Robert Gagnon: What Should Faithful Lutherans in the ELCA Do?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a process that gives new meaning to the expression “stacked deck,” the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August 2009 voted to allow for the blessing of homosexual unions and the rostering of pastors in homosexual relationships. I salute the efforts of the renewal group Lutheran CORE, which courageously fought against the homosexualist agenda at the assembly (I had the great privilege of addressing them). Just this past weekend they had a meeting attended by 1200 persons that began the process of defining a new vision and structure for those who recognize the ELCA’s hard-left departure from normative Christian faith and practice.

How should faithful Lutherans—that is, Lutherans who affirm the male-female requirement for sexual unions so important to Jesus and the scriptural witness to him—deal with these new heretical and immoral actions? In particular, do the recent actions of the Churchwide Assembly justify beginning a trajectory that will lead eventually to disaffiliation with the denominational structure known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America? Let me suggest [a way]....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Posted September 30, 2009 at 6:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Lutheran-MS wrote:

The faithful ELCA Lutherans should leave the E??A, because the ELCA is hardly Lutheran and hardly a Church. They should form a independent Synod and maybe they can come into fellowship with an Anglican group. The ELCA will never go back to what it was in the past. Lutheran theologian Charles Porterfield Krauth said that error comes into the church in three stages. The ELCA is close to stage three.

September 30, 9:12 pm | [comment link]
2. Melanchthon wrote:

Luther Seminary professor and popular speaker (and very popular teacher of laity and clergy) James Nestingen said recently that the ELCA is no longer Evangelical, Lutheran, or a Church. He did say it is in America, so it can keep that initial. The ***A is an organization divided.

September 30, 11:23 pm | [comment link]
3. Harry Edmon wrote:

Meanwhile, the real Lutherans know their Scriptures:

October 1, 1:08 am | [comment link]
4. physician without health wrote:

It is still not clear to me why these folk are not joining LCMS.

October 1, 2:07 am | [comment link]
5. driver8 wrote:

For an interestingly different take by someone who has faced and made the decision to leave (the Episcopal Church) see

October 1, 2:14 am | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#4 Physician

It is still not clear to me why these folk are not joining LCMS.

Reading the loving comments of LCMS people on this and other threads I’m not.

October 1, 7:18 am | [comment link]
7. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Reading the loving comments of LCMS people on this and other threads I’m not.”

Ain’t that the truth! 

My bet?  Those who depart the ELCA onward and wish to identify as Lutheran will create another Lutheran organization.  Reminds me of the Presbyterians—the organization that is growing from the latest influx of departures from the PCUSA is the EPC, not the PCA.

And of course . . . reminds me of what I expect will eventually happen with TEC too.

October 1, 9:28 am | [comment link]
8. Harry Edmon wrote:

I have read many comments by LCMS members like myself on these threads.  I fail to see what is unloving about our comments.  Please enlighten me.
From my perspective, I think there are two main sticking points with members of the ELCA joining the LCMS - Women’s Ordination (LCMS does not) and Close Communion (LCMS does).

October 1, 9:37 am | [comment link]
9. Sarah1 wrote:

Harry, I can’t speak for Pageantmaster . . . but one chooses an organization in part by whether one wishes to make the people of that church one’s constant companions, or not.

Time and again I’ve asked myself this question in regards to Anglican choices: “are these the people I wish to learn from and model myself after?  Do I want to become like them?”

October 1, 10:13 am | [comment link]
10. Don R wrote:

Looking at the work that Lutheran-MS refers to, it is interesting how this “new thing” was so well known and described even over a century ago.  Just read from the last paragraph of p. 195 through the first paragraph of p. 196.  It’s essentially the same as Neuhaus’ Law.  Of course, Neuhaus started out as LCMS, too.

October 1, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
11. dumb sheep wrote:

I’m in a process leading up to membership in a local ELCA congrewgation after leaving TECo.  I’ve already turned in my Committment Sheet. Then the ELCA convention in August.  Our Pastor said anything outside of one-man one-woman marriage is unacceptable.  Outside of traditional marriasge, celibacy is expected.
Members of the church have told me not to worry, the congregation owns the assets and ELCA can’t take them away.  I don’t think they have any idea what lies ahead. The entering wedge has been driven. There is a LCMS parish here and I’ve been there a few times, but don’t feel called in that direction now.  I’m afraid I’ll always be a 1928 PB Christian,even though that’s long gone.
Dumb Sheep.

October 1, 5:01 pm | [comment link]
12. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#11 Prayers that you find a good flock.

October 1, 5:14 pm | [comment link]
13. Ross Gill wrote:

Thank you driver8 (#5) for the article by Rusty Reno.  It’s very helpful for this Anglican who sees staying within the Anglican Church of Canada as an aspect of his vocation in spite of - and maybe now even because of - her apostasies.  His words though directed to the Lutheran context apply just as much to the Anglican one.  As Reno said,

...we need to avoid fixing all of our attention on denominational decisions. Faithful Lutherans pastors need to ask: Does the stupid decision this summer prevent me from preaching the gospel and raising up saints to serve the Lord? Ordinary men and women in the pews need to ask a similar question: Does the decision corrupt my role in the communion of saints? There is no single answer to these questions. But in the main, Yeago is right to observe that-at least today and tomorrow-a faithful synod or local church might be embarrassed or even scandalized, but it can largely continue in the good work it has been doing in the past.

Until the stupid decisions of my denomination’s synods begin to affect how I function as a parish priest I will be staying where I am.

October 1, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
14. Harry Edmon wrote:

Meanwhile the LCMS tries to ride a fine line between objecting to the actions of the ECLA, and yet maintain our joint humanitarian ministries:

President Kisechnick is well aware that there will be a number of overtures sent to the 2010 LCMS Synodical Convention to end all shared ministries with the ELCA.

October 2, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
15. Lutheran-MS wrote:

We should end all ties to the ELCA, they are an apostate church. The LC-MS is doing more harm in working with that church.

October 2, 8:56 pm | [comment link]
16. Harry Edmon wrote:

#15 - unfortunately I think you are correct - the time has come to cut the ties as a witness to their errors.  However, I hope we continue talking about our differences - we may yet convince them.  We have to try.

October 2, 11:08 pm | [comment link]
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