Appropriate Next Steps for the ELCA

 

We the undersigned ELCA teaching theologians, and Christian theologians teaching at ELCA institutions, wish to affirm and support the four recommendations on Ministry Policies proposed by the Task Force for  ELCA Studies on Sexuality to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis (Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies available at: http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements-in-Process/JTF-Human-Sexuality/Report-and-Recommendation.aspx).

 

We take this action on the basis of the rationale on lines 147-212 of the Task Force’s document, and we would specifically highlight the following points:

 

  • We too affirm the authority of the Scriptures, but the seven biblical texts that are frequently cited on the  issue of homosexuality are not directly  pertinent to the 21st century discussion because some of them condemn specifically homosexual rape, deal with questions of “clean and unclean” that are not normative in the Christian community, do not take into account issues like “sexual orientation,” and presuppose that all would agree with a particular interpretation of what “nature” teaches.
  • The Task Force wisely proposes that both heterosexual and homosexual persons are expected to express sexual intimacy within publicly accountable, lifelong, and monogamous relationships. This has long been the expectation for heterosexual couples, and therefore is an appropriate expectation for homosexual couples as well.
  • The first recommendation of the Task Force rightly proposes that acceptance of same-gender relationships among all people of this church is a prerequisite to considering people in same-gender relationships for rostered leadership positions.
  • While not all Lutheran church bodies are of one mind on these issues, Scandinavian and German Lutherans have already taken similar actions to those being proposed now in the ELCA.
  • We who favor the changes being proposed pledge ourselves to honor and respect those sisters and brothers within the ELCA who for reasons of theology and conscience choose to oppose these changes.
  • We recognize that the unity of the church is based on one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and that within this unity, faithful members may disagree on individual items of faith and life.

 

Specifically we make the following affirmations to the questions posed by the Task Force:

 

  1. Should the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to allow congregations and synods that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships? Yes.
  2. Should this church commit itself to finding a way for people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church? Yes
  3. Can this church as it finds a way to roster people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, and same-gender relationships commit to doing so in ways that bear one another’s burdens, love the neighbor, and respect the bound consciences of those with whom they disagree? Yes
  4. Should the ELCA consider structured flexibility in decision-making to allow in appropriate situations, people in publicly accountable, monogamous, lifelong, same-gender relationships to be approved for the rosters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America? Yes.

 

The following ELCA teaching theologians and Christian theologians teaching at ELCA institutions support this statement:

 

 

