The faculty of Lutheran Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., is the third ELCA seminary to endorse the Episcopal and Reformed full communion proposals.
"We believe that when all the very real considerations on both sides are weighed, other concerns are overbalanced by our Lord's will that his disciples be one," the faculty statement says.
The faculty also gave a ringing endorsement to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the churches of the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church. The ELCA assembly is expected to take action on the declaration, with LWF action expected in 1998.
Faculties of the Philadelphia and Gettysburg seminaries earlier endorsed the Episcopal and Reformed proposals. A survey by The Lutheran indicates that Trinity Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, expects to respond to the documents this spring. Presidents of Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa; the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; Pacific Seminary, Berkeley, Calif.; and Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., told The Lutheran that they do not expect their faculties to produce a statement. Joe Hootman, a senior at Luther, has collected 50 signatures from seminarians opposed to the Concordat.
The presidents of the ELCA's eight seminaries adopted a statement March 24 that stopped short of endorsing the proposals. Rather, they expressed "confidence in the ecumenical relationships these proposals seek to foster," acknowledging that "whatever the outcome of the voting, our church will be at a new ecumenical stage."
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