Guest / Limited Access /

A long-awaited draft statement by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America shies from taking a position on homosexuality, saying the church has yet to reach consensus on the matter.

Current ELCA policies, which bar non-celibate homosexual clergy, are not discussed in the draft released Thursday, March 13.

And while the church "recognizes the historic origin of the term `marriage' as … between a man and a woman," the statement also notes that some ELCA pastors and congregations support same-sex unions.

"After many years of study and conversation, this church does not have consensus regarding loving and committed same-gender relationships," the statement reads.

Nearly seven years in the making, "Journey Together Faithfully" is intended as a framework for future ELCA debates on sexuality.

Compiled by a 15-member committee of bishops, pastors, psychologists, professors and a homemaker, the draft now begins an eight-month comment period within the ELCA, the nation's largest Lutheran body. A second draft will be produced after the comment period.

If approved by a two-thirds majority at the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly next year, the statement will be used to guide church policy for its 4.8 million members.

Like other mainline Protestant denominations, the ELCA has been torn by how open the church should be to gay and lesbian clergy and laity.

But efforts to liberalize the church's gay policies have stalled.

At last year's Churchwide Assembly, delegates voted to uphold a ban on sexually active gay and lesbian clergy but cautioned bishops against applying the ban too strictly.

"Although this church lacks consensus, it encourages all people to live out their faith in the community of the baptized," the draft says.

"We call on congregations ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueEvangelism Is Alive in Portland
Subscriber Access Only
Evangelism Is Alive in Portland
How pastors, evangelists, and residents are sharing the Good News among the city’s ‘nones’ and Muslim refugees.
RecommendedPrinceton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller
Princeton Seminary Reforms Its Views on Honoring Tim Keller
School rescinds a major theology prize amid complaints over women’s ordination.
TrendingThe Real St. Patrick
The Real St. Patrick
A look at the famous saint, and his strategic missions.
Editor's PickMoral Relativism Is Dead
Moral Relativism Is Dead
Why outrage culture is good news for the gospel.
Christianity Today
Seven Years in the Making, Draft ELCA Statement on Sexuality ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.