Same-sex partnerships should not be blessed in free evangelical churches, says largest federation in Germany
The national board of the Union of Free Evangelical Churches presented “recommendations” for churches stating that it “respects the Bible as God’s Word”.
MARBURG · 26 SEPTEMBER 2023 · 12:36 CET
In a “complex world with much confusion”, evangelical Christians need to “seek unity”, said the head of the largest free evangelical federation of churches in Germany.
Speaking at the general assembly of the Union of Free Evangelical Churches (FeG), President Ansgar Hörsting, told the around 400 representatives coming from 500 local congregations that “the relationship with God in Jesus is a firm foundation, and the Holy Spirit works and gives people orientation and support” in times like these.
The position of the FeG on homosexuality and LGBT matters was the most commented topic on the programme of the gathering, held in Ewersbach (near Marburg).
Despite clear stance, all people welcomed
The national board of the denomination presented “recommendations” for churches in which it is stated that the FeG “respects the Bible as God’s Word”. The federation also underlined that “God’s grace in Jesus Christ is for every human being, regardless of personal characteristics such as origin, gender, sexual orientation or social status”.
This said, the FeG leadership clearly stated that “homosexual partnerships do not find approval from a biblical perspective”. In practice this means that, while everyone is welcome to attend church activities, the free churches are called not to celebrate same-sex weddings nor blessings. Appointing leaders and pastors who are in same-sex relationships is also not recommended.
A dialogue process seeking to avoid polarisation
During the assembly, a majority of delegates expressed their satisfaction with the dialogue process that happened in 5 regions before the assembly, but some critics warned about a future split in the denomination if the positions of more theologically liberal churches of the confederation were not included.
According to German magazine Pro Medien Magazin, the board said it decided not to obligue all churches to follow the official position, since some congregations are still in an internal dialogue process. Another priority was to avoid a polarisation as much as possible.
The FeG already expressed views on LGBT matters and faith in 2019, but churches which take a different approach to LGBT matters will not be automatically expelled, the president said in answers to representatives. On the other hand, local churches who already bless same-sex partnerships or approve such lifestyle in leadership positions, will not be invited to join the federation.
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