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At the CROSSroads

by Doug Bahr, M.D. (WordAlone board member)

April 16, 2004

photo of Dr. Bahr

Doug Bahr, M.D.

Recently the press has written several articles on same sex marriages and sexuality issues in the churches. One editorial that caught my attention, written by Cal Thomas and published in our local newspaper, was entitled “Methodist Church abandons Scripture, founder’s teachings.” In his article Thomas discussed the recent trial of Rev. Karen Dammann, a United Methodist Church (UMC) pastor, and her acquittal on charges stemming from her admission that she is living in a homosexual relationship with another woman. A jury of 13 other UMC pastors acquitted her even though the UMC Book of Discipline states that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.” Thomas also touched on the events taking place in The Episcopal Church.

The statement in Thomas’ editorial that caught my attention was, “All of the ‘confessing’ movements and attempts to turn things around are unlikely to succeed. Once a denomination starts down the road of compromise, caring more about what the world thinks than what God requires, it is nearly impossible to bring it back.”

I see the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at a crossroads and wonder if it will follow the Episcopal and Methodist lead or will it stay true to the traditional views?

Last month at my church council meeting, St. Paul Lutheran Church, New Braunfels, Tex., we approved the following three resolutions to be submitted to the 2004 Southwestern Texas Synod Assembly on May 14-15:

  1. Resolved that all constitutional amendments, ecumenical agreements and changes in ministry standards be submitted back to every individual congregation for final vote.
  2. Resolved that the ELCA suspend the Called to Common Mission (full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church USA) until contradictions to Scripture, Lutheran teaching and current ministry standards (such as ordination of practicing homosexual clergy) are resolved, and
  3. Resolved that the synod affirm that sexual intercourse is a gift of God reserved for a man and a woman within the bonds of matrimony.

It will be interesting to see how the synod assembly handles these resolutions. I would like to encourage you to remain informed and participate in your synod assemblies.