the Lord is faithful and just and does forgive those sins.

  • SKPeterson

    Issues, Etc had Pr. Harrison on yesterday explaining some of what was going on with the LCMS and ELCA.

  • SKPeterson

    Issues, Etc had Pr. Harrison on yesterday explaining some of what was going on with the LCMS and ELCA.

  • Matt

    fws @ 2

    “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing.”

    This is very misleading.

    Firstly, that there are pastors in the LCMS who are or have been same sex attracted is no secret to anyone who listened to Rev. Eckstein’s interview on Issues Etc a few months ago.

    The difference, however, is that these men completely agree with the LCMS stand that ALL sex outside of lifelong heterosexual marriage is sinful. They are repentant for their sins of thought, word and deed. They believe that homosexuality is not a part of God’s good creation and, though they feel temptation, they know that it is temptation to sin and ask for God’s grace to withstand such temptation exactly as a heterosexual pastor relies on God’s grace to withstand temptation toward sex outside the bonds of marriage. It is because they agree with the LCMS theology, including its theology on sexuality, that these men are in the LCMS to begin with.

    Further, these men understand far better than any heterosexual pastor what a cruelty the ELCA is inflicting upon homosexual people by offering permissiveness instead of forgiveness and are among some of the strongest supporters for breaking with the ELCA whenever joint efforts would give a false impression of unity.

    Yes, the LCMS needs to work harder and do a better job at showing and expressing forgiveness for sins such as homosexual behavior. But it is far and away the best equipped denomination to do so because of its focus on Law and Gospel and the means of grace.

    So the huge difference is that the military required people to remain silent about what they truly believed (not necessarily as bad policy, given the circumstances, by they way)

    The LCMS, on the other hand asks these men to proclaim loudly and clearly the faith they do indeed believe – that we are sinners and that God is a forgiving, not merely permissive, Father.

  • Matt

    fws @ 2

    “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing.”

    This is very misleading.

    Firstly, that there are pastors in the LCMS who are or have been same sex attracted is no secret to anyone who listened to Rev. Eckstein’s interview on Issues Etc a few months ago.

    The difference, however, is that these men completely agree with the LCMS stand that ALL sex outside of lifelong heterosexual marriage is sinful. They are repentant for their sins of thought, word and deed. They believe that homosexuality is not a part of God’s good creation and, though they feel temptation, they know that it is temptation to sin and ask for God’s grace to withstand such temptation exactly as a heterosexual pastor relies on God’s grace to withstand temptation toward sex outside the bonds of marriage. It is because they agree with the LCMS theology, including its theology on sexuality, that these men are in the LCMS to begin with.

    Further, these men understand far better than any heterosexual pastor what a cruelty the ELCA is inflicting upon homosexual people by offering permissiveness instead of forgiveness and are among some of the strongest supporters for breaking with the ELCA whenever joint efforts would give a false impression of unity.

    Yes, the LCMS needs to work harder and do a better job at showing and expressing forgiveness for sins such as homosexual behavior. But it is far and away the best equipped denomination to do so because of its focus on Law and Gospel and the means of grace.

    So the huge difference is that the military required people to remain silent about what they truly believed (not necessarily as bad policy, given the circumstances, by they way)

    The LCMS, on the other hand asks these men to proclaim loudly and clearly the faith they do indeed believe – that we are sinners and that God is a forgiving, not merely permissive, Father.

  • fws

    11, 19 and 21

    1) It is more misleading and damaging to the holy gospel to state that the ordination of gay men is wrong and sinful. This doctrine would really exclude all sinners from ordination. Yet that is how the issue almost universally gets publicly framed against the ELCA. Show me just one official statement of the LCMS where this is not the case.

    I agree with what you men are all saying. but I also think there is some posturing going on. That results sometimes in some horrible theology put forward by men who are otherwise good and confessional men and should know better! Here is one example of such bad theology:

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=6731

    “Should homosexuals be pastors?
    When the Bible says that pastors should be blameless this means that they should have no public scandal connected to them. If a known homosexual, even one who repented and controlled his urges , were to apply for the ministry the church should not call him. Obviously a recovering homosexual could serve God in many productive ways, but not as pastor. ”

    2) Note that I am not criticizing an LCMS policy of DADT. I practice that policy actually in my own conduct in my congregation. My pastor knows everything. Some members would not be ready to receive that information. It would be a huge distraction from the work of our little congregation. As St Paul says in 1 cor 6, we aim for what is useful to other and not on our liberty in Christ.

    3) Dan, I think you are wrong to lump homosexuality in with murderers and child molesters. Why? That would be to minimize and trivialize the sins of us homosexuals. I would really encourage you to diagnose homosexuals and homosexuality by the list Saint Paul provides in Romans Chapter one instead. I can testify from my personal experience that I have never met one single homosexual , including my own self, who is not guilty of every single sin on this list. Here is the list:

    We homos know God, yet fail to properly honor or give thanks
    Homos are futile in their thinking
    The hearts of all Homos are darkened (vs 21)
    We are fools when it comes to God. (vs 22)
    We put our fear, love and trust in created things not the Creator (23
    We covet precisely because we are idolators. (vs 24,25)
    [note: the greek word for covet and lust are the same]

    One part that doesnt fit us is vs 27 “the men likewise gave up natural relations with women”. Most gay men do not start out as heterosexual. Ok. But the rest of the Chapter describes us homos to a T! Read on….

    Homos, down to the last man, are filled with all manner of unrighteousness,
    Homos are evil,
    covetousness,
    malice.

    Homos have hearts chock full of envy,
    murder,
    strife,
    deceit, and…
    maliciousness.

    Homos are quite characteristically gossips, (vs 29)
    slanderers,
    haters of God,
    insolent,
    haughty,
    boastful,
    inventors of evil,
    disobedient to parents, (vs 30)

    homos are also characteristically…
    foolish,
    faithless,
    heartless, and …
    ruthless. (vs 31)

    And here is the kicker:

    Homos know that each and every one of these sins deserves death.

    Yet all homos find that they not only they not only do these sins from the very bottom of their putrid hearts, but even find themselves giving approval to those who practice them! (vs 32)

    Now how is it I know that these sins are characteristic of homosexuals? That part is easy! a) I am a homo, and b) Romans 2:1 tells me that I am indeed guilty of every single sin here even were I not a homo! So there is really no escaping the judgement of God here.

    Further, for those like Rose who feel that the intent of Romans 1 is to Biblically define the diagnostic characteristics of homosexuality, I would like to inform you that all of you are also homosexuals! This is because Romans 2: 1 says so, and God’s Word cannot lie.

  • fws

    11, 19 and 21

    1) It is more misleading and damaging to the holy gospel to state that the ordination of gay men is wrong and sinful. This doctrine would really exclude all sinners from ordination. Yet that is how the issue almost universally gets publicly framed against the ELCA. Show me just one official statement of the LCMS where this is not the case.

    I agree with what you men are all saying. but I also think there is some posturing going on. That results sometimes in some horrible theology put forward by men who are otherwise good and confessional men and should know better! Here is one example of such bad theology:

    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=6731

    “Should homosexuals be pastors?
    When the Bible says that pastors should be blameless this means that they should have no public scandal connected to them. If a known homosexual, even one who repented and controlled his urges , were to apply for the ministry the church should not call him. Obviously a recovering homosexual could serve God in many productive ways, but not as pastor. ”

    2) Note that I am not criticizing an LCMS policy of DADT. I practice that policy actually in my own conduct in my congregation. My pastor knows everything. Some members would not be ready to receive that information. It would be a huge distraction from the work of our little congregation. As St Paul says in 1 cor 6, we aim for what is useful to other and not on our liberty in Christ.

    3) Dan, I think you are wrong to lump homosexuality in with murderers and child molesters. Why? That would be to minimize and trivialize the sins of us homosexuals. I would really encourage you to diagnose homosexuals and homosexuality by the list Saint Paul provides in Romans Chapter one instead. I can testify from my personal experience that I have never met one single homosexual , including my own self, who is not guilty of every single sin on this list. Here is the list:

    We homos know God, yet fail to properly honor or give thanks
    Homos are futile in their thinking
    The hearts of all Homos are darkened (vs 21)
    We are fools when it comes to God. (vs 22)
    We put our fear, love and trust in created things not the Creator (23
    We covet precisely because we are idolators. (vs 24,25)
    [note: the greek word for covet and lust are the same]

    One part that doesnt fit us is vs 27 “the men likewise gave up natural relations with women”. Most gay men do not start out as heterosexual. Ok. But the rest of the Chapter describes us homos to a T! Read on….

