The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Discerning dissent

'Church must welcome debate, disagreement'

How do we understand dissent within this church? Is it our taking on the acrimony of our contentious red-state, blue-state society? Do we regard the dissenter as unfaithful— unless we are in agreement? Do dissenters appear more certain of their rightness than of the pervasiveness of sin that infects our lives and the church? Is our dissent more reflective of our distrust of leaders and one another than a consequence of our having been engaged in lively conversation with Scripture, the Confessions and one another?

There will be times when the answer to those questions is “yes.” That does not mean we should dismiss dissent. It seems unwise for a church body bearing the name of Martin Luther, the reformer, and empowered by the witness of Scripture to expect or even desire to be without dissent.

More important, it seems, is that together we will constantly seek to discern what issues are worth tension and then seek to remain prayerful, humble and engaged in conversation.

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