Pastor Semmler. Tear down this statement!

A post by Neil Hart on Homosexuality LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

For years the berlin wall stood as a sign of division between the east and the west. It represented a mistaken idea that a people can be walled in and isloated and controlled.

In the GDR Churches like the Lutheran  St. Nikolai were spied on but allowed to remain open. In an interview with Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Fuhrer. the pastor of St Nicolai said ”

In the GDR, the church provided the only free space. Everything that could not be discussed in public could be discussed in church, and in this way the church represented a unique spiritual and physical space in which people were free.”

In the early 1980s, Fuhrer began holding weekly prayers for peace. Few came at first, but attendance grew as the Soviet Union began opening to the West. The prayer service was something very special in east germany. Here a critical mass grew under the roof of the church — young people, Christians and non-Christians, and later, those who wanted to leave sought refuge there. From the church, the worshippers then went into the streets holding candles and calling for change.

In October 1989, on the 40th anniversary of the GDR, the government cracked down. Protesters in Leipzig were beaten and arrested. Two days later, St. Nikolai Church was full to overflowing for the weekly vigil.  When it was over, 70,000 people marched through the city as armed soldiers looked on, but did nothing. The fall of the Berlin Wall had commenced. (adapted from USA Today 11/9/2009)

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I present, for your reading pleasure, sections from the Lutheran Church of Australia: Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions, Statement on Homosexuality.  Prepared by the Commission. Adopted in principle by the General Synod, 1975 Convention. Adopted in final wording by the Commission, November 1975. This remains the official Statement of the Lutheran Church of Australia on Homosexuality and is available on the LCA website. I include my comments between the sections. 

Causation

There is little or no evidence that it is an inherited condition, or that endocrine abnormalities are a decisive causative factor.

Most evidence points to factors in the early development of the personality as the critical and determining cause for it, especially the interaction between parents and child in the first few years of the child’s life.

This statement causes no end of griei for families with a gay child/ sibling… it gives rise to the “What did we do wrong?” question. And it goes against ALL recent reliable studies.         

           Treatment

Skilled counselling may be helpful, particularly to the young (under 35 years of age)

Hormone treatment will not change the direction of the sexual drive, although it may lessen its intensity.

Punishment does not result in change of propensity, although it may restrict overt behaviour.

This statement is just plain offensive. Counselling to change the gay?  Pray the gay out? Change the Gay reparative therapies?  All of them have been discredited and are viewed as harmful by all competent therapists.  Hormone treatment  OMG! Punishment? Worse! This was bad stuff in 1975 let alone now. How did it ever sneak through.

The Church and Homosexuality

God’s word is silent about homosexuality as a propensity. In view of this and in the light of medical and psychological evidence, the church may not condemn or judge homosexual propensity.

Now, this whole “propensity is NOT sin but the act IS sin” confuses me. Surely the sermon on the mount pretty clearly defined sin as those things that we think,  not just those things that we do. The propensity to sin is exactly the definition of sin! We are born sinful. We are born with the natural propensity to sin. How can that suddenly not be the case with homosexuality? Why do we change the rules on homosexuality and only homosexuality? Is it because the writers of the statement could not stomach the  ramifications for the poor homosexual if they stayed scripturally consistent. Was that just a little too harsh? Either call it sin or don’t. Why do we have this half way, foot in both camps, thing. The Concordia Theological Quarterly Jan 78 Edition. Certainly had trouble understanding the Australian position.

http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/schaibleyevaluation.pdf

The Missouri Synod’s stand is that all homosexuality, orientation and action is sinful in accordance with the sermon on the mount’s description of sin. I think that their assessment is abhorrent….but at least it’s scripturally and theologically consistent. Ours is just plain confusing and cannot be justified now, just as it could not be justified when it was first received into the church. It is theological gymnastics akin to a combined ball and ribbon floor routine at the olympic games

Homosexuality is part of the mysterious disturbance and distortion that has entered God’s creation and his created social structures. Like disease, it must be seen in the context of the Fall and the resultant intrusion of disruptive and abnormal forces which have upset and perverted God’s original design.

God’s word regards this disruption and perversion as a judgment of God on the whole of humanity so that in this sense all people are somehow involved.

Ok… just recapping… their sexuality is distorted, diseased, disruptive, abnormal and perverted..and the .judgement of God. Guess that about covers it…(sigh)

The Church and the Homosexual

As in the case of pain and disease, the Christian homosexual should accept his homosexual propensity in obedience to God, bear his cross bravely, seek all possible professional help and pastoral aid, and in faith resist the strong temptation of rebelling and murmuring against God

These poor “diseased”, “perverted” individuals.  Not only do they have to bravely bear the cross… but they are not even allowed to murmur against God! No psalms of lament for the LGBT People? This gets worse and worse the further we go. :(

Pastoral Directive

The church, while rejecting the movement which claims tolerance of homosexual behaviour in the name of freedom of the individual and of moral progress, must also resist the popular reaction of persecution and ostracism. The church must exhibit understanding and sympathy for the homosexual, show love and pastoral concern, being ready to give help and encouragement in whatever way possible.

Ok… finally… a point of agreement. Lets together, as a church, show love and pastoral concern and help and encouragement….in the best way i can think of at the moment…

Pastor Semmler. Tear down this statement!

Will you light a candle with me? Will you stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters?