Sunday, November 21, 2010

Remaining in the ELCA

Today was our vote. We had 395 adults who signed in to vote. To leave the ELCA, we needed to have a 66.7% vote. Which meant that we had to have 268 votes to leave.

171 voted to stay in the ELCA
224 voted to leave the ELCA

Thus, we remain an ELCA church.

The vote is now over. Hopefully, we can rally together and reach out to one another. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. As a church, we have a wonderful vision/mission and we need each one of us to carry it out.


Anonymous said...

Sad to say right before Advent, but the most likely outcome of your vote is fracture. Either there will be a petition for a second vote (perfectly legal by the constitution) or those who cannot live with the outcome will vote with their feet. They may start a new Lutheran church, find a new non-Lutheran denomination or stay at home. In my opinion, there are only losers in this vote.

Grace said...

@Anonymous...I, and I believe most in our church, agree with you that there are only losers in this vote. If it were possible for someone to "win" in this, nobody did. Who knows what's in store for the church now. Who knows how many people are going to choose to leave to head to or start another church. My hopes are that the community is strong enough in our church to heal from this and to continue on our way together as one Body of Christ. My fear though is that someone will call for another vote or that the people who wanted to leave the ELCA will stick around and continue on with their mission to leave instead of letting the church heal.

Anonymous said...

@Grace. Yikes, regarding your statement, "My fear though is that someone will call for another vote or that the people who wanted to leave the ELCA will stick around and continue on with their mission to leave instead of letting the church heal." Didn't 224 vote to leave the ELCA? Are you saying that you prefer all of them to leave? I don't recall the size of this church, but that seems like a big chunk.

I myself, like many others, left the ELCA. I would advise those who are looking for guidance to listen to the audio recordings from the Lutherna Theology Conference held last August. They can be found on Lutheran CORE's homepage.

The ELCA's 2009 vote drove controversy into each congregation and member of the ELCA. There are no winners, but there is a future.

Thoughts From Jeff said...

@ Anonymous, there are many things in your two responses that I may try to address or share about:

1. It is sad that the vote is going to cause fracture. Many thought that is why there should not have been a vote.

2. Maybe because it is Advent, that we can focus our attention to what really matters and that is celebrating Jesus (our God).We can focus in on Article Two of the Apostle Creed.

3. I am not sure what the next step will be for those who wanted to leave. Some may stay because of their love for CTS. I am new here but I do not think that the teaching from Pastor Joe or the core values of the church (local) has changed; so they may stay. Maybe those who "disagree" will start a new church (NALC). I hope and pray that they do not stay home because Christianity needs to be done in community.

4. On being losers, we are all losers because we are sinners. But as Luther preached; we are both saint/sinner. On the vote issue, that is why the vote was going to make this process ugly.

5. On your yikes to my wife. I believe that what she was trying to convey and did was that she believes that it would be "healthier" if those who want to go to the NALC to "plant" a church instead of remaining at CTS and still fighting to change. She has been hoping and praying that no matter which way the vote went that everyone would stay and we could unite behind the mission/vision of CTS.

6. Why did you choose to leave the ELCA ?

7. I am not sure that I agree that the ELCA drove churches and individuals to this point. I think that the accusation fingers are being pointed unnecessarily to them. The ELCA is allowing the process, they are not forcing it upon any individual and/or church. I think that we can disagree on issues and still be part of the larger church body (we are family). For myself, I have more of a conservative stance, but I will lean towards grace, not excluding individuals and unity of the church body.

It is unfortunate that churches are fighting and this is causing brothers and sisters in Christ to be divided.

Anonymous said...

I feel fortunate to be in a church where we have, long before this all came up, stated that we are ALL part of God's creation AND in need of God's grace. We cannot single out one sin and set up a we/they division and then think that our sins are somehow smaller. We allow all sorts of people to be pastors, people with all sorts of sins. That is why they also confess at the altar each Sunday.

It is truly sad when there are fractures in a church. It is healthier for the discussion to be in the open, but that said, if people really disagree, they shouldn't feel bound to stay with a church just because they disagree with something. And yet, with the Grace of God, there is so much more that binds us in the Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

@Jeff - I am the person who wrote the first two comments that show as anonymous, but not the third. My name is Kim and I'm a struggling lay person, not a pastor. But I'll try to explain.

I left my ELCA church for lots of reasons, but one of them was because our pastor didn't seem to care at all that 200 (at that time) churches were in the process of voting to leave the ELCA. Now it's more than 600 churches who have taken first votes.

I left because the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly decided, by its vote, that it had authority over human behavior--not God. Therefore, the ELCA is antinomian--it is against the law of God. This made it absolutely impossible for me to stay in the ELCA.

I left because the ELCA disregarded its own constitution--the things it said it believed in and was faithful to. Specifically from the Confession of Faith in Chapter 2:

c. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.

*C2.03. This congregation accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.

*C2.04. This congregation accepts the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this congregation.

*C2.05. This congregation accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
*C2.06. This congregation accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.

*C2.07. This congregation confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God’s mission in the world.

I left because Gnosticism is alive and well in the ELCA. Gnosticism isn't Christianity--it's sort of a religion in which God is found in the self. That is not what Christianity is all about.

I recognized myself as ignorant of the Book of Concord, so I followed the advice of a pastor and bought a copy in August at the Lutheran CORE convocation. Amazing stuff. It's all about how Martin Luther and others fought the heresies of their day. And it's relevant today.

If you listen to Dr. Braaten's audio recording at , you will understand why so many churches are in the process of leaving. I have also purchased his book about the lectures and am eagerly looking forward to reading it. The lectures are just packed with the "so what" of all of this.

