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Many Lutherans still support traditional marriage

July 18, 2011 17 Comments

Responding to a vote by delegates at the convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) meeting in Saskatoon, July 15 and 16 which authorizes its pastors to conduct same-gender marriages and finds sexual orientation no longer an issue for ordaining pastors, the leaders of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) issued a statement noting that the ELCIC does not speak for all Lutherans in the country.

The statement at www.lutheranchurch.ca/marriage notes that the ELCIC is the only Lutheran church body in Canada “that has approved such a departure from accepted Christian teaching.”  While the ELCIC is the largest Lutheran body in Canada, statistics available online show that nearly 40 percent of Lutherans worshipping each week belong to congregations outside the ELCIC.

Noting the words of Jesus who spoke of marriage in terms of a man leaving his father and mother, being united to his wife, and the two becoming one flesh, LCC’s presidents (bishops) declared the church body’s continuing witness to “Christ’s clear teaching that God designed marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman.” They further state that LCC will not ordain pastors who do not support this position.

At its 2002 convention Lutheran Church–Canada affirmed the historic biblical definition of marriage. At its most recent convention in June 2011, delegates agreed that the Bible’s qualifications and standards for a pastor include a heterosexual orientation.

LCC’s position is one held by the Church for the past 2000 years and supported by millions of Christians worldwide including the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and a rapidly growing number of Lutheran churches in Africa. “LCC is not speaking from the margins,” the statement notes.

The statement also rejects any notion that holding to “historic Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality constitutes ‘homophobia,’ an irrational fear and hatred of people with same-gender orientation.” LCC’s leaders refuse to defend those who take a threatening or insulting approach to the issue, but instead “repent of such sin and ask God to help His people overcome it wherever it occurs.”

After noting that there are Lutheran Christians in Canada “still deeply committed to the Bible as the authoritative Word of God and still dedicated to its clear witness on human sexuality, marriage and standards for ministry,” the leaders pledge prayers for those within the ELCIC for whom their church body’s decision is troubling.


  • Petervk said:

    Thank you for words of integrity and sanity.

  • Lapsedlutheran said:

    “accepted Christian teaching” has taken many forms over many centuries.  seems you christians are always using your bible to justify whatever suits your godless agenda.    

  • anotherone said:

    As the article states, this IS the historic Christian position, not some politically-motivated novelty. There have not been many conflicting views on this throughout the centuries in the Church. If anyone is trying to use a new and twisted view of the Bible to support a godless agenda, it’s those who sacrifice their integrity on the altar of PC.

  • Lapsedlutheran said:

    Oh please, you would revise any aspect of Christian doctrine you could, and christianity has repeatedly, to suit your hate-based agenda.  perhaps its time to get your head out of the old testament and read the “Gospel”……….as an aside, do you LCC lutherans still have printed literature that refer to the Pope as the antichrist??

  • canluth (author) said:

    Like all Lutheran churches Lutheran Church-Canada bases its confession and doctrine on The Book of Concord. You may wish to look at the Smalcald Articles with the Treatise for further information.

  • Olika kompassriktning said:

    […] Glädjande nog är inte alla evangelisk-lutherska sammanhang i Kanada överens med beslutet i ELCIC. Lutheran Church-Canada (LCC) har reagerat över beslutet och trätt fram med en tydlig biblisk bekännelse i frågan: Many Lutherans still support traditional marriage. […]

  • Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » One year on line for Lutheran magazine said:

    […] news story most viewed over the past year was Many Lutherans still support traditional marriage, posted in July following the decisions by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada regarding […]

  • Kat said:

    I have been studying the bible for over a year now and am in search of a church in keeping with the teachings found therein.  I am impressed by the stance taken by the Canadian Lutheran church on homosexual marriage and as a result I will investigate other Lutheran beliefs to ensure they are in keeping with what I would expect from a bible based religion.  Thank you!

  • The Canadian Lutheran (author) said:

    Hi Kat,

    If we at LCC can be of any assistance as you investigate Lutheran doctrine, please let us know. You can contact me at communications@lutheranchurch.ca . Alternately, you can find one of our congregations by visiting http://www.lutheranchurch-canada.ca/congregations.php .


