ELCA Rerport: The report, the result of three years’ work by a task force, included three recommendations for the assembly to consider when it is expected to answer two key questions on homosexuality: Should the church bless same-gender relationships? Should the church allow people in such
relationships to serve as professional lay and ordained ministers?
The task force recommended that the ELCA:
concentrate on finding ways to live together faithfully in the
midst of disagreements.
continue under current standards that expect unmarried ministers to abstain from sexual relations, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman; but, respecting the consciences of those who find these standards in conflict with the mission of the church, the ELCA may choose to refrain from disciplining gay and lesbian ministers in committed
relationships and from disciplining those who call or approve partnered gay or lesbian people for ministry.
In his report, Hanson offered his first public comments on the task
force report and recommendations. Hanson said:
- Two “hermeneutics” or paradigms are at work among the members of the ELCA that make agreement difficult on scriptural and theological matters. The Rev. Craig L. Nessan, academic dean and professor of contextual theology, Wartburg Theological Seminary, an ELCA seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, writes that there is a “traditional approach” and a “contextual approach” in interpreting Scripture, both of which are valid and irreconcilable, Hanson told the bishops.