Sunday, August 23, 2009
ELCA Ordain Active Homosexuals
August 23, 2009
The Lord be with you
In the Herald-Journal newspaper (the main newspaper in Spartanburg, SC), an article appeared yesterday reporting on the decision of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to allow active homosexual individuals in “publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships” to become fully ordained members of their clergy (the vote was about 55% for and 45% against). In the mid-west “heartland” of Lutheranism, everyone would know that the ELCA is not the only American denomination calling itself “Lutheran.” In the “salt-water” districts we are not so blessed with informed non-Lutherans in our communities, so confusion can exist as to what we believe, teach and confess.
I am a pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LC-MS), the second largest American denomination bearing the name “Lutheran.” The church I serve, Lamb of God, is an LC-MS congregation. We do not ordain individuals commonly identified as homosexual. We believe the Bible teaches that such activity is outside the will of God, and therefore sinful.
Now we are all sinners (1 John 1:8). To deny this would be to call God a liar (1 John 1:10). But it is one thing to recognize yourself as a sinner and battle against that sin by the grace of God, and quite another thing to embrace one’s sin. The former sinner receives God’s grace and forgiveness, the later receives neither for they deem themselves not in need of forgiveness and grace (at least in reference to the embraced sin). For them, it is like asking for forgiveness for praying, singing a hymn, loving their spouse, etc. Such activities are not sinful; why would you ask for forgiveness? Those who voted for this resolution are like the hardened criminal who can’t see that what he did was wrong and therefore doesn’t see a need to repent.
My heart goes out to the many in the ELCA who do not support this resolution (my guess is somewhere around 2 million!). They are in my prayers in this troubling time. My heart goes out to the hundreds and hundreds of committed, caring pastors in the ELCA who do not support this resolution. They have difficult decisions ahead of them. They will be in my prayers. My heart also goes out to the many people who support this resolution. They will also be in my prayers, that they may repent (I know they don’t think they have anything of which to repent), and move back towards the 2,000-year-old consensus view of the Church Universal. My heart also goes out to the many people who have been deceived by current American culture into thinking that engaging in homosexual activity is a God-pleasing option. They too are in my prayers. May the Lord open their eyes to His Culture, a Culture that will last for all eternity!
Blessings in Christ
Pastor John Rickert
We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
P.S. If you would like to read the message Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, President of the LC-MS, gave at the ELCA convention after their vote, click here.