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WordAlone Book
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A compilation of essays and comments by concerned pastors, theologians and laypersons, challenging denominations who are denying Christ’s resurrection, ‘demythologizing’ Scripture, blessing same-sex relationships, ordaining non-celibate homosexuals.

Initiated by the WordAlone Network, written in plain English. Cost is $14.95. Non Minnesota orders, add $3.50 postage or $5.90 Priority Mail. Outstate Minnesota orders, add $4.70 for postage and sales tax or $7.25 for Priority Mail and sales tax Minnesota Twin Cities metro area orders, add $4.75 for postage and sales tax or $7.30 for Priority Mail and sales tax. To order call WordAlone at 1-888-551-7254 or
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—addresses crisis in ELCA

By Betsy Carlson (Editor, WordAlone Network)

News: April 19, 2005

After hearing an inspiring talk by Prof. James Nestingen, WordAlone Network members heard about its board of directors’ proposals to look into forming an association of “confessing” congregations and a house of studies to prepare individuals for ministry, as an alternative to present seminaries.

Nestingen told his hearers that now is the time for the WordAlone to prepare to possibly be forced out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America because of its stand to live by the truth of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

He said a couple of things have occurred that have made WordAlone’s standing in the ELCA more precarious. For one thing, the ELCA has not responded to the WordAlone Theological Board’s Admonition for the Sake of the True Peace and Unity of the Church; and ELCA bishops have made it almost impossible for candidates to obtain exceptions to the requirement of ordination by bishops in Called to Common Mission, the full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church USA.

The other event is the recent actions of the ELCA Church Council, by a nearly unanimous vote, to propose the creation of a process for granting exceptions to ELCA ordination qualifications requiring celibacy of gay and lesbians seeking ordination or consecration or commissioning to ministry. This exception, if okayed by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly next August in Florida, would allow gays and lesbians in same-sex relationships to be ordained and rostered as ministers at the discretion of the Conference of Bishops.

"I never thought I’d ask this,” Nestingen stated, “but what do we do now?”

He said now is the time to look into creating alliances with other ELCA members who “have been pushed to the margins. “This church is leaving us, stripping us of standing in the body which we have cherished,” he commented.

Now is the time to take provisional steps for the sake of WordAlone’s witness and for the sake of its congregations, he said. “Jesus has always loved sinners and is always at his best when there is no human hope. He may turn this around and bring us from this long crucifixion we have endured in this church to resurrection.”

As he finished, the 450 to 500 persons gathered rose to give him a long, standing ovation.

Board members Dr. Dennis Bielfeldt, a professor of religion at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., and Pastor Randy Freund of Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Minn., then presented resolutions to look into creating a house of studies and an association of confessing churches.

Along with WordAlone president Jaynan Clark Egland, they answered questions from WordAlone members, such as: “Will members of the new association be required to join WordAlone?” The answer was, “No.” The board members suggested that much of what the house of studies and new association will look like is still to be determined. They acknowledged they don’t know if the association ultimately will leave the ELCA or not.

Further discussion of the proposals and votes on the resolutions are expected Tuesday.

WordAlone is meeting in convention at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minn. Keynote speakers are discussing the authority of Scripture in teaching sessions.