Harrison: “We speak the truth in love to all” on same-sex marriage

Harrison

LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison

Dear brothers,

In the face of another radical cultural shift — a denial of God and His creation, a rejection of Christ, the Ten Commandments and God-given natural law (Romans 1) — a great Lutheran responded with truths that are also true for our times:

The lie is the death of man, his temporal and his eternal death. The lie kills nations. The most powerful nations of the world have been laid waste because of their lies. History knows of no more unsettling sight than the judgment rendered upon the people of an advanced culture who have rejected the truth and are swallowed upon in a sea of lies. Where this happens, as in the case of declining pagan antiquity, religion and law, poetry and philosophy, life in marriage and family, in the state and society — in short, one sphere of life after another falls sacrifice to the power and curse of the lie. Where man can no longer bear the truth, he cannot live without the lie. Where man denies that he and others are dying, the terrible dissolution [of his culture] is held up as a glorious ascent, and decline is viewed as an advance, the likes of which has never been experienced. (Hermann Sasse, Union and Confession, 1936)

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In just a few weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of same-sex marriage in America and roll out the implications of that ruling for individual states. I expect the ruling to create an alleged constitutional right to same-sex marriage, contrary to God’s created orders, natural law and the inerrant Scriptures. This will be the earnest beginning of a very long struggle for faithful Christians who will, more and more, be driven from participation in the culture. We shall come to know and understand parts of the Word of God like never before. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

Brothers, the battle has already been won. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has already defeated the foe. Satan surrendered at Golgotha. It is finished.

But what do we do? If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is legal in every state or must be recognized in every state, what is our response?

We stand fast (2 Thess. 2:15). We live in and by our Savior, who calls us to stay the course, to repent of our sin, to be in the Word of God and in prayer. We redouble our teaching on God’s gift of marriage. And we show love and mercy to those harmed by the dissolution of God’s ordering of marriage and family, intended for protection for all. We take legal action where absolutely necessary. “Public remedy, made through the office of the public official, is not condemned, but is commanded and is God’s work, according to Paul (Romans 13)” (Apology XVI 59).

The plan fits the nature of the Church: she is enduring and eternal. She speaks Christ’s forgiveness and peace to men and women struggling with same-sex attraction and heterosexual attraction alike, in and out of season. She doesn’t do flash-in-the-pan or drive-by ministry. She works in the world for the long haul. She doesn’t change her tune or stop her singing. She keeps telling real people about a real Jesus, from black-robed Supreme Court justices to the protestors on the steps of that building to the young people in college watching the ruling unfold to those of us who never imagined we would see this seismic shift in our lifetime. And she lives to demonstrate the mercy and love of Christ (1 John 3:15ff).

Most importantly, she speaks of the One who came for sinners — all sinners — and of the One who showed His love for us by dying for us. She simply stays the course.

That’s why you, dear brothers in the Office, will need our prayers in the days ahead. And you will have them. Legal marriage may be redefined, and outcomes we never imagined will occur. But these don’t surprise or alarm us. The crumbling culture merely proves that what began in the Garden of Eden is still prevalent today, that we are sinners among sinners, that we are all in need of Christ’s mercy and grace. This world is wending its way toward the end (Matthew 25). The story ends well (Revelation 7). That is what those in the pew and those disenchanted by the people in the pew need to hear, and will always need to hear, the most.

Beyond the theological consequences of this ruling, however, there are also practical implications, and I urge you to consider the following:

(1) The Synod’s legal team is carefully examining the potential ramifications of this case. It will likely be a messy ruling that will require time to unpack. We may discover that there is ultimately no constitutional protection for the Synod, its institutions, you or your congregation. We don’t know, but we will be reporting back to you with our findings.

(2) Your congregation should give serious thought to obtaining counsel from your own attorney. Also consider utilizing the Synod’s document on marriage policies for member congregations, which offers sample provisions limiting the use of church property to marriages that are consistent with LCMS beliefs. The day may come when even this legal protection will not be enough, but it may assist you and your congregational leadership in forestalling issues as long as possible.

(3) Be prepared to discuss what marriage will look like in the future. Will LCMS pastors eventually be forced, as agents of the state, to perform same-sex marriages? If that happens, will we be prepared to let the state perform the legal marriage ceremony, while we as pastors provide a religious ceremony for those marriages that are in keeping with our confession of faith as Lutheran Christians? We must have these discussions as pastors and as a Synod, and we may even need to make decisions at the next Synod convention in the summer of 2016.

(4) Know that I, as Synod president, stand with you. What protections will the Synod or even the Constitution offer you? I don’t know. But here is what I am personally sure of: The Gospel is enduring. It never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. We as pastors are called to repent and to be faithful to Him — and to His Gospel — alone. Will we be fined for not performing same-sex marriages? Potentially. Will we be thrown in jail? Maybe. A recently deceased Catholic bishop (Cardinal George) described what I believe we shall now begin to face: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

Make no mistake, the battle has been won. The devil has been defeated. The Victor reigns triumphant in mercy, love and truth. The Gospel knows no limits, but proclaims the gracious kingdom of our Lord to all, through Christ’s Word and Sacraments.

The temptation will be to run out into the melee, to abandon the home front or to give up all together. But we are called instead to repent, to be ready, to move confidently into the future, come what may. We speak the truth in love to all. We share Christ’s forgiveness with each person He sets in our path.

And the Lord will work all things for good, even these trying times. He is faithful, brothers. He will do it.

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

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91 Responses to Harrison: “We speak the truth in love to all” on same-sex marriage

  1. Alvin J. Schmidt May 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

    Al

    • Earleene Childers May 24, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

      I think I remember reading a powerful statement Luther said, “the devil is on a chain but God is pulling the chain.” Praying for the Church that Christ is the Head and for all who enter, may God bless our President and pastors.

    • Barbara Seifferlein June 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

      I thank the Dear Lord for your careful and excellent leadership. However, I have not yet given up. http://www.toallofchristendom.wordpress.com

  2. Richard Eyerly May 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    I’m grateful for your leadership on this issue and many others. I think it well that you are preparing the Church. The concept of leaving legal marriage to representatives of the state and allowing Christian couples to also have a Church wedding officiated according to our Biblical standards seems to me to be quite sensible and gracious.

  3. Tom May 19, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    I have left the homosexual lifestyle and am relying on Christ to fill my life and the emptiness of the loneliness that has followed. I also pray for my ex, Tanner, that he will also turn his heart and mind over to Christ for His forgiveness, peace and love that only Christ can provide. I pray for the blindness of him and others trapped in this sexual bondage to be truly released by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    This country is definitely heading towards destruction and trouble! Total disregard for the true, Triune God! What a shame!

    • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      Dear Tom- I come forward to welcome you into the family of God! You have turned away from that which you knew would destroy you and have received Christ into your life as so many before you have done. I would like to give you the same word of advice that my pastor gave me so many years ago, read the Bible for your answers. Man is not wiser than God, and His Word holds the answers that you seek. Keep on trusting Jesus and especially when it is difficult, lean on Him to carry you through. I speak to you as a 61 year old who repented and received Christ when I was in my mid-thirties. I do not regret one minute of my life with Him and continue to strive to live in obedience daily! 🙂

  4. Mike Cannatelli May 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    It is wonderful to hear our LCMS Lutheran Churches won’t follow the ways of the world. You explained the LCMS position very well and clearly, Thank You. I could see LCMS churches ONLY performing marriages for members of the LCMS, and use of the church facilities including fellowship halls, etc, ONLY to LCMS members. The issue will be if we allow anyone, whose Heterosexual [straight] to use our church facilities for their wedding, then we have to allow anyone else meaning Homosexuals or it would be discrimination.
    So only allowing members to use the church facilities might be a way to avoid the discrimination claim.

    Last time I checked, only Roman Catholics and those who sign a paper saying they’ll raise their kids as Catholics can be married in a Catholic church, again, members only. My guess is many Evangelical churches also would only marry Born Again Christians, members of their local Evangelical church. Hope this is helpful.

    Again, Pastor Harrison, thank you for your solid Christ Centered leadership.

    • Paula May 20, 2015 at 7:22 am #

      I am amazed you assume LCMS doesn’t have gay members who may wish to use their church to sanctify their loving relationship.

      • James Beadle May 20, 2015 at 9:25 am #

        Paula, your response requires a two part reply addressing both the legal issue and an assumption you have made. The legal issue is that there are unrepentant homosexual members of the LCMS who might do code to marry. Membership of the synod involves being a confessional orthodox Christian. How this plays out is messy, but legally a good case can be made that someone who rejects the membership requirements of a given community are not actually members. Im not a lawyer, however i believe this argument is defendable in court. The assumption is that homosexual unions can be sanctified. One cannot sanctify what God has said in His word is evil, mainly because it is God Himself that does the sanctifying, not the person preforming a given ceremony. To sanctify something is to make it holy, and therefore to sanctify such a union is innately impossible.

      • Tonia May 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

        Paula, the church is not a democracy. The wishes of the members don’t change our theology. God has only sanctified one relationship – of all the varieties that exist. There is no formal ceremony of friendship. We do not require a formal blessing for business associations. We don’t stand before our congregation, friends and family to say, ‘this person is my girlfriend’. Marriage, and marriage alone, is recognized before the church. When Jesus is asked about marriage he says, “…at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

        He didn’t say, “the Creator made them male and male,” or “a woman will leave her father and mother and be united to her wife.” There is no biblical basis for same-sex relationships – romantic or otherwise – to be recognized by the church.

        Furthermore, the church is not a tool to be used by man to fulfill his own selfish desires. The church belongs to God. It’s tools are to be used to His glory alone.

        • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

          Well spoken, Tonia!

      • Jack smith May 26, 2015 at 8:01 am #

        You cannot sanctify sin.

        Sodomy and Lesbianism is a sin.

      • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

        Paula- I can’t imagine that a practicing homosexual would, in good conscience, be worshiping in an expressly Christian congregation and knowing God’s Word on this issue, would expect to be able to “sanctify their loving relationship” there.

      • Ken Howes June 5, 2015 at 11:31 am #

        I assume that LCMS has sinners of every description. No one has suggested that those sinners might not include homosexuals; of course there are members of LCMS churches who have homosexual urges–some of whom act on those urges and some of whom do not. The church cannot sanctify the robber’s robbery, the lecher’s lechery, the thief’s thievery–and cannot sanctify the homosexual’s homosexuality. What it can do for the homosexual is the same thing it does for every sinner. That is to proclaim the redemption of sinners and preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

  5. Lorie May 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    I stand with the LCMS and with Tom, whose conscience is now held captive by the Word of God. I hope we all stand together!

    • John May 20, 2015 at 8:23 am #

      Amen.

  6. Marla May 19, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

    Thank you, Pastor Harrison; your words are edifying. The Synod is blessed with you as our shepherd.

  7. Dan May 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Does the holding of a civil ceremony and then a religious marriage in any way detract from the efficacy of the religious marriage? No, of course not. The efficacy of the religious marriage is still valid, for it is based on the words of God. (“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24; and “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” Mark 10:6-8). I would certainly prefer that the religious marriage precede the civil ceremony, but the order would not invalidate the marriage.
    These are going to be trying times for the Church. May God uphold all pastors and Christians to be strong in their beliefs that marriage is a contract among one man, one woman, and GOD.

    • Rev. Steve Andrews May 22, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

      Dan, unfortunately, it is not so simple. This becomes a matter of the two kingdoms. The right-hand kingdom deals with all matters relating to salvation and the left hand kingdom then deals with other matters of authority. In this regard, that’s why marriage falls in the left hand kingdom. The religious ceremony actually does nothing in terms of making them husband and wife. It is through the power of the state (God gave government their authority) that the two are united together in marriage. A pastor in the wedding is serving as an agent of the state/left-hand kingdom.

      By this logic and teaching, the couple will have to be married first by a justice of the peace, and then we can hold a religious ceremony to wish God’s blessings (as well as those of our community) upon their union.

      • Linda May 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

        Could you please document from scripture where a government union or ceremony is required for a marriage to be a marriage . But a marriage under God in the church means nothing. Genesis and Mark seem pretty clear to what God says about what a marriage looks like. The religious ceremony asks God to bless the union of man and wife. The civil ceremony is for the government to recognize the marriage. Gods standard is much higher and more serious. Praise the Lord that we have a Savior.

        I understand where you are coming from but one thing I know for sure is that everything is about Him – that includes both kingdoms. God instituted marriage in the beginning of Genesis for His Glory, not mans. We can never forget that it is always about Him

        • Rev. Steve Andrews May 27, 2015 at 11:10 am #

          Linda,

          Praise the Lord indeed! And you are most certainly correct that God is in control of both kingdoms.

          The difference here is indeed our own sinfulness. We live in a broken and fallen world. By God’s design, He would be walking with us, leading us, guiding us, answering our questions, each and every day. Even post-fall, God continued to do so, at least in so much as remaining a theocracy, that He was our leader and guide. But that changes in 1 Samuel 8. There, in our continued sinfulness, we demanded of Samuel a king, so we could be just like all of our neighbors (wrong on so many levels…envy, coveting, not trusting God, just to name a few). Ultimately, God chose to allow this, and we have had human government ever since. And He promised us, warned us, that government would do evil things to us. And there we then enter into Romans 13, where we learn: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

          Those two Scriptures are where the idea of the doctrine of two kingdoms comes into play, evidenced with centuries of church teaching. Marriage itself is not specifically mentioned in this matter, but was an issue of legal standing even in the Old Testament (note the certificate of divorce needed to send away one’s wife, Deuteronomy 24:1-3). The Pharisees noted this to Jesus, as well (Mark 10:4). Marriage is, as Luther would argue, the foundational institution of human society (the basic relationship, the only relationship God instituted Himself, the relationship from which children are given life, etc.). Safeguarding human society is indeed the responsibility of government (although they may not always see it that way). In a sense, then, it’s the transitive property, that God created marriage to be the building block of His creation, God created government in order to maintain good order of His creation, that government then is responsible for marriage.