    Homos, down to the last man, are filled with all manner of unrighteousness,
    Homos are evil,
    covetousness,
    malice.

    Homos have hearts chock full of envy,
    murder,
    strife,
    deceit, and…
    maliciousness.

    Homos are quite characteristically gossips, (vs 29)
    slanderers,
    haters of God,
    insolent,
    haughty,
    boastful,
    inventors of evil,
    disobedient to parents, (vs 30)

    homos are also characteristically…
    foolish,
    faithless,
    heartless, and …
    ruthless. (vs 31)

    And here is the kicker:

    Homos know that each and every one of these sins deserves death.

    Yet all homos find that they not only they not only do these sins from the very bottom of their putrid hearts, but even find themselves giving approval to those who practice them! (vs 32)

    Now how is it I know that these sins are characteristic of homosexuals? That part is easy! a) I am a homo, and b) Romans 2:1 tells me that I am indeed guilty of every single sin here even were I not a homo! So there is really no escaping the judgement of God here.

    Further, for those like Rose who feel that the intent of Romans 1 is to Biblically define the diagnostic characteristics of homosexuality, I would like to inform you that all of you are also homosexuals! This is because Romans 2: 1 says so, and God’s Word cannot lie.

  • fws

    Matt @21

    You stated Matt:

    ” the LCMS needs to work harder and do a better job at showing and expressing forgiveness for sins such as homosexual behavior.”

    Ok Matt. What if I challenged you and said that what you just said is not borne out by any for-instances whatever?

    How would you argue against me with more than some generality of us all being sinful and imperfect?

  • fws

    Matt @21

    You stated Matt:

    ” the LCMS needs to work harder and do a better job at showing and expressing forgiveness for sins such as homosexual behavior.”

    Ok Matt. What if I challenged you and said that what you just said is not borne out by any for-instances whatever?

    How would you argue against me with more than some generality of us all being sinful and imperfect?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #22: “It is more misleading and damaging to the holy gospel to state that the ordination of gay men is wrong and sinful.”

    Actually, it’s much more misleading and much more damaging to the Holy Gospel to state that the ordination of unrepentant, noncelibate homosexuals is okay and not sinful.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #22: “It is more misleading and damaging to the holy gospel to state that the ordination of gay men is wrong and sinful.”

    Actually, it’s much more misleading and much more damaging to the Holy Gospel to state that the ordination of unrepentant, noncelibate homosexuals is okay and not sinful.

  • fws

    I would like to clear up an extremely important point:

    There are some here who believe that birth control is sinful and wrong. And there are some here who do not believe that.

    It would be wrong to say that because someone does not believe birth control is wrong, or even that abortion is wrong or even that the the earth was not created in 6 calendar days, that this means we can also say that these persons do not believe

    a) that they are sinners
    b) that they need to repent of their sins or
    c) that they are antinomians.

    I do not believe homosexuality is a sin any more than being left handed is a sin. And yes I believe that homosexuals sin sexually in thought, w0rd and deed exactly as do all other sinners.

    Some do not believe that homosexual sex is per-se sinful. Some do. Many sincerely believe the Bible teaches what they believe. Many are wrong.

    To then conclude that any or all of these persons deny they are sinners or that they deny that they need to repent of their sins is sinful to conclude.

    Try to understand my point here. I am definately not making the point that it is not possible to say what is or is not sin . That assertion too would be false doctrine.

    a) do not recognize themselves as sinners

  • fws

    I would like to clear up an extremely important point:

    There are some here who believe that birth control is sinful and wrong. And there are some here who do not believe that.

    It would be wrong to say that because someone does not believe birth control is wrong, or even that abortion is wrong or even that the the earth was not created in 6 calendar days, that this means we can also say that these persons do not believe

    a) that they are sinners
    b) that they need to repent of their sins or
    c) that they are antinomians.

    I do not believe homosexuality is a sin any more than being left handed is a sin. And yes I believe that homosexuals sin sexually in thought, w0rd and deed exactly as do all other sinners.

    Some do not believe that homosexual sex is per-se sinful. Some do. Many sincerely believe the Bible teaches what they believe. Many are wrong.

    To then conclude that any or all of these persons deny they are sinners or that they deny that they need to repent of their sins is sinful to conclude.

    Try to understand my point here. I am definately not making the point that it is not possible to say what is or is not sin . That assertion too would be false doctrine.

    a) do not recognize themselves as sinners

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#24 Both are equally damaging, if albeit for different reasons. The first denies Grace, the second denies Law.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#24 Both are equally damaging, if albeit for different reasons. The first denies Grace, the second denies Law.

  • fws

    dr luther @ 26

    amen. Pastors need to vigerously and visibly oppose both errors.

    The Holy Catholic Church is a visible and earthly government exactly like any others. it is the duty of the rulers of that government, pastors and bishops and administrators, to deal with those who distract the churchly goverment from it’s purpose of preaching the forgiveness of sins in Christ.

    We should fear God and observe that he threatens to punish those who do not do their duty here. And we laymen are to support our rulers in the Church and obey them in this.

    At times this is to submit ourselves to churchly convention even when it is really adiaphora. Examples of this are where Saint Paul commanded his flock to follow Jewish dietary codes and be circumcised. All things are Lawful. Those in Christ use that freedom to do only what is useful for others (1st cor 6). Chemnitz order the women in his congregations to wear black and leave the bling-bling at home when they communed. And his circuit insisted on imposing a uniform Liturgy upon all. In my congregation I avoid disclosing the fact i am gay generally. In the LCMS pastors who are gay do the same.

    This is all what our freedom in Christ looks like in practice. “Not all things are useful” (i cor 6)

  • fws

    dr luther @ 26

    amen. Pastors need to vigerously and visibly oppose both errors.

    The Holy Catholic Church is a visible and earthly government exactly like any others. it is the duty of the rulers of that government, pastors and bishops and administrators, to deal with those who distract the churchly goverment from it’s purpose of preaching the forgiveness of sins in Christ.

    We should fear God and observe that he threatens to punish those who do not do their duty here. And we laymen are to support our rulers in the Church and obey them in this.

    At times this is to submit ourselves to churchly convention even when it is really adiaphora. Examples of this are where Saint Paul commanded his flock to follow Jewish dietary codes and be circumcised. All things are Lawful. Those in Christ use that freedom to do only what is useful for others (1st cor 6). Chemnitz order the women in his congregations to wear black and leave the bling-bling at home when they communed. And his circuit insisted on imposing a uniform Liturgy upon all. In my congregation I avoid disclosing the fact i am gay generally. In the LCMS pastors who are gay do the same.

    This is all what our freedom in Christ looks like in practice. “Not all things are useful” (i cor 6)

  • norman teigen

    I perceive that the theological issues involved could be traced to the mid-19th century.

  • norman teigen

    I perceive that the theological issues involved could be traced to the mid-19th century.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #2: “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing.”

    This is a claim in desperate need of supporting evidence. Where is the evidence that the LCMS practices its own form of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” when ordaining gay pastors?

    If no convincing evidence is provided, then the claim is rightly rejected.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #2: “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing.”

    This is a claim in desperate need of supporting evidence. Where is the evidence that the LCMS practices its own form of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” when ordaining gay pastors?

    If no convincing evidence is provided, then the claim is rightly rejected.

  • fws

    norman @ 28

    I think that you are right. I wish the LCMS would believe that the solution lies in reaffirming the confessions. especially with respect to homosexuality and womens ordination and worship and church growth.

    instead they are turning to st thomas (whom I do love ) and scholasticism as the solution.

  • fws

    norman @ 28

    I think that you are right. I wish the LCMS would believe that the solution lies in reaffirming the confessions. especially with respect to homosexuality and womens ordination and worship and church growth.

    instead they are turning to st thomas (whom I do love ) and scholasticism as the solution.

  • fws

    tud @29

    you are being ignored by me.

  • fws

    tud @29

    you are being ignored by me.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #2: “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing.”

    This specious and unsubstantiated claim is rightfully rejected.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws, #2: “The ELCA is ordaining gay pastors. Well now. So does the LCMS! Only the LCMS practices their own form of “Don’t ask , don’t tell ” here. It looks in fact, remarkably identical to what the military was doing.”

    This specious and unsubstantiated claim is rightfully rejected.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #22,

    “3) Dan, I think you are wrong to lump homosexuality in with murderers and child molesters. ”

    Well, I don’t. Furthermore, I agree with your theology of sin. Of course.

    My point was in your assertion that the LCMS “ordains gay pastors” as does the ELCA. Since the ELCA ordains gay pastors openly, publicly, and with full approval of an active gay lifestyle–that is to say, brazenly–I strongly disagree with your assertion.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #22,

    “3) Dan, I think you are wrong to lump homosexuality in with murderers and child molesters. ”

    Well, I don’t. Furthermore, I agree with your theology of sin. Of course.

    My point was in your assertion that the LCMS “ordains gay pastors” as does the ELCA. Since the ELCA ordains gay pastors openly, publicly, and with full approval of an active gay lifestyle–that is to say, brazenly–I strongly disagree with your assertion.

  • fws

    dan kempin @ 33

    I don’t think we disagree Dan. And I dont think you disagree really with my assertion in the way carefully framed it. I think dr Luther captures it @ 26

    I dont think you would disagree with my post @ 22. there are some confessionals in the LCMS who are not getting this right, and I expect you disagree as well.

    How would you suggest that I better phrase my point to avoid confusion dear brother? It is important to be clear and maybe I am not being as clear as I should be.

  • fws

    dan kempin @ 33

    I don’t think we disagree Dan. And I dont think you disagree really with my assertion in the way carefully framed it. I think dr Luther captures it @ 26

    I dont think you would disagree with my post @ 22. there are some confessionals in the LCMS who are not getting this right, and I expect you disagree as well.

    How would you suggest that I better phrase my point to avoid confusion dear brother? It is important to be clear and maybe I am not being as clear as I should be.

  • fws

    dan @ 33

    I don’t at all object to your lumping me in with murderers or child molesters by the way. My objection was that my sin, as a homosexual, man, human, white guy, whatever, is trivialized by that grouping.

    My failure to keep the first commandment and be devoid of evidence of the fear love and trust that God deserves , more than trumps any other sin one might catch me at. This after God sent his Son to die for me. Some sinners like me just never learn. And then from that, the rest that folks can see looks pretty nasty, but it is truly just the tip of the iceberg that is my problem.

    There . Now you know why all this matters to me.
    I only hope that God will not need to strip me of what I have in my unworthiness, because of my failure to love others as I should.

    I can only try , for that reason, to falteringly speak up for others who can’t find the words to speak up on this so they can get the mercy they need by being welcomed into an LCMS church without always being soemhow suspect. I know that I fail here to be as articulate or maybe even as polite as I should be. Forgive me for that.

    Lord have mercy.

  • fws

    dan @ 33

    I don’t at all object to your lumping me in with murderers or child molesters by the way. My objection was that my sin, as a homosexual, man, human, white guy, whatever, is trivialized by that grouping.

    My failure to keep the first commandment and be devoid of evidence of the fear love and trust that God deserves , more than trumps any other sin one might catch me at. This after God sent his Son to die for me. Some sinners like me just never learn. And then from that, the rest that folks can see looks pretty nasty, but it is truly just the tip of the iceberg that is my problem.

    There . Now you know why all this matters to me.
    I only hope that God will not need to strip me of what I have in my unworthiness, because of my failure to love others as I should.

    I can only try , for that reason, to falteringly speak up for others who can’t find the words to speak up on this so they can get the mercy they need by being welcomed into an LCMS church without always being soemhow suspect. I know that I fail here to be as articulate or maybe even as polite as I should be. Forgive me for that.

    Lord have mercy.

  • fws

    dan @ 33

    I should be clear that I am not fully decided yet on my views on homosexual sex as being intrinsically or situationally wrong. Here are my considerations:

    1) I would insist there is clearly and definitively NO place one can point to, anywhere at all in Holy Scripture, to assert that God has explicitly made provision for anything like marriage for homosexuals.

    There is no evidence, for homosexuals, that God has made provision for the God ordered human requirement for companionship/helpmeet and to channel the sex drive that marriage is the provision for.

    2)I would suggest that it was wrong and anachronism to employ the medical term “homosexual” in a bible translation, who’s precise technical meaning was set as recently as 1980.

    3) I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.

    4) I would object when someone trys to justify the morality or immorality of same gender sex from the argument of silence. That logic would lead to some terrible results.

    5) At the same time, one must argue, that it is clearly contrary to Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions to demand celebacy as a sacrificial act to please God.

    6) I also would disagree with the argument that “is” (what God has ordered} is the equivalent of a moral “ought” as St Thomas asserts in his natural Law theory. Apology art XXIII refutes this logical gloss and is contrary to this view.

  • fws

    dan @ 33

    I should be clear that I am not fully decided yet on my views on homosexual sex as being intrinsically or situationally wrong. Here are my considerations:

    1) I would insist there is clearly and definitively NO place one can point to, anywhere at all in Holy Scripture, to assert that God has explicitly made provision for anything like marriage for homosexuals.

    There is no evidence, for homosexuals, that God has made provision for the God ordered human requirement for companionship/helpmeet and to channel the sex drive that marriage is the provision for.

    2)I would suggest that it was wrong and anachronism to employ the medical term “homosexual” in a bible translation, who’s precise technical meaning was set as recently as 1980.

    3) I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.

    4) I would object when someone trys to justify the morality or immorality of same gender sex from the argument of silence. That logic would lead to some terrible results.

    5) At the same time, one must argue, that it is clearly contrary to Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions to demand celebacy as a sacrificial act to please God.

    6) I also would disagree with the argument that “is” (what God has ordered} is the equivalent of a moral “ought” as St Thomas asserts in his natural Law theory. Apology art XXIII refutes this logical gloss and is contrary to this view.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    TUaD, stop trying to pick a fight with somebody who cannot respond. Though I cannot speak about fws’ knowledge, I can say that no one is likely to respond to your question with facts of which you would approve, for to do otherwise would break confidences and in the cases of clergy it may violate the confessional seal. So do us a favor and move on.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    TUaD, stop trying to pick a fight with somebody who cannot respond. Though I cannot speak about fws’ knowledge, I can say that no one is likely to respond to your question with facts of which you would approve, for to do otherwise would break confidences and in the cases of clergy it may violate the confessional seal. So do us a favor and move on.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Specious, unsubstantiated accusations are damaging to the LCMS.

    They are rightfully rejected.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Specious, unsubstantiated accusations are damaging to the LCMS.

    They are rightfully rejected.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws: “I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.”

    The Bible states that same gender sex acts are sin.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws: “I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.”

    The Bible states that same gender sex acts are sin.

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #34,

    Perhaps not, though I’m not really prepared to wade into those distinctions. My objection was that your original phrase implied that the Missouri Synod would intentionally ordain an openly and unrepentantly practicing gay person. Not what you meant, I’m sure, and not true. Discussing in further, though, distracts from the point you are trying to make.

    #35,

    I heartily agree, and well said, to boot.

    #36,

    Not following your argument at #6

  • Dan Kempin

    Fws, #34,

    Perhaps not, though I’m not really prepared to wade into those distinctions. My objection was that your original phrase implied that the Missouri Synod would intentionally ordain an openly and unrepentantly practicing gay person. Not what you meant, I’m sure, and not true. Discussing in further, though, distracts from the point you are trying to make.

    #35,

    I heartily agree, and well said, to boot.

    #36,

    Not following your argument at #6

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the original question:

    Why can’t the two denominations work together to deliver relief for earthquake victims and the like, just because they differ about homosexuality?

