The faculty of Philadelphia Lutheran Seminary has adopted a statement that says the proposals for full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal and Reformed churches "may be received as expressing God's will and work among us."
The faculty supports "accepting them simultaneously. The ELCA has the opportunity both to maintain the integrity of its own ministry and confession, and to provide a bridge among closely related communions .... By entering into agreements at the same time with churches founded on episcopal, presbyterial and congregational principles of polity, we confess to our ecumenical partners and to the world that matters of polity and ordering of ministry are secondary to the greater unity in the gospel and its confession in the world."
Adopted Jan. 18, the faculty statement notes that, regarding the Concordat with the Episcopal Church, "a careful reading of Lutheranism reveals consistent support for the exercise of oversight in a renewed 'historic' episcopate based on the practice and intent of the early church to serve the gospel ...."
On the Reformed document, the faculty is "pleased" with its clear, confessional statement regarding the Lord's Supper. On another matter, the faculty says that "although we have questions about the extent to which this document can have binding and full effect in the United Church of Christ, given its present polity, we trust that through the implementation of this formula that church's congregations will come to experience a greater level of mutual cooperation, interdependence and trust."
Copies of the final text of each of the proposals were sent to all eight ELCA seminaries for study.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers