ELCA Lutherans elect first openly gay bishop

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has elected its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. R. Guy Erwin, to oversee churches in Southern California. Photo courtesy California Lutheran University

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has elected its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. R. Guy Erwin, to oversee churches in Southern California. Photo courtesy California Lutheran University

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(RNS) Observers say the election of the first openly gay Lutheran bishop in the United States is as significant as the decision to ordain women clergy, but they don't expect the decision to split the 4 million-member ELCA.

  • JA

    Ordained in 2011 and elected Bishop in 2013. That’s pretty shocking too.

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  • Doc Anthony

    Missouri Synod Lutherans, you know what you must do. It’s time to stop being “unequally yoked.” ELCA has gone off the deep end, and despite common projects like “disaster relief” and “immigration reform”, the last thing you need is for ELCA to pull you under with them.

    It’s a tough decision to make, but it’s time to tell ELCA good-bye.

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  • Rev. onah Gregory Ph.D

    Lutherans all over the world, believe, teach and uphold the truth that the Holy bible is the WORD of God and is the final authority in all manners of faith and practice. The sainted C. F. W. Walter has pointed out the fact that those who live such lives are living in abominable sins and such cannot lay claim to christianity, rather he classified them under unbelievers, though they lay claim to orthodoxy but they actually have dead faith. The time has come for all true Lutherans to leave ELCA or it is time for ELCA to stop claiming the Lutheran identity. Our prayers of repentance will always be offered for them all.

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  • Rev. Kelly G. Lewis

    Rev. Gregory — I wonder if you remember who said “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female ….”

    I hesitate to mention that I am a seminary trained, ordained Lutheran pastor who, as it happens is also female, because I’m pretty sure that last descriptor disqualifies me as an interpreter or preacher of Scripture in your theology.

  • Didaskalos

    Let’s apply an ELCA-revised 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 as a consistent standard for would-be ELCA bishops:

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    Since the ELCA has eisegetically excised part of 1 Corinthians 6 to put its denominational imprimatur on homosexual sex, when will Bishop Gonia and other ELCA leaders be gushing over the appointments of the first proudly unrepentant adulterer, thief, and swindler to the office of ELCA bishop?

  • Geoffrey Smith

    “Lutherans all over the world, believe, teach and uphold the truth that the Holy bible is the WORD of God and is the final authority in all manners of faith and practice.”

    Why? By whose authority?

  • Marcella

    I used to be a member of the ELCA, but left that denomination years ago. Regarding the election of this gay bishop, Martin Marty says, ““This is just one of many indications that the culture has shifted.” There may be a cultural shift, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and God’s Word is true and never changes.

    I work for a huge corporation, which promotes the gay and lesbian movement and strongly pushes it on us, employees. They pour billions of dollars into the gay agenda every year.

    The Bible tells us to hate the sin and love the sinner. I pray for those, who are gay and lesbian, as well as those, who support them. They are human beings, too, in need of the love and forgiveness of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

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  • Little Lamb of GOD

    Dear brothers and sisters, I wish you all know that the end time is approching closer than ever, because Satan has fooled even the elected people of God. When a church openly shows defiance against the Biblical teaching, you know that church is not a church of God anymore. God put rainbow in the sky to promise not to flood the entire earth again. But God never promise no fire, no brimestone from heaven again when he saved LOT and his family out of SODOM. Be aware of this, SODOM will be punished again with fire and brimestone, in a morden language, that is NUCLEAR WAR and mass destruction of the earth with fire and brimestone.
    I pray we all know this and take action to repent ourselves in front of Jesus. Turn away from sinning against God. He is Holy, He forgive, but we only receive his forgiveness when we repent from things that is abominable to Him.

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  • A Christian

    Obviously, the ELCA and it’s members are not reading the Bible. You don’t need to go to seminary to understand scripture. It is crystal clear on sexual immorality. Don’t even attempt to go there!! I don’t hate a soul on this earth but I do hate sin. We should love everyone and hate the sin. Just because someone has a mental disability in homosexuality (+/- 3%) doesn’t mean we should condone the decision to act on it. A man may want to have sex with every lady he sees but he can’t act on it. There are plenty of disabilities that exist. The blind, the crippled etc. all have their challenges and the suck. The gay community wants normalcy concerning marriage and that is their (in your face) agenda. Even unions are not acceptable if benefits were the same.
    I feel for the gay community as they deal with a very unique disability. You can take religion and opinion out of the equation and you are left with cold hard facts. It wasn’t meant to be and God couldn’t give any more evidence to confirm that conclusion.

  • anns

    Wow! Not too long ago a lot of Christians believed blacks were animals. The Christian blacks waited and waited for the Christian church to speak up against the killing and abuse. The church never did. Is that the Christianity the homopobic are refering to?

  • Josh

    I find this completely heartbreaking that this denomination has chosen to go the route it has. I cannot believe as someone who grew up in this church, how terrible it has turned away from the Bible, God’s word, and what the Bible stands for. Yes Jesus forgives, has died for our sins, but we must receive him, repent of our sins, and be born again and walk in the newness of life. It is not easy as a Christian as myself, I struggle with faith still, what human doesn’t. I pray hard for this church that they will find Jesus and the truth. Because even though Jesus came, and died, and was resurrected, he also stated to turn away from sin such as homosexuality. It is our duty as Christians to still show love and pray and hope that they will be lead back to God’s True word.

  • Josh

    How could anyone allow such a vote to pass. I was led to another church denomination, and faith through the Southern Baptist Convention. That is a church that stands for God’s word and is on target with what the Bible teaches. Marriage is between a man and a woman, a covenant to the Lord Jesus Christ. My church doesn’t judge, none of us have the right to judge one another. No one is perfect, I am far from perfect. But to allow such practices to go on, I will no longer even try to be a member of this church again. I pray for the ELCA to hopefully lead back to God’s word, Satan has truly deceived this church.

  • Josh

    Rev. Lewis,

    It does not matter if you are an ordained minister or have attended seminary. To God that doesn’t even matter. But do not be discouraged if you feel that way, I pray for you that God will speak to your heart and help you preach, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what the Bible teaches. May he lead you to teach the message of Jesus Christ and what the Bible Truly Teaches.

  • Rick Roberts

    The Law gives comfort. You have rules. You don’t have to think. As long as you worship The Law, you are safe from having to test all things.

    the Law is easy. The Law is also impossible to follow.

    PS, I hate those robots thingies. I have a severe reading disability and they are terrible!

  • Churchy McWorship

    Yeah, the last thing the Missouri Synod needs is to catch up to a progressive, accepting denomination that believes in showing God’s love in a modern world. They can keep pretending it is 1847 and living in hate and hypocrisy.

  • Churchy McWorship

    No, not the BRIMESTONE!

  • Churchy McWorship

    Can you name one bishop that has not had lust in his heart? One who has not been greedy or immoral? “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

    As the scripture you quoted continues, Bishop Gonia was washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. Just as you were despite your close-mindedness and hate. Just as I was despite my pity and judgement for your ignorant world view.

  • Churchy McWorship

    The Bible is also crystal clear on killing Philistines and stoning witches. Have YOU allowed a witch to live? Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. Believing that you have the authority to tell others how to live, worship, and express love IS. That’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder as defined by the DSM-5.

  • Churchy McWorship

    Your church also says God hates divorce, yet has the highest divorce rate of all denominations. I can’t believe you let those practices go on. I know I will never try to be a member of that church. I could never be a part of such hypocrisy