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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Concordat--no

But not a vote against ecumenism

The vote at this summer's ELCA assembly on the proposed Concordat of Agreement with the Episcopal Church won't be a vote on whether we support ecumenism. It will be on whether we should approve a proposal requiring the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to make major constitutional and canonical changes that are not in the best interests of the ELCA or of ecumenical progress. None of the ecumenical progress of recent years would be undone by disapproval of the Concordat.

The Concordat would require the ELCA to ordain bishops for life. Bishops would hold the exclusive power to ordain future bishops and pastors. Concordat supporters argue this is neither forbidden nor required (adiaphora). But the Concordat would remove this matter from the adiaphora and make the new structure mandatory. This is inconsistent with the Lutheran confessions. Further, the the way to advance ecumenical progress with a range of denominations is to recognize that agreement on ecclesiastical organization is not essential.


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