    I think everyone knows the answer at some level. It’s just a matter of finding the right hypothetical situation to trigger the response. Try these on for size:

    Why can’t different Lutheran denominations work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on fellowship?

    Why can’t Protestant denominations work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on the nature of the Sacraments?

    Why can’t Protestants and Catholics work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on the fundamental source(s) of doctrine and ecclesiastical authority?

    Why can’t Christians and Mormons work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on the nature of Christ and salvation?

    Why can’t Christians and Hindus work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on pretty much everything spiritual except the need to help people?

    Most people (or, at least, most people on this blog), I expect, will respond to one or more of those hypotheticals with something like “What a ridiculous suggestion!” What’s interesting is getting those people to explain why they draw the line where they do. For many people, this appears to be an unexamined (or at least unquestioned) line in the sand.

    It is helpful to remember that this work is being done by denominations qua denominations. All of us, in our vocations, work with people — with whom we may disagree about anything or everything theological — for the common good of our neighbors.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the original question:

    Why can’t the two denominations work together to deliver relief for earthquake victims and the like, just because they differ about homosexuality?

    I think everyone knows the answer at some level. It’s just a matter of finding the right hypothetical situation to trigger the response. Try these on for size:

    Why can’t different Lutheran denominations work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on fellowship?

    Why can’t Protestant denominations work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on the nature of the Sacraments?

    Why can’t Protestants and Catholics work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on the fundamental source(s) of doctrine and ecclesiastical authority?

    Why can’t Christians and Mormons work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on the nature of Christ and salvation?

    Why can’t Christians and Hindus work together to deliver disaster relief, just because they disagree on pretty much everything spiritual except the need to help people?

    Most people (or, at least, most people on this blog), I expect, will respond to one or more of those hypotheticals with something like “What a ridiculous suggestion!” What’s interesting is getting those people to explain why they draw the line where they do. For many people, this appears to be an unexamined (or at least unquestioned) line in the sand.

    It is helpful to remember that this work is being done by denominations qua denominations. All of us, in our vocations, work with people — with whom we may disagree about anything or everything theological — for the common good of our neighbors.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the inter-Lutheran debate, I must admit I was fairly surprised to learn that the LCMS worked so closely with the ELCA on relief efforts. Of course, I only learned this after I joined the WELS, for whom the doctrine of fellowship is arguably a more important concept. But I did grow up in the LCMS and remember how ELCAns were generally referred to by the Missouri masses.

    But I really do have a hard time seeing this as not, ultimately, being about the gays. It’s just remarkable how often the issue of homosexuality held up as being the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, time and time again, when seemingly no other heresy is sufficient to inspire action. Sing it with me: “Culture war! Hungh! Yeah! What iiis it good for…”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the inter-Lutheran debate, I must admit I was fairly surprised to learn that the LCMS worked so closely with the ELCA on relief efforts. Of course, I only learned this after I joined the WELS, for whom the doctrine of fellowship is arguably a more important concept. But I did grow up in the LCMS and remember how ELCAns were generally referred to by the Missouri masses.

    But I really do have a hard time seeing this as not, ultimately, being about the gays. It’s just remarkable how often the issue of homosexuality held up as being the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, time and time again, when seemingly no other heresy is sufficient to inspire action. Sing it with me: “Culture war! Hungh! Yeah! What iiis it good for…”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    TUaD (@38) said:

    Specious, unsubstantiated accusations are damaging to the LCMS.

    You know, it really is more than a little hilarious seeing you suddenly change tactics and pretend (?) you care about damage to the Lutheran church, seeing as how only several hours ago, you were stating that the Lutheran understanding of baptism “might be a false idol”. Culture wars make for strange bed-hopping-fellows?

    Anyhow, your comments here (@24) demonstrate the problem that many (obviously, including you) have here. You cannot (or will not) distinguish between homosexuality and sin — note how you conflate “the ordination of gay men” with “the ordination of unrepentant, noncelibate homosexuals”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    TUaD (@38) said:

    Specious, unsubstantiated accusations are damaging to the LCMS.

    You know, it really is more than a little hilarious seeing you suddenly change tactics and pretend (?) you care about damage to the Lutheran church, seeing as how only several hours ago, you were stating that the Lutheran understanding of baptism “might be a false idol”. Culture wars make for strange bed-hopping-fellows?

    Anyhow, your comments here (@24) demonstrate the problem that many (obviously, including you) have here. You cannot (or will not) distinguish between homosexuality and sin — note how you conflate “the ordination of gay men” with “the ordination of unrepentant, noncelibate homosexuals”.

  • fws

    Todd @ 41

    What’s interesting is getting those people to explain why they draw the line where they do. For many people, this appears to be an unexamined (or at least unquestioned) line in the sand.

    It is helpful to remember that this work is being done by denominations qua denominations. All of us, in our vocations, work with people — with whom we may disagree about anything or everything theological — for the common good of our neighbors.

    I think Todd hits on the two points that would be the most helpful center of discussion here and are the most interesting. a) where and why do we draw the line? and b) What do we think is the work of our “denomination” or Synod?

    As to b) I think that the starting point is to recognize, with our Confessions, in the Apology’s article on the Church, that the Holy Catholic Church is part of the Earthly Kingdom and is an earthly government exactly like any other government. The visible proof that one is a member of this earthly kingdom is Holy Baptism. We must, in love, not as a article of faith, address and speak to all the baptized as being members of the Holy Catholic Church.

    My first question at a starbucks when talking about theology with a stranger is to inquire as to whether or not they are baptized. If they have been, I address them as a christian regardless of what else they say. I call them back to their baptism.

    We tend to over spiritualize the job of pastor or synod official. We need instead to treat them with the same deference we would give a police officer or judge. We elect them, but we are not the ones who really put them in their office. God does that. Todd, I think this is maybe where the WELS, where I was raised, gets Church and Ministry wrong. The idea that laymen delegate their authority to pastors etc is not quite it! As to some in the LCMS who say that only the office of Pastor is divinely ordained the error is more complex. Setting apart someone publicly to a) rule over a congregation and b) be the “steward of the Mysteries ” is something Christ commands his church to do.

    If a “lay minister” is functionally a steward of the mysteries, then the man is acting unlawfully as a pastor, and the solution is to a) ordain him (ie publicly identify him and set him apart as a pastor) or b) have him stop doing what he is doing. This lay pastor bit would be like me donning a robe and acting as a justice of the peace. I need to desist or someone in authority needs to publicly appoint me to that job. The issue is really at that mundane governmental level. We Lutherans have lost the concept of “office” in the church, even as we still understand it in the secular ordo as to judges and policemen. I find that sort of odd.

    To appoint deacons (synod officials, day school teachers, etc) “because it is not good for pastors to wait on tables” is not commanded or forbidden . It is common sense. It letst the pastors focus on being stewards of the mysteries rather than be burdened by administrative and other stuff.

    How does Church and Ministry in light of the Law and Gospel modality of Two Kingdoms have to do with Mercy work? I hope it is now clear that it is fuzziness on this doctrine that messes up lots of stuff.

    This is also , i would suggest, why some WELS church growth ers see no problem with cooperating with the evangelicals on learning how best to govern the local congretations. The think doctrine can be separated from practice. But doctrine and practice are all earthly kingdom stuff.

    This also affects the issue of gays. The proper question for a gay man is this : “were you baptized?” in that case we are required to find a place for them in a congretation, unless of course their actions persist in distracting from the mission of the Church to preach the forgiveness of sins.

  • fws

    Todd @ 41

    What’s interesting is getting those people to explain why they draw the line where they do. For many people, this appears to be an unexamined (or at least unquestioned) line in the sand.

    It is helpful to remember that this work is being done by denominations qua denominations. All of us, in our vocations, work with people — with whom we may disagree about anything or everything theological — for the common good of our neighbors.

    I think Todd hits on the two points that would be the most helpful center of discussion here and are the most interesting. a) where and why do we draw the line? and b) What do we think is the work of our “denomination” or Synod?

    As to b) I think that the starting point is to recognize, with our Confessions, in the Apology’s article on the Church, that the Holy Catholic Church is part of the Earthly Kingdom and is an earthly government exactly like any other government. The visible proof that one is a member of this earthly kingdom is Holy Baptism. We must, in love, not as a article of faith, address and speak to all the baptized as being members of the Holy Catholic Church.

