As the United States Supreme Court deliberates the legality of same-sex marriage, LCMS Lutherans now have an opportunity to participate in a conference on the same topic. DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel, a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS, will host “Speaking the Truth in Love: A Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction and Same-Sex Marriage” Aug. 14-15 in Mundelein, Ill.
The event is more than a “traditional conference,” explained Dr. Beverly Yahnke, DOXOLOGY’s executive director for Christian Counsel. Instead, it will “provide clear tools for pastors to catechize congregations. It will offer strategies and language for principals and teachers to talk with parents in the elementary and high schools. Laity will be provided with confidence to speak about these important matters with others in their church and
community. All will see the need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be woven throughout each and every conversation we may have with those in the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] community.”
Dr. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and founder/director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, will serve as keynote speaker. A prolific writer and public speaker, George is a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He previously served on the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-09) and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1993-98).
Other speakers include the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission; Dr. Gregory P. Schulz, professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, Wis.; and the Rev. Lucas Woodford, senior pastor at Zion Lutheran Church and School, Mayer, Minn.
“Christ’s people have a compelling need to speak His Word that frees souls not only from the guilt of sin, but also its addictive power,” said the Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, DOXOLOGY’S executive director for Spiritual Care.
“This conference will equip pastors, church workers and laity to translate compassion into action that brings hope to our brothers and sisters who see themselves locked in a suffocating box of despair over their attraction to people of the same sex. Specifically, we will help pastors move beyond God’s clear prohibition of homosexual behavior to unfolding the immense power of His forgiveness, life and salvation — thus providing healing and wholeness to people who assume their lives are irretrievably broken. More than that, we will provide pastors with specific guidelines to teach congregations a comprehensive biblical vision for marriage and the family while assisting parents and grandparents to teach and model healthy sexuality to their children and grandchildren.”
The conference will be held at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. For more information or to register, visit doxology.us.
Says Yahnke: “This is a conference of hope, faith and mission!”
GREETINGS: Sound like this is going to be a great chance to learn how to ‘speak truth in love’ to our brothers and sisters who either by ‘nature or nurture’ are attracted to same sex partners. Trouble is those that might be interested in learning more may not be able to get to the conference for various reasons, so, are any plans being made to get your message out to more than those in attendance? I hope so!!!
I’d like to second William’s comment. I can’t make it to the conference, but the content being presented could be of great worth in a High School/Adult Bible Study or Sunday School setting. Thanks for making us aware of the conference!
The funny thing is I have known of my same sex attraction since the age of 4 while, at the same time, living with parents that “model healthy sexuality to their children and grandchildren.” I grew up in a household that is about as Christian/LCMS as one can get. I attended a Lutheran grade school from grades K – 9, memorized Luther’s Catechism, taught Sunday school, and was president of my youth group. I went on to Concordia River Forest/Chicago, was a sound and model student academically and socially, and taught in the Lutheran school system for eleven years – all while trying to “pray the gay away.”
It is/was as easy for me to “choose” being gay as it is/was as easy for someone to choose heterosexuality. Please tell me that it is a choice when I have never had any other option for attraction as the majority of people have never had.
After leaving the Lutheran church with honor and dignity as to not cause any embarrassment neither to myself nor to the congregation, I found myself teaching in a much more inviting and compassionate environment in Oak Park where I did not have to hide behind behind a masquerade of pretending. While not planning or pursuing to thrive in such a community, I do know Someone was looking over me and guiding me into a new direction.
I’ve succeeded in this field throughout my 31 years in education. I have honored the profession of education as much as it has honored me. Awards and accolades have not dodged my efforts, but have fortified and affirmed my call to teach, and, yes, my students and parents throughout those years have met my partner. Let it be known that I am not one, who see themselves locked in a suffocating box of despair over their attraction to people of the same sex.”
In my earlier years, I have taught side by side with gay teachers, gay principals, and gay ministers of the Lutheran church. Some were married – some not, but all struggled in the same I did – effortlessly, because the arrogance of the LCMS (as a body) is far more condemning than that of accepting/forgiving.
I would be anxious to honestly go with an open mind, but please don’t tell me I made a choice, or that this is my burden in life that Christ provided for me. Smoking is choice. Smoking is a lifestyle. Smoking is an addiction. Being who I am, by nature, is not, since I, like everyone else, am made in God’s image. Make sure that anyone who openly smokes and can’t turn away from the addiction is turned down at the communion table, because it is ultimately a sin in the eyes of God. That’s exactly what the minister did in my home congregation (where I was born, baptized, raised, confirmed, and taught) last month while standing next to my sister and father who received communion. Thanks for the judgement. You make being a Lutheran proud. I’ll go where I can be accepted, active, needed, and where I can best serve all of God’s people minus the arrogance.
Thank you for your courageous witness, Jeff Weber. These people are trapped into a small box of reading scripture as if God dictated every word. There are many, many theologians and Christians whose understanding of God, God’s revelation to us, and His plan for you does not require you to lie about who you are. Let’s pray that these well-meaning yet dangerously misinformed people will understand one day.