The ELCA, by allowing the controversial CWA votes, and not throwing then out as unconstitutional, allowed the ELCA to depart from the church catholic--what Christians all over the world believe. It's very, very sad.

Grace said...

@Kim, I know my hubby already tried to explain what I meant, but I'll do it to.

I said, "My fear though is that someone will call for another vote or that the people who wanted to leave the ELCA will stick around and continue on with their mission to leave instead of letting the church heal."

What I mean by that is that I hope and pray that everyone in our church will stay and be a community together and move on as an ELCA church, BUT if they are determined to change the church into an NALC church, then I want them to go. I in no way want that many people to walk away from our church, but we have to move on from this. To continue on in the way the church has been, with the focus on "what our church is" in terms of a name, rather than "what our church does" in terms of loving people, will be detrimental, I believe, to The Kingdom. If we had put as much energy into the community as has been put into the time researching, discussing, and arguing over the title of our church, we would have made a made bigger impact on the Kingdom instead of again looking like a bunch of arguing idiots to the world. I mean, if Christians can't even get along, why would anyone want anything to do with Christ.

So, what I'm saying by stating that I hope the people whose plan is to stick around and make us
NALC by any means necessary hopefully just choose to leave, is that our church can't afford anymore time and energy wasted on this issue when there are such bigger issues sitting in downtown Indianapolis that we could be making a difference in!

chros said...

So a majority vote wasn't enough, it actually needed sixty something percent? Thats peculiar. I am saddened at the results of the vote for your church, and hope and pray that God leads the majority that voted to leave the Elca to a Bible preaching and believing church. I understand we are all sinners, but Gods children are repentant sinners who stumble occasionally, not make it a lifestyle choice they ask for forgiveness for at the alter every Sunday. The Scriptures are clear on sexual immorality, yet your denomination will allow ordination of individuals that openly profess it as a lifestyle pattern. Maybe not your little individual church. At least not yet. Whatever a person sows, that he will reap. What will the elca reap allowing sexual immorality to be planted within it's leaders. I don't just dwell on this sin, don't get me wrong, women, drunkards, revilers, habitual liars, persons not above reproach, should not be leaders of the church. One needs look no further then the Holy Scriptures (which are the true churches standard) to see this clearly. The church will always lose when it discontinues to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible. Be well Jeff.

chros said...

By the way Jeff, I am not trying to be contentious or mean. By no means is that my intent. I just throw out my thoughts to challenge you because yours challenge me. I was going to delete my previous comment and send it in the form of e-mail to be more personal but apparently you can't delete comments any more. I don't know when that changed. Feel free to email me or send me mail through facebook. Be well.

Grace said...

@Chros...It had to be a 2/3 majority, which is 66%.

Anonymous said...

@Grace - I could be wrong, but although a vote to leave needs 2/3 majority, your church just barely missed passing that vote to leave. That means nearly 100 more disagree with the vote than had agreed with it.

What's a likely outcome? They could vote again--it doesn't take many people to request a special meeting of the congregation. If there really are, within the church, more that want to leave than stay, then they will never rest until they leave the ELCA.

Many active members, who provide time, talent and treasure to the church, could simply walk away, leaving, perhaps 50% behind to struggle with the bills. That's going to be very difficult.

Traditionalists--I'm assuming some have left already, tend to contribute regularly and substantially and tend to be very active in the church.

The ELCA is just an organization--not the one holy and apostolic church itself. People need to absorb what Rev Dr. Paul R. Hinlicky said at last summer's theology conference, "My God man! We were baptized into the one Holy Christian and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, not the ELCA!"

I hope you listen to Dr. Braaten's words today. If you can, burn a CD and listen in your car. It's riveting. I also like Dr. Hinlicky's lecture and ... frankly, all the rest of them are good too. See and go to audio recordings under the 2010 Theology Conference and Convocation area.

Happy Advent Grace and Jeff!


Thoughts From Jeff said...


I do not want to be nit picky, but in reality; even though there were significant more that voted to leave then to stay; it was not 100% and the vote in a sense fell well short: it received 57% and it needed 67%.

This past Sunday, we had a great turnout for attendance. It was the first Sunday after the vote and Thanksgiving weekend.

It is way too early to tell what the outcome will be. There are folks who are waiting the 60 days that our Pastor requested. There are some that will wait till confirmation is over. There are some that are heart-broken about the vote; but CTS is their church home (family) and they are struggling with staying or going.

It is still our hope and prayer that in the end; we will be able to remain together. We will understand that we as a church have a difference in opinion and we have a different opinion then the ELCA.

But, we hold onto the local option and we hold onto the fact that we are family and that we have a vision/mission to fulfill.

In a later comment, I may respond to you regarding the CORE/NALC. I have some problems with their views and thoughts and how they are handling some of the issues.

Rev Dr. Paul R. Hinlicky has interesting views. His statements, a lot of them could be used for arguments on why individuals/churches need to remain in the ELCA.

Thoughts From Jeff said...


It is fine that you comment here and make your voice known. I allow anyone to comment and I appreciate individuals who have opposing views/thoughts that chime in.

It almost makes me what to go back to writing more theology and having folks discuss the issues.

I am also saddened by the vote but not for the same reasons that you are sad. I am saddened because we have individuals hurting and leaving and the Body of Christ (imo) suffers when that occurs.

I am saddened that wives and husbands are fighting over the issue.

I am saddened that there are parents who are or will be taking their children/students away from the church that they have been their whole life

Could go on but ....