Synod President Gerald B. Kieschnick issued a statement June 24 expressing disagreement with the California Supreme Court’s May 15 ruling that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“The 4-3 ruling declared that the state Constitution protects a fundamental ‘right to marry’ that extends equally to same-sex couples,” the Los Angeles Times reported in a May 16 story.
Kieschnick’s statement went out via e-mail to Synod leaders, including Concordia University System and seminary presidents, chairmen of boards and commissions, the members of the Board of Directors, the Corporate Synod Executives, officers at the International Center, the Council of Presidents, and the Commission on Constitutional Matters.
Kieschnick’s e-mail also included 2004 LCMS Convention Resolution 3-05A, which he references several times in the statement.
Following is Kieschnick’s entire June 24 statement, titled “Statement from the President of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in Response to California Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex ‘Marriage.'”
“The recent decision of the California Supreme Court legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’ highlights the downward spiral of moral values that is becoming so prevalent in our culture. This most recent action contravenes not only the Judeo-Christian values that have defined the moral compass of this great nation, but also the laws of nature and the natural reproductive process.
“In the face of such moral decline, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) has consistently upheld the Bible-based values that designate ‘marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:2-24; Matt. 19:5-6)’ (2004 LCMS Convention Resolution 3-05A. … All subsequent quotations are from this resolution). The LCMS has consistently held that ‘homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments [of Holy Scripture] (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-20; 1 Tim. 1:10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1:26-27).’
“As a Christian body in this country, the LCMS has the duty and responsibility to speak publicly in disagreement with this action of the California Supreme Court. In the present context we cannot be silent, since such silence ‘could be viewed as acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.’ Accordingly, we as a church body urge our leaders, members, congregations, and all Christians, ‘to give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual “marriage.”‘
“While this occasion calls us to declare that homosexual behavior is both unnatural and sinful (see Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:24-27), we also recognize that it is necessary to respond to these ‘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 Gospel declares that Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2) and that Christ, who knew no sin, was made to be our sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). It is the church’s proper evangelical work to proclaim the reconciliation of the sinner to God in the death of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-19) in a spirit of compassion and humility, recognizing that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23-24).
“Finally, we pray that all people, especially men and women properly united as husbands and wives, will honor God’s divinely ordained relationship of marriage. And we pray that all husbands and wives will ‘give thanks to God for the blessings of marriage, lead a chaste and decent life, and each love and honor one’s spouse.'”
Posted June 26, 2008