          There are others who could easily articulate this better than I have, but I hope this was helpful!

          One other thought, and this becomes a major issue with cohabition, is the witness we give to the people around us. In cohabitation, a couple is saying marriage is not necessary, that although they are living together, having sexual relations, having children, indeed all the things that Scripture teaches come with marriage, they are telling the rest of the world we don’t need the foundation that God laid. At best, they themselves are living a lie by not simply admitting they are married, but at worst, they are calling God a liar and a fool by saying that His way is not the only way.

          My reason for making this comparison is that we have a choice to make. If the government decides to change the definition of marriage, we can continue on in the two kingdoms doctrine acknowledging our brokenness, thereby using our own families as a witness to the value of marriage as God designed it. Or, and I’m not sure I’m ready to take this step, we can disobey the government (as with Acts 5:29 – “We must obey God rather than men.”) and reclaim marriage on our own, likely calling it matrimony while altogether ignoring the government’s newly created marriage. I’m not sure what kinds of legal recourse might stem from that. This bucks the two kingdoms doctrine, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it (thinking of what Paul wrote in Romans 13 when Christians were being openly persecuted by government figures, including the Roman emperor Nero, or also what Peter penned in 1 Peter 2:13-17). But, perhaps through the study of His Word in the months ahead, our leadership will come to the conclusion that that would be the faithful response.

          Linda, please join me in praying for the Lord’s church! God’s blessings to you, sister!

          • Pastor Tom Eckstein May 28, 2015 at 9:03 am #

            Steve, the U.S. government doesn’t care if people live together and have sex outside of marriage. The government does not require them to get married. In contrast, I agree with you that living together apart from marriage is sin, and we should teach this to our people. However, our people can still get married in the Church without having their marriage made legal by the state. They can still call each other “husband and wife” – which they truly ARE before God! – but they simply will not be able to fill out a joint tax return as a “married” couple for IRS purposes. Big deal! If they don’t want that privilege, that’s fine. Who cares if our people are not “legally married” as long as they understand that they are TRULY MARRIED before God when joins them together via their marriage vows before His Church. They can still introduce themselves as husband and wife in society – which they truly ARE. It’s just that they will not be able to take advantage of any LEGAL privileges if they do not get a “civil marriage.” Now, I’m guessing that most of our couples WILL get legally married also for various reasons. But as pastors we are certainly not required to act as agents of the state nor do our people have to have a secular marriage license in order for them to be truly married before God.

      • Pastor Tom Eckstein May 28, 2015 at 8:54 am #

        Steve, I disagree. Those who take vows before God ARE married in His eyes – and the church should hold such Christians accountable to their marriage vows. In contrast, the left-hand doesn’t CREATE marriage for a couple but RECOGNIZES it for various legal purposes (there was a time in the history of the U.S. when a marriage license was not even required for a couple to get married). The left-hand kingdom can change its mind this way and that re: what various legal/financial privileges they will give to marriage – however they choose to define “marriage.” That should not be an issue for us Christians. What matters to us is that Christian couples understand what GOD’S institution of marriage is and submit to that. If they then want to have their marriage recognized legally in the secular realm in order to get whatever privileges the state gives to said “legal marriage,” then they are free to do that with the judge at the courthouse. There is absolutely no reason for a pastor to serve as an agent of the state.

  8. Deborah Smith May 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    I think the church has more problems than the Supreme Courts ruling. I believe our greater problem is the arrogance that expects sinners who know nothing of Christ to be held to His standards.

    This ruling will allow our churches to be more exclusive, if you will. We can refuse any couple seeking the whole “church wedding experience” if they are not first members of the congregation. To become members would require an in-depth adult confirmation class allowing God’s Word to speak for itself in light of all sin, but especially sexual orientation. This could be a life-saving opportunity. How could we not embrace it?

    It’s time for all mainstream Christian churches to stop placing holy expectations on an unholy world. Our job, as given to us by Jesus is, to spread the Good News to all the world. If we do our job the rest will take care of itself. God’s Word never comes back void.

    • Tim Schenks May 24, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

      I see that at funerals as well when the unchurched friends and relatives show up. Many of these people don’t know how to behave in public at all, and many of those have no idea what a church is for. Then again, Christians do a poor job confessing their beliefs to their friends and relatives. The population doesn’t oppose gay marriage because they were never brought up to believe otherwise.

  9. Lucy May 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    I am encouraged that we are being encouraged and reminded that Jesus Christ is victorious and triumphant. Thank you for reminding us that Jesus has us covered as He has you covered. We believe, therefore, that Christ is in us and He lives in us. Let us pray for one another that we might be one in Him who is victorious and triumphant over the grave. His will be done on earth as in heaven!

  10. daniel naas May 19, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    Why must the LCMS be so completely reactionary? Why must the LCMS be cowering punching bag begging and pleading the State to please not hurt it? Is the Church charged with being a shadow or being a light in the darkness? Why doesn’t the LCMS unhitch the unholy connection it has with a pagan State? Why do LCMS pastors including mine still claim pride in signing a secular contract document, lending the weight of the Church to a secular contract whose tenets are anethema to the Creator of all that is? Why hasn’t the LCMS stepped boldly onto the stage to proclaim that the “marriage” espoused by the State NOT the marriage consecrated by God in the Church by a pastor and therefore are henceforth utterly separated? Why hasnt the LCMS rid itself of acting as State officiants, explaining that a Christian marriage is of an infinitely higher order than a secular marriage and should be looked upon as an infinitely higher achievement? Be proactive LCMS! Stop cowering in the dark waiting for a national hammer to fall. You have hundreds or thousands of pastors in same-sex legal marriage states who are right now connected at the pen with a secular, pagan institution, sending the wrong message to the world by doing so.

    • Andy Ritchie May 20, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      Agree

    • Rev. Steve Andrews May 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

      Read 1 Samuel 8, it explains all. We asked for government, rather than God, to lead us. He warned it would come at a price, but we demanded it anyway. This is our price.

      To the specific matter at hand, it becomes an issue of the two kingdoms. If you are unsure of what that means, you can either look at my comment on that above to another “Dan,” or you can ask your pastor about it. God’s blessings to you brother!

    • Chris Atwood May 22, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

      Daniel,
      Rev Steve Andrews already addressed this issue above. I’ll just quote it:
      “Dan, unfortunately, it is not so simple. This becomes a matter of the two kingdoms. The right-hand kingdom deals with all matters relating to salvation and the left hand kingdom then deals with other matters of authority. In this regard, that’s why marriage falls in the left hand kingdom. The religious ceremony actually does nothing in terms of making them husband and wife. It is through the power of the state (God gave government their authority) that the two are united together in marriage. A pastor in the wedding is serving as an agent of the state/left-hand kingdom.

      By this logic and teaching, the couple will have to be married first by a justice of the peace, and then we can hold a religious ceremony to wish God’s blessings (as well as those of our community) upon their union.”

