A part of the Lutheran church, the ECLA, appears to have gone the same way as a branch of the Anglicans (Episcopalians) by voting last month for homosexuals to be allowed to practice homosexuality within the church and still function as pastors, etc. as long as they are committed to life-long monogomous relationships.
Here are the actual points as they were voted:
2. “Resolved, that the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.” Approved with 61 percent of the vote.
3. “Resolved, that the ELCA commit itself to finding a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church.” Approved with 55 percent of the vote.
4. And that the church will respect the bound consciences of those who disagree; affirm “structured flexibility” in candidacy decisions and the extending of calls; eliminate the prohibition of rostered service for those members who are in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship; development of appropriate guidelines and amendments; to trust established process and those entrusted to carry them out. Approved with 68 percent of the vote.
John Piper at his Desiringgod.org site reports that, curiously, on the day of voting a tornado appeared and seemed to have damaged a bit of the building where everything was taking place. Although I don’t think every tornado out there is God’s judgement or an act of God, something about this particular one is very peculiar.
That aside, I just don’t understand why loving gay people means that I should accept their sexual life as approved by God? If practicing homosexuality is a sin, then it is the same as lying, for example, and are we suddenly not able to love someone if they’re perpetual liars? And are we unloving towards them for calling what they are doing morally wrong and hurtful to themselves and others?
Surely the whole point of Jesus saying we should love each other and our neighbour is that we love DESPITE what people do rather than because of what they do? But the argument for homosexuality here is saying “love me because of what I do, because this is who I am”.
I don’t love anyone like that, not even myself. If I did then it wouldn’t be unconditional love, would it? It would be quite conditional. And Jesus exhorts us to love unconditionally.
I have to love myself despite all the sins I do both to myself and others. That’s what unconditional love is. So if I say “practicing homosexuality is a sin” is that the same as saying “I hate you?” Of course not. But yet that’s what I keep hear people saying and I’m getting upset about it because it really makes no sense whatsoever.
Since when does someone’s particular struggle in life line up with their identity, especially since the identity of Christian’s is found in Christ – not in our struggles but in God Himself? Alcoholics are struggling with alcohol, they weren’t born alcoholics but may have had numerous things happen to them which caused them to make certain decisions that made them addicted to alcohol. So what? We all have our own struggles. In God we can deal with them.
Fortunately for me I know a few gay people now and almost every single one of them are very suspicious over my motives when I love them and treat them the same as everyone else. They seem to find it difficult to relate to me and as a result I just don’t seem to be able to strike up good friendships with them, even though I’m trying.
It seems to me that they don’t seem to understand that when I openly say “having sex with the same gender is a sin” I am not saying “I hate you and you’re going to hell.” Why the heck would it?
Sometimes it even feels as if I’m having the eyes of judgement from others on me, that there is a self-righteousness that says, “hey, I accept homosexual sex as accepted by God. I’m WAY more righteous than you bro.”
Some people seem to think that if you are saying that homosexuality is a sin like lying then we’re calling homosexuals liars and robbers and thieves, which is unfair. To be honest, I’m a liar and robber and thief too but Jesus died for my sins so that I can die to them and live for Him. We’re ALL liars and robbers and thieves, didn’t anyone read Romans 3? Hasn’t someone missed the whole point here?
The unfortunate thing is once the Lutheran church has made this step it becomes incredibly difficult to undo it. They should rather have sought to be strict about their disciplinary methods, perhaps, ensuring these were more loving and gentle and reconciliatory.
About Ryan Peter
Ryan Peter is a writer, journalist and ghostwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes fantasy, sci-fi, inspirational fiction, and on faith. Ryan is also part of the New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) translocal team.