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The ELCIC National Church Council's Letter
of April 3, 2011 in Plain Language

Rev. Dr. Lothar Schwabe

04 April 2011

Photo of Rev. Dr. Schwabe

Dr. Schwabe

Many lay people find it hard to understand the language of the letter and ask the famous Lutheran question, “What does this mean?” ELCIC Original Letter

In plain language, at the next National Convention the National Church Council will introduce motions to facilitate the following changes:

(1)  The ELCIC will bring forward motions to reorganize into three synods, have National and Synod conventions meet every three years instead of every two years, and have fewer delegates at National conventions.

(2)  The ELCIC will replace our current social statement on SEX, MARRIAGE, AND FAMILY (1970) with a new social statement that will allow pastors to marry homosexual couples and the ELCIC to ordain homosexual pastors even if they live with or are married to a homosexual person.

This will lead to the following changes:

  • ELCIC pastors may marry homosexual couples but they should be careful not to get their people upset about it. (Motion 2, page 3).
  • The ELCIC will ordain homosexual pastors. (Motion 3, page 3).
  • The ELCIC interprets the Augsburg Confession, Article 7 to mean that the issues of your congregation conducting marriages for homosexuals and the ordination of homosexuals as pastors are not important enough for people to leave the ELCIC because we can have different opinions on "issues of morals" ( Motion 1, pages 2-3).

The implication is that those who disagree with the changes proposed by the National Church Council have no justification to leave the ELCIC. The ELCIC seems to be concerned that more congregations and members will leave the ELCIC after the motions are passed. A further loss of membership and finances would lead to additional cutbacks.

The church will try to keep the next convention on a high note and emphasize personal spiritual renewal rather that focusing on these controversial issues.

Dr. Schwabe is a member of the WordAlone Ministries' Chaplain Corps