Some Lutheran theologians and church leaders urged the ELCA to reject the Jan. 13 recommendations of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality, calling them "a fundamental shift in policy." Their March 1 statement says the recommendations "would alter fundamentally the ecclesiology of the ELCA, [threatening] not only the unity and stability of this church but, as a consequence, its ability to proclaim the truth of the gospel."
Signers of "A Statement of Pastoral and Theological Concern" say the recommendations would create "intense division and disunity at the local level," impose "a subjective understanding of ‘conscience,' one bound only by private judgment, upon Scripture and Luther," and "entrust the theological or ethical teaching of the church to pastoral ‘discretion.' " Signers say it would cause the "structural dissolution of the ELCA."
"[The task force] asks the church ‘to refrain from disciplining those who ... call or approve partnered gay or lesbian candidates whom they believe to be otherwise in compliance with Vision and Expectations (the ELCA's expectations for all its ministers) and to refrain from disciplining those rostered people so approved or called," the statement says.
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