On July 13, the delegates to the 62nd Regular Convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) voted for a resolution that affirmed “on the basis of Scripture, marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6). The resolution, similar to those recently adopted by the African Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, passed with an overwhelming 98 percent majority.
In full, the resolution declares homosexuality as a sexual sin that is contrary to the creator’s design, and calls on the Synod members to “give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual ‘marriage.’
“For our Synod to be silent, especially in the present context, could be viewed as acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle,” the resolution stated, in reference to the legal recognition of same-sex “marriages” in Massachusetts.
The Synod listed several verses in both the Old and New Testaments that condemned homosexual behavior as a sexual sin: Lev. 18:22,24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 1 Tim. 1:10; and Rom. 1:26-27. At that end, the resolution urged members to “deal with sexual sins with the same love and concern as all other sins, calling for repentance and offering forgiveness in the Good News of Jesus Christ when there is repentance.”
The resolution adopted today also resolves “that husbands and wives give thanks to God for the blessings of marriage, lead a chaste and decent life, and each love and honor one’s spouse.”
In addition to the resolution, the Synod unanimously passed a complimentary amendment that said, “God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:32).”
During the presentation of the resolution, the Convention attendees noted that the evangelical 2.5-million-member denomination had already recognized “homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful” and agreed “the church’s proper evangelical work is to proclaim the reconciliation of the sinner to God in the death of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-19),” in 1973.
The convention also adopted “A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families” as a resource and guide for pastoral care. To download the document, please visit the LCMS website: www.lcms.org/minhomfam
The triennial LCMS convention, which began in St. Louis, Mo., on July 10, is the highest legislative authority within the denomination. In addition to the resolution on homosexual “Marriage,” the delegates adopted a $100 million six-year fund-raising effort for Mission.
The delegates voted 653 to 533 in endorsing the funding appeal, in following this year’s convention theme, “Mission Ablaze.” Some 30 to 40 percent of the raised funds will be used in North America, to support activities such as church planting and theological education.
Additionally, the delegates voted to “endorse and respond enthusiastically” to the newly elected president Geral Kieschnick’s “One Mission, One Message, One People” emphasis that encourages a stronger zeal for mission outreach, evangelical confession and efforts to achieve peace and concord in the Synod.
The weeklong conference ends today, July 15, 2004.