Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ELCA services attack ‘bound consciences’ of those who uphold Biblical teaching on sexuality

Services receiving persons who are in same-sex sexual relationships as ELCA pastors have included attacks on the “bound consciences” of those who uphold Biblical teaching on sexual behavior.

Even though the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly committed the ELCA to “respect the bound consciences of all,” recent worship services receiving the new ELCA pastors have included “confessions” stating that holding the traditional teaching of the Christian Church on sexual ethics is sinful.

ELCA officials claim that holding a traditional understanding of Biblical teaching on homosexual behavior is still an acceptable perspective within the church body. If so, these synod services do not show respect for the “bound consciences” of those who hold what the ELCA claims is a recognized and faithful perspective on Scripture.

In leading or authorizing these “confessions,” ELCA synod leaders imply that they believe that those who uphold traditional Christian teaching are persisting in “sin” and in need of correction.

The Sept. 18 “Rite of Reception” service of the St. Paul (Minn.) Area Synod opened with the Rev. Herbert Chilstrom, former presiding bishop of the ELCA, leading the congregation in a “confession” that recounted the sins of the ELCA regarding its former teaching and practice regarding same-sex sexual relationships. Chilstrom has been a longtime vocal advocate of change in ELCA teaching and policy.

“We have dishonored faithful covenants and withheld from families the respect that they deserve. We continue to debate the worthiness of sanctioning couples whose unions are legally recognized and whose lives are intrinsically rooted through the longstanding fidelity of bonds of parenthood,” Chilstrom said.

“We have used Scripture as a tool of discrimination. . . . We have encour-aged violence, promoted invisibility, and rewarded lies,” the congregation responded using words printed in the order of service.

“We have disciplined, censured and expelled when we could have listened, learned and included,” Chilstrom said. “We have studied God’s people, withholding justice so long that count-less died believing their identities and relationships were not worthy of blessing by the church that baptized them.”

“We have seen an oppressive policy overturned. We have witnessed the removal of twin yokes of censure and expulsion. We have seen joy on the faces of synod officials who are now released to do the work of the gospel,” Chilstrom said.

The Sierra Pacific Synod’s “Rite of Reception” service, July 25 in San Francisco, Calif., included a similar “confession.”

Synod Bishop Mark Holmerud began the service by “confessing” the sins of “our church” against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. “Our church of the reformation has been too long captive to bias and misinformation,” he said.

The bishop then read a litany of the church’s sins including:

“We have not respected the gift of sexuality . . . We have not honored faithful and loving promises, mar-riages, and covenantal relationships. We have not acted quickly enough for some who have died and have not made it to this day. . . . We have betrayed fellow members of the body of Christ because of cultural prejudice. We have misused Scripture as a tool of discrimination. We have forced celibacy upon too many . . . We have promoted invisibility and dishonesty. . . . We have intimidated and disciplined, censured and expelled.”

The “Rite of Reception” services have also included elements that many Lutherans would find offensive or even heretical. These elements demonstrate that some of the practicing gay and lesbian persons being received as ELCA pastors and some synod bishops may deviate from Biblical and traditional expressions and understandings of the Christian faith.

Biblical language for God — including the word Lord and the Triune name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, — was removed from parts of liturgies.

Both synods included options for the Lord’s Prayer that included calling God “Mother” rather than “Our Father.”

The Minnesota service began the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father Mother God in heaven.” The California service included as one of the options for the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer from the “goddess rosary” that begins, “Our Mother who is within us.”

Video of the services is available online.


Recovering Lutheran said...

Why should this surprise anyone? The ELCA's new god of political activism is a jealous god.

James Young said...

And you believed them when they talked about "bound conscience"?!?!

Shame on you!

Melanchthon said...

We wont be "tolerated" much longer. That's my prediction.

Thomas of Pennsylvania said...

Peace Be With You

You cannot expect someone to know they have gotten off the path if they never knew where the path was in the first place.

A recent Pew Forum study(link below)shows that Atheist/Agnostics did better on a basic biblical knowledge survey than Mormons, Jews and Evangelical Protestants.

Obviously, atheists and agnostics feel strongly about knowing what they don't believe. If only supposed Christians felt the same about what they claim to believe

Anonymous said...

Would an outsider to these services see the language used as an affront to orthodoxy or merely an attempt to recognize past failures of the ELCA to be inclusive and welcoming to all of God's children?
I recognize in the discussion the validity of St Paul's admonition that we see through a glass dimly. The cloudy glass is often our own hermeneutic and a desire to see the world through our own set of beliefs, desires and experiences.

Andre' said...

I see the ELCA national leadership as drivers slowly driving the church to a massive split.
Keep up the political correctness and speed up the drive

Anonymous said...

Nothing like two groups, each convinced they are right,and each with a different understanding of the Bible, to create a schism. It's unfortunate that the details life on earth can split and even the eternal promise of the cross cannot heal it. As Christians we were able to heal after the debate on ordination of women, mixed marriage, statements on abortion, etc, but not this one issue.
Maybe the Devil is truly in the details after all.

Anonymous said...

1 Corinthians 6:12-20. These people don't worry about how they are impacting my faith, they care not how they hurt us who believe in the "traditional understanding" of homosexuality and the Bible. They care about themselves. Not most Lutherans and Christians.

God will judge, but shame on them. They are selfish.

Anonymous said...

Romans 14:21. And, if they believe the Bible, which they don't, then they would still refrain from all of their actions; recognizing that this action only makes us "weaker brothers and sisters," those who are not, apparently, enlightened as they are, stumble and cause us pain.

But our pain is not relevant.

They are triumphant now, they glory in their own works, not recognizing the serious pain they have caused to many life long Lutherans, like me

NYlutheran said...

Have you noticed that the "bound concious" heresy is driven by white elites. They knew that minority congregations with strong traditional beliefs would be forced to leave the ELCA. Now that is happening from Arizona to New York, and to Puerto Rico. Could Chilstrom and his cronies be racist as well as heretical?