I’m sure Martin Luther would be thrilled…

Posted: August 21, 2009 by datechguy in catholic
Tags: , , ,

…with the decision to allow gay clergy to no longer be celibate in the Lutheran Church.

The nation’s largest Lutheran denomination took openly gay clergy more fully into its fold Friday, as leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to lift a ban that prohibited sexually active gay and lesbian people from serving as ministers.

Under the new policy, individual ELCA congregations will be allowed to hire homosexuals as clergy as long as they are in a committed relationships. Until now, gays and lesbians had to remain celibate to serve as clergy.

Hey this was just what he was envisioning when he broke away from us Roman Catholics all those centuries ago starting the reformation and all that.

So now the Lutherans have endorsed specific biblical sin among clergy I say good luck to you guys.

Meanwhile if you are a Lutheran who actually takes Christianity seriously that old Roman Catholic Church that Martin decided wasn’t good enough before is still there.

We’d be pleased to welcome you in.

Oh and the American Papist notes another one of those coincidences that my friend Brian insists means nothing:

To be clear, it was not a “possible tornado,” it was an actual tornado. Local blogger Orate Fratres has pictures of the toppled steeple , and describes the event as one of those “things that make you go hmmm…”.

I mean, I don’t remember the Council of Trent being plagued by local meteorological disasters.

Yup just another coincidence.

Lutheran blog Not alone is not happy

When people say that they will agree to disagree, what they are saying is that they do not count these matters as important enough to press to the point that the other person is left with only two possible responses: either to abandon the belief that has been erroneously held and to come into agreement with the truth; or to reject what the other person believes and to reject the person who presses it as absolute truth.

This kind of conviction regarding what is believed is completely abandoned when people agree to disagree. Such an agreement is an agreement that the areas of disagreement really do not matter beyond being the expression of one’s personal opinion. Therefore the two parties can continue to be friends in the agreement that these matters are not of any real importance. They have agreed that there is nothing so important as to argue to the point of absolute agreement, and so they absolutely agree that nothing is to be absolutely rejected.

I, for one, do not agree.

I’ve looked at 20 or more different Lutheran blogs and this is the only one that seems to have even noticed the conference let alone the ruling.

I’ll check some more after supper.

UPDATE this post is now huge so I’ll add the More button here.
Update: A lot of those links aren’t working I’m going through them alphabetically:

Balaam’s Ass is not happy:

Unless God intervenes by His grace, these proposals will be passed. The ELCA will then join the Episcopal Church in its further apostasy.

But who is surprised? It’s like Jenga: you can remove one or two or even a few blocks, but eventually the weight cannot be sustained. The only thing that remains unresolved is, what will pastors and members of ELCA congregations who oppose the recommendations now do?

I’d say he would make a better Catholic than a lot of Catholics I know.

Cyberstones has an interesting perspective:

But I write it now because I see such fear in the ELCA. The reports I’ve read of their regrettable decision to move further from what God has established and given us in sexuality are filled with admonitions from the bishops and leaders that their church is shrinking and they are dying. This regrettable and shameful decision sounds to me like an act of desperation. If they don’t go along with the devil, they’ll be no church at all. I wish I could have been there to comfort them with the angels word that they need not fear, that the Lord will provide, that the Church has not always grown or prospered in an outward way in every age.

His bottom line is much like the old hymn: Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust still the love of the Lord will stand…

The Reverend Charles Lehmann educates us on the different branches of Lutherans.

All too often, when the ELCA takes significant actions like this, headlines across the country read something along the lines of, “Lutherans approve same-sex unions.” It is important for people to know that the ELCA does not represent all Lutherans in America. Though the ELCA is the largest Lutheran church body in the United States, they are also the most liberal theologically.

Many Lutheran church bodies such as the Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Wisconsin Synod (WELS), and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) still hold to the biblical teaching regarding homosexual relationships. We, along with the Holy Scriptures (Lev. 18, Rom. 1, 1 Cor. 6, and others), teach that the practice of homosexuality is sin. We also teach that marriage between members of the same sex is not legitimate marriage.

