Homosexuality and Lutheranism

Lutheran viewpoints concerning homosexuality are diverse because there is no one worldwide body which represents all Lutherans. The Lutheran World Federation, a worldwide 'communion of churches' and the largest global body of Lutherans, contains member churches on both sides of the issue. However, other Lutherans, including the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference and International Lutheran Council (another worldwide bodies of Lutherans), completely reject homosexuality.[1][2]

Synods allowing homosexual relationships

In North America

In 1970, Strommen, et al. surveyed 4,745 Lutheran adults between the ages of 15 and 65. They were members of the American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church in America, and Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. 1% stated that they frequently had homosexual intercourse during the past year and 3% stated that they did so occasionally. 90% said that they never had homosexual intercourse during the past year, and 7% did not respond.[3]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran church body in the United States, allows for LGBTQ+ marriage and ordination of LGBTQ+ clergy. ELCA policy states that LGBTQ+ individuals are welcome and encouraged to become members and to participate in the life of the congregation. The ELCA has provided supplemental resources for the rite of marriage in Evangelical Lutheran Worship which use inclusive language and are suitable for use in LGBTQ+ marriage ceremonies.[4] The group ReconcilingWorks supports the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ members in Lutheran churches in the ELCA, and provides resources to assist ELCA congregations in becoming more welcoming communities for LGBTQ+ persons. ReconcilingWorks recognizes ELCA congregations that have committed to embracing LGBTQ+ persons as Reconciling in Christ congregations.[5]

The current policy on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the ELCA developed over a period of several years.

In 2001, a Social Statement on Sexuality was requested by the Churchwide Assembly and entrusted to a Task Force. In light of the ongoing work of that task force, the 2007 Churchwide Assembly passed a resolution asking bishops to exercise restraint in discipline of those congregations and pastors in violation of 'Vision and Expectations.'

Prior to August 2009, the ELCA expected "ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding" to "abstain from homosexual sexual relationships".

The 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis passed "Human Sexuality, Gift and Trust",[6] which approved more positive assessments of same-gender partnerships in the church. On 21 August 2009, the same body passed four ministry policy resolutions that opened the way for congregations to recognize and support such partnerships and for those in committed same-gender partnerships to be rostered leaders within the ELCA.[7] [8] A separate motion at the same assembly recommended that a rite of blessing for same-sex unions be provided.

In 2013, Guy Erwin, who has lived in a gay partnership for 19 years, was installed in California as Bishop of the ELCA's Southwest California Synod, becoming the first openly gay person to serve as a Bishop in the ELCA.[9]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

In July 2011 Churchwide Assembly of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada passed a new sexuality statement, permitting clergy in committed same-gender partnerships and allowing the blessing of same-sex unions.[10]

In Europe

In many European Lutheran church, open LGBT people can work as Lutheran pastors. The Lutheran Church in Great Britain has stepped back from a more accepting position of LGBT Christians for fear of losing its African and Asian congregations.

EKD in Germany

In the year 2000, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) passed the resolution Verantwortung und Verlässlichkeit stärken, in which same-gender partnerships are supported.[11] In November 2010, EKD passed a new right for LGBT ordination of homosexual ministers, who live in civil unions.[12] Most churches within the EKD allowed blessing of same-sex unions.[13]

  1. Evangelical Church in Baden (Evangelische Landeskirche in Baden), a united church body in Baden
  2. Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (Evangelische Kirche in Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz), a united church body in Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia merged in 2004 from:
  3. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick (Evangelisch-Lutherische Landeskirche in Braunschweig), a Lutheran church body in Brunswick
  4. Evangelical Church of Bremen (Bremische Evangelische Kirche), a united church body in Bremen
  5. Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover (Evangelisch-Lutherische Landeskirche Hannovers), a Lutheran church body in the former Province of Hanover
  6. Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau), a united church body in the former People's State of Hesse and Nassau
  7. Evangelical Church of Hesse Electorate-Waldeck (Evangelische Kirche von Kurhessen-Waldeck), a united church body in former Hesse-Cassel and Waldeck
  8. Church of Lippe (Lippische Landeskirche), a Reformed church body of Lippe
  9. Evangelical Church in Central Germany (Evangelische Kirche in Mitteldeutschland), a united church body that was created in 2009 from the merger of:
  10. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Norddeutschland), a Lutheran church body that was created in 2012 from the merger of:
  11. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg (Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Oldenburg), a Lutheran church body in Oldenburg
  12. Evangelical Church of the Palatinate (Evangelische Kirche der Pfalz) or Protestantische Landeskirche, a united church body in Palatinate
  13. Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland), a united church body in the Rhineland
  14. Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony (Evangelisch-Lutherische Landeskirche Sachsens), a Lutheran church body in Saxony
  15. Evangelical Church of Westphalia (Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen), a united church body in Westphalia
  16. Evangelical Reformed Church (Regional Church) (Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche (Landeskirche), a Reformed church body, covering the territories of No. 3, 5, 7, 12, 16, 17, and 19
  17. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria Evangelische-Lutherische Landeskirche in Bayern, a lutheran church body in Bavaria[14]

