The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America used to believe that homosexual behavior is contrary to the will of God. That all changed in 2009 when the ELCA voted to ordain practicing homosexuals—at a convention that was, ironically, hit by a tornado.
Today many ELCA congregations celebrate homosexuality, and this month ELCA head bishop Elizabeth Eaton appeared in a gay pride video to celebrate Pride Month.
Westwood Lutheran is an ELCA congregation in the Twin Cities area. It is the devil's job to take something ugly and make it look pretty, and the below video is very apropos. Listen to Westwood's "amazing welcome that comes from God": "We are called to be ourselves...including sexuality...God gives unconditional welcome to all people...This includes people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and relationship status".
Is this true? I personally have struggled with same-sex attraction most of my life, and I am grateful that Jesus welcomes people who struggle with all kinds of sin. But what does He welcome us to? To repentance from sin and new life in Him. But you will hear no mention of repentance in the video because what was once sinful, no longer is. Now sexual sin is something to be celebrated. And what does it mean that Westwood welcomes people regardless of "relationship status"? It is not spelled out, but I am guessing that Westwood has no problem welcoming heterosexual couples who are living in fornication.
Does Jesus radically welcome everyone into His Church? No. He welcomes sinners who come to Him in repentance and faith. On the Last Day Jesus Himself will say "Depart from me" to the unrepentant (Matthew 7:22-23). Jesus taught that we should expel the impenitent person from the Church (Matthew 18:15-17) and the Apostle Paul taught the same (I Corinthians 5:13). It is not loving to welcome people to continue to live a life of sin. Sin will ultimately eternally separate them from God (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
I hope you attend a good Biblical church which welcomes all kinds of sinners, but one which also welcomes them to repentance from sin, and to faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Tom Brock graduated from Bethel College in St. Paul Minnesota with a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. He received a Masters of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1979 and served Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for 29 years. He served on the board of reform groups attempting to bring Biblical renewal to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America before he left that denomination over their position on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and universalism. For more information: The Pastor's Study