(and going down the Anglican road), ELCA Lutherans are offering quite the spectacle. I don’t anticipate this church being around much longer.
Source: Lutheran CORE
Services receiving persons who are in same-sex sexual relationships as ELCA pastors have included attacks on the “bound consciences” of those who uphold Biblical teaching on sexual behavior.
Even though the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly committed the ELCA to “respect the bound consciences of all,” recent worship services receiving the new ELCA pastors have included “confessions” stating that holding the traditional teaching of the Christian Church on sexual ethics is sinful.
ELCA officials claim that holding a traditional understanding of Biblical teaching on homosexual behavior is still an acceptable perspective within the church body. If so, these synod services do not show respect for the “bound consciences” of those who hold what the ELCA claims is a recognized and faithful perspective on Scripture.
In leading or authorizing these “confessions,” ELCA synod leaders imply that they believe that those who uphold traditional Christian teaching are persisting in “sin” and in need of correction.
The Sept. 18 “Rite of Reception” service of the St. Paul (Minn.) Area Synod opened with the Rev. Herbert Chilstrom, former presiding bishop of the ELCA, leading the congregation in a “confession” that recounted the sins of the ELCA regarding its former teaching and practice regarding same-sex sexual relationships. Chilstrom has been a longtime vocal advocate of change in ELCA teaching and policy.
“We have dishonored faithful covenants and withheld from families the respect that they deserve. We continue to debate the worthiness of sanctioning couples whose unions are legally recognized and whose lives are intrinsically rooted through the longstanding fidelity of bonds of parenthood,” Chilstrom said.
“We have used Scripture as a tool of discrimination. . . . We have encour-aged violence, promoted invisibility, and rewarded lies,” the congregation responded using words printed in the order of service.
“We have disciplined, censured and expelled when we could have listened, learned and included,” Chilstrom said. “We have studied God’s people, withholding justice so long that count-less died believing their identities and relationships were not worthy of blessing by the church that baptized them.”
“We have seen an oppressive policy overturned. We have witnessed the removal of twin yokes of censure and expulsion. We have seen joy on the faces of synod officials who are now released to do the work of the gospel,” Chilstrom said.
The Sierra Pacific Synod’s “Rite of Reception” service, July 25 in San Francisco, Calif., included a similar “confession.”
Synod Bishop Mark Holmerud began the service by “confessing” the sins of “our church” against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. “Our church of the reformation has been too long captive to bias and misinformation,” he said.
The bishop then read a litany of the church’s sins including:
“We have not respected the gift of sexuality . . . We have not honored faithful and loving promises, mar-riages, and covenantal relationships. We have not acted quickly enough for some who have died and have not made it to this day. . . . We have betrayed fellow members of the body of Christ because of cultural prejudice. We have misused Scripture as a tool of discrimination. We have forced celibacy upon too many . . . We have promoted invisibility and dishonesty. . . . We have intimidated and disciplined, censured and expelled.”
The “Rite of Reception” services have also included elements that many Lutherans would find offensive or even heretical. These elements demonstrate that some of the practicing gay and lesbian persons being received as ELCA pastors and some synod bishops may deviate from Biblical and traditional expressions and understandings of the Christian faith.
Biblical language for God — including the word Lord and the Triune name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, — was removed from parts of liturgies.
Both synods included options for the Lord’s Prayer that included calling God “Mother” rather than “Our Father.”
The Minnesota service began the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father Mother God in heaven.” The California service included as one of the options for the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer from the “goddess rosary” that begins, “Our Mother who is within us.”