Monday, November 27, 2006

The Latest from Lutheran CORE

Lutheran CORE is a coalition of ELCA pastors, laity, congregations and reforming groups who seek to preserve within that church body the authority of the Word of God according to the Lutheran confessions. I have been a part of this coalition for reform since its formation in 2005. This is the latest correspondence from the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee:

Dear Christian Friends,

The Lutheran CORE steering committee continues hard at work, as we seek to advocate for Biblical faithfulness and confessional loyalty in our church. We intend to remain in the "calling to which (we) have been called" (Ephesians 4:1) as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA is our church. With the help of God's Word and Spirit, it is also God's church. Our intention, as Lutheran CORE, with the help of God's Word and Spirit, is to be a voice for the Word of God within our church. We are neither of the left not of the right. We are for the center, where Christ is Lord, and where his Word redeems us and calls us to newness of life.

At our November steering committee meeting we took a number of positive steps in furthering our mission and ministry. We approved the printing of a brochure about our work. We authorized the expansion of our web site, reachable through our new web address www.lutherancore.org. We considered how we might cooperate more effectively with the other reform movements in our church. In a spirit of mutual endeavor, we shared among ourselves how Lutheran CORE and the WordAlone Network can work together. This latter conversation will continue in January, when we meet with the WordAlone board of directors.

The bulk of our meeting time was spent on reviewing and projecting ways for us to implement the four basic themes for our work and ministry.

HUMAN SEXUALITY. We are anxiously awaiting the study guide in December, the run-up to a proposed social statement on sexuality in 2009. We are considering how we will respond to this study guide. We are watching carefully how the synods are implementing the decisions of the 2005 churchwide assembly on blessings and ordinations. We are also exploring how to respond, should attempts be made to overturn the decisions of the 2005 churchwide assembly.

LEADERSHIP in the ELCA. Among the most important actions of the 2007 churchwide assembly will be the calling of a presiding bishop and secretary and elections for the Church Council. Lutheran CORE is seeking to work in cooperation with WordAlone and others, so that our church may be led by persons who are committed to the Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions. We plan to be in communication with the voting members of the churchwide assembly regarding our hopes and concerns.

BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION. The 2005 churchwide assembly called for a churchwide study of the Bible and its interpretation. The plans for this study are still in process. We applaud the intention of this study. A number of regional conferences on Biblical interpretation are being planned. As Lutheran CORE, we want to be supportive of this study process. But we also want to be careful how this study deals with classic Lutheran norms and principles.

The NAMING of GOD as FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT. The imminent arrival of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (the "new hymnal") will cause considerable distress among many Lutheran CORE supporters. As Lutheran CORE, our concern is not so much about the liturgical elements, about which we have different opinions. Our chief concern is how the Trinitarian formula for God is used in the liturgy and hymnody. It is very worrisome to us that at so many points the classic Biblical name for the Holy Trinity is placed in parallel with other titles of address for God. It is as if the Holy Trinity were an option for right worship! Lutheran CORE is analyzing this matter. We are not against the new hymnal as such. But we are considering how we can give guidance, so that pastors and congregations who choose to use it will use this book responsibly.

We are grateful beyond words for the faithful and prayerful support we receive from throughout our church. We are thankful for the partnership we have with the WordAlone Network. We appreciate the financial support that we receive from individuals, congregations, and other reform movements.

We ask that you continue to pray for us. We encourage you to speak on our behalf to others. We invite you to support our work financially. We know that we are in this for the long haul, and we sense very keenly that ours is not an easy task. But we are sustained, as you are, by Christ himself, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Head of the church and the Lord of all creation.

Lutheran CORE Steering Committee:

Paull Spring, State College, PA, chair
Erma Wolf, Brandon, SD, vice chair
W. Stevens Shipman, Watsontown, PA, secretary
Mark Chavez, Landisville, PA, director
Mark Graham, Roanoke, VA
Scott Grorud, Hutchinson, MN
Ken Kimball, Waterville, IA
Ryan Schwarz, Washington, DC
Paul Ulring, Columbus, OH

For more about Lutheran CORE, see its website. And if you wish to be supportive of or part of this coalition (especially if you are in an Illinois ELCA congregation), feel free to contact me.

1 comment:

Florentine Alverez said...

Seriously, when will the faithful father-shepherds (and yes, I mean the father-shepherds) who remain with the Evangelical Lutheran Church realize that all pious hope of a confessional church is gone? G-o-n-e. Gone.

Trust me, I applaud your efforts, but seriously ... this business about "waiting for the results of the next study commitee on [sexuality, Scripture, inclusive language, the Trinity, liturgical revisionism, etc, etc] is getting a bit old.

The result of these commitee's are peeling the remaining layers of (ELCA) catholicity like a dry onion.