  11. Barry May 20, 2015 at 6:27 am #

    Thank you for your courage, commitment, and steadfast leadership.

    Soli Deo gloria

  12. Silvestre May 20, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    LCMS thank you for being a strong, genuine, biblical faith and fair 🙂

  13. John May 20, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    Pastor Harrison,

    Thank you. This sheep feels well-led.

    You probably should have Synod review its technical defenses on the Internet. The LCMS and other church bodies will be subjected to technical attacks like web site defacement (placing false statements on our sites) and denial of service. Some study of Russia’s 2007 cyber-attack on Estonia would be helpful. The attacks were of such scale and technical prowess that they were probably conducted by the Russian government, but done in a way that made it look like the attackers were simply disconnected individuals.

    Synod may have to establish guidelines for churches, districts, etc. on how a web site must be protected. Synod may have to call on its technically-gifted members and university faculty to contribute to this defense.

    Sincerely,

    John

    • Robert McKulsky May 23, 2015 at 7:47 am #

      Suggest you read the book “DISINFORMATION” to further understand how Russia has been using the same type of actions you describe since before WWII. It’s scary and still happening.

  14. Ken Howes May 20, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    Here’s your answer. In the worst-case scenario, in which the state, backed by the sanction of federal courts, says that churches that refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies cannot perform a marriage valid in that state, we tell people that our ceremony no longer has significance under the law. A couple who wants the church to recognize their marriage should, if they want to be married under the law, go to a justice of the peace, have the legalities taken care of, and then come to the church where a wedding service will be held. The state can prohibit neither the holding nor the refusal to hold a church service.

    It can, if it chooses, establish licensing of people to perform marriages under the laws of the state. A generation ago, I think such a law would have been struck down as religious discrimination against churches that taught that homosexuality was sinful, and an unlawful interference with the religious beliefs of members of those churches that teach that marriage is a sacrament. Now, however, the courts appear to have made gay rights paramount over all other rights.

    If a state undertook to prohibit outright even church services to recognize a marriage unless the church was willing to conduct such services to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, I don’t think that kind of law would be upheld–not yet, anyhow. The day the courts would uphold that sort of law, there is no First Amendment any more.

  15. A. Johnsrud May 20, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    I imagine this is the same fight given to the issue of divorce in times past. Now, divorce is common place and accepted within religion with the sanctification of second and even third marriages. Adulterous leaders can cheat on spouses, divorce and remarry, all while retaining leadership positions within the church body. Children born out of wedlock are baptised years before their parents are united by pastors in the name of God. Clergy steal, rape, lie and lead ungodly lives just like the rest of the population. Yet, these men of cloth are prayed for and forgiven. Many never face charges and are even quietly shuttled from congregation to congregation so as to not draw attention to their sins/crimes.

    It seems to me that Faith is pure, but organized religion is as fickle as the congregants who gather together. As a MS Lutheran, I find our hypocrisy insulting and understand full well why unbelievers would steer clear of church. We break commandments every day, day in and day out, knowing full well that what we do is wrong. Yet, nowhere in my Bible are homosexuals singled out as the unpardonable sinners while the rest of us get free passes.

    If we want the world to take us, our faith and our mission seriously, we need to unsaddle our high horses and realize we are no better than anyone else. More importantly, we need to quit using scripture to justify our fears and persecute those different from us. There are just as many passages that promise forgiveness and love to all believers.

    Adultery is a sin. It is a commandment that includes having impure thoughts, never mind acting on them. Homosexuals deserve the same loving support and forgiveness we shower on rapists, cheaters, sex addicts, pedophiles, bastard births, second marriages, prostitutes, the husbands sitting next to us in the pew who regularly sodomize their wives, etc. We cannot offer prayers to one group of sexual sinners and not another. We cannot uphold self righteous beliefs and continue lying to ourselves and each other when the shackles of sin bind us just as firmly.

    But, you will argue, homosexuals continue their immoral behavior and therefore ignore God’s word and are deserving of his wrath. Let me ask you, how often do you ask for forgiveness for the same sin? How easy is it to be Jonah, blatantly ignoring God’s word, easily accepting His forgiveness, all while waiting with smug satisfaction for the destruction of Nineveh? How many times have you seen comments on news articles or Facebook posts that quote scripture in one line and call homosexuals and those in favor of same sex equality nasty names? I see it all the time, even from members of my own congregation, and certainly from self-proclaimed, God-fearing Missouri Synod Lutherans.

    Please, live by the words we demand of everyone else. Teach, guide, share, love and forgive rather than preach one thing and do another. Homosexuals are not killing faith. We are through our own hypocrisy and persecution. When we can find a smarter way to tackle uncomfortable faith topics that don’t blame, deride and alienate, then we will truly be successful in sharing God’s word in a way that will bring others closer to God, not push them away.

    • Matthew Nitz May 20, 2015 at 11:51 am #

      There is one important difference between gay marriage and the other situations that you mentioned. The participants in a homosexual marriage are publicly committing themselves to a lifetime of breaking God’s law. That would be the definition of unrepentant. There is no hypocrisy in forgiving repeat offenders – we are all repeat offenders – but denying that forgiveness to those who state their intent to remain unrepentant.

      • Don Collins May 25, 2015 at 6:48 am #

        Matthew you’ve hit a spiritual homerun! Homosexuals don’t consider what they do a sin. Those that want to join the church or want the church to recognize their homosexual marriage could care less that scripture (old and new testaments) repeatedly and specifically identifies homosexuality as a sin.

        So if you follow that line of thinking (human not God’s) then all in the church should be free to publicly do whatever heartfelt sin they want and ignore what scripture says about it. Pick one- say open marriage, you know adultery.

    • Tim May 26, 2015 at 1:09 am #

      A. Johnsrud,

      I agree with you 100%. We, homosexuals are no better than anybody else who sins. We all fall short of the Glory of God. As a former LCMS member I couldn’t be a part of a Lutheran Church body who didn’t, and wouldn’t accept me for who I am, and not for what I could be.

      Thank you for your undying support

      • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

        Tim- You say, “As a former LCMS member I couldn’t be a part of a Lutheran Church body who didn’t, and wouldn’t accept me for who I am, and not for what I could be.”. Who you can be in Christ is a forgiven sinner and a reborn man. Are you willing to turn away from that behavior which will destroy you, or will you reject God and satisfy the ego? That is the bigger question than church membership. Your eternal soul is at stake. You understand that there are many liberal churches who would welcome you with open arms, so a church membership argument is not valid.

        • Marie Hanson June 1, 2015 at 10:17 am #

          Diane,
          Amen!

    • Margaret June 3, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

      I agree with you. When Christ suffered and died for the sins of the world, it didn’t include a list of sins He wouldn’t include in His suffering. It’s all GRACE. We are all forgiven children of God.

