Last week, a conservative Lutheran group announced its plans to establish the North American Lutheran Church, a new denomination that will recruit dissident congregations. Rather than setting up a clear-cut choice, though, even some critics of the ELCA's new policy say the move could further confuse already splintered Lutherans at a time when Protestantism in general seems to be moving away from a denominational model.
"It just feels like we're stepping off a sinking ship, and I'm not inclined to get on another boat," said the Rev. Bill Bohline, lead pastor at Hosanna! in Lakeville, Minn., which had been the state's second largest ELCA church until its members voted overwhelmingly in January to sever ties with the denomination. "That's not where the spirit is moving."
At some Lutheran congregations in southeast Minnesota, the reaction appears to be far more muted, an article today in the Zumbrota News-Record says, mostly because people aren't talking about it publicly.
The Rev. Paul Thompson, who's been serving part-time at Union Prairie Lutheran Church for five years and additionally at Henrytown Lutheran Church since October - both ELCA congregations - said, "I'm not sure people may like it too much, but they don't pay much attention to it. They are focused on the ministry, preaching the gospel, taking care of members and outreach. Political issues just aren't that important to us as what God gives us to do."
But the paper says an assembly of the Root River conference was held 10-days ago, and a resolution to rescind the social statement was defeated in a typically close vote -- 34 -to-31.
It's not all about homosexual clergy members, however. MPR's Jessica Mador reported last fall that many of the churches splitting from ELCA, have long-standing grievances over the direction of the Lutheran church.
"That's not where the spirit money is moving." There, fixed it for you Rev. Bill.
Bob, it was right in the preview, but my oh so clever "strike" html was removed by "post". The word "spirit" was to be struck out.
The ELCA has been a problem since it merged the ALC and the LCA about 20 years ago. The Church's strength was is small, intergenerational congregations. Now the focus is mega churches. I, for one, have never felt like I belonged there...The gay vote is merely a symptom of a church out of touch with its members.
Note that the vast majority of ELCA Lutherans are NOT leaving the church. No, we don't agree on everything, but we don't have to in order to remain committed Lutherans. Our congregations who spent many years waiting for the full acceptance of gays and lesbians did not leave when our view was the minority and we are sorry when others feel that if they lose on one issue, they must leave.
Jean, you poor soul, you just don't get it. Its not just one issue thats causing folks to leave. Its the de-construction of the Holy Scriptures, the loss of representation, and the fuzzy theology of the ELCA that has turning people away. No more can you look to the ELCA and see what they actually stand for. The ELCA has become one big jumble of contridictions that has caused ithenselves to be removed from the church Catholic by their own actions. The ELCA has degenerated into nothing more than another special interest group thats spread so thin on social issues that they have forgotten the Great Commission that Jesus commanded us to follow. Be it known that those who are abandoning the sinking ship have found a lifeline in the norms of the authoritative words of the God-inspired Holy Scriptures. Be it known also that GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED!!!