I must confess I didn’t know this. I guess there is still an alternative if you don’t want to come back to Rome. We’d still take you of course.

Old Solar isn’t happy but doesn’t sound all that upset:

The debate itself was better than I expected it to be, on both sides. The liberal side did not convince me, but there was a near absence of certain kinds of arguments I would have expected. That much was nice. I would have little problem going to church with any of the people who spoke on either side.

Living with the resolution will be more of a challenge. I did not join my congregation because it was a member of the ELCA. I joined it because it was nearby and surprisingly solid. Questions of affiliation will no doubt come up. I am not clear whether this resolution has any teeth that could be used against my congregation, or whether it merely allows other congregation to pursue their own courses. If the latter, we probably have some time to ponder.

Sounds like the Church of Laodecia to me.

Father Hollywood hasn’t commented yet but looking at his blog it will be interesting to see what he eventually says considering this statement on congregation shopping:

This is another reason for you to settle in to a congregation. How can you “obey your leaders, and submit to them” if you are bouncing hither and yon? It would be like a corporal jumping from army to army every time he receives an order he doesn’t feel like obeying, or encounters an officer he doesn’t want to submit to. You are currently unable to do what our Lord bids you to do in Heb 13:17.

It would seem to me that if a particular church is teaching sin then this statement not withstanding you might want to shop for another church.

So far I’m seeing a lot of faithful Christians in terms of what I’m reading that’s always a pleasure.

Helmets Required II has this to say:

There is no middle ground on this issue. Sadly, this action demonstrates that the ELCA is outside the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church to the extent that it has embraced this false teaching.

What should we Lutherans do who do not share this view?

Pray for the ELCA that it may faithfully return to God’s Word.

Be clear about what we believe as Lutheran Christians who do not share the ELCA’s opinions on this issue. To do this, it is good familiarize yourselves with the basic truths of God’s Word regarding homosexuality. The pamphlet “What About Homosexuality” offers an excellent overview. These will be available in the narthex within the next week.

Pretty Good. Ironically that would be the same suggested action for any Catholic concerning the Lutheran Church in general.

Incarnatus est ironically refers to of all things the Catholic Blog first thoughts for commentary:

Last year the ELCA reported a loss 76,000 members and 52 congregations. Earlier this year church officials eliminated thirty-five staff positions at the denomination’s Chicago headquarters, and were forced to cut $2.4 million from the budget. Informed observers—uh, that would be me—foresee a possible loss of 300 to 500 congregations over the next three to five years as a result of the convention action.

He suspects the same effect as I do although with a lot less snark.

Ichabod doesn’t seem happy, but basically quotes news stories.

So far through the Letter “I” of the list I have, no sign of a blogger happy about this.

Pastor Kozak: Doesn’t believe in coincidence either:

However, just as the convention was preparing to vote, and just as one of their large churches was preparing to host a service in support of this apostasy, a tornado hit. Yes, a tornado hit. The church in question was damaged, and the ELCA convention center was hit. Nobody was injured, but it does look to me like God, who had been denied a vote, cast one anyway.

Lutherans and Procreation has no comment yet but notes the action. They do have a related comment on the subject in a recent post:

Perhaps the best way to understand this new movement is to understand it as a natural consequence of subverting marriage. We have largely normalized adultery, serialized marriage, separated marriage from reproduction and childbearing, and accepted divorce as a mechanism for liberation. Once this happens, boundary after boundary falls as sexual regulation virtually disappears among those defined as “consenting adults.”

I guess Steve Chapman didn’t ask him.

Laughing Martin isn’t laughing:

Does all of this sound all too sadly familiar? If so, why? When will we have had enough? And why did congregations and pastors who consider themselves to be Lutheran ever buy into this chicanery in the first place?