    My first question at a starbucks when talking about theology with a stranger is to inquire as to whether or not they are baptized. If they have been, I address them as a christian regardless of what else they say. I call them back to their baptism.

    We tend to over spiritualize the job of pastor or synod official. We need instead to treat them with the same deference we would give a police officer or judge. We elect them, but we are not the ones who really put them in their office. God does that. Todd, I think this is maybe where the WELS, where I was raised, gets Church and Ministry wrong. The idea that laymen delegate their authority to pastors etc is not quite it! As to some in the LCMS who say that only the office of Pastor is divinely ordained the error is more complex. Setting apart someone publicly to a) rule over a congregation and b) be the “steward of the Mysteries ” is something Christ commands his church to do.

    If a “lay minister” is functionally a steward of the mysteries, then the man is acting unlawfully as a pastor, and the solution is to a) ordain him (ie publicly identify him and set him apart as a pastor) or b) have him stop doing what he is doing. This lay pastor bit would be like me donning a robe and acting as a justice of the peace. I need to desist or someone in authority needs to publicly appoint me to that job. The issue is really at that mundane governmental level. We Lutherans have lost the concept of “office” in the church, even as we still understand it in the secular ordo as to judges and policemen. I find that sort of odd.

    To appoint deacons (synod officials, day school teachers, etc) “because it is not good for pastors to wait on tables” is not commanded or forbidden . It is common sense. It letst the pastors focus on being stewards of the mysteries rather than be burdened by administrative and other stuff.

    How does Church and Ministry in light of the Law and Gospel modality of Two Kingdoms have to do with Mercy work? I hope it is now clear that it is fuzziness on this doctrine that messes up lots of stuff.

    This is also , i would suggest, why some WELS church growth ers see no problem with cooperating with the evangelicals on learning how best to govern the local congretations. The think doctrine can be separated from practice. But doctrine and practice are all earthly kingdom stuff.

    This also affects the issue of gays. The proper question for a gay man is this : “were you baptized?” in that case we are required to find a place for them in a congretation, unless of course their actions persist in distracting from the mission of the Church to preach the forgiveness of sins.

  • fws

    Todd @ 42

    I too think it is less than honest to say that the gay issue is merely the ‘straw that broke the camels back”. there were lots of other issues that were much, much more central to the reason for the existence of that earthly government called the Holy Catholic Church which is to proclaim the Forgiveness of Sins. To admit or exclude homosexuals or ordain women is an earthly and administrative Law issue that will perish with the earth.

    Note I am not saying that earthly government is a) unimportant or b) not ordained by God. But it will all perish.

    It is through the Doctrine that that other invisible kingdom called the “Communion of Saints” , comes , in , with and under the earthly kingdom in ways that cannot be seen.

    One should not separate Law in that earthly administration from the Gospel. But it is important to sharply distinguish the two. To not do so make administration of the Law become THE mission of the Church. It is not. It is God ordained perishable means towards an imperishable end that is the Will of God in Christ.

  • fws

    Todd @ 42

    I too think it is less than honest to say that the gay issue is merely the ‘straw that broke the camels back”. there were lots of other issues that were much, much more central to the reason for the existence of that earthly government called the Holy Catholic Church which is to proclaim the Forgiveness of Sins. To admit or exclude homosexuals or ordain women is an earthly and administrative Law issue that will perish with the earth.

    Note I am not saying that earthly government is a) unimportant or b) not ordained by God. But it will all perish.

    It is through the Doctrine that that other invisible kingdom called the “Communion of Saints” , comes , in , with and under the earthly kingdom in ways that cannot be seen.

    One should not separate Law in that earthly administration from the Gospel. But it is important to sharply distinguish the two. To not do so make administration of the Law become THE mission of the Church. It is not. It is God ordained perishable means towards an imperishable end that is the Will of God in Christ.

  • fws

    Dan @ 40

    “not following your argument at 6) in post #36
    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/08/04/schism-in-lutheran-charities/#comment-123763 which said…

    6) I also would disagree with the argument that “is” (what God has ordered} is the equivalent of a moral “ought” as St Thomas asserts in his natural Law theory. Apology art XXIII refutes this logical gloss and is contrary to this view.

    A Thomist Scholastic would make earthly “telos” into Divine Moral Law. The task is to scientifically observe nature, and from that logically deduce the “Divine Design” or telos of everything. So the telos of male/female relationship is sex and procreation we deduce from observing the complementary sex organs. And then a thomist declares that this is the revelation of Divine Moral Law, and so anything that interferes with this is sin. Therefore using a condom is sinful. Birth control is sinful. Gay men have male genitalia. It is sinful (“objectively disordered”) to not use them to procreate.

    Now that “objectively disordered” business is because Rome also reject the Lutheran view of Original Sin and view Original Sin not really as sin that damns but rather as a “burden” or “defect” .

    The confessions were very aware of this view of St Thomas. So it should be remarkable that whereever the Lutheran Confessions use the term “natural Law” they deliberately narrow the meaning of the term. The rejected the Thomist view of Natural Law because it denies original sin. The Thomist view locates the Image of God as being conformity to the “telos’ or “divine design” of Man. This is to locate the Image of God as being conformity to the Law.

    Lutherans , in sharp and radical contrast , say that the Image of God and Original Righeousness was alone faith in Christ , apart from the Law, that is now restored in mankind how? By baptismal regeneration.

    So the path to restoration of the Image of God for a gay man, is not to become “objectively ordered”, it is to seek restoration in the blessed waters of regeneration called Holy Baptism.

    I hope that helps Dan.

  • fws

    Dan @ 40

    “not following your argument at 6) in post #36
    http://www.geneveith.com/2011/08/04/schism-in-lutheran-charities/#comment-123763 which said…

    6) I also would disagree with the argument that “is” (what God has ordered} is the equivalent of a moral “ought” as St Thomas asserts in his natural Law theory. Apology art XXIII refutes this logical gloss and is contrary to this view.

    A Thomist Scholastic would make earthly “telos” into Divine Moral Law. The task is to scientifically observe nature, and from that logically deduce the “Divine Design” or telos of everything. So the telos of male/female relationship is sex and procreation we deduce from observing the complementary sex organs. And then a thomist declares that this is the revelation of Divine Moral Law, and so anything that interferes with this is sin. Therefore using a condom is sinful. Birth control is sinful. Gay men have male genitalia. It is sinful (“objectively disordered”) to not use them to procreate.

    Now that “objectively disordered” business is because Rome also reject the Lutheran view of Original Sin and view Original Sin not really as sin that damns but rather as a “burden” or “defect” .

    The confessions were very aware of this view of St Thomas. So it should be remarkable that whereever the Lutheran Confessions use the term “natural Law” they deliberately narrow the meaning of the term. The rejected the Thomist view of Natural Law because it denies original sin. The Thomist view locates the Image of God as being conformity to the “telos’ or “divine design” of Man. This is to locate the Image of God as being conformity to the Law.

    Lutherans , in sharp and radical contrast , say that the Image of God and Original Righeousness was alone faith in Christ , apart from the Law, that is now restored in mankind how? By baptismal regeneration.

    So the path to restoration of the Image of God for a gay man, is not to become “objectively ordered”, it is to seek restoration in the blessed waters of regeneration called Holy Baptism.

    I hope that helps Dan.

  • fws

    Dan @ 40

    The footnote for the teaching that Lutherans say that the Adamic Image of God and Original Righeousness was not Adams conformity to the Law of the forbidden fruit but rather faith alone in Christ alone, is found of course, in the Apology’s discussion of original sin in its article II.

    Note that the Apology says that Reason=Natural Law. The sedaes for this is romans 2:15.

    So Reason is “infuse Law”. In contrast “New Heart Movements” is “infused Justification.” ( Apology art IV “on justification”) .

    They state there that the term Justification is used in two ways in the Holy Scripture. It is used forensically, but then what is forensically declared by God. Also, because it is God declaring, New Man literally becomes what is declared, and that is what they mean by “infused’.

