Dear (name of Lutheran church leader),
Greetings to you and all whom you serve in your call as a leader in Christ’s church. The part of the Christian church you lead is so very different from where we serve and yet we share a strong, common bond, our faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior of us all. Thanks be to him alone for his diverse and expansive church and the gifts that he has given each of us.
My purpose for writing to you at this critical time in the history of the Christian church is to introduce you to the work and mission of the WordAlone Network. WordAlone is a vibrant movement working within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). I want to share with you some of our concerns for the church, and I am hopeful this initial correspondence will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation with you as a leader within the wider church.
The WordAlone Network was officially formed in March 2000 as a confessional Lutheran grassroots movement within the ELCA working for reform, renewal and deeper theological reflection. We are churches, chapters and individuals who share common concerns and convictions that unite our voices in crucial areas of mission and ministry. The theological drift and declining mission of the ELCA over the years since the merger of 1988 motivates us to come together with one voice and address some of the issues we regard as bothersome or even dangerous to the wider church.
Our name, WordAlone Network, reflects who we are and what are our primary concerns for the ELCA and its future. As a movement we confess the primacy of the Word of God for the church and the Word’s authority over us in all matters of faith and life. Two years ago we formed an international Theological Advisory Board of teaching theologians (whose names and locations are enclosed for you to review.) They work together to guide and direct the efforts of our movement theologically.
You may or may not be aware of the fact that the leadership of the ELCA has conducted a study of sexuality called, “Journeying Together Faithfully.” A task force has studied the issues involved around the questions of ordaining practicing homosexuals and blessing same sex relationships. The 2001 and the 2003 ELCA churchwide assemblies approved a timeline for considering these issues, which includes a vote at the next churchwide assembly in August 2005, in Orlando, Florida with possible changes to the ministry standards of this church and our traditional understanding of marriage and family. The possible changes could be made by voting members of one churchwide assembly, but affect us all.
Worldwide we have all witnessed what has and is happening within the Anglican Communion because of these same issues and The Episcopal Church USA decision to consecrate as bishop Gene Robinson, an openly practicing homosexual man. If you as a leader in Christ’s church are concerned about the possible direction the ELCA and other Lutheran churches may be headed, I ask you to please join us in our witness to the power of the living word of God and its authority over all matters of life and death.