Missouri Synod Lutherans denounce ELCA gay clergy stand

The president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) issued a statement Monday deeply critical of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and its acceptance of gay clergy. The Missouri Synod is the second largest Lutheran body in the United States with 2.4 million members, second only to ELCA’s 4.8 million members. ELCA voted to allowed gays and lesbians in committed long-term relationships to serve as clergy with a vote last Friday at its national conference in Minneapolis. Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick said ELCA’s vote is contrary to the synod’s biblical interpretation. “The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has repeatedly affirmed as its own position the historical understanding of the Christian church that the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as ‘intrinsically sinful.’ It is therefore contrary to the will of the Creator and constitutes sin against the commandments of God,” Kieschnick said. In 2001 the LCMS said ELCA was no longer a “orthodox Lutheran body” because of earlier doctrinal decisions. “Sadly, the decisions of this past week to ignore biblical teaching on human sexuality have reinforced that conclusion. We respect the desire to follow conscience in moral decision making, but conscience may not overrule the Word of God,” Kieschnick said. He also offered support to ELCA members opposed to the extension of clerical considerations. “We recognize that many brothers and sisters within the ELCA, both clergy and lay, are committed to remaining faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, are committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, and strongly oppose these actions,” Kieschnick said . “To them we offer our assurance of loving encouragement together with our willingness to provide appropriate support in their efforts to remain faithful to the Word of God and the historic teachings of the Lutheran church and all other Christian churches for the past 2,000 years.” As Scriptural underpinnings to his argument, Kieschnick referred to the following verses: • Leviticus 18:22-24 • Leviticus 20:13 • 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 • 1 Timothy 1:9-10 • Romans 1:26-27 Links: Gerald Kieschnick’s address to the ELCA assembly: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=15620

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