Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lutherans in Search of a Church

May 27, 2010
Robert Benne

In its August 2009 Churchwide Assembly, the Evangelical Lutheran Church decided formally to leave the Great Tradition of orthodox Christianity for a declining and desiccated liberal Protestantism. The decisions it made—accepting a weak and confused social statement on sexuality, allowing blessings of gay unions, ordaining gays and lesbians in partnered relationships, and requiring Lutherans to respect each other’s “bound conscience” on these issues—crossed the “line in the sand” that separates revisionist Christians from orthodox.

That result was a foregone conclusion for critical observers who had been watching the ELCA carefully since its inception in the late eighties. (Among them, of course, was Richard John Neuhaus, who saw clearly the trajectory yet to unfold.) What had been the promise of a renewed and robust Lutheranism in the merger of the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America was aborted before its birth, in 1988. The planners of the new Lutheran church saw to it that those who provided theological guidance to predecessor churches—then almost exclusively white and male—were marginalized from the real decision-making centers of church life. the rest


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