Friday, August 21, 2009

ELCA's Tragic Day


The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has voted to fully sanction and support the ordination of and installation of practicing homosexuals. The official resolution says that the church is committed to help and support pastors and lay people - "accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church" - that is to say "as long as you are sodomizing consistently then you are doing great work!"


This is a pretty bizarre proceeding. Homosexuality is addressed and condemned consistently in the scriptures - (Gen. 19:4-29, Lev. 20:13, Mark 10:7, 1st Cor. 6:9-10, Rom. 1:26-27) – never is there an allowance for it – rather a call for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Homosexual acts are condemned in early Christian writings from 250 AD onwards; such as in the Didache, Justin Martyr, Clemet of Alexandria, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Aristides, Cyprian, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrystostom, St. Augustine of Hippo, canon law, the Apostolic Constitutions, and Eusebius Caesarea’s statement which condemns the “union of women with women and men with men.”


The problem today in the church is not just an inability to speak honestly about homosexuality, but has more to do with despising God’s gift of marriage and sexuality itself. The problem is exchanging the truth of God for a lie and dishonoring our bodies. Shameless acts of homosexuality are just as perverse as despising marriage and pursuing heterosexual exploitations. The law must be preached. Sin must be uncovered, acknowledged and confessed. And the church must be ready to preach the radical nature of the Gospel to those who are sorry for their sins and desire Christ’s forgiveness – for the healing of their bodies – and a heavenly resurrection.


The church is the place for real sinners with real sin – for those who have sexual sin – those who have sinned against others and for those who have been sinned against. It is not true pastoral or Christian spiritual care to deny God’s heavenly revelation against all ungodliness and sexual sin. When we deny that sin is real – as to its origin and affects – we let the sin fester, smolder, and burrow into the Christian conscience. We cannot alleviate, remove, or forgive sin by denying that it is in fact sin. The effects of sexual sin are real – experienced physically (std’s), physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually. The Christian community cannot hide from sin or exegete it away “Did God really say?” (Gn. 3:1).


God really did grant Adam a helper. He really does desire that husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church – through all trials and tribulations – unto death – ‘death do us part.’ Homosexual acts are really condemned throughout the scriptures. But whats more is that God really became man to restore the crooked and contrite – to destroy wickedness and the power of the devil and to turn us from our sin. When we deny the destructive nature of sexual sin – deny that sin is in fact sin, we deny the real Christ who came to die for it – rob him of his glory and honor.


The decision of the ELCA to further separate themselves from the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and Christ’s spoken Word is just plain sad and tragic. However, I confess - I personally feel tempted toward a pharisaical attitude, “I thank you that I am not like them (ELCA).” The problem however, is that we share a similar deafness toward God’s precious gift of marriage and sexuality. While conservatives have a rather unified voice against homosexuality, they tend to lack one when it comes to shaping and articulating a theology of the body. Sexual promiscuity and our cultural rejection of the holy order of marriage is just as tragic and saddening as any ELCA resolution. “Lord have mercy on us” ought to be our prayer - for we all stand guilty. We pray that Christ might strengthen us in his Word, turn us from our sin, and enlighten us with his gifts - restoring us to sexual purity and holiness in the forgiveness of sins.

I have written more here
(painting at top by Berthe Morisot 1888 "Woman at her toilete")

2 comments:

  1. Hello, Michael! Your grandmother Cheryll gave me the info on your journey into the ministry and on your blog (I'm Ron's daughter). How refreshing to read such Truth from a young man!

    I just wanted you to know that I agree with you, and I am inspired by your adherence to the Word, as well as your correct perspective on all of us being sinners, and also our potential for behaving (or being perceived)like Pharisees. I am grateful to know that you are a brother in the Lord, and hope that our paths will cross someday whether in ministry or family.

    I hope that you will press on boldly and lovingly!

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