Monday, December 14, 2009

Blade Writer Thinks Gay Issue is Minor for Lutheran Church

A Letter to the Blade:

In regard to the dispute at St. Paul’s Church over gay clergy: Though he had many major theological differences with the medieval church, Luther did not withdraw from it, but was forced out by the hierarchy.

It therefore seems strange that a Lutheran congregation would divorce itself from its parent body over one rather minor social issue.

Fred Shuman


Fred and his wife both taught my children at AW Schools. Fred is a retired minister in the Evangelical Lutheran church--same as St. Paul's Lutheran in Maumee which recently voted to secede from the parent denomination.

Fred should remember that Luther was kicked out of the Catholic Church after disagreeing with it on a list of 99 issues. So what would happen if the St. Paul's congregation would refuse to receive a gay minister or perform gay marriages? The split is inevitable. And the issue is BIBLICAL, not socially minor. It is the church divider of our day.

Luther hoped to reform Catholicism instead of being excommunicated. St. Paul's Church probably knows that their denomination has been left-leaning on theological and social issues for decades. Better to secede than put up with their unbiblical stand on marriage --no small social issue.

Any church that wants to be truly Biblical cannot condone gay marriage or ordination for practicing homosexuals --same as for unrepentant, sexually active adulterers, rapists, pedophiles, incestors, fornicators, porn users.

The Bible blesses one proper arrangement for sexual intimacy--marriage between a man and wife --and warns against the rest as sins.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Chuck O'Connor said...

Well at least you are consistent.

I have a new post up Barb.

John said...

Don't most churches welcome remarried couples who were divorced for unscriptural reasons? Scripture is clear that divorce is sanctioned by God for one reason and one reason only: the sexual infidelity of one's partner. Not neglect, not alcoholism, not ill-temperedness or even abuse.

So technically, they're still living in sin, are they not?

Yet, Christianity has made concessions to human weakness, maybe not celebrating the fact that the couple is on their second marriage, but welcoming them nonetheless as worthy members.

- John N

Barb said...

Catholics will consider the prior marriage outside the church to be illegitimate and thus annulable as not a sacred marriage --I believe. Thus, for a fee, they can remarry by annuling the first marriage. If it was a Catholic wedding, I think they can still pay out of it. One reason not to be Catholic--because it just isn't very Biblical to pay money for our sins!

I know the protestant churches typically welcome divorced, single, married and remarried --and all Christian churches know that God hates divorce and provided it in the law only for "the hardness of our hearts." Some protestant pastors refuse to marry those who have been divorced from others --I don't know if infidelity makes a difference to them or not --the issue of re-marriage is fuzzy in scripture --I think. Suggesting that divorcing one's spouse forces the spouse to commit adultery when she/he marries another --so as you say, still living in sin.

Most of us Christians (I think I can say "most") believe the redemptive Christ meets us where we are --regardless of our past sex lives --as he met and counseled with the woman at the well who had been with many men and the current one not her husband. He went and spoke to her and her people for a few days. I wish we had written account of his teachings to them. I'm guessing he told her to marry the man she was currently with--unless they were both still married to others. the issue of her relationship status was in their very first discussion--he knew all about her past. She was, understandably, amazed. He certainly was redemptive, forgiving toward her in going with her to her people to teach.

God made men and women to complement (and need) one another. I and many other Christians believe God's grace allows re-marriage --regardless of how or why the divorce occured --but infidelity of the departing partner is grounds for divorce and re-marriage by the abandoned partner in most churches.

the point of Christ's teachings is that men are to leave family and cleave to their wives --not other men -- adultery is a sin and divorce is regrettable, sinful, and needs forgiveness--and forces people to 2nd or more partners when the first partner dumps him or her. (Not to mention the harm to kids and whole families wrought by divorce.)

And the point of love and forgiveness teachings of Christ is that we should be able to make any relationship work when we marry. (But I do think abuse of wife and kids is a legit out --which Jesus just did not discuss. The point is that a man should NOT abuse and should NOT divorce.)

I speak as a layman here and may need to stand corrected when I speak for 'most' Christians.

