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June 1, 2013


ELCA: It’s All About Teh Gay

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America managed yesterday to declare to all the world that it is no longer a serious church (if anyone had any doubts). It’s not just that it is in thrall to the gay rights movement. It beclowned itself by pulling a Schori:

A North Hollywood theology professor ordained just two years ago after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America dropped its ban on same-sex ministers was elected Friday as the church’s first openly gay bishop.

The Rev. R. Guy Erwin won a six-year term to the Southwest California Synod, which encompasses the greater Los Angeles area, according to church officials.

The historic vote came Friday during a three-day assembly of the synod held in Woodland Hills.

Erwin’s election marks a welcome turning point for the congregation’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members, said Emily Eastwood, executive director of Reconciling Works, an arm of the church that worked for decades to lift the ban on gay and lesbian clergy.

“One of our own has been chosen not in spite of being gay, but because he is truly gifted and skilled for the office,” she said in a prepared statement. “Once again, today we are proud to be Lutherans.” [Emphasis added.]

The mind reels.


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17 comments

I guess being gay trumps being ordained for only two years as a qualification for an administrator.  Now that TEc itself has already cross these threshholds I shouldn’t be surprised if the General Convention elects a lay person (historic precedent a la Becket doncha know) to be the next presiding “bishop.”  Perhaps David Booth Beers?

[1] Posted by Nikolaus on 6-1-2013 at 09:00 AM · [top]

A good-sized chunk of the Anglican Communion doesn’t recognize the TEC PB as ever having been in holy orders, not even as a deacon. As far as I’m concerned, if she ever was in holy orders, she renounced those orders by her actions, a very long time ago. So, to me, putting DBB in as PB wouldn’t be much different.

As far as I’m concerned, the ELCA and TEC liberals can elect and ordain Siamese cats as bishops. They at least look better than certain “ordained” persons in their vestments.

God gives the gift of ordination. You can have all the earthly ceremonies you want, and if the ordination isn’t God’s will, the only thing that might happen is the defilement of the ordaining bishops.

[2] Posted by Ralph on 6-1-2013 at 01:25 PM · [top]

The difference between ordaining non-celibate gay men and lesbians (and Siamese cats) and per saltem ordination (“leaping” from the lay state or the diaconate to the episcopate) is that per saltem ordination was quite common - in fact, ordinary - for the first several centuries of the Church’s life.  So there is nothing at all heterodox about it, though by modern canons it’s a bit irregular, though it’s hard to characterize St Ambrose or St Athanasius or most of the bishops of Rome for the first several centuries as “irregular”.

Siamese cats, on the other hand….

[3] Posted by Todd Granger on 6-1-2013 at 02:16 PM · [top]

All I had to read was “North Hollywood theology professor” to know that ELCA was in trouble.

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 6-1-2013 at 02:32 PM · [top]

Clearly the Church has made provision for such ordinations.  No doubt before there were formal seminaries and universities such ordinations were quite proper.  It’s just that with TEc, why make any further pretense that theological training or pastoral experience are useful skills when legal training is far more valuable to The Agenda?

[5] Posted by Nikolaus on 6-1-2013 at 02:59 PM · [top]

Let’s keep our eye on the ball here. He’s a long-standing professor at Cal Lutheran. Six years ago, he was a serious contender for a position at Lutheran World Fellowship in Geneva. He is a skilled teacher and a man who is knowledgeable in the field of historical theology. I’ve had him as a professor during one of his stints as a visiting professor elsewhere, so I’m speaking from experience. Yes, his ordination was very recent; that does not mean he was put on the slate for tokenist reasons.

He is not a white elephant candidate. That shouldn’t be the objection raised.

[6] Posted by K-W on 6-1-2013 at 04:48 PM · [top]

The objection which is being raised is about what the ELCA has done, and it illustrates why there has been a schism in American Lutheranism; and like the schism between the Episcopal Church and orthodox Anglicanism, it is one which will never be repaired.

[7] Posted by cennydd13 on 6-1-2013 at 06:04 PM · [top]

2.  Ralph, I too have never recognized Schori’s “ordination,” and there is no way that I can ever recognize her as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal “Church.”  I agree with your comment about ELCA and TEC electing their bishops.

[8] Posted by cennydd13 on 6-1-2013 at 06:09 PM · [top]

Cennydd13,

If that was the objection most directly brought up in the thread, I would not have objected. I agree: let’s focus on this action’s implications for ELCA’s possession of the marks of the Church, and its reflection of why people have seen a necessity of conscience to leave.  Let’s not divert from that to make superficial (and inaccurate) digs at his supposed lack of depth as a candidate.

[9] Posted by K-W on 6-1-2013 at 06:16 PM · [top]

I guess to those of this mind it is indeed more important to be Lutherans than Disciples of Jesus Christ!  Once again as in TEC, the institution is the primary focus instead of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[10] Posted by frhutch on 6-1-2013 at 06:49 PM · [top]

Apology time:

I thought I had read the thread carefully a couple times and took my time writing my original post. But apparently not enough. I see that Todd Granger, for one, covered half of what I was trying to say, but less sanctimoniously. So I was a bit of “that guy” in this thread, and I can never stand that guy.

I stick with my adding that Erwin’s general qualifications are better than Nikolaus and the OP suggested, but i do not pretend that those qualifications override real concerns about church discipline and maintaining the faith once delivered—especially where it flies against strong cultural headwinds.

[11] Posted by K-W on 6-1-2013 at 07:00 PM · [top]

K-W: I appreciate that Erwin may well be a terrific teacher, but in the ELCA the office of bishop is not primarily a teaching role as it is in the Catholic Church or is supposed to be in TEC. It’s mostly an administrative and pastoral office that involves working with local churches in the pastoral search process and overseeing synod work. That being the case, I can’t see how two years of pastoral experience can properly prepare a person to lead a judicatory.

Todd: That certainly was the practice in the early church, but given the nature of the office in the ELCA, I’m not sure how the ancient practice has a lot of relevance. There’s certainly no hint that the synod was seeking to follow ancient practice in elevating a partnered gay man to such a prominent position.

[12] Posted by David Fischler on 6-1-2013 at 08:43 PM · [top]

Contact with the EcUSA is contagious and this will be just as deadly for ELCA as VGR was For EcUSA.

[13] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 6-1-2013 at 09:08 PM · [top]

#12 - your comment about the role of the bishop in the ELCA peaked my curiososity. This may seem a bit off-topic at first, but I promise to show its relevance to the topic on hand.

From here: http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Synodical-Relations/Resources/Relational-Agreement.aspx

The Office of the Bishop within the Life of the Church
“Each bishop shall give leadership for ordained and other ministries; shall give leadership to the mission of this church; shall give leadership in strengthening the unity of the church; and shall provide administrative oversight” (ELCA Study of Ministry: Together for Ministry, 1993). In exercising this leadership, the bishop is to give attention to four tasks: 1. to preach and teach the apostolic faith of the Church; 2. to provide for Word and Sacrament ministry within the territory of the bishop’s ministry, including the church’s power to ordain; 3. to oversee the work of the church’s mission within the territory of the bishop’s ministry; and 4. to give witness to the unity of the Church.

Also…

Worship and Spiritual Oversight
The synodical bishop, as this synod’s pastor, regularly leads worship in congregations and in other gatherings of this church and, through a variety of activities and contacts, teaches the Christian faith and provides spiritual leadership and oversight in the synod.

Here is TEC’s explanation:

One of the three orders of ordained ministers in the church, bishops are charged with the apostolic work of leading, supervising, and uniting the church. Bishops represent Christ and his church, and they are called to provide Christian vision and leadership for their dioceses. The BCP (p. 855) notes that the bishop is “to act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the church; and to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry.” Bishops stand in the apostolic succession, maintaining continuity in the present with the ministry of the Apostles. Bishops serve as chief pastors of the church, exercising a ministry of oversight and supervision. Diocesan bishops hold jurisdiction in their dioceses, with particular responsibility for the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the church. Bishops serve as the focus for diocesan unity and for the unity of their dioceses with the wider church. Since the bishop’s ministry is a ministry of oversight, the term “episcopal” (derived from the Greek episcopos, “overseer”) is applied to matters pertaining to bishops. An “episcopal” church is a church governed by bishops, and “episcopal” services are led by bishops.

There doesn’t seem to be a huge difference when it comes to the teaching role of the bishop. All that to say, Bishop-elect Erwin’s teaching experience does seem relevant when considering whether he’s qualified for the job.

[14] Posted by Charles on 6-2-2013 at 08:35 AM · [top]

I also point out that the ELCA blurbs talk more explicitly about the teaching role than the TEC explanation does (and the TEC piece comes from here: http://library.episcopalchurch.org/glossary/bishop)

[15] Posted by Charles on 6-2-2013 at 08:39 AM · [top]

You know, the American Association of Apostate Churches (AAAC) should get together and designate only one denomination to be the official group for the sodomites to join, because they are going to run out of enough sodomites to go around.  No need for all them to auger down for such a few radicals.  But then, maybe the Lord is leading this to further dry up these false doctrine outlets.  IMHO

[16] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 6-2-2013 at 08:21 PM · [top]

Charles: I was speaking more from the experience I’ve had with ELCA bishops (I considered a move to ELCA at one point, then came to my senses) than the specs on paper. Both from my interactions with them and my conversations with ELCA pastors, I came to understand that they were much more administrators and pastors than teachers or definers of doctrine (the fact that it is a term-limited election also points in that direction).

[17] Posted by David Fischler on 6-3-2013 at 09:02 AM · [top]

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