Oddly enough, a former U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, may give us a clue. He once wrote, “Every collectivist revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of ‘emergency’. It was the tactic of Lenin, Hitler, and Mussolini. . . . And ‘emergency’ became the justification of the subsequent steps. This technique of creating emergency is the greatest achievement that demagoguery attains.”

He’s right of course but considering the economy Hoover quotes aren’t going to be popular these days.

Northwoods Seelsorger has been following all this weeks actions:

This is hardly surprising, given the previous “full communion agreements” with the Reformed, the UCC, and the Episcopalians. But again, it shows their total disregard for the doctrinal heritage of the Lutheran church, especially our teaching regarding the Lord’s Supper.

As a fellow Christian I feel bad for him but all of this reeks of Irony to a Roman Catholic.

Outer Rim Territories has two excellent Sublinks the first to one to Bioethike who sees a deeper issue:

I would suggest that the central question facing our brothers and sisters in the ELCA is this: Having rejected God’s Word in Scripture, are we now to reject God’s Word in creation?

Colleagues from my side of the aisle, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, as well as other conservative commentators, will surely pillory the ELCA regarding this matter regardless what the Assembly decides (”I can’t believe they did that!” or “They should have never let it get this far!”). But I fear what my colleagues will not do is get to the root of the problem. In typical fashion, they will limit themselves to arguing on two fronts: for biblical authority and against homosexuality. They won’t seek to understand that the problem goes much deeper.

We’re not talking simply about the Bible and its do’s or don’ts. We’re talking about God’s Word in nature. Natural Law. The meaning and purposes of marriage. Why God created male and female in the first place. The proper roles of men and women. All that stuff we used to talk about as Lutherans, but now we talk about it in so very, very different ways.

his second link is to a blog called Four and Twenty Blackbirds whose commentary is pretty good as well:

We Lutherans need to keep in mind what we confess about not only the Church but also about the Sacraments (especially Holy Communion – which is, by definition, communal) lest we fall into the trap of individualism and reducing the mysteries of God to intellectual knowledge or Bible trivia.

The eternal heavenly banquet, the marriage feast of the Lamb is not a self-centered buffet where you take what you want (and believe what you want), at your own convenience and according to your individual tastes and wants; nor is it a lonely mouthful of once-frozen industrial grog from a microwave oven, served in a PVC “dish,” eaten alone hunched over a computer screen. No indeed! It is a glorious banquet eaten with all the faithful in the presence of the One who feeds us! The Lord has armies of servants – both there in eternity and here on earth – who serve the Lord’s people.

Pretty good stuff but the “believe what you want” business does move the RCIM (Roman Catholic Irony Meter)

Past elder post Vatican II for Lutherans did get a grin out of me:

Once again, the calendar, lectionary and ordo of Vatican II all miss the mark, even of its own intended reform, the product not of the Christian church but one denomination headed by an office bearing the marks of Anti-Christ — regardless of its current occupancy by a nice and learned German guy — and now the common property of all heterodox liturgical churches in the West, utterly irrelevant to Christ’s Church and therefore should be utterly irrelevant to Lutherans.

Yeah after all those Roman Catholics have pushed all those denominations in joining them in accepting birth control, abortion, divorce, gay marriage, woman priests, abandoning sacraments…Oh wait.

It looks like Paredwka got out just in time

Satis Est’s post is classic:

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
And they answered him, “Well, it appears that there isn’t a consensus yet among the crowds. Herod seems to think that you are John the Baptist come back from the dead; so I would stay out of Galilee for the foreseeable future if I were you. Others say Elijah; but you don’t really look the part, and your diet is too rich for that to be a good description. And still others say one of the prophets. Jeremiah seems to be the prophet that gets mentioned most often, especially after that rant in the Temple; but we’ve also heard Amos. Thomas heard you compared to Micah; Simon even heard someone think you were Zephaniah, but I think that is a dark horse. So there really isn’t agreement on this as of yet.”
John piped in, “We’ve been concerned about this, actually, because your image is becoming diffuse and confusing to the crowds. Your public personna needs sharpening. “

If you don’t click on any of the other links in this post click on this one. It’s the best of the batch.

