ELCA NEWS SERVICE
July 13, 2010
LCMS Convention Responds to 2009 ELCA Human Sexuality Decisions
HOUSTON (ELCA) -- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Convention adopted two resolutions July 13 related to the sexuality actions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). One resolution commended earlier responses to the ELCA’s actions and the other offered support to "confessional Lutheranism at home and abroad."
The resolutions were adopted overwhelmingly and without comment by nearly 1,200 voting delegates attending the convention at the George R. Brown Convention center here. Both were offered to the convention by Floor Committee 3, which is managing matters related to theology and LCMS church relations.
In 2009 the ELCA Churchwide Assembly created the possibility for clergy and other professional church workers in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve in the church. In April of this year, the ELCA Church Council, the church’s board of directors and interim legislative authority between assemblies, finalized policy changes, putting them into effect.
The 2009 ELCA assembly also adopted a social statement on human sexuality.
LCMS Resolution 3-01A, adopted by a vote of 1133-35, or 97 percent, commended a statement of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), "Same-Gender Relationships and the Church" for study and reference by LCMS members. The LCMS is a member of the ILC.
It also commended an earlier statement, "Theological Implications of the 2009 ELCA Decisions," prepared by a task force appointed by the Rev. Gerald B. Kieschnick, LCMS president, for study and reference by members.
Quoting from both statements, the resolution acknowledged that LCMS members should extend Christian love and compassion to people who are gay and lesbian. The resolution also affirmed the LCMS position that homosexual behavior is sinful.
In response to the convention's actions, the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, ELCA executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations, said in a statement, that "it is important to share some basics from the ELCA social statement,’Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust.’"
"The ELCA social statement was developed from a Scriptural and Lutheran theological understanding. It responds to the question ‘How do we understand human sexuality within the context of Jesus’ invitation to love God and love our neighbor?’ McCoid said. "In the social statement, there is an affirmation of marriage as being a covenant of mutual promises, commitment and hope authorized legally by the state and blessed by God."
"The historic Christian tradition and the Lutheran Confessions have recognized marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman," McCoid’s statement said."The social statement also acknowledges that there are differing conclusions on the basis of biblical and theological interpretation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America regarding same gender life-long relationships. The ELCA continues to be committed to theological and biblical conversation with all Christians on moral and ethical concerns."
LCMS Resolution 3-02A, regarding confessional Lutheranism, was adopted 1093-61 or 94 percent. It called for the LCMS to "earnestly pray for her brothers and sisters in the ELCA, including those who have departed from biblical and Christian understanding." It asked that the ELCA reconsider its actions on human sexuality.
The resolution provided support to other Lutheran church bodies as they strive to remain faithful to confessional Lutheranism, and it commended groups that have opposed the ELCA’s decisions. It also asked that the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations "to continue to develop plans for confessional leadership by sponsoring an international model theological conference on confessional leadership in the 21st century."
The ELCA churchwide organization did not comment on the resolution.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org