I suppose it is easier to justify sin by merely accusing the LCMS of arrogance, and adding the charge of condemnation when the real problem is one of disobedience to the word of God. I gather that the LCMS, in following God’s warnings about giving in to sexual sin and compulsions, will be naturally demonized for failing to join the popular culture and affirming and accepting homosexuality as a legitimate expression of human sexuality. In accusing the LCMS for being orthodox and Biblically faithful, it becomes evident that the real target is not the LCMS, but God Himself.
When one disdains what the word of God declares, the next best thing in some quarters is to attack the messenger.
There are denominations which willfully accept homosexuality and try unsuccessfully to make the Bible affirm it, but this is a form of apostasy and blasphemy. It is shameful and an indication that the fallen culture of our day has deeply infected not only individuals, but some professing Christian denominations as well.
If it is “arrogance” to stand for the truth of God’s word in these troubling times, then let me stand with those who would rather be held in disdain than join the chorus of voices who would rather redefine sin than deal with God’s truths.
The only people who suffer from same sex attraction are those who are bearing false witness against others (and themselves) by not accepting reality.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that even lusting after a woman in his heart, a man commits adultery. What heterosexual male hasn’t done that?
What would be the loving response to a heterosexual male teenager worried about his life in Christ because of lusting in his heart? Some of you may say something like this:
“If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.”
Yes, we will commit sins while we are here, all of us. Some will lust in their heart after those of the opposite sex, some of the same sex. Because of this, we would do well to remember these words in 1 Corinthians 7:9:
“But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
Why do some Christians think that gay people have more self control than straight people?
If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. It’s not as much that homosexuality is a sinful act (which like heterosexual lust, it no doubt is), rather the denial that it is a sinful act at all that causes you to raise yourself above God. Jeff calls the LCMS arrogant. The LCMS simply stands firmly on the scriptures Jeff. You’ve obviously found a place that doesn’t recognize inerrancy of scripture. That must be the foundation of your argument. As for me, I see that theology as “yes I love you Lord and want your justification. These are the terms on which you will accept me. They’re better the ones written in the Bible.” God bless us all in our struggles with our sins. On His righteousness I stand and His alone.
I disagree, Ken. I find that the LCMS stands firm on misinterpretation of Scripture. I thank Jeff for sharing his thoughts and feelings (especially on being turned away for Lord’s Supper when a smoker/divorcee/gossip making conscious choices is welcomed). I pray that folks continue to study the Bible in its original translation to come together in love over this way of loving.
Actually Ken – The LCMS stands on its interpretation of scripture. For every denomination that exists, there lies yet another interpretation, so only about 2.3 million people in all of this world will finally enter the gates of heaven. If your interpretation is correct, then obviously your doctine is not evenly distributed among all sinners.
LCMS has taught me that 1) we are all sinners, all the time 2) that we are forgiven through Christ’s grace, alone 3) that there are not “big sins” and “little sins,” with some forgivable, some not; some more forgivable, some not forgivable 4) that sin is born into us, through Adam, and unavoidable 5) that we are forgiven as we forgive others.
Hence, I wonder why there is so much fuss about homosexuality, and its “sinfulness.” Is it specifically mentioned in the Commandments? Is it worse than lying about whether we like the way one looks in a dress? Is it worse than misleading others for our own profit or gain? Is it worse than heterosexual lust? Is it worse than calling in sick, when we just need a day off? Is it worse than murder? Mass murder? Serial murder? Rape?
Sin is sin, we are told: all alike and all offensive to God. If homosexuality is indeed sinful, okay, but why do we put into a “most despicable” category?
Please, LCMS: give us all a break. Jesus has already done so.
The two individuals who have posted comments favorable to the gay lifestyle and in support of homosexuality, and furthermore accuse the LCMS and orthodox Christians of arrogance have used this forum to advance a sinful and unbiblical practice. The discussion of this issue among Christians will usually result in only two final and absolute conclusions; either one will follow Jesus and obey His admonitions about sexual behavior, or simply reject what the Bible teaches and do “what is right in man’s eyes.”
The false premise that homosexuality is no worse than other sins is absolutely without foundation. God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because the residents smoked cigarettes, lied about themselves, or cheated on their tax returns. He destroyed these cities because of rampant sexual deviancy, which usually accompanies an erosion of moral character and willfull disobedience to an extreme level. Homosexuality usually accompanies pornography, and many gay people want to be excused and affirmed in their lifestyle. Since they know God’s admonitions against it, instead they level their assault against believing Christians and the word of God declared in the Bible. Our society is filled with both heterosexual and homosexual sin, premarital sex is encouraged, as well as adultery. Marriage as an institution is being abandoned by many couples who simply engage in temporary hook ups or long term cohabitation.
And now, some professing Christians, as some who wrote on this post, want the church to adopt the world’s accepted values and reject God’s word on this issue. I pray the LCMS will never willfully accept homosexuality as an acceptable alternative. The day this were to happen, I shall cease to remain a Lutheran.