    Mathew Block
    Editor of The Canadian Lutheran

  • Loftynotes said:

    Saying that you are Lutherans “deeply committed to the Bible” makes me wonder. How committed are you to feeding the poor? Jesus addressed this issue far more often than whom we ought to bed with. Or, doesn’t that matter to you, because he really doesn’t expect you to take everything from the Bible too seriously? Well, woe to you who point the finger of shame on fellow children of God, justifying it by your own, self-serving interpretation of God’s Word. You shall one day be enlightened, whether in this world or the next, and probably by one of God’s children who has been persecuted. Read the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount). Sometimes Lutherans like the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” I think that Jesus would weep if he saw how his homosexual brothers and sisters, all part of the Body of Christ, were treated by their very own family members and would-be friends. But he understands hatred and bigotry. For these sins he died. May you who hate be shown love and mercy. EJL, Minnesota, USA

  • canluth (author) said:

    You may be interested in these stories from the site:
    The Voice Inside: Who is listening? http://www.canadianlutheran.ca/the-voice-inside-out-and-active-in-the-church/
    The Voice Beside: Supporting those out in church http://www.canadianlutheran.ca/the-voice-walking-beside-supporting-those-out-and-active-in-church/

  • Rev. aRBy said:

    I know I’m a bit late in responding, but your comments do deserve a reply.  If you read through the article above, it is made clear that the position our church has taken is one where we do not defend any form of persecution but call those involved to repentance and I have seen this happen within the context parish ministry – as the articles referenced by Matthew Block testify.  About your other complaints – that LCC or LCMS overlook other social concerns such as feeding the poor and defending the marginalized – I think you’d better do your research.  In Canada (LCC), every church that I have been involved with either as the local pastor or as a vacancy/interim pastor has had active programs to reach out to the marginalized within society.  This has ranged from hosting local food banks, helping community food banks as well, year round hamper programs, aid to women’s shelters and assistance for sick children, helping new Canadians from refugee settlements get established, as well as serving at local soup kitchens for people living on the street.  This is echoed internationally as our Church continues to work closely with CLWR in a variety of capacities and in our mission fields where in addition to simply “preaching the Gospel”, we also host sewing schools for women in order to teach them trades so that they can support themselves, train pastors & deaconesses to serve God’s people, provide construction crews to help build not only churches, but schools and homes as well, not to mention volunteers who go on short-term mission trips to provide eye-glasses to people who have none, teach & provide hygene equipment to help prevent the spread of illness, and many others could be listed here as well.  Do we do these things perfectly? No.  Is there more to be done?  Absolutely.  But we move ahead with the Scriptures in hand in order to lead people from bondage to real sin to Christ.

  • Walter Johanson said:

    I applaud the reaffirming statement on traditional Christian marriage. I’m a former pastor of the ELCIC. I recall the very clear the very clear teaching of the Bible on the topic of marriage. I also recall how the ELCIC’s teaching on marriage amounted to a pale shadow of the clear teaching in the Bible.
    Now here is a real, bigger problem. The teaching on marriage is also a pale shadow in all Lutheran churches, including the LCMS. And that inadequate understanding of marriage falls far,short of what the Bible teaches.
    I think it will be profitable for the remaining Lutheran churches who hold on to traditional marriages to become familiar with the teaching that shines above all does honour to the biblical teaching. It is Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the body.”

    Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body (Paperback)
    Pope JohnPaul II. Buy it at Amazon. Read it and the biblical doctrine of Christian marriage will become abundantly clear… As clear as the bible!

  • Thomas said:

    I agree and I want to congratulate you for your reminder that Lutherans can also learn a lot from their Roman Catholic brothers, like it also can happen otherwise.

  • John Stanwyck said:

    This article sure hasn’t aged well!

  • Andrew Hayes said:

    @Lapsedlutheran, If it’s time to get our head out of the Old Testament and read the gospel…first of all, then why would this article have this saying, “Noting the words of JESUS who spoke of marriage in terms of a man leaving his father and mother, being united to his wife, and the two becoming one flesh, LCC’s presidents (bishops) declared the church body’s continuing witness to “CHRIST”S clear teaching that God designed marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman.” They further state that LCC will not ordain pastors who do not support this position. Last time I checked the statements of “Noting the words of JESUS who spoke of marriage in terms of a man leaving his father and mother, being united to his wife, and the two becoming one flesh” and “CHRIST’S clear teaching that God designed marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman.” basically tell about what is said in Matthew 19:3-6. Which is in the GOSPEL last time I checked. Also, If it’s time to get our head out of the Old Testament and read the gospel…then what should we do about the epistles.

  • Andrew Hayes said:

    Loftynotes. If that’s the case, then why would Jesus say, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” in the first place

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