An Eastern Synod pastor provides a commentary on Pastor Harry Vibe's recent announcement (below) that he was resigning from the ELCIC.
December 8, 2006
Commentary on Pastor Vibe's Resignation from the ELCIC
Following the 2002 Eastern Synod Convention of the E.L.C.I.C. Pastor Harry Vibe prepared and circulated a booklet discussing key Scriptural passages that dealt with same-sex relationships. To my knowledge, he was the first in the Synod to systematically do so.
He hoped that this booklet would contribute to the conversation within the Eastern Synod on this issue. That booklet and his further letters were essentially ignored. There seemed to be little interest by those in positions of authority to delve into Scriptural passages that expressed the Biblical and Confessional opposition to same-sex relationships. However, there were lay people and some pastors throughout the Synod who were becoming increasingly alarmed about what they considered to be a clear departure from our Scriptural and Confessional roots.
Much later, the national bishop of the E.L.C.I.C. selected writers to comment on the issue. Very little of this material dealt directly with the Scriptural issue. In the minds of most of the writers the issue seemed to have been already settled. All that seemed to remain was to seek ways to alter the stance of the Synod, and the E.L.C.I.C., politically.
Since Pastor Vibe's initial booklet, the question of same-sex relationships has typically been linked with the dietary and ritual laws of Leviticus, etc. The parallel that has been drawn is a false one. Others have compared the issue with the role of women in the church. But the Biblical witness to the role of women is far from clear. There are passages that would reflect divergent points of view. Others argue that the recognition of same-sex relationships is a natural evolution. They link the issue of same-sex relationships with changes in society's attitude towards slavery in the U.S.A. and apartheid in South Africa or same-sex marriages in Canada. But there has been virtually no serious consideration within the ELCIC of many of the key passages in the Scriptures that unambiguously condemn same-sex relationships.
Pastor Harry Vibe addressed key passages in the Scriptures that deal with same-sex relationships. He alerted us of the dangers of departing from our Biblical and Confessional roots, no matter what the issue. The sad reality remains that his voice, and that of others throughout the E.L.C.I.C., continues to be largely ignored.The Rev. Dr. Peeter Vanker