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Lutherans find “hot button” answers in the Bible

May 31, 2011 No Comment

2008 Convention delegate Rev. Mark Lobitz receives his registration materials

When delegates from across Canada meet for Lutheran Church–Canada’s ninth convention June 3-6 in Hamilton, Ontario, they won’t debate same-sex marriage, abortion, or re-defining who should be ordained. Those matters are settled. The church body, whose roots go back to 1517, believes marriage is the life long union of one man and one woman; that all life is a gift from God beginning at conception; and that the Bible clearly prescribes who should hold the pastoral office.

However, there are resolutions that build upon these scripturally-based positions. For example, delegates will discuss embryonic stem-cell research and ask the church to speak in favour of research using adult stem-cells rather than those taken from an aborted baby. Another resolution will set aside a specific Sunday for congregations to focus on the church’s pro-life stance.

President Robert Bugbee

Many church bodies wrestle with “hot-button” issues as they try to connect with contemporary society. For the president of Lutheran Church–Canada, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, who is standing unopposed for his second term, the church should take note of society’s attitudes, and then apply to them the truth of God’s Word.

Using a current analogy, he says that allowing society to determine what a church believes is like the crowd at a hockey game dictating how the game should be played. “The players wouldn’t know the rules, the refs may as well not be there, and the game would deteriorate into chaos.” He believes, as does LCC, there has to be a reference point, a benchmark, and for Christians that reference point is found in the historic teachings of the Bible.

To reinforce the point, the convention’s theme “In Your light, we see Light” refers to how God’s Word, the Bible, applies to all aspects of a Christian’s life. In three presentations, the president of the Lutheran Church of Australia, Rev. Dr. Michael Semmler, will explore the theme with the delegates. 

The convention will also be asked to welcome two congregations into Lutheran Church–Canada, one from Saskatchewan, the other from Alberta.

Topics for resolutions come to the convention from congregations across Canada and the church’s various boards and commissions. Called “overtures,” these submissions are then processed as resolutions for the 108 voting delegates to consider. Every local church receives copies of overtures, reports and resolutions and members are encouraged to respond.

Some of the 2011 resolutions ask the convention to look at how LCC understands congregations as communities of faith; the care of pastor’s families; qualifications for the pastoral ministry; and various administrative and governance matters.

The convention also elects those who will serve in leadership for the next three years. Congregations and members submit names of potential nominees for all elected positions.

“Ours is very much a grassroots organization,” explained the president. “We value input from all the members of our Synod and encourage a strong level of participation.”

Winnipeg-based Lutheran Church–Canada was formed in 1988 from the Canadian congregations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Along with 319 congregations and more than 68,000 members from coast-to-coast, LCC supports seminaries in St. Catharines, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta, and Concordia University College of Alberta in Edmonton. It also works directly with Lutherans in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Thailand and Ukraine.

Further information about the convention is available at www.lutheranchurch.ca/synod2011

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