A couple of months ago in a small meeting I asked Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, a highly respected Lutheran theologian, what do I say to my pastor who is in full support of the ELCA decision to allow openly homosexual clergy. His response, along with a deep sigh was… “I don’t know…I don’t know…” I didn’t know either. I prayed again, studied again, and looked for wise counsel again. This week I had a meeting with my pastor to tell him that I would be leaving the ELCA. It was a very surreal meeting. I was admonishing my pastor to return to the orthodoxy of the church and the teaching of Scripture. He stated that he believed the vote of the ELCA was led by the Holy Spirit and time will tell the story. I said that the Holy Spirit is not doing anything other then what He did on the day of pentecost and He has been doing the same thing for the last 2000 years. Saying that he was sorry that he could not change to see it the way I see it we part ways as fellow servants of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. He sent me an email later that afternoon thanking me for the work I have done in the church and expressed his sadness to see me and my family leave.
I replied to his email with this response…
After reflection on our meeting I wanted to leave you with a few thoughts. I do consider you a dear brother in Christ and I know that your desire is to serve our Lord with your whole heart. It’s not my place to turn you from your firm convictions. However, since you are taking a position that is contrary the historic position of the Christian church I encourage you to revisit this subject often and be open to change. If our dear brother Martin Luther had gone along with the church and not wrestled continually with the issues of his day we might not have the rich reformation heritage of justification by faith that we both hold as precious.
“Love the sinner but hate the sin.” This saying has many different meanings to many different people. This saying can be used as law or gospel. For me I do not hate the sin for the sin as an action. I hate the sin for the separation it creates between man and God. One of the most impacting portion of scripture in my life has always been St. Matthew’s narrative telling about Jesus looking over Jerusalem. Never has man been able to see so clearly into the heart of God. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!” I find my peace in the shadow of His wing.
Grace and peace.