LCMS President Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick issued the following statement Nov. 20 in response to an announcement by Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) leaders to begin work on a proposal for a new Lutheran church body separate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
“In response to actions taken at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Churchwide Assembly last August, a conservative faction of that church body opted on Wednesday, Nov. 18, to form a new Lutheran denomination. At this summer’s Assembly, ELCA delegates voted to open the ministry of their church body to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in ‘committed relationships.’
“A group of ELCA members and leaders named Lutheran CORE had said in September it would spend a year deciding whether to form a new church body. However, its leaders said Wednesday that the large number of requests from disenfranchised congregations and church members seeking quicker action caused them to step up the pace.
“CORE leaders would not estimate how many congregations and individual members a new denomination might attract, but believe there is deep opposition to the new policy of the ELCA among its members. A committee will begin drafting a constitution and taking other steps to form the yet-unnamed church body with hopes of having the groundwork laid by next August.
“In my address to the ELCA Assembly August 22 (read ELCA address here), I expressed my deep sorrow regarding the Assembly’s actions and warned that its affirmation of same-gender unions and its opening of the ministry to gay and lesbian pastors and workers in ‘committed relationships’ would cause ‘additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA.’ Sadly, this has come to pass.
“We in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod continue to pray for the members, congregations, and leaders of the ELCA and all other denominations facing this issue. As they deliberate and determine future courses of action in the days ahead, we urge them to be guided by the Word of God and the consensus of 2,000 years of Christian theological affirmation regarding what Scripture teaches about human sexuality. We offer this assurance of prayer and encouragement to faithfulness with deep humility and keen awareness of the reliance of all upon the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of our great and holy God.”
Posted Nov. 20, 2009