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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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—another member of Sexuality Task Force speaks out

by Betsy Carlson (Editor, WordAlone Network)

News: March 9, 2005

Individuals should take their opinions on the recommendations of the Task Force for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Studies on Human Sexuality as soon as possible to their congregational councils and forward them to their synod councils and the ELCA Church Council says a member of the task force.

Dr. John Prabhakar, a retired surgeon in Rochelle, Ill., said in a phone interview Tuesday (March 8) that when he has spoken at conference meetings in his Northern Illinois synod, he has encouraged people to “let their voices be known to the ELCA Church Council” as soon as possible. Members will have another opportunity during their synod assemblies to voice their opinions and send memorials to the churchwide assembly in August.

He said that he sees recommendation one of the task force for unity to preserve mission and communion fellowship within the church as very important. He disagrees with recommendation one on principle, he said.

If you accept it, you are saying you’re willing to compromise and go right on with recommendation two and recommendation three, Prabhakar said. He agrees with dissenting position one, which calls for no policy changes and supports disciplining those who violate the policies.

He stated that recommendation two calls for pastoral care of persons in same-sex relationships but added that the task force said pastoral care does not necessarily mean approval of blessing same-sex relationships. Recommendation three would make no official change of policies against ordaining practicing homosexuals, yet the church may choose to refrain from disciplining the violators of those policies.

Prabhakar said, “I choose to go with dissenting position one based on my interpretation of those passages of scripture that show a prohibition of same-sex intimacy. That’s how I view it. Even if some professors in seminaries and theologians feel that it (scripture) doesn’t address the present situation, I feel it does.

“The church is still one place where we need to be black and white. For example, we still have to say that sex outside of marriage under any circumstances is wrong. Not in a condemning way, but in a loving way. I would apply the same interpretation here. Homosexual sexual relationships are not the norms and should not be allowed. It shouldn’t be situational ethics.”

He added, “This issue cannot be decided on a psychological basis or a sociological or genetic one, but only on a scriptural basis. As a surgeon, let’s say I find a gene for breast cancer. It’s a mutated gene. We’re not calling it good, but we address the consequences of that mutated gene. No gene for homosexuality has been found. Even if one is found, it will be a mutated gene, not normal and not good.”

Prabhakar said he disagrees with recommendation three on the principle that if an organization has a rule and says it won’t enforce that rule, the organization is inviting people to disobey it.

“Someone may say, ‘How you can you say you are going to discipline someone bound by conscience?’ The way I look at it, is that if you disobey the policy that is fine, but you have to face the consequences,” he said.

Prabhakar asserted that Martin Luther stood by his conscience and took the consequences and was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church at that time.

“The task force did the best we could,” he said. “We could not come to a consensus. It was obvious from what we heard that most of the people do not want to change the policies. A sizeable minority, 25%, people who are homosexual and particularly their parents feel the pain. But, as a church, I feel it is my position that we have to have policies and base them on the Word of God.”