    This “infused” is different from the roman idea of infused, in that “holiness” is entire and complete at the point of regeneration with respect to the New Man.

    Infuse justification is not some sort of infused power that lets us get to work towards perfection. We already are perfectly holy in Christ. Holiness is like being pregnant. One is or one is not.

    In our New Man we are Holy. Completely. In our Old Adam, we are unregenerate and full of faith in anything but Christ. Completely.

    Rome and geneva share that sort of error about infused grace.

    The Apology uses the term “new heart movements” rather than “faith” to distinguish “historical faith” that is the assent of Reason to the truth, from saving faith that is a gift and not something we can do. This avoids that error of both Rome and Geneva on infused grace as being “faith-effort’ that is really just a retitled aristotelian virtue ethics that is the acquiring of virtue as a habit by practice and effort.

  • fws

    Dan @ 40

    The footnote for the teaching that Lutherans say that the Adamic Image of God and Original Righeousness was not Adams conformity to the Law of the forbidden fruit but rather faith alone in Christ alone, is found of course, in the Apology’s discussion of original sin in its article II.

    Note that the Apology says that Reason=Natural Law. The sedaes for this is romans 2:15.

    So Reason is “infuse Law”. In contrast “New Heart Movements” is “infused Justification.” ( Apology art IV “on justification”) .

    They state there that the term Justification is used in two ways in the Holy Scripture. It is used forensically, but then what is forensically declared by God. Also, because it is God declaring, New Man literally becomes what is declared, and that is what they mean by “infused’.

    This “infused” is different from the roman idea of infused, in that “holiness” is entire and complete at the point of regeneration with respect to the New Man.

    Infuse justification is not some sort of infused power that lets us get to work towards perfection. We already are perfectly holy in Christ. Holiness is like being pregnant. One is or one is not.

    In our New Man we are Holy. Completely. In our Old Adam, we are unregenerate and full of faith in anything but Christ. Completely.

    Rome and geneva share that sort of error about infused grace.

    The Apology uses the term “new heart movements” rather than “faith” to distinguish “historical faith” that is the assent of Reason to the truth, from saving faith that is a gift and not something we can do. This avoids that error of both Rome and Geneva on infused grace as being “faith-effort’ that is really just a retitled aristotelian virtue ethics that is the acquiring of virtue as a habit by practice and effort.

  • fws

    dan @ 40 and todd,

    btw, I noticed that someone, not me, posted a great article on the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in wikipedia. It really pertains directly to all we are discussing here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

  • fws

    dan @ 40 and todd,

    btw, I noticed that someone, not me, posted a great article on the Lutheran Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in wikipedia. It really pertains directly to all we are discussing here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws: “I am a member of an LCMS affiliated church.”

    fws: “I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.”

    LCMS 2010 Convention: “[T]he LCMS believes and teaches that same-gender genital sexual activity–in every situation– violates the will of our Creator and must be recognized as sin” (“Theological Implications,” 2010 CW, p. 15);

    LCMS Paper, “What About… Homosexuality?”:

    “The Lord teaches us through His Word that homosexuality
    is a sinful distortion of His desire that one man and one
    woman live together in marriage as husband and wife. God
    categorically prohibits homosexuality. Our church, The
    Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,has declared that homosexual behavior is “intrinsically sinful.
    ”Why does our church take this position?

    We read in God’s Word the following statements about
    homosexuality:

    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an
    abomination. … Do not defile yourselves by any of these
    things”(Lev.18:22,24).

    “If a man lies with a male as with a woman,both of them
    have committed an abomination…”(Lev.20:13).

    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
    Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
    and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women
    and were consumed with passion for one another,men committing
    shameless acts with men and receiving in their own
    persons the due penalty for their error”(Rom.1:26–27).

    “Do not be deceived; neither the immoral,nor idolators,
    nor adulterers,nor sexual perverts …shall inherit the kingdom
    of God”(1 Cor.6:9–10).

    “…The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless
    and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, …immoral
    persons,sodomites… and whatever else is contrary to sound
    doctrine”(1 Tim.1:9–10).

    Through His Word, God teaches us very clearly that homosexuality
    is a sin. A person who persists in homosexual behavior stands under the condemnation of God’s Word. This is true for anyone who persists in sin without repentance. While this may be an unpopular message, it is the truth taught to us by God in His Word.”

    fws: “I am a member of an LCMS affiliated church.”

    fws: “I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.”

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    fws: “I am a member of an LCMS affiliated church.”

    fws: “I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.”

    LCMS 2010 Convention: “[T]he LCMS believes and teaches that same-gender genital sexual activity–in every situation– violates the will of our Creator and must be recognized as sin” (“Theological Implications,” 2010 CW, p. 15);

    LCMS Paper, “What About… Homosexuality?”:

    “The Lord teaches us through His Word that homosexuality
    is a sinful distortion of His desire that one man and one
    woman live together in marriage as husband and wife. God
    categorically prohibits homosexuality. Our church, The
    Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,has declared that homosexual behavior is “intrinsically sinful.
    ”Why does our church take this position?

    We read in God’s Word the following statements about
    homosexuality:

    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an
    abomination. … Do not defile yourselves by any of these
    things”(Lev.18:22,24).

    “If a man lies with a male as with a woman,both of them
    have committed an abomination…”(Lev.20:13).

    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
    Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
    and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women
    and were consumed with passion for one another,men committing
    shameless acts with men and receiving in their own
    persons the due penalty for their error”(Rom.1:26–27).

    “Do not be deceived; neither the immoral,nor idolators,
    nor adulterers,nor sexual perverts …shall inherit the kingdom
    of God”(1 Cor.6:9–10).

    “…The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless
    and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, …immoral
    persons,sodomites… and whatever else is contrary to sound
    doctrine”(1 Tim.1:9–10).

    Through His Word, God teaches us very clearly that homosexuality
    is a sin. A person who persists in homosexual behavior stands under the condemnation of God’s Word. This is true for anyone who persists in sin without repentance. While this may be an unpopular message, it is the truth taught to us by God in His Word.”

    fws: “I am a member of an LCMS affiliated church.”

    fws: “I would observe that the Bible nowhere addresses the issue of homosexuality or same gender sex per se.”

  • Helen F

    6Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 corinthians 5

  • Helen F

    6Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 corinthians 5

  • fws

    hellen f @ 50

    “7Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.”

    Thanks for sharing Helen :) Great stuff.

    “Therefore let us celebrate the Feast.”

  • fws

    hellen f @ 50

    “7Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.”

    Thanks for sharing Helen :) Great stuff.

    “Therefore let us celebrate the Feast.”

  • Purple koolaid

    Personally, I think the LCMS should have jumped ship in the beginning when Elva was pro-abortion. I think president Harrison is the only one man enough to do it.

  • Purple koolaid

    Personally, I think the LCMS should have jumped ship in the beginning when Elva was pro-abortion. I think president Harrison is the only one man enough to do it.

  • kerner

    Purple @52

    You may be onto something there. Maybe its not the new issue so much as it is the new leadership in the LCMS. Great insight.

  • kerner

    Purple @52

    You may be onto something there. Maybe its not the new issue so much as it is the new leadership in the LCMS. Great insight.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    purple @ 52

    Who is Elva?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    purple @ 52

    Who is Elva?

  • Purple koolaid

    Elva=elca when typing on my phone and neglect to proofread before sending.

  • Purple koolaid

    Elva=elca when typing on my phone and neglect to proofread before sending.

  • Matt

    Kerner @ 53

    I wish this were true and the split were about more than homosexuality. The LCMS does have, far and away, the best doctrine for dealing with the issue of homosexuality. Unfortunately, however, there is an emotional response to homosexuality which causes us to misapply our doctrine. Worst of all, many people are blind to this response in themselves and, therefore, unlikely to overcome it.

    Just some examples:

    The phrase “profoundly unnatural” is applied by the LCMS only to homosexuality even though it could be applied to virtually every sin or temptation. Homosexuality is no more unnatural from a theological point of view than lying, greed or promiscuity. (the only other instance in which “profoundly unnatural” is used is in the document “the venture of marriage” where it is used to point out that the Christian view of marriage appears profoundly unnatural from a non biblical point of view)

    So also, only homosexual behavior is called “intrinsically sinful” far more than any other sin. The only other time this phrase is used is in reference to sexual sins outside of marriage but even then the documents usually single out homosexuality by saying “including homosexual behavior.” Every single sin could be called intrinsically sinful. Yet we reserve it almost exclusively for homosexual behavior.

