North Fargo Pastor Resigns After Feeling Pressure For Not Officiating Same Sex Weddings

Interesting news from earlier this month:

Same sex marriage is legal, but causing controversy in a local Lutheran church. The Senior Pastor at Messiah Lutheran in north Fargo just resigned after feeling pressure from his parishioners for not performing same sex marriages.

Messiah Lutheran is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA does not condone nor endorse same sex marriage, instead they leave the decision up to each individual church.

Messiah Lutheran Pastor Steve Berntson told his church on Sunday he would be resigning after months of difficulty since the legalization of same sex marriage. Berntson stated his views in June to his nearly 1,000 worshippers at Messiah.

“Based on what the scripture says about God’s design for marriage I would not be able to participate or officiate same gender weddings,” said Steve Berntson.

Berntson says he decided to step down since his view differed and he wasn’t feeling support from the congregation he would like.–330778732.html

Too bad for his congregation. :frowning:

My initial reaction is …if each congregation is allowed to decide on their own and the majority have no objection to same sex marriages being performed then the minister has two options…

  1. try and convert the congregation to his way of thinking or
  2. move on to another congregation

The pastor should be man enough to leave and not use the “other side has to be more tolerant” excuse. If the opinions were reversed and the pastor truly believed there was nothing wrong with same sex marriages, would he really respect the congregation by not performing same sex marriages? Who knows? Who san say?

More fruits of the “reformation”

Nope, fruit of heretics who attack the inerrancy of scripture .

Is it the pastor’s fault if his flock rejects the Gospel despite his best efforts?

But if his denomination did not allow a incorrect Gospel there would have been no problem

"More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. "

How is that any different?

I would say this is also sadly likely true in the UK and Ireland also where even when Catholics do know it they either ignore it or mock it (which is worse), I was pointing out an example from my own workplace earlier on the forum where a fellow Catholic called it ‘all a joke’. In fact they put a rather crude word in there as well. This occurred in the context of them been asked about what they were doing at Communion by a non Catholic after a memorial Mass for a dead colleague. Their response was to give an answer like that and it’s not the first type of answer like that I have heard from fellow Catholics. In the past I have tried to point out that is offensive to me and been sniggered at orheard comments about ‘religious freak or weirdo’ muttered behind hands. Amusingly enough I rarely if ever raise the subject of religion at work and just found it offensive when someone kept on in that vein right in front of my face for five minutes, especially when they know that a) I am from the same cultural background as them and b) are aware from working in the same office with me on a Sunday on the odd occasion where I used my lunch break to go to Church that it is likely to not go down well. This kind of talk is unfortunately perfectly acceptable here and the quantity surveyor who used to sit next to me for nearly two years in our old office space used the c word to refer to Pope Benedict and Francis in conversation several times over that period. I rarely if ever take lunch breaks at work but I took some on those days for a walk around the park before my anger got the better of me.

The Pastor made a decision He had to make, God bless His decision with clarity of Faith.

The Bible is Clear on this matter. “Public Opinion” can not alter the Law of God. By following the Law of God does not mean that we do not have compassion and understanding for all others that struggle with Gods Laws.

The wisdom of Gods Word will always become manifest and “Popular Opinion” always shown to be erroneous.

Regards Tony

Agreed Tony, I am concerned that the whole notion of gay marriage is a piece of social experimentation which will have disastrous fallout in a few years. Actual marriage has waned and decreased for a variety of reasons in recent years, bad as it is I’d rather see long term unmarried couples rather than gay marriages. There was a time even 5 or 10 years ago when I would have just said, ‘It’s all fine and is not my business’ but I begin to see this is actually a narrow way to regard society and that gay marriage is becoming an overriding concern been pushed and pushed when many people could not care less about it. It’s become a cause for actors and activists to take up in a trendy manner and it acts often as a not as a red herring. When it was legalised in my home country of Ireland I was unamused to say the least and the fact it was doen against a background of rising unemployment, immigration and after an economic meltdown gave me the impression that it was typical distraction politics. Let’s not deal with the homeless in Irish streets or thousands out of work, oh hang on what can we present as a triumph instead, gay marriage…

Apples and oranges.

What ELCA Lutherans individually know or don’t know about their faith has nothing to do with the ever changing moral relativism of ELCA leadership.

Those are people who don’t know what the church is teaching. Obviously the church doesnt teach that transubstantiation isnt true. These are ignorant catholics, most of them probably cultural catholics who were simply raised cathilic and havent been to mass in decades.

To contrast, the Lutherans stated here have the support of their church. The Lutheran Church here officially supports pastors performing gay marriages. These are active lutherans who are actually following their churches teaching.

Those two situations aren’t even comparable.

We’re looking at the lack of orthodoxy of the actual churches here, not the ones who don’t follow or know their churches teaching.

There is a huge difference between not knowing doctrine and changing doctrine

A big difference between Catholic congregations and ELCA ones is that (unless I’m mistaken), each Catholic congregation takes the pastor sent to them by their Bishop whereas ELCA congregations interview and call their own pastors. ELCA congregations are advised by their Bishop in selecting candidates to be pastors but are under no obligation to follow his advice.

Also, organizationally, ELCA pastors (especially those in congregations that came out of the American Lutheran Church) are under the authority of their church councils which are elected by the congregation. ELCA church councils also often put together the call committees which interview candidates to be pastors before they are called. I wouldn’t be surprised if some call committees in ELCA congregations are specifically asking candidates if they are willing to perform same-sex marriages before they will recommend that their congregations call them to be a new pastor.

Absolutely right. One’s heart is hardly being reformed by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Image if one is still constantly trying to conform oneself to the world. Good for this pastor for sticking to his beliefs. I’m sure that the LCMS would welcome him with open arms!

It seems problematic to me if the pastor has no capacity to tell his congregation
“this is truth”. It seems to me the impression left is simply that the congregation decided that gay “marriage” is real and okay, and that the ELCA considers that one of two perfectly acceptable views. I base that view only on what I read in the article - perhaps there are more details than are shared here.

Why does the Holy Spirit impart so many different versions of the truth to so many different denominations . This pastors problem highlights the inherent problem that afflicts our separated brethren_.there is no authority and thus when a teaching makes them uncomfortable they either fire their pastor, move to denomination that accepts their beliefs or start their own denomination.

So this passes as news in North Dakota. Pastors resign, sometimes involuntarily, all the time. There is no way to no the politics in a local church.

again , the problem is the lack of church discipline of heretics
Keep the faith Estesbob , Starwars :slight_smile:

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