  1. James W. Aageson, Concordia College, Moorhead
  2. Klaus-Peter Adam, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  3. Terrence Baeder, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  4. James L. Bailey, Emeritus Wartburg Theological Seminary
  5. David Balch, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  6. Mark Bangert, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  7. John Barbour, St. Olaf College
  8. Mark W. Bartusch, Valparaiso University
  9. Norman A. Beck, Texas Lutheran University
  10. Patricia Beckman, St. Olaf College
  11. Kadi Billman, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  12. Karla Bohmbach, Susquehanna University
  13. Walter C. Bouzard, Jr., Wartburg College
  14. James L. Boyce, Luther Seminary emeritus
  15. James M. Brandt, St. Paul School of Theology
  16. Julius Carroll, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  17. Corrine L. Carvalho, University of St. Thomas
  18. Herbert W. Chilstrom, Presiding Bishop emeritus, ELCA
  19. Samuel Cruz, Union Theological Seminary
  20. Lisa Dahill, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
  21. Steed V. Davidson, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  22. Mary Sue Dreier, Luther Seminary
  23. Mark U. Edwards, Jr., Harvard Divinity School
  24. Paul W. Egertson, Bishop emeritus Southwest California Synod
  25. John H. Elliott, University of San Francisco
  26. Lowell Erdahl, Bishop emeritus St. Paul Area Synod
  27. Maria Erling, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  28. R. Guy Erwin, California Lutheran University
  29. Norma Cook Everist, Wartburg Theological Seminary
  30. Joseph Everson, California Lutheran University
  31. Stephen P. Folkemer, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  32. David Fredrickson, Luther Seminary
  33. Clifford Green, emeritus Hartford Seminary
  34. Robert D. Haak, Augustana College, Rock Island
  35. Loren Halvorson, Luther Seminary emeritus
  36. Roy Hammerling, Concordia College, Moorhead
  37. Guillermo Hansen, Luther Seminary
  38. Shauna Hannon, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  39. James Hanson, St. Olaf College
  40. Paul D. Hanson, Harvard Divinity School
  41. Laura M. Hartman, Augustan College, Rock Island
  42. Philip Hefner, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  43. Kurt Hendel, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  44. Sarah Henrich, Luther Seminary
  45. Stewart W. Herman, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
  46. Mary Hess, Luther Seminary
  47. John Hoffmeyer, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
  48. Krista E. Hughes, Hanover College
  49. Arland Hultgren, Luther Seminary
  50. Paul O. Ingram, Pacific Lutheran University emeritus
  51. Robert L. Isaksen, bishop of the New England Synod, 1988-2000.
  52. Carol R. Jacobson, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  53. Paul Jersild, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary emeritus
  54. Roger Johnson, emeritus Wellesley Colleg
  55. Brian C. Jones, Wartburg College
  56. Peder Jothen, St. Olaf College
  57. Laurie Jungling, Augustana College, Sioux Falls
  58. Everett R. Kalin, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  59. James Kelhoffer, St. Louis University
  60. Peter Kjeseth, Wartburg Theological Seminary emeritus
  61. Ralph W. Klein, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  62. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Wartburg College
  63. Edgar Krentz, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  64. Karl Krueger, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
  65. L. DeAne Lagerquist, St. Olaf College
  66. Carol Schersten LaHurd, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  67. Paul Landahl, Bishop emeritus Metropolitan Chicago Synod
  68. Dirk G. Lange, Luther Seminary
  69. Kristin Johnston Largen, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  70. Gordon Lathrop, Yale Divinity School
  71. Carolyn S. Leeb, Valparaiso University
  72. William E. Lesher, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  73. Richard A. Lischer, Duke Divinity School
  74. Lynne F. Lorenzen, Augsburg College
  75. Mary Lowe, Augsburg College
  76. David J. Lull, Wartburg Theological Seminary
  77. Barbara Lundblad, Union Theological Seminary
  78. Ronald B. MacLennan, Bethany College
  79. Romwald  Maczka, Carthage College
  80. Bruce Malchow, Sacred Heart School of Theology, Wisconsin
  81. Madeleine Forell Marshall, California Lutheran University
  82. Jim Martin-Schramm, Luther College
  83. Susan McArver, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  84. Ian A. McFarland, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  85. Esther Menn, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  86. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Seattle University
  87. Gladys G. Moore, Mount Holyoke College
  88. C. Lynn Nakamura, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
  89. Peter T. Nash, Wartburg College
  90. Craig Nessan, Wartburg Theological Seminary
  91. Frederick Niedner, Valparaiso University
  92. Douglas E. Oakman, Pacific Lutheran University
  93. Emlyn Ott, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
  94. Jon Pahl, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
  95. Gary Pence, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  96. Ann Milliken Pederson, Augustana College, Sioux Falls
  97. Pete Pero, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  98. Richard J. Perry, Jr., Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  99. Brian Peterson, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  100. Cheryl Peterson, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
  101. Ray Pickett, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  102. Melinda A. Quivik, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
  103. Mark William Radecke, Susquehanna University
  104. Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary (emeritus)
  105. David  Ratke, Lenoir-Rhyne University
  106. H. Frederick Reisz, Jr. , President Emeritus, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  107. Caryn D. Riswold, Illinois College
  108. David Rhoads, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  109. Nelson Rivera, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
  110. José David Rodriguez, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  111. Tom Rogers, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  112. Barbara Rossing, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  113. Philip L. Ruge-Jones, Texas Lutheran University
  114. H. Paul Santmire, emeritus Wellesley College
  115. Craig Satterlee, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  116. Gwen Sayler, Wartburg Theological Seminary
  117. Christian Scharen, Luther Seminary
  118. Thomas Schattauer, Wartburg Theological Seminary
  119. Brooks Schramm, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  120. Lea Schweitz, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  121. Michael Shelley, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  122. Gary Simpson, Luther Seminary
  123. Mary M. Solberg, Gustavus Adolphus College
  124. Gary Stansell, St. Olaf College
  125. Ben Stewart, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  126. Kirsi Stjerna, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
  127. Martha Stortz, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  128. Jarvis Streeter, California Lutheran University
  129. Fred Strickert, Wartburg College
  130. Jane E. Strohl, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  131. Paul Stuehrenberg, Yale Divinity School
  132. Karla Suomala, Luther College
  133. Mark N. Swanson, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  134. Richard W. Swanson, Augustana College, Sioux Falls
  135. Rosanne A. Swanson, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  136. Ronald F. Thiemann, Harvard Divinity School
  137. James Thomas, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
  138.   Linda E. Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  139. Samuel Thomas, California Lutheran University
  140. Mark Thomsen, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  141. Samuel Torvend, Pacific Lutheran University
  142. Teresa Swan Tuite, Bates College
  143. Alicia Vargas, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
  144. Peter Vethanayagamony, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  145. Aana Marie Vigen, Loyola University Chicago
  146. Gregory Walter, St. Olaf Collage
  147. Christine Wenderoth, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  148. Audrey West, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  149. Paul Westermeyer, Luther Seminary
  150. Vitor Westhelle, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  151. Courtney Wilder, Midland Lutheran College
  152. Ritva H. Williams, Augustana College, Rock Island
  153. Charles A. Wilson, St. Olaf College