There's something in the OT law about not remarrying one to whom you are divorced --perhaps when adultery is involved --but I think Christ's redemptive and forgiveness teachings make for possibility of fresh starts for those who repent and do all they can to make amends with first marriage.

For sure, adulterers should go home and live right --if their spouses want them back --but Christ does not obligate people to forgive the adulterers --saying it is grounds for divorce. Christ can soften the heart, however, and make lemonade from lemons --like turning water to wine!

Jeanette said...


I believe the statement that one cannot get a divorce except for adultery by his/her spouse is in the New Testament and is therefore covered by the New Covenant and sanctioned by the Holy Spirit Who is in complete agreement with God the Father and Jesus.

I once knew a man who was a deacon in his church. His wife divorced him and it was not for infidelity.

He was removed from the board of deacons because he was divorced.

Jeanette said...

Also, since Catholics do not recognize any marriage outside their church there would be no reason for an annulment if two Catholics (one or both divorced but never married by the church) to get an annulment.

Annulment requests have to be sent to Rome for a ruling.

Barb said...

Agreed, Jeanette, that's what Jesus says alright --that adultery is grounds for divorce --and that re-marriage is adulterated rather than pure as our Holy God intended for us.

God's intention is that we make the original match work --and be Christian in our marriages --having fruits of the spirit, love and forgiveness, patience, etc.

But John's statement is what we see in most churches today --even the most conservative: Yet, Christianity has made concessions to human weakness, maybe not celebrating the fact that the couple is on their second marriage, but welcoming them nonetheless as worthy members.

It's a Grace thing--in that we are all sinners saved by grace. But before divorce, we are supposed to fear God on this matter of divorce --and stay faithful and stay married. But when we fail, or are dumped, we do have an advocate with the Father --a defense attorney, Jesus Christ, who covers our sins if we repent.

The need to be married after divorce should not keep people out of Heaven --lest they fail to see their divorce as sin when they were the cause of the divorce --or at least half the cause.

We are to take divorce a lot more seriously than we do --since it is so harmful --especially to children, but also to the spouse who didn't want it.

Jeanette said...

One of my friends from work is as devout a Christian as anyone I have ever known.

Her husband committed adultery against her in their marriage and they got divorced.

She met a nice man who is a Christian and he treated her like gold. He wanted to marry her, but because of her divorce she felt she had to pray about it until she felt comfortable that the Lord would bless the union.

He got tired of waiting for several years and they broke up.

In the meantime, she continued to support herself and her daughter from her marriage. She had tough going. Although we made good money it wasn't enough for her to educate her daughter the way she wanted and have a very good lifestyle, but she did educate her daughter.

Several years after the boyfriend broke up with her he came back to her and a few months later she announced she was going to marry him. She had prayed, counseled with her pastor and waited on God to lead her. They are very happy and successful now, and the daughter is married with a son.

She committed no sin by remarrying because she was the aggrieved party. She waited on the Lord.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Barb said...

Yes, we share the belief that the aggrieved party commits no sin in re-marriage --but Jesus did say that the aggriever causes the aggrieved to commit adultery --presumeably by re-marriage (almost an economic necessity for women with kids) --so Jesus' words are why the writer, John, here, said there is a technical state of sin or imperfection in such re-marriage --which is why your friend deliberated and felt uncertain about her freedom to re-marry.

Perhaps the purity laws of the OT were to teach a principle of purity vs. adulteration by compromise/sin --some of them seen as silly today, like the mixing of two different kinds of fabrics. (sometimes those fabrics were of different strengths, too, thus stressing the cloth at the seams. Just a layman's musing here, I should say.)

Adulterating a substance is introducing impurity into it. A spouse's adultery adulterates the original marriage which is pure in God's sight --and so the subsequent marriage has not the "purity" that God wanted for us. Of course, promiscuity introduces so much impurity that STD's are the inevitable consequence.

But the Lord cleans us up and I believe there is no judgment, just blessing, of your friend who was so cautious to please God.

People want to claim the same grace for homosexual coupling but that's an entirely different matter. Men and women are designed to desire and need each other for God's purposes; man with man is not so designed. He has taken a desire and need for orgasm and perverted it by getting it any number of ways with any number of partners. This is debauchery--a biblical abomination.