    As pointed out above, the “What About” series says “homosexuality
    is a sinful distortion of His desire that one man and one woman live together in marriage as husband and wife.” Again, this could be said about any temptation. All temptation points to a sinful distortion of God’s desire and plan for His creation. Yet homosexuality is the only one we use this phrase about.

    The LCMS site contains many helpful articles and resources for those facing depression, guilt after an abortion, divorce etc. Yet when it comes to homosexuality there are papers ABOUT homosexuals but nothing FOR those who struggle with homosexuality.

    On another popular Lutheran board the message that ALL we need to do for homosexuals is preach Law and Gospel is roundly defended. Any hint that showing compassion or friendship is also necessary is soundly ridiculed. Even the suggestion that Christians trying to overcome homosexuality might make use of a support group was blatantly rejected.

    Again and again I hear from people that their LCMS pastor pulls out a laundry list of horrible modern sins that show the evils of the world – homosexuality is almost always near the top.

    The LCMS definitely sees homosexuality as a sin categorically different and worse than all others except, maybe, pedophilia. Yet getting LCMS pastors to acknowledge this so that we can preach against all sin equally and correctly apply the Gospel is like pulling teeth.

    As a result, the outside view of what happened here is that the LCMS/ELCA spilt is more about homosexuality than sound doctrine or Scriptural inerrancy. And, sadly, that view is largely correct. We continued to work with the ELCA through denial of Scripture, the acceptance of abortion, Their gnostic denial of the persons of the Trinity, their associations with heretical denominations etc. But now that they accept homosexually active pastors we can’t work with them.

    Sorry but all evidence says that it was not the change of leadership that caused this split which should have been dealt with long ago but the issue of homosexuality alone which upset people enough to finally look at our relationship with the ELCA. This is sad because the only message it sends is that we are anti-homosexual rather than doctrinally correct.

  • Matt

    Kerner @ 53

    I wish this were true and the split were about more than homosexuality. The LCMS does have, far and away, the best doctrine for dealing with the issue of homosexuality. Unfortunately, however, there is an emotional response to homosexuality which causes us to misapply our doctrine. Worst of all, many people are blind to this response in themselves and, therefore, unlikely to overcome it.

    Just some examples:

    The phrase “profoundly unnatural” is applied by the LCMS only to homosexuality even though it could be applied to virtually every sin or temptation. Homosexuality is no more unnatural from a theological point of view than lying, greed or promiscuity. (the only other instance in which “profoundly unnatural” is used is in the document “the venture of marriage” where it is used to point out that the Christian view of marriage appears profoundly unnatural from a non biblical point of view)

    So also, only homosexual behavior is called “intrinsically sinful” far more than any other sin. The only other time this phrase is used is in reference to sexual sins outside of marriage but even then the documents usually single out homosexuality by saying “including homosexual behavior.” Every single sin could be called intrinsically sinful. Yet we reserve it almost exclusively for homosexual behavior.

    As pointed out above, the “What About” series says “homosexuality
    is a sinful distortion of His desire that one man and one woman live together in marriage as husband and wife.” Again, this could be said about any temptation. All temptation points to a sinful distortion of God’s desire and plan for His creation. Yet homosexuality is the only one we use this phrase about.

    The LCMS site contains many helpful articles and resources for those facing depression, guilt after an abortion, divorce etc. Yet when it comes to homosexuality there are papers ABOUT homosexuals but nothing FOR those who struggle with homosexuality.

    On another popular Lutheran board the message that ALL we need to do for homosexuals is preach Law and Gospel is roundly defended. Any hint that showing compassion or friendship is also necessary is soundly ridiculed. Even the suggestion that Christians trying to overcome homosexuality might make use of a support group was blatantly rejected.

    Again and again I hear from people that their LCMS pastor pulls out a laundry list of horrible modern sins that show the evils of the world – homosexuality is almost always near the top.

    The LCMS definitely sees homosexuality as a sin categorically different and worse than all others except, maybe, pedophilia. Yet getting LCMS pastors to acknowledge this so that we can preach against all sin equally and correctly apply the Gospel is like pulling teeth.

    As a result, the outside view of what happened here is that the LCMS/ELCA spilt is more about homosexuality than sound doctrine or Scriptural inerrancy. And, sadly, that view is largely correct. We continued to work with the ELCA through denial of Scripture, the acceptance of abortion, Their gnostic denial of the persons of the Trinity, their associations with heretical denominations etc. But now that they accept homosexually active pastors we can’t work with them.

    Sorry but all evidence says that it was not the change of leadership that caused this split which should have been dealt with long ago but the issue of homosexuality alone which upset people enough to finally look at our relationship with the ELCA. This is sad because the only message it sends is that we are anti-homosexual rather than doctrinally correct.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/USAsoldier1955 Fr. Philip Mullen

    Thank God, the LC-MS is finally repenting of it’s sin of “ecumenical cooperation” with the ELCA! Homosexuality, abortion, and other crimes are abhorrent to real Christians — yet the LC-MS wanted to continue it’s flirtation with a religious sect that is no longer Lutheran & hardly Christian. Such a “confessional reality check” is long overdue for the LC-MS! :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/USAsoldier1955 Fr. Philip Mullen

    Thank God, the LC-MS is finally repenting of it’s sin of “ecumenical cooperation” with the ELCA! Homosexuality, abortion, and other crimes are abhorrent to real Christians — yet the LC-MS wanted to continue it’s flirtation with a religious sect that is no longer Lutheran & hardly Christian. Such a “confessional reality check” is long overdue for the LC-MS! :)

  • Matt

    Mullen @ 57

    Perhaps. But thanks for illustrating my point that the emotional reaction against homosexuality in the LCMS is so strong that we often condemn while failing to offer forgiveness even to those who repent.

  • Matt

    Mullen @ 57

    Perhaps. But thanks for illustrating my point that the emotional reaction against homosexuality in the LCMS is so strong that we often condemn while failing to offer forgiveness even to those who repent.

  • http://www.YouTube.com/user/USAsoldier1955 Fr. Philip Mullen

    OFLOL! :D

    Emotional reaction against homosexuality, abortion, & other capital crimes in the LC-MS??! On the contrary, in these apostate times, the LC-MS has laxly allowed too many impenitent sinners go to Hell — courtesy of ELCA style Gospel Reductionism. One really does have to pull teeth in the LC-MS to get an “emotional” reaction against the carte blanche social trend promoting any of the aforementioned human wrongs as “human rights”! With that kind of “ecumenical cooperation” between the LC-MS & ELCA — who needs genocide?! :(

  • http://www.YouTube.com/user/USAsoldier1955 Fr. Philip Mullen

    OFLOL! :D

    Emotional reaction against homosexuality, abortion, & other capital crimes in the LC-MS??! On the contrary, in these apostate times, the LC-MS has laxly allowed too many impenitent sinners go to Hell — courtesy of ELCA style Gospel Reductionism. One really does have to pull teeth in the LC-MS to get an “emotional” reaction against the carte blanche social trend promoting any of the aforementioned human wrongs as “human rights”! With that kind of “ecumenical cooperation” between the LC-MS & ELCA — who needs genocide?! :(

  • Matt

    Mullen @ 59

    Thank you for again illustrating my point.

    I will be honest, seeing from your link that you are an LCMS pastor, I intentionally wrote #58 as I did to see if you would respond with both Law and Gospel or Law only. I even included the hint about “failing to offer forgiveness even to those who repent”

    You, unfortunately, fell to my expectations.

    While you are correct that the neglect of Law leads “impenitent sinners go to Hell” you chose not to include that the reason for that is the resulting absence of application of the Gospel. The solution, of course, is to proclaim both Law and Gospel.

    Let me be very very clear. The answer is not to condemn homosexual behavior less strenuously but to condemn ALL sins in the same uncompromising terms with which we condemn this one. This we have failed to do. And then to proclaim forgiveness to all repentant sinners every single time we publicly proclaim Law and with the same force. This too we have often failed miserably to do. Too often I hear pastors say the correct words in a sermon “Christ desires to forgive repentant homosexuals” only to drop the Gospel entirely when discussing the issue after Church or in other situations – as you yourself have done twice now. To any person who faces homosexual temptation, such neglect of forgiveness outside the pulpit sends the clear message “the pastor didn’t really mean that I am forgiven.” That is, of course, if the pastor even remembers to include forgiveness in the sermon itself. I have read far too many sermons and articles on homosexuality from LCMS pastors that simply don’t include forgiveness at all or include it in such an anemic manner that it is worse than useless.

    The split with the ELCA may be very necessary. I, for one, do not believe we can truly work with them in any situation except those which clearly involve responding to only physical needs at times of disaster and which clearly do not lead people to believe we share the same stand on much of anything (whether such situation actually exist I do not know).

    But the split HAS to be over the source of the rot – their denial of Scripture rather than the symptom of their approval of homosexual intercourse. All evidence I see says we are splitting with them only, or at least primarily, over the issue of homosexual behavior. This is especially true when I observe many who desire this split giving approval to the NACL which left the ELCA over the issue of homosexual behavior but retained their denial of Scripture.

    Anyway, thank you once again for illustrating that many in the LCMS are far more interested in condemning homosexuals than in proclaiming the Gospel

  • Matt

    Mullen @ 59

    Thank you for again illustrating my point.

    I will be honest, seeing from your link that you are an LCMS pastor, I intentionally wrote #58 as I did to see if you would respond with both Law and Gospel or Law only. I even included the hint about “failing to offer forgiveness even to those who repent”

    You, unfortunately, fell to my expectations.

    While you are correct that the neglect of Law leads “impenitent sinners go to Hell” you chose not to include that the reason for that is the resulting absence of application of the Gospel. The solution, of course, is to proclaim both Law and Gospel.

    Let me be very very clear. The answer is not to condemn homosexual behavior less strenuously but to condemn ALL sins in the same uncompromising terms with which we condemn this one. This we have failed to do. And then to proclaim forgiveness to all repentant sinners every single time we publicly proclaim Law and with the same force. This too we have often failed miserably to do. Too often I hear pastors say the correct words in a sermon “Christ desires to forgive repentant homosexuals” only to drop the Gospel entirely when discussing the issue after Church or in other situations – as you yourself have done twice now. To any person who faces homosexual temptation, such neglect of forgiveness outside the pulpit sends the clear message “the pastor didn’t really mean that I am forgiven.” That is, of course, if the pastor even remembers to include forgiveness in the sermon itself. I have read far too many sermons and articles on homosexuality from LCMS pastors that simply don’t include forgiveness at all or include it in such an anemic manner that it is worse than useless.

    The split with the ELCA may be very necessary. I, for one, do not believe we can truly work with them in any situation except those which clearly involve responding to only physical needs at times of disaster and which clearly do not lead people to believe we share the same stand on much of anything (whether such situation actually exist I do not know).

    But the split HAS to be over the source of the rot – their denial of Scripture rather than the symptom of their approval of homosexual intercourse. All evidence I see says we are splitting with them only, or at least primarily, over the issue of homosexual behavior. This is especially true when I observe many who desire this split giving approval to the NACL which left the ELCA over the issue of homosexual behavior but retained their denial of Scripture.

    Anyway, thank you once again for illustrating that many in the LCMS are far more interested in condemning homosexuals than in proclaiming the Gospel

  • http://www.YouTube.com/user/USAsoldier1955 Fr. Philip Mullen

    OFLOL! :D

    Thank you for proving my point….that you are a Homofascist troll.

    So you are projecting your LC-MS angst upon me, in the name of Gospel Reductionism? And you make a distinction between the apostate ELCA’s denial of God’s Word & their approval of Sodomy/Buggery? And you think that I’m in the LC-MS?

    Do me a favor….get up from your keyboard, go wash your face, go outside & get some FRESH AIR….you’re pumping out way too much hot gas! Your closet homosexuality can be cured by Christ’s Gospel! The mutual conversation & consolation of brethren in the WORD of God is part of the Means of Grace. Preaching, the Sacraments, Christian friendship, etc. all work together for good to solve your problem!

    But if you choose to play games, pose as a phony theologian, and continue to troll your way through this blog….

    DON”T BLAME GOD!

    In fact, let me come over to your place and pull your impenitent swines head out of your fat anus….

    you’ve already eaten too many pearls! ;D

    In Christ’s Love,

    + Fr. Philip

  • http://www.YouTube.com/user/USAsoldier1955 Fr. Philip Mullen

    OFLOL! :D

    Thank you for proving my point….that you are a Homofascist troll.

    So you are projecting your LC-MS angst upon me, in the name of Gospel Reductionism? And you make a distinction between the apostate ELCA’s denial of God’s Word & their approval of Sodomy/Buggery? And you think that I’m in the LC-MS?

    Do me a favor….get up from your keyboard, go wash your face, go outside & get some FRESH AIR….you’re pumping out way too much hot gas! Your closet homosexuality can be cured by Christ’s Gospel! The mutual conversation & consolation of brethren in the WORD of God is part of the Means of Grace. Preaching, the Sacraments, Christian friendship, etc. all work together for good to solve your problem!

    But if you choose to play games, pose as a phony theologian, and continue to troll your way through this blog….

    DON”T BLAME GOD!

    In fact, let me come over to your place and pull your impenitent swines head out of your fat anus….

    you’ve already eaten too many pearls! ;D

    In Christ’s Love,

    + Fr. Philip

  • yoda55

    fws @25
    “I do not believe homosexuality is a sin any more than being left handed is a sin. And yes I believe that homosexuals sin sexually in thought, w0rd and deed exactly as do all other sinners.”

    Perhaps, you could explain to me how Sodom and Gomorrah were not wiped off the face of the earth?

    The homosexual community, in past, has tried to justify the condition as being medical (or at least hereditary – being part of biological make up). Most recently, the community has tried to convince society that it is a lifestyle choice… Well… It is one or the other, but not both. A biological condition cannot be resisted, because it is an affliction – it is a matter for prayer and treatment. No medical institution has put forward a suggested solution…

    If it is choice, then a true confession will foreswear further participation – a change in behavior must take place to set the sinner apart from it. A choice makes it a matter of conscience. (see Mark 9:46-48)

    Contradiction does not present a convincing argument…

  • yoda55

    fws @25
    “I do not believe homosexuality is a sin any more than being left handed is a sin. And yes I believe that homosexuals sin sexually in thought, w0rd and deed exactly as do all other sinners.”

    Perhaps, you could explain to me how Sodom and Gomorrah were not wiped off the face of the earth?

    The homosexual community, in past, has tried to justify the condition as being medical (or at least hereditary – being part of biological make up). Most recently, the community has tried to convince society that it is a lifestyle choice… Well… It is one or the other, but not both. A biological condition cannot be resisted, because it is an affliction – it is a matter for prayer and treatment. No medical institution has put forward a suggested solution…

    If it is choice, then a true confession will foreswear further participation – a change in behavior must take place to set the sinner apart from it. A choice makes it a matter of conscience. (see Mark 9:46-48)

    Contradiction does not present a convincing argument…

  • Fr. Philip Mullen

    Of course, we are all conceived and born in sin — totally depraved — and no one can “choose” to be virtuous as God would have us. Homosexuality is a sin and a crime as God defines it in His Word, and only God can defeat the abomination of Homosexuality in anyone’s life. Through the Means of Grace, by Repentance & Faith in Christ, all sinners can be Saved and become Princes of God in His Kingdom.

  • Fr. Philip Mullen

    Of course, we are all conceived and born in sin — totally depraved — and no one can “choose” to be virtuous as God would have us. Homosexuality is a sin and a crime as God defines it in His Word, and only God can defeat the abomination of Homosexuality in anyone’s life. Through the Means of Grace, by Repentance & Faith in Christ, all sinners can be Saved and become Princes of God in His Kingdom.


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