Synod affirms marriage as lifelong one man-one woman union

ST. LOUIS — By a nearly unanimous vote, delegates to the 62nd Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod today (July 13) affirmed, “on the basis of Scripture, marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6).”

 

More than 98 percent of the delegates supported the resolution, which was adopted 1,163 to 22.

 

The resolution urges members of the Synod “to give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual ‘marriage.’”

 

Noting that there are calls in American society for legal recognition of same-sex unions as “marriages,” the convention said, “For our Synod to be silent, especially in the present context, could be viewed as acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.”

 

The resolution notes that homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments “as contrary to the Creator’s design,” citing Lev. 18:22,24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 1 Tim. 1:10; and Rom. 1:26-27.  An amendment attached to the resolution without debate adds that “God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church (Eph. 5:32).”

 

The convention urged Synod 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 convention noted that the Synod already in 1973 said that it recognized “homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful.”  The convention continued that “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).”

 

“A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families,” published by the Synod is 1999, was commended by the convention as a resource and guide for pastoral care.  The document is may be downloaded at www.lcms.org/minhomfam.

 

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.”

 

There was no real debate on the resolution.  Several speakers encouraged a unanimous vote, noting the current debate on same-sex unions, including current discussions in the U.S. Senate on a constitutional amendment addressing the issue.

 

The convention is the highest legislative authority in the 2.5 million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  It is meeting through Thursday morning at America’s Center here.

 

Posted July 13, 2004

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