Largest Lutheran denomination in the US promotes “LGBTQIA+” views

Former leaders of the 3.4 million member Protestant denomination say the church has become “radical” in its ideology.

Evangelical Focus

CHICAGO · 29 JUNE 2020 · 16:03 CET

Lutheran and LGBT flags. / Photo: <a target="_blank" href="">ELCA</a>,
Lutheran and LGBT flags. / Photo: ELCA

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, distributed a new guide on “LGBTQIA+” issues, arguing that the Bible supports the inclusion of all people in all spheres of the church.

The ELCA was founded in 1988 when three historic Lutheran bodies merged. It has 3.4 million baptised members and around 1.4% of the US population self-identifies with it, according to Pew Research.

The guide advocates “for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+) Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community”.

It trains church members in how to use the “SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression) spectrum”, and asks church members to “just avoid using gendered terms” when they have doubts about how to welcome a person.

The document gives definitions of terms such as “genderqueer”, “pansexual”, “gender non-conforming” and “androgynous”, calling to honour the “core and authentic part of oneself” of those who are not “cisgender”.

The document concludes by saying: “Each of us is a beloved child of God, wonderfully made, just as we are”.


A Lutheran church that endorses LGBT activism

The guide has been published by ReconcilingWorks, a Lutheran working group that “advocates for the acceptance, full participation, and liberation of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions within the Lutheran Church”.

The ELCA has recommended the guide on its official social media accounts. The Lutheran Church’s official website has a section with several resources on “LGBTQIA+” issues, in which interviews with some of its pastors who belong to this community are featured.

In April, the ELCA also caused a controversy when it tweeted a prayer to “Mother God”, saying, “you fed us with the nourishment of your spiritual food”.

In the US, several Lutheran church movements are not supporting queer theology and have remained faithful to the traditional Biblical understanding of sexuality. “Liberal is no longer the word for the ELCA, it has become radical”, a former ELCA pastor who now belongs to a doctrinally conservative Lutheran church, said, in an article published by the Christian Post. He denounced the church’s support for abortion as well as universalism (the theological line that teaches that everyone will be saved no matter what their beliefs are).

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