Sad: Declining Lutheran Denomination Liberalizes Sex Teachings
"How sad that the ELCA will no longer affirm the timeless Christian understanding of marriage." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 /Christian Newswire/ -- Last night, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly, meeting August 17-23 in Minneapolis, adopted a new policy that departs from traditional Christian teachings. The new policy leaves room for the church to approve and bless non-marital sex, both homosexual and heterosexual.
The 4.6 million member, mostly liberal-led ELCA, has lost nearly 1 million members across 4 decades.
Previously, the ELCA declared that marriage "is the appropriate place for sexual intercourse." The new policy deletes that standard, instead calling only for "social trust" in associations that are "loving," "life- giving," "fulfilling," "nurturing," and "committed." It suggests that heterosexual relationships "are best served through binding commitment, legal protections, and the public accountability of marriage;" but it concedes that "some cohabitation arrangements can be constructed in ways that are neither casual nor intrinsically unstable."
Regarding homosexuality, the new ELCA policy claims that "consensus does not exist." It presents four "conscience-bound beliefs," ranging from disapproval of all same-sex relations to honoring them as marriages, as equally valid. It makes no effort to discern which view is more faithful to Scripture or Christian tradition.
On Friday the ELCA assembly will vote on proposals to open the way for formal church blessings of same- sex rites and ordination of active homosexuals.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented: "How sad that the ELCA no longer affirms the timeless Christian understanding of marriage. Instead it is touting secular psycho-babble about 'fulfilling' and 'nurturing' relationships. How will the church's young people interpret this tacit approval of at least some non-marital sex?"
"In embracing moral relativism, the ELCA assembly has disregarded the Bible, the views of its own members, and the pleas of Lutherans in Africa and Asia. It has left the mainstream of U.S. and global Christianity, instead following other shrinking denominations like the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ towards internal division, accelerating membership loss, and cultural irrelevance."
The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.