Lutheran church rebels over marriage and gender

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A member church of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) has gone public with a decision to withhold payments to the denomination. The Underdale–Glandore Lutheran Church in South West Adelaide resolved to send a message to the the SA NT district of the LCA at their annual Budget and Elections General Meeting in November by passing a motion “to suspend for a twelve month period the $ 11,000 payment which had been proposed as our contribution to the District, with this decision being reviewed at the 2024 Budget and Elections meeting.”

The church’s decision has been made public on the Lutheran Facebook group.

“I want to emphasise that this decision was not taken lightly. On the contrary, it was made after considerable discussion and prayer,” the Church Chairman, Dr Ian Hamer, wrote in the letter to Bishop Andrew Brook of the LCA SA NT District. “This included a special gathering of the congregation held some weeks prior, on Reformation Sunday. This was called by the Church Council out of concern regarding the spiritual direction being pursued by the leadership of the LCA.”

The Underdale–Glandore Lutheran Church desired to continue in the faith handed down to us and to remain faithful to the teaching of the Lutheran reformers.

The letter records “disquiet” about marriage and gender issues, including:
• “advertising by Lutheran Community Care for same-sex couples to foster children,”
• “the introduction by Lutheran Education of LGBTQ-inclusive policy that omits any reference to Biblical teaching on the matter,”
• “tolerance of para-church groups such as ACCEPTS (now called ‘All are Included’) which promotes radical inclusion for LGBTQ-identifying people and same-sex marriage,”

The proposal to introduce “One Teaching – Two Practices” regarding women’s ordination is described in the letter as “an unsatisfactory and manipulative response to five failed attempts to change the church’s doctrine on the Office of the Ministry.” This refers to five attempts to pass women’s ordination at the LCA General Synod (church parliament).

The letter says the deeper issue is “the lack of acknowledgement of the authority of scripture in the life and practice of the church, the reluctance of Bishops to uphold the Biblical teaching on these issues.”

Assuring their Bishop of the prayers of the Underdale-Glandale church, the letter expresses the hope of reform: “Although the LCA has fallen captive to culturally determined ideologies, philosophies and fashions, we still trust that, when the Lord speaks, and is listened to, the captivity of culture can be thrown off and the church live again.”