Watersblogged gives some history and concludes thusly:

It has been said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Well, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is no longer merely neither evangelical nor Lutheran. Pannenberg is exactly right: it is also no longer the Church.

So what should Christians who remain members of ELCA congregations do? Simple: everything in their power to get their congregations out of the ELCA, just as soon as proves feasible. And the moment it becomes clear that getting their congregations to leave the ELCA is itself not feasible, it is their absolute duty before God to leave those congregations. As long as they remain members of them, their public witness- whether or not this is their intention- is of support for the abominations which took place in Minneapolis this week.

Resqrev is very blunt:

As of yesterday, this Church body left the ranks of historic Christianity, is no longer catholic (as their teaching now deviates from what the Church has always believed, taught and confessed) and have ranked themselves as a sect. The ELCA is apostate.

and elaborates:

The Church cannot—must not—redefine what the Word of God says. We cannot simply ignore or explain away those parts of the Scriptures that don’t sit well with us. Certainly cultures change, but the doctrine of the Word of God cannot change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever”… remember that?

And finally Weedon’s blog (which provided the link to resqrev above) notes Canada’s reaction:

Lutheran Church–Canada desires to reach out with the Gospel to everyone, including the homosexual, to provide real healing of the person, so that their lives may begin to reflect the holiness God desires of all of His people. Those who may have such inclinations and who struggle against them are welcome in our churches, will receive forgiveness of their sins, and may serve in the office of ministry. Those who flout the clear Word of God, refuse to call sin what it is, and who seek to justify their behaviour, disqualify themselves from the office and indeed put their eternal salvation in jeopardy.

We recognize that our view is decidedly counter-cultural, but we know that we must continue to maintain the clear teaching of the Scriptures. We regret the decision of the ELCA, which, even by its own admission in its resolutions at this convention, goes against everything the Scriptures clearly teach and which the church has confirmed over the last 2000 years and even before.

So out of every Lutheran blog I found that was not password protected not a single one liked the changes. For the fun of it I checked Andrew Sullivan’s blog but apparently he is on vacation this week and his guest bloggers didn’t mention it, although they did have a post on Gay Marriage supporting it.

I really feel bad for the bloggers above, from what I can read they are pretty good Christians and don’t deserve the trouble they are now in.

Hey ELCA I’ll make a deal with you. We Roman Catholics will happily take all these people above who don’t agree with you and we’ll trade you Andrew Sullivan and any of his guest bloggers who claim Roman Catholicism.

Update 3: Don Surber notes the rather public comment from a Lutheran pastor.

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  2. Thanks for mentioning my blog. And for your prayers for all disobedient Augustinians.
    Robert at bioethike.com

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  4. Bob Waters says:

    I think you miss the point- a rather important one, which invalidates your premise.

    The ELCA isn’t Lutheran, and never has been. Subscription to the Confessions has always been optional at best, and none of the solas are taken seriously there. Nor, even if it be granted that their claiming the label “Lutheran” makes them that anymore than calling a dog Elizabeth makes it the Queen of England, is the ELCA identical with the Lutheran church. There are plenty of us in Missouri, the ELS, WELS, the ACLC and other bodies which are absolutely unaffected by the formalization of the ELCA’s apostasy.

    The only ones who are “in trouble” are the faux Lutherans in the ELCA. Most of us Lutheran bloggers you quote in this post are not members of that outfit. And as to returning to Rome, as soon as you guys repeal Trent’s anathema against the Pauline doctrine of justification and yourselves return to the faith of the Apostles, we won’t hesitate.

    After all, we didn’t leave the Catholic church. You guys kicked us out.

  5. […] the same “coincidental” effect we need go no further back then a few months ago…to August 21st. To Wit: The inverted Cross atop Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis dangled from the steeple on […]