Friday, August 21, 2009

Bound to what?

Julia Duin reports that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has voted to affirm homosexual relationships:
.... Here is the vote they just passed: 619 'yes' votes, or 60.63 percent, to 402 'no' votes. The resolution: "that the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships."
Duin goes on to describe the use in the debate of the term "bound conscience," but perhaps not in the sense of Luther's statement at Worms:
I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand, may God help me.
Duin writes:
The ELCA's task force on sexuality put forth a number of controversial proposals built around the idea that people have committed positions to a particular opinion or interpretation of the Bible. The