      Galations 2:21 ” If we are saved by the law, then Christ died for nothing ”

      Romans very clearly tells us, that “nothing can separate us from the love of God’

      There is no Jesus in the words of condemnation for same sex relations or other people we like to point at and say – ‘ well at least I’m not as bad as they are ‘

      It’s all love

      • Marie Hanson June 5, 2015 at 6:27 am #

        Margaret,
        I agree, there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus! ❤️

        …God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭8 NIV)

        What then?
        Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
        *But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has claimed your allegiance.
        (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭15,*17 NIV)

        Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬ NIV)

        But, a reminder:

        …If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. And he will provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13a NIV)

        And to God be the Glory!

  16. Dan Ditto May 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Popes, Councils, Holy Roman Emperors, Kaisers, Kings, Czars, Furhers, Marxist Commissars..

    Confessional Lutheranism has outlived all the man made forms of tyrranny invented so far, not only surviving, but thriving in a new world blessed and nourished by Liberty. This too shall pass.

  17. Stephen Weiss May 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Then “Let us also go with Jesus, that we may die with Him.” (John 11:16)

  18. Holly May 21, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    Thank you, Pres. Harrison, for standing fast. To God be the glory, great things He hath done.

  19. Susan May 21, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    Perhaps our Synod would benefit from consultation with clergy in other countries in which religious marriages have not conferred any legal status on the couple. In Mexico it has long been that to be recognized by the government a couple must be married by a public official. Many couples then have a religious ceremony to confirm their union before God.

    Legal marriage is important under the law as married couples are treated differently for tax purposes, social security, veterans and other benefits and for health care decisions/access when one member is incapacitated.

    • Chris Atwood May 22, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

      Good suggestion. We too often take the peculiarly American institutions as the whole picture and forget that there’s a lot of wisdom you can get from comparing situations in other countries. Since this issue is worldwide now, maybe the churches of the International Lutheran Council could also convene a study of the legal situation and how churches have dealt with these issues, with on-going consultation.

  20. Dean Johnson May 22, 2015 at 6:12 am #

    This is a war of words. Words matter. If The Foe wants to change the definition of marriage, The Church should take the high road and join couples in Holy Matrimony. We as Christ’s Church should drop the common term ‘marriage’, since it has taken on new meaning in this twisted culture. Let them have marriage it was hijacked by civil authorities a long time ago. In Holy Matrimony a man and a woman are joined with Christ. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

    • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

      I agree, Dean.

  21. Rev. C.C. Tiews May 22, 2015 at 7:31 am #

    We are blessed to have such a wise and courageous under-shepherd leader in Pres. Harrison.

  22. Clint Schnekloth May 22, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    There is some irony in posting a such an incredibly apocalyptic letter and then saying, “But don’t be alarmed!” Yell: “Fire!” then say, “Nobody panic!”

    If I have read your post correctly, Missouri and others who interpret Christian tradition in the manner you do are the ones who will carry the fire of civilization while the world crumbles. That’s a rather interesting argument. In other words, you are being counter-cultural because you carry the true culture.

    Of course we disagree on which shape of culture best fits the gospel of Christ, it seems. But we agree on the centrality of repentance. We are called ever and always to repent, to repent especially of the ways in which our words and actions harm others, especially those of the household of faith. Since I know your letter here has hurt many LGBTQ Christians I know personally, I wonder if you’re open to repenting of the pain you’ve caused them?

    • Tim Schenks May 25, 2015 at 12:17 am #

      LGBTQ Christian? When you throw out the LGBTQ label you’re bringing up an agenda and a lifestyle, not a one-time situation you avoid and from which you seek to do better. So, how can manifestly-impenitent behavior be Christian?

      That’s like claiming there are serial murderer Christians, promiscuous Christians, atheist Christians, or professional thief Christians.

      That’s hypocrisy.

    • Russell Egeler May 26, 2015 at 10:42 am #

      How did that letter cause pain to anyone?

    • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

      Clint- First of all, the term, “LGBTQ Christians” is an oxymoron…it seems to me that most sermons I have heard in LCMS have had the proper balance of Law and Gospel. So tell me, do these “LGBTQ Christians” hear that same sermon? If you say they do, then how could they, in good conscience, continue in a destructive behavior and a lifestyle in disobedience to God? A person who struggles with sexual feelings that are not appropriate, but does not act upon them is a different story and cannot be classified as a “LGBTQ Christian”. Perhaps you need to clarify your comment.

  23. John Ericson May 22, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    We are not required as clergy today to preside at anyone’s wedding. I have turned down many couples for various reasons (including that I don’t run a wedding chapel). To suggest that the state will force clergy to preside at weddings of same sex couples is simply fear mongering. It is the real lie of your post Pastor/Pres. Harrison and you know it. But, you want to raise anxiety in order sway people. I have no problem with you stating your beliefs about marriage, but, be honest for heaven’s sake.

    • Rev. Steve Andrews May 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

      John, do you really believe we are immune? The Supreme Court doesn’t, and even said so in the hearing a few weeks ago. From Justice Scalia:

      “The minister is to the extent he’s conducting a civil marriage, he’s an instrument of the States. I don’t see how you could possibly allow that minister to say, I will only marry a man and a woman. I will not marry two men.

      “If you let the States do it, you can make an exception. The State can say, yes, two men can marry, but ministers who do not believe in same-sex marriage will still be authorized to conduct marriages on behalf of the State. You can’t do that once it is a constitutional proscription.”

      The bakers, florists, photographers, etc. in this nation have found no shelter under their religious beliefs. If this passes, many conservative clergy fear they will have to surrender the ability to perform a wedding ceremony.

      • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

        Agreed, Rev Steve!

  24. Ron Goodman May 22, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    A constitutional right as found by the Supreme Court is “alleged” because it is “contrary to God’s created orders, natural law and the inerrant Scriptures”? Why do you assume that your religion should have such a position of privilege in the making of civil law in our country? You’re free to believe what you like, but not to impose it on anyone else.

    • Rev. Steve Andrews May 22, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

      Ron, doesn’t our country always do just that? Democracy in the Middle East,, #voteyes trending on Twitter this very morning, etc. Why is it okay for some to impose their beliefs on others, but not all?

      And unfortunately, your last statement is questionable. Tolerance is a one-sided idea. Discrimination is turning, not disappearing. Religious freedom is dwindling in this nation today and may not exist for much longer.

      Ultimately, this is a matter of absolute truth. If there is no God, then you are correct, this world should essentially be live and let live. But, if there is a God, as billions around the globe would argue there is, then He is the One who has the say of right and wrong, not us. We can say and do as we please, but ultimately, if truth is up to us, then He’s not really God is He? If He exists, if He created this world, then He is the source of all life and truth, and we play by His rules. You may certainly disagree with me on this, but someday we will find out truth isn’t relative. Either you’re right, or you’re wrong.

    • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

      Ron- many couples marry in civil ceremonies and feel no need for a religious ceremony. So why then do homosexuals expect that they should be given rights to force a religious organization to marry outside of the belief of that organization. As a Protestant Christian, I would have no desire to marry in a Mormon or Jewish ceremony as these hold no meaning to me culturally. For me to go and forceably demand that I be married there without embracing their philosophy would only be to satisfy my ego, not to participate in or respect their interpretation of marriage.

