Published 9:19 am on August 25, 2009

Wisconsin’s Lutheran chief regrets ELCA decision on gay clergy

The president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) publicly expressed his disappointment Monday with the decision to expand the denomination’s clerical ranks to gays and lesbians in long-term monogamous relationships.

Rev. Mark Schroeder said the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was mistaken in allowing the expansion of rights during its national convention last week in Minneapolis.

“To view same-sex relationships as acceptable to God is to place cultural viewpoint and human opinions above the clear Word of God,” Schroeder said. “The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, along with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and other smaller Lutheran synods, maintains and upholds the clear teaching of the Bible that homosexuality is not in keeping with God’s design and is sinful in God’s eyes.”

At the same time, Schroeder says WELS congregations stand ready to support those struggling with same-sex attractions.

“As with any sin, it is the church’s responsibility to show love and compassion to sinners, not by condoning or justifying the sin, but by calling the sinner to repent and by assuring the sinner that there is full forgiveness in Jesus Christ,” Schroeder says.

WELS, with about 390,000 members and nearly 1,300 congregations nationwide, is the third largest Lutheran church body in the United States.

Schroeder says that WELS is firmly committed to upholding God’s design for marriage as outlined in Scripture-a design intended for one man and one woman.

“We believe, and the Bible teaches, that God designed this relationship to be a blessing for men and women and for society. Any departure from what God himself has designed does two things: it denies the clear teachings of Scriptures and it undermines God’s desire that the man/woman relationship in marriage be a blessing.”

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod:

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