For Immediate Release
Contact: Vicki Biggs
Director, Integrated Communications
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Statement affirming God’s teaching on the role of men, women forthcoming
ST. LOUIS, May 14, 2013—A landmark ecumenical summit on “Biblical Teaching on Marriage and Sexuality” featuring church leaders from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Lutheran Church-Canada (LCC), North American Lutheran Church (NALC) and The Lutheran Church―Missouri Synod (LCMS).took place May 3-5, 2013, at Church of the Holy Communion, Dallas.
Discussion focused on the shared historic understanding of marriage as a holy estate, divinely created by God to be the union of man and woman. The summit included prayer, denominational presentations and a lecture titled “Blest Be the Grace that Binds: The Gift and Beauty of Marriage as God Intends It” by Mark Galli, editor of Christianity Today.
“As our society wrestles with issues of marriage and family, the participants of the ecumenical summit came together to discuss what our churches hold in common regarding the Scriptural teaching on marriage, with the intention of developing a common statement,” said the Rev. Dr. Joel D. Lehenbauer, executive director, LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, and a participant in the summit.
At the close of the summit, a draft statement was presented. A final form will be forthcoming. The statement is intended to provide clear, concise instruction to clergy and members of the participating denominations, but also to be an unequivocal affirmation of biblical teaching with regard to marriage between male and female as the essential and unchanging foundation for home, family, church and society.
“God calls His people in every generation to proclaim the clarity of the Gospel to the points of greatest confusion,” said the Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton, a bishop of the ACNA and host for the summit. “In our generation, marriage and sexuality have become the points of cultural confusion that keep the western world from grasping the most important image of God’s relation to His people, marriage. Confessional believers must learn again to speak with one voice.”
Professor John Stephenson, Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, affirmed the gathering, stating: “Our unforced consensus on this bitterly contested topic rests on wide-ranging but still incomplete agreement on the Christian faith as a whole. As the participants get to know and cherish each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and to come together in prayer, we hope that the Lord will graciously move us toward oneness as His disciples.”
“Attending this meeting was very encouraging as leaders of different church bodies focused on the goodness and blessing of marriage between one man and one woman and how to share this positive view with our culture,” said the Rev. Kenneth M. Hennings, president of the LCMS Texas District, as he reflected on his participation in the summit.
“Our Lord immensely blessed us in these Anglican-Lutheran consultations,” said The Rev. Mark Chavez, General Secretary of the NALC, and a summit participant. “The Lord has gathered us as one in Him with strong agreement in our confession of the Christian faith. Our agreement includes the biblical norms for marriage and sexuality. I am hopeful for our common statement and for mutually presenting a clear biblical teaching of marriage and sexuality throughout our churches that will be a blessing for all of North America.”
Other participants were the Very Rev. Dr. Jonathan S. Riches, Reformed Episcopal Seminary (ACNA); the Rev. Dr. Frederic W. Baue (LCMS); the Rev. John T. Pless, professor, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. (LCMS); the Rev. Larry M. Vogel, associate executive director, LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations; and the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism (NALC).
The gathering was the result of ongoing multi-lateral consultations between the church bodies.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.