This Blog's purpose is to offer information about congregations voting to leave the ELCA. Pastor Barnhart's other Blog offers information about current news events relating to the Church and the nation. It may be found here:

Friday, June 25, 2010


When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted last August to allow practicing homosexual clergy to be placed on its clergy roster, they ignited a firestorm of controversy in thousands of their congregations. Most congregations calling special meetings to vote on leaving the ELCA face bitter division over two opposing views. This is especially true of the congregations that did not achieve the required 2/3s necessary for withdrawal.

Take for example Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey, Minnesota (3300 baptized members). This congregation voted June 20 to withdraw (310 to 255), but their vote failed to meet the 2/3s requirement. Likewise, when the votes were tallied at their June 23 meeting, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato, Minnesota (974 baptized members) split almost down the middle over leaving. Both congregations are now in turmoil from which neither may recover. This is true also for scores of other ELCA congregations, especially were the required voted failed by slim margins and where members left to start new congregations. In such situations, minority members left to operate their ELCA congregation have found it difficult if not impossible to maintain a viable congregation.

The ELCA itself is to blame for all of its congregations in turmoil. The vote last August to sanction homosexual clergy in the ELCA was 559-451. The ELCA leadership saw to it that the vote on this issue would pass with a simple majority. How interesting that a simple majority was sufficient to set the whole church in turmoil, while each local congregation’s vote tally must have a 2/3s plurality in order to leave the ELCA over the same issue.

The ELCA is to blame for this turmoil, because the decision to sanction practicing homosexual clergy within its ranks was on the agenda of the church’s leadership when the ELCA was being formed. The writings and statements of Bishop Herbert Chilstrom bear witness. That fact, along with a host of other doctrinal departures from truth, is what caused hundreds of congregations and clergy to withdraw membership even as the ELCA was coming into being.

1 comment:

  1. David, I'm the pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato, and I happened to see this as I was looking online last night. I'm sure I'm a whole lot more liberal than you are in many ways, but I still believe that the scriptures must be the authoritative source and norm of our proclamation faith and life or we are lost. Many of our people, unfortunately, really do not have a Luther's view on the scriptures, that our conscience needs to be BOUND only to the Word of God and not to our feelings. I am NOT into church politics at all but this has been such a year of suffering. One of our more liberal members who says that there is a group in agreement with him in our church, really believes that those who are in anguish over what the ELCA did should leave our local congregation. But the "beef" we have it not with our local congregation! It's with the ELCA and it's "conscience" which seems to be "bound" either to nothing or to a desire just to make everyone feel good. It reminds me of a scene in the Luther movie where Martin hurts the feelings of a mother who has bought an indulgence for the good of her child. The movie isn't real history, but it does make the point that we cannot be guided by our feelings. If we had, we'd still be Roman Catholic. My blog is at if anyone is interested. PLEASE PRAY that God's will, and only God's will, would be done in Cokato as it is done in heaven.