Nordic countries

The Church of Sweden has permitted the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of partnered gays and lesbians since 2006. Starting in November 2009, the church officiates same-sex marriage, since the Riksdag allowed same-sex marriage starting 1 May said year—however, individual priests can choose not to perform marriages for couples of the same gender. The Church of Denmark also provides for such blessings, as does the Church of Norway, which also ordains gays and lesbians.[15] The largest Lutheran church in Europe that doesn't—despite ongoing controversy—permit blessing of same-sex unions is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The Church of Finland does, however, allow priests to pray for same-sex couples, as of October 2010. For registered partnerships, the church says that "the [same-sex] couple may organise prayers with a priest or other church workers and invited guests."[16] Additionally, Archbishop Kari Mäkinen expressed his support for the new law permitting same-gender marriages.[17] In 2016, although the bishops in Finland did not agree to perform same-sex marriages, "bishops have taken the position that it is possible to hold prayer services to bless same-sex couples."[18] Tens of thousands of Finns have resigned from the church during the 2010s due to comments made by church officials either supporting or condemning same sex marriages and relations.[19][20]

South America

Argentina and Uruguay

The Evangelical Church of the River Plate, which includes Lutherans and Waldensians, and the United Lutheran Church have supported civil unions and same-sex marriages.[21]

Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil

In 2011, the church released a pastoral letter accepting the Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex marriage in Brazil, and supported the families of same-sex couples.[22]

Denominations against homosexual activity

In North America

At least five denominations view "homosexual behavior" to be sinful and believe that it is contrary to Scripture:

In Europe

In South America

  • Argentinian Evangelical Lutheran Church. [29]
  • Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile. [30]

See also


  1. "Ninety-Five Theses for the 21st Century For Confessional Lutherans Arranged in the Order of Luther's Small Catechism As Approved at Grimma, Germany on June 29, 2017" (PDF). Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference. June 29, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2017. #23 – God’s Word says that homosexuality is contrary to God’s intention for males and females. People with homosexual tendencies can find forgiveness in Christ and strength to live in harmony with God’s will.
  2. {{cite web|title=A Statement from the International Lutheran Council|url=https://ilc-online.org/ilc-news/ilc-statements/ |publisher=International Lutheran Council|accessdate=July 5, 2018|date=August 31, 2009|quote=Rooted in the Bible´s witness and in keeping with Christian teaching through 2000 years, we continue to believe that the practice of homosexuality—in any and all situations—violates the will of the Creator God and must be recognized as sin.
  3. See Merton P. Strommen et al., A Study of Generations (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1972), p. 372.
  4. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. "Supplemental Resources for use within the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Service of Marriage" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  5. ReconcilingWorks. "Reconciling in Christ". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. ELCA:Legislative summary 4 & 5
  7. ELCA:Legislative summary 8 & 9
  8. StarTribune:ELCA validates 'chaste' same-sex relationships Archived 2009-08-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Press release (6/1/2013). "The Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin Elected Bishop". Southwest California Synod, ELCA. Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada votes to bless same-sex marriage and is cheered on by the anglican Church of Canada
  11. EKD:Verantwortung und Verlässlichkeit stärken Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. EKD:EKD-Synode beschließt neues Pfarrdienstgesetz (german)
  13. Evangelisch.de: Segnung homosexueller Paare. Bunt wie ein Regenbogen
  14. Bayrischer Rundfunk: Landessynode beschließt Segnung von homosexuellen Paaren (german)
  15. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-5626.html
  16. "Registered partnerships | Evl.fi - Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland". notes.evl.fi. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  17. Duffy, Nick. "Finland: Church head welcomes same-sex marriage vote". www.pinknews.co.uk. Pink News. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  18. "Bishops divided over same-sex marriage". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  19. Eroakirkosta.fi - Tasa-arvoinen avioliitto -äänetys sai konservatiivit eroamaan kirkosta
  20. Eroakirkosta.fi - Yli 56 000 eronnut tänä vuonna - Homoillan jälkeen 30 000 eroamista
  21. "Evangélicos, política y sexualidad". aacademica.org. Universidad de Buenos Aires. 2009. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  22. "IECLB publica carta pastoral sobre homossexualidade". www.ihu.unisinos.br (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  23. For an example of a classic Missourian doctrinal text mentioning homosexuality, see Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 79ff. "The Law condemns every one who carnally knows himself, or a brute, or another person of the same sex, or a person of the other sex with whom he is not or, because of a prohibited degree of consanguinity or affinity, or because of an existing marriage of either party with a third person, cannot be joined in lawful wedlock, or who, without a sufficient cause, refuses to live with or to love and honor his lawful spouse, or who annuls a valid betrothal, or who, by any manner of lewdness or indecency in deed word, or desire, defiles his body or soul."
  24. WELS Statement on homosexuality http://www.wels.net/what-we-believe/questions-answers/social-issues
  25. Press Release: ELS Disagrees with ELCA on Homosexuality "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  26. CLBA Statement on Sexuality http://www.clba.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Statement_on_Sexuality.pdf
  27. Stanovisko Slezské církve evangelické a.v. k lidem s homosexuální orientací (2003); Stanovisko Slezské církve evangelické a.v. k otázce homosexuality (2006)
  28. http://elfk.de.dd21408.kasserver.com/html/main/2013/01/unsere-stellung-zum-thema-homosexualitat/
  29. http://www.iela.org.ar
  30. http://www.soyluterano.cl
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