December 21, 2004

ELCA Sexuality Task Force to Take a Stand

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 3:34 pm

The ELCA has announced that the recommendations of it’s Sexuality task force on homosexuality will be made public on January 13th. The task force has gone through a very methodical process of listening to all points of view within the church and then presenting these points of view in two study guides (Part 1 and Part 2.) These study guides have not taken sides, but seem to have been intended to show that all points of view have been heard and respected.

But the task force has been asked to make recommendations for church policy on two questions: should same sex unions be blessed by the church, and should practicing homosexuals be serve as ordained clergy. So it seems the respectful-of-all-perspectives approach will have to come to an end to fulfill this charge, and it seems that January 13th will be the day of it’s death.

While I am hoping that the task force will recommend that both questions be answered with a “yes”, I still recognize that this is a no-win proposition, and I’m concerned about the fall-out regardless of the specifics of the recommendations. In the past, the church leadership has tried to affirm the consensus of the laity rather than get out in front and lead the laity. But, there is no consensus within the ELCA on these issues.

Some are predicting that the task force will try to find a middle ground by adopting a “local option”, that individual congregations may choose to bless same sex unions or not, and to call practicing gays as pastors or not. You might think that this is a good compromise, a cautious middle ground, but the “traditionalists” are predicting a mass exodus of members and congregations in objection to any relaxing of the current celibacy-only policy toward gays.

Sometimes schism is a sad but necessary thing. Any members and congregations leaving the ELCA will easily find a home in the LCMS or WELS, and will thus remain within the Lutheran tradition and the body of Christ. Many more will be content to stay within a “big tent” Lutheran denomination. And many will no longer have to live with the cognitive dissonance of being in a committed same sex relationships in a church that tells them that they are precluded from sex and marriage.


  1. Coming soon: a polarized Lutheran landscape
    I’ve been following the ELCA’s discussions about ordaining practicing homosexuals and blessing same-sex unions for some time now, and today I had the pleasure of reading a couple of good posts at I am a Christian Too describing the current state…

    Trackback by OfferusBlog — January 4, 2005 @ 11:20 am

  2. It still astounds me that Christian churches of any denomination would even consider allowing those practicing homosexuality to participate in God’s sacrament of marriage, not to mention becoming clergy. In either case, it is totally anti-scriptural and against God’s wishes.

    You cannot even call these “civil-unions” by the term “marriage” as marriage is by scripture a union between man and woman. There are many other references in scripture condemning homosexuality as a sin. A sin for which Sodom (where we get our word “sodomy” from) and Gammorah were completely destroyed.

    If someone professes to be a Christian, they cannot in faith and good conscience agree with homosexuality nor condone its practice. Also, you most certainly would not want to appoint such a person as a spiritual leader of a congregation.

    Comment by TRS — January 16, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

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