Monday, August 24, 2009
President Schroeder of WELS Reacts to the ELCA Decision Regading Gay Clergy
WELS president expresses regret at ELCA decision on gay clergy
Milwaukee, Wis.—Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), is expressing regret at the vote of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) convention regarding homosexual clergy. Friday, delegates approved a resolution committing the church to find a way for “people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships” to serve as professional leaders of the church.
“To view same-sex relationships as acceptable to God is to place cultural viewpoint and human opinions above the clear Word of God,” says Schroeder. “The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, along with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and other smaller Lutheran synods, maintains and upholds the clear teaching of the Bible that homosexuality is not in keeping with God’s design and is sinful in God’s eyes.”
At the same time, Schroeder says WELS congregations stand ready to support those struggling with same-sex attractions. “As with any sin, it is the church’s responsibility to show love and compassion to sinners, not by condoning or justifying the sin, but by calling the sinner to repent and by assuring the sinner that there is full forgiveness in Jesus Christ,” Schroeder says.
WELS, with about 390,000 members and nearly 1,300 congregations nationwide, is the third largest Lutheran church body in the United States. In Wisconsin alone, there are more than 201,000 members and 417 congregations. “It’s unfortunate that many headlines have referred to the recent decisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as something ‘Lutherans’ have decided,” Schroeder says. “In fact, the ELCA is only one of many Lutheran denominations. We are saddened that a group with the name Lutheran would take another decisive step away from the clear teaching of the Bible, which was the foundation of the Lutheran Reformation.”
Schroeder says that WELS is firmly committed to upholding God’s design for marriage as outlined in Scripture—a design intended for one man and one woman. “We believe, and the Bible teaches, that God designed this relationship to be a blessing for men and women and for society. Any departure from what God himself has designed does two things: it denies the clear teachings of Scriptures and it undermines God’s desire that the man/woman relationship in marriage be a blessing.”