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Anglicans and Lutherans hold summit on biblical marriage and sexuality

May 9, 2013 4 Comments

Back (left to right): Mark Galli, Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Rev. Mark Chavez, Rev. Ken Hennings, Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, Rev. Larry Vogel. Front (left to right): Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton, Rev. Prof. John Pless, Rev. Frederic Baue, Rev. Dr. John Stephenson, Very Rev. Dr. Jonathan Riches

UPDATE: The joint “Affirmation on marriage,” signed by participants at the summit and by the heads of all four church bodies, click here.

DALLAS, Texas – A landmark ecumenical summit took place May 3-5, 2013 at Church of the Holy Communion in, Dallas, Texas. The theme of the meeting was “Biblical Teaching on Marriage and Sexuality.” Presentations and discussion focused on the shared historic understanding of marriage as a holy estate, divinely created by God to be the union of man and woman.

The gathering was the result of ongoing multi-lateral consultations between the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Lutheran Church-Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The summit involved representatives from each denomination and included prayer, denominational presentations, and a lecture by Mark Galli, editor of Christianity Today magazine.

Galli’s presentation was titled, “Blest Be the Grace that Binds: The Gift and Beauty of Marriage as God Intends It.” He is the author of a number of books, including Beyond Smells and Bells, Chaos and Grace, God Wins, and forthcoming book Karl Barth: An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals.

As North American culture wrestles with issues of marriage and family, the participants of this ecumenical dialogue sought clarity and agreement on Scriptural teaching, with the intention of developing a common statement. A draft was presented and discussed, and a final form will be forthcoming. The statement is intended to provide clear, concise instruction to clergy and members of the participating denominations, but also to be an unequivocal affirmation of biblical teaching with regard to marriage between male and female as the essential and unchanging foundation for home, family, church, and society.

Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton, a bishop of ACNA and host for the summit, said of the gathering, “God calls His people in every generation to proclaim the clarity of the Gospel to the points of greatest confusion. In our generation, marriage and sexuality have become the points of cultural confusion that keep the western world from grasping the most important image of God’s relation to His people, marriage. Confessional believers must learn again to speak with one voice.”

Rev. Dr. John Stephenson, a professor at LCC’s Concordia Theological Seminary in, St. Catharines, Ontario, affirmed the gathering, stating: “Our unforced consensus on this bitterly contested topic rests on wide-ranging but still incomplete agreement on the Christian Faith as a whole. As the participants get to know and cherish each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and to come together in prayer, we hope that the Lord will graciously move us toward oneness as His disciples.”

Rev. Ken Hennings, president of the Texas District of the LCMS, reflecting on the summit, stated, “Attending this meeting was very encouraging as leaders of different church bodies focused on the goodness and blessing of marriage between one man and one woman and how to share this positive view with our culture.”

“Our Lord immensely blessed us in these Anglican-Lutheran consultations,” said Rev. Mark Chavez, General Secretary of the North American Lutheran Church. He continued, “The Lord has gathered us as one in Him with strong agreement in our confession of the Christian faith. Our agreement includes the biblical norms for marriage and sexuality. I am hopeful for our common statement and for mutually presenting a clear biblical teaching of marriage and sexuality throughout our churches that will be a blessing for all of North America.”

Other participants included Very Rev. Dr. Jonathan S. Riches, Reformed Episcopal Seminary (ACNA); Rev. Dr. Frederic Baue (LCMS); Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, Executive Director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (LCMS); Rev. Prof. John Pless, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (LCMS); Rev. Larry Vogel, Associate Executive Director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, (LCMS); and Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism (NALC).



  • Dean Bell said:

    Will the papers from this conference become avaliable to the church at large? I hope so.

  • Cliff Pyle said:

    It is great to see us working with
    others who adhere to strong biblical stance. The battles of the past must be
    put aside not only to be faithful to scripture, but because the world is
    becoming more anti-Christian every day.

    As atheism rises in North America, from 2% in the
    early 90’s to 20% today, we must work on cooperation instead of attacking each
    other. Scripture in Proverbs and Galatians exhorts us to get along with one

  • PoP eNews Week of May 13, 2013 | Prince of Peace Lutheran Church said:

    […] Anglicans and Lutherans hold summit on biblical marriage and sexuality: A landmark ecumenical summit took place May 3-5 in Dallas, Texas as representatives of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) met. The theme of the meeting was “Biblical Teaching on Marriage and Sexuality.” READ MORE […]

  • Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » An affirmation of marriage said:

    […] The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and the North American Lutheran Church held a summit on biblical marriage and sexuality. The results of that summit was the joint “Affirmation of Marriage” which appears […]

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