  25. Bonnie Wilcox May 22, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    The state never has, and never will be able to force clergy to perform ANY marriage ceremony. This is not at issue in the Supreme Court case. Thank you for stating the theological interpretation of the LCMS. But please let go of fear-mongering on behalf of your congregations. It does not reflect well on the Body of Christ.

    • Rev. Steve Andrews May 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      Bonnie, our congregations are fearing the repercussions of a possible June ruling on this. How is it a poor reflection on Christ’s body for the leader of our church to give us comfort and reassurance in hard times? Paul did that. John did that.

      I for one, am thankful Pastor Harrison wrote this letter. This issue is front and center on my mind as we enter “wedding season” (aka, summer!). Will I be able to continue to perform weddings, or will I have to give it up so as to protect my congregation and my own family from lawsuits claiming hate crimes and discrimination (it’s already happening in this nation…)? Will I have the privilege and joy of performing my own daughter’s wedding some day, or will that be taken from me? It’s not fear-mongering, it’s legitimate concern. And there are many of us who are deeply appreciative that Pastor Harrison and his group are doing the research that we are not capable of.

    • Barbara Lundblad May 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

      Bonnie, finally someone on this response trail is speaking the truth: no pastor is required to preside at a wedding in the church. In fact, more pastors should say “no” when they are aware of issues of abuse or deep differences which cannot be resolved. I know a pastor who refused to marry anyone because he refused to be an agent of the state (that was 40 years ago and he has never been chastised, warned, imprisoned and, as fas as I know, he is still alive and well.) The church can save money they would spend on lawyers. I’m sure there are many social ministries that could use the money.

  26. Randy May 23, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    I am a Christian and a gay man. I go to an LCMS church with my partner where we are welcomed and loved. Why I stay in the Missouri Synod I do not know. Perhaps because it still believes Jesus is the only way to heaven.
    I offer you a perspective from a gay man who at forty had to go live with his parents because he couldn’t get off the couch because he was so depressed. How could I be gay if I were A Christian. Have you ever laid in bed thinking of how you could kill yourself and make it look like an accident.
    Homosexuality is definitely the pet sin in the Missouri Synod right now. I see it as an obsession with Rev Harris
    The issue is so much more complicated than presented here. I don’t pretend to have all the answers here but I see the hostility that this Synod has towards gay people. People that are against gay marriage are not my enemy. Churches should be able to marry who they want. All I ask is that you who profess Christ stop vilifying gay people. And this starts at the top.

    • Marie Hanson May 25, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

      Dearest Randy, my heart goes out to you, as we had a family member who also choose the homosexual lifestyle. He passed on the AIDS virus to two other partners, before his death at 40 years young. I believe God had a better plan for his life.

      But, he believed as you do. And before his passing, he made a comment to me that changed my spiritual life forever.

      He said, “We all have pet sins and unless you are perfect, leave my pet sin alone!”

      So, I started out a quest to take out the plank in my eye before I would worry about the speck in my brother’s eye.

      And 25 years later, I’m still asking God… “Create in me a pure heart, oh God and renew a right spirit within me…Psalms 51:10, TMH

      I still fall way short from God’s perfect heaven, and I still believe in the free gift of faith given to us through the love of Christ who shed His blood on the cross, and redeemed mankind back from our enemy/Satan.

      But, here’s the difference between us: you are proud of your pet sin. And I look at every sin has poison to my soul, that helps give Satan the power to deceive others.

      I’d honestly, rather be dead right now than to intenially dishonor my Lord Jesus, after He suffered and died to buy us back from the evil one.

      Martin Luther said,
      “It is a doctrine of satan that men are no longer terrified by the law and have replaced it with a gospel of love and grace ONLY!”

      Here is what God’s Word says in the New Testament:

      Jude 1:4b,7 NIV
      They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

      In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (‭Jude‬ ‭1‬:‭4, 7‬ NIV)

      Be careful my dear brother in Christ, God’s love gives us grace to live for Him. Not for the evil one.

      John 14:15 NIV ( Jesus said),
      “If you love Me, keep My commands.”

      > And to God be the Glory!

      • Pastor Tom Eckstein May 28, 2015 at 9:21 am #

        Marie, thanks for your important clarification. It’s one thing to say: “I am shamed of this sin in my life. But I trust in Jesus for forgiveness and the strength to resist it.” It’s quite another thing to say: “People say this issue in my life is condemned as sin by God’s Word. But I don’t believe it. What they call sin I affirm as something good.” I have many friends who struggle with same-sex desire and behavior, but they agree with God that this is sin, they trust in Christ for forgiveness, and they rely on God and fellow Christians to refrain from acting out their sinful desires. These people are repentant Christians and fully forgiven, just as I’m fully forgiven for all my many sins that I struggle with every day. But when people affirm their same-sex desires and behavior, they have turned their sin issue into a false god and are pushing away the forgiveness Christ would give them for that sin. So, the question is not can a person with same-sex desires be saved. We’re ALL sinners who have various sin issues. The question is whether a person is repentant or not. It doesn’t matter if our sin issue is same-sex desire/behavior or heterosexual lust/sex outside of marriage – if we refuse to repent of this sin and trust in Jesus for forgiveness, then we are NOT repentant Christians.

        • Marie Hanson May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

          Thank you Pastor Tom Eckstein for confirming what my heart was trying to say. God’s grace through Christ is our only hope for eternal life in heaven.

          The more I’m in God’s Word the more the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin. But, I believe God can change my mind in a heartbeat, because His Word is living and active.

          And repentance keeps Satan from condemning me or hardening my heart.

          The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (‭2 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭9‬ NIV)

          …How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
          (‭Hebrews‬ ‭2‬:‭3‬a NIV)

          PS. And thanks Rev. Harrison and LCMS for teaching the truth with the spirit of love.

      • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

        Very well-spoken, Marie!

    • Tim May 26, 2015 at 1:14 am #

      Thank you Randy!! God’s Richest Blessings to you and your Partner

    • Margaret June 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      We are all forgiven children of God. It’s all GRACE.

      Hugs to you and yours

  27. Ethan May 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    Thanks Pastor Harrison for your leadership and for stating things so clearly.

    The staunch defense of the sanctity of life and marriage between one man and one woman is the main reason I joined my congregation affiliated with the Missouri Synod.

    As you say, God has already won. The devil is seeking his revenge but will only manage to doom those outside the church in the process.

    1st Corinthians is more relevant than ever.

  28. Earleene Childers May 24, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Our God is faithful and thanks for the faithful pastors and our President and may God bless His Living Word as He promised, He will do it.

  29. dave May 24, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

    What does LCMS do when the government goes after the tax exempt status of churches that don’t marry homosexuals?

    • Rev. Steve Andrews May 27, 2015 at 10:36 am #

      Dave, we pay the tax. Then we can stop feeling like we have to do whatever the government wants. We will have freedom in our churches to speak the truth, no matter what it may be, without the fear of losing that status!

      • Paul Hickey June 1, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

        Pastor Andrews, I hope you’re right, but I expect you’re not. If you can’t prove you are “worthy” of tax exemption as a church, perhaps you won’t be “worthy” of any other sort of protection under the freedom of religion and speech clauses of the 1st Amendment. The debate right now is if any for-profit business can be allowed to “discriminate” by not participating in activities its owners or employees consider immoral. The position of the current administration is that governments do NOT have to allow that sort of freedom.

        Tax exemption and church status for religious freedom purposes are not exactly the same thing, but they are closely related and may become more so. It seems likely to me that we will eventually find speaking the truth to cost far more than a little income tax.

  30. Daniel Gorman May 26, 2015 at 5:28 am #

    You write, “In just a few weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of same-sex marriage in America and roll out the implications of that ruling for individual states. I expect the ruling to create an alleged constitutional right to same-sex marriage, contrary to God’s created orders, natural law and the inerrant Scriptures.”

    1. Did you disrespect the Constitution of the United States when you described a future, hypothetical ruling of its Supreme Court as creating an “alleged” constitutional right to same-sex marriage (Small Catechism, Table of Duties, Concerning Civil Government)?
    2. Did Supreme Court justices swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States or “God’s created orders, natural law, and the inerrant Scriptures” (Augsburg Confession XVI).
    3. Why, “In the face of another radical cultural shift — a denial of God and His creation, a rejection of Christ, the Ten Commandments and God-given natural law”, do you begrudge civil government the use of same-sex marriage as a tool to better control homosexual crime and promiscuity (Augsburg Confession, XXVIII, 11)?
    4. You address the letter to “Dear brothers”. You refer to your “dear brothers in the Office” in the body of the letter. You sign the letter as a reverend. Didn’t you take an oath, as a holder of an ecclesiastical office, not to “interfere with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts” (Augsburg Confession, XXVIII, 13)? Aren’t you encouraging disrespect for a future, hypothetical Supreme Court ruling that all Christians must obey “save only when commanded to sin” (Augsburg Confession, XVI)?

    • Brad May 30, 2015 at 8:22 am #

      If the Supreme Court establishes a Constitutional right to gay marriage then it IS an invented right. Just as Christians are not free to use the Bible to make it say whatever we want; Americans are not free to make the Constitution say things it does not say. There is nothing in the Constitution with respect to marriage. Therefore, the Constitution has no say in the issue at all. For the Supreme Court to say otherwise would be an example of judicial overreach. Kind of like the Pharisees.

      Everything we need to know about the Constitution is encompassed in the first ten amendments. The first nine discuss SPECIFIC things which the federal govt. is allowed to do or not allowed to do. The tenth amendment states that anything else not mentioned in the above nine are to be left to the states to decide for themselves.

      Should the federal govt feel the need to define a certain issue (and i would argue that gay marriage should be one of these because fifty states with fifty different marriage laws is ridiculous) then the federal government has the right to request that this authority be given to it. This request is the amendment process. Congress writes out the request, the President affixes his signature, and then the states decide whether or not to cede their authority to the federal authority. This is the ratification process. Should two thirds of the states decide to give up this authority, then the amendment is ratified and the federal govt can now define and enforce the issue, based on the word for word understanding of the amendment.

      Over the course of the history of our country this has happened seventeen other times. This is not complicated. This is rather easy to understand. I’m not a lawyer, in fact I’m a factory worker who paid attention in school and happens to crack open a book once in a while. This is how our country is supposed to work. The problem is that we don’t follow our own laws, nor do we enforce them. The Supreme Court invented the right to privacy, they invented the right to have an abortion. They screwed around with the commerce clause to force me to buy health insurance. They do this by taking an amendment dealing with other issues and abrogating it to something else to define it under their own authority. They are Pharisees.

      But they aren’t the only ones doing it. Congress has unconstitutionally ceded its authority to the Executive branch, which is what has created all of the stupid alphabet soup organizations. The Executive branch now takes us to war without a formal declaration of war from Congress, which is why we now fight “police actions”. The rights of the states have been mashed into the dirt by the Federal authority.

      Your argument seems to be based on the idea that Christians should respect the authority in power. I agree. My argument is that the Federal govt is NOT our authority, nor is it our sovereign. The Constitution is our authority and sovereign. Our response to a federal body that won’t obey the authority of our Constitution is to remove that federal body and replace it with one that will, by force if necessary. Don’t believe me, look it up. Its all over the Federalist Papers. Also, it should be noted that Christians are to obey their sovereign, whomever he may be, so long as that sovereign doesn’t command us to disobey God; which is what the Supreme Court might be commanding very shortly.

      My view is pretty simple. If gays want the right to marry, fine. Have at it. Put it in the Constitution first, and understand that YOUR right to marry does NOT take precedent over MY right to define it as sinful and wrong. While there is no right to gay marriage in the Constitution, there is the right of association; which means if we don’t like it, the Govt. has no right to force us to comply with it.

      • Daniel Gorman June 2, 2015 at 5:57 am #

        Brad writes: “Your argument seems to be based on the idea that Christians should respect the authority in power. I agree. My argument is that the Federal govt is NOT our authority, nor is it our sovereign. The Constitution is our authority and sovereign. Our response to a federal body that won’t obey the authority of our Constitution is to remove that federal body and replace it with one that will, by force if necessary. Don’t believe me, look it up. Its all over the Federalist Papers. Also, it should be noted that Christians are to obey their sovereign, whomever he may be, so long as that sovereign doesn’t command us to disobey God; which is what the Supreme Court might be commanding very shortly.”

        The Federalist Papers are not our sovereign. You are disrespecting the Constitution of the United States by implying that Christians may participate in an armed rebellion against the judicial branch of government established by the Constitution (Romans 13:1,2). Christians must obey all three branches of Constitution government “save only when commanded to sin” (Augsburg Confession, XVI).

    • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

      Daniel- regarding your comments:
      1. “Did you disrespect the Constitution of the United States when you described a future, hypothetical ruling of its Supreme Court as creating an “alleged” constitutional right to same-sex marriage (Small Catechism, Table of Duties, Concerning Civil Government)?” and 2. “Did Supreme Court justices swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States or “God’s created orders, natural law, and the inerrant Scriptures” (Augsburg Confession XVI)”. I respond, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams (American 2nd US President (1797-1801).
      3. “Why, In the face of another radical cultural shift — a denial of God and His creation, a rejection of Christ, the Ten Commandments and God-given natural law”, do you begrudge civil government the use of same-sex marriage as a tool to better control homosexual crime and promiscuity (Augsburg Confession, XXVIII, 11)” and 4.”You address the letter to “Dear brothers”. You refer to your “dear brothers in the Office” in the body of the letter. You sign the letter as a reverend. Didn’t you take an oath, as a holder of an ecclesiastical office, not to “interfere with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts” (Augsburg Confession, XXVIII, 13)”, I respond, no one has begrudged civil government the use of same-sex marriage as a tool to better control homosexual crime and promiscuity. However, as SSM is in opposition to God’s intended plan for families, it would be best to keep it in the civil government realm than to force it upon groups of religious people who do not hold the same ideology. Finally, you write, “Aren’t you encouraging disrespect for a future, hypothetical Supreme Court ruling that all Christians must obey “save only when commanded to sin” (Augsburg Confession, XVI)”, I respond, that the future, hypothetical ruling would be unconstitutional, violating the 1st amendment right to freedom of religion. Actually, to force religious groups to perform religious marriage ceremonies for SS couples is unconstitutional as well, again violating the 1st amendment right to freedom of religion.

      • Daniel Gorman June 2, 2015 at 7:38 am #

        Diane Schmitt: “Finally, you write, “Aren’t you encouraging disrespect for a future, hypothetical Supreme Court ruling that all Christians must obey “save only when commanded to sin” (Augsburg Confession, XVI)”, I respond, that the future, hypothetical ruling would be unconstitutional, violating the 1st amendment right to freedom of religion. Actually, to force religious groups to perform religious marriage ceremonies for SS couples is unconstitutional as well, again violating the 1st amendment right to freedom of religion.”

        The interpretation of Constitution is vested in the Supreme Court not in your opining. All U.S. Christians must obey Supreme Court rulings “save only when commanded to sin” (Augsburg Confession, XVI).

  31. Eric Fazioli May 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    In my opinion, this letter is both shamelessly self-important and embarrassingly unsophisticated.

    President Harrison comes across, at least to me, as a paranoid man whose words are nothing more than a thinly veiled form of fearmongering.

    • Diane Schmitt May 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

      Eric, please take your LGBT agenda elsewhere. I have heard so much of meanness from the words of people in perversion who battle believers on social media and your comment is just one more example. You can mock the messenger, you can mock God, you can try to destroy Him, but guess what? You are the deceived one. Christ has already won the battle. The choice YOU have is to repent and live in obedience to God or reject Him and continue in your destructive lifestyle.

    • Marie Hanson June 1, 2015 at 7:57 am #

      Eric,

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
      Edmund Burke

      Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ NIV)

      I remember when I was still in school and all the adults were talking about The Supreme Court making a decision whether or not to legalize abortion. Many of us were called paranoid and fear mongering.

      So many Americans did nothing, because we could not even comprehend the killing of God’s most innocent children.

      Today millions of God’s children (created in His image) have been sacrificed under a women’s choice. And yet, we are now being forced (no choice) to pay for other people’s abortions through taxes and health insurance.

      These decisions made apart from God’s perfect will, is what will be the undermining of this great nation who at one time was blessed by God and hopefully, with repentance can be again.

      But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7‬:‭2‬ NIV)

      Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭24‬ NIV)

      • Eric Fazioli June 1, 2015 at 11:59 am #

        Hello Marie,

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

        Massachusetts has had legalized same-sex marriage since 2004 — eleven years. Thus, same-sex marriage is nothing new in the United States. What’s has been the fall out? Nothing.

        My point is that same-sex marriage has a decade old history of NOT causing the state of Massachusetts to implode with sexual immorality, for heterosexual marriages to crumble, or for society at large to collapse. Actually, Massachusetts is doing just fine.

        As for my claims of fearmongering, where’s the proof or evidence that supports the LCMS’ culture of “us v. them” fear?

        Same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states to date.

        Has even one single LCMS congregation been forced by the government to break their integrity with the scriptures?

        Has one ordained and called LCMS pastor ever been forced to perform a same-sex marriage? Of course not.

        Eventually same-sex marriage will become the law of the land for all states. And, I’m not one bit worried about our synod’s welfare or legal status.

        What I am worried about is our (the synod’s) myopic view of the world.

        I believe that Satan’s biggest trick is NOT legalizing same-sex marriage, but getting Christians distracted by such issues so that they pour their time and treasure into unwinnable battles.

        Instead of being afraid of legalized same-sex marriage, in my opinion, we should be living out Christ’s gospel of love by feeding the poor, visiting those in prison, etc. It’s charitable acts like these that make Satan tremble and God smile.

        Peace and Love.

        • Marie Hanson June 3, 2015 at 2:13 am #

          Hey Eric, thanks for responding and helping me to understand where you’re heart is.

          And of course, my heart can be sincerely wrong. So, if I’m incorrect in my thinking, I’m open to correction.

          First thought: you mentioned the Church needed to get back to feeding the poor and visiting prisons.

          I believe the LCMS is already helping their communities, and I too am a part of serving those in need.

          And yet, the Lord says we should Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourself….

          For me personally, I fail on every count! It’s not our good works that get us a place in heaven. It’s totally, by God’s grace.

          Second thought: you mentioned the Church needed to get back to sharing the gospel and loving one another.

          I agree with you again! But, I believe the gospel is most effective, if we share law and gospel.

          And this is why…

          Right now, in this land there are those who are trying to strip God’s law from everything! (Even though, God has placed His laws in the hearts of men so they will be without excuse.)

          Lawlessness:
          Abortion: a woman’s choice?
          Divorce: no fault?
          Lies: white lies are okay?
          Stealing: just don’t get caught?
          Sex outside of God’s marriage covenant: already being ignored?

          You get the idea…?

          The question is: what does it matter if all of God’s laws are wiped out?

          Because if there is no law/sin, then why do we need the gospel or a Savior to rescue us from our sinful nature?

          And is the world preparing for “The man of lawlessness” to be revealed? He will exalt himself as god. In God’s temple.
          (2 Thessalonians‬ ‭2‬:‭3‬-4)

          Jesus praying to the Father,
          “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
          *Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (‭John‬ ‭17‬:‭14-15, *17‬ NIV)

          > All in the love of Christ.

  32. Greg May 29, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    Didnt Jesus preach love all no matter what. We forget that and shame those that are different especially relationships of the same sex. But Jesus also said in John, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    So it’s ironic we preach love all but can’t follow our own beliefs. Also if God created us he created everyone the way they are.

    • Marie Hanson June 1, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      Yes Greg, we are suppose to love one another!

      So, if we saw a “roaring lion\devil” going after a member of God’s creation/sheep, we are to lay down our live to help protect that soul from our enemy.

      God says, He loves His enemies (and we are too), but sadly God’s enemy “choose” the wrong path.

      My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 NIV

      I could ONLY hope through Christ and His righteousness, someone would love me enough to bring me back to His Truth.

    • Margaret June 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

      Greg – You are correct. The church proclaims – Jesus Loves You. – but then point their fingers at ‘those’ people.

      I’m embarrassed to be part of the lcms

  33. Goshu June 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

    Thank God for He has still remnants of the Truth. The days are truly trying but we know that Christ is in control and He cares for His church more than we do. Let’s just side with the founder of the Church.

    “The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31’For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD will perform this”. 2 Kings 19:30-31.

    I am so moved by the words of Rev. Harrison. May God bless you abundantly!

  34. Hillwilliam June 14, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    I find it strange that those who quote, “let he without sin cast the first stone” always seem to forget Jesus’ saying “go and sin not more|”

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