The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A question of unity

Sexuality discussions go right up to the assembly

Thank you for the articles by Robert Benne and Larry Rasmussen on the sexuality debate ("Sexuality: A question of unity," July, page 26 in the print edition). I appreciated Benne’s point that after all this discussion, the essential question, “Is homosexual conduct consonant with God’s will or not?” remains unaddressed by our task force’s recommendations. It seems we have spent much time talking past each other with our various positions already decided instead of listening to each other during this sexuality study. How could we not address such a basic question? Rasmussen’s article was impassioned, especially in his use of analogous arguments for why the ELCA should reform our sexual teaching. There is a dialectical tension within the Scriptures themselves on all these complex issues he mentioned: a celibate or married priesthood (Matthew 19:12, 1 Timothy 3:1-5); slavery (Galatians 3:28, Philemon 8-16); divorce and remarriage (Mark 10:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16); and the ordination of women (1 Timothy 2:12-15, John 20:11-18). However, homosexual actions have no such tension present within Scripture, but the plain sense of every text condemns such actions as sinful.

Michael Comer
China Grove, N.C.

I was happy to see two viewpoints on sexuality so well laid out. I appreciate the balance. A couple of comments on Larry Rasmussen’s article: While Abraham Lincoln tried at first to compromise on slavery to preserve the union, he eventually had to take a stand. It’s tragic that it took a war to bring it to a head. The other comment he didn’t mention was polygamy. There’s far less scriptural condemnation, in fact nothing specific, on polygamy than for homosexuality. There are also hints that women took more important roles in Paul’s day as evidenced by the fact that Priscilla’s name comes first in the famous duo. We could go on forever offering specific cases as rebuttals. At least now we have a more clearly defined option from both sides.

Bob Ove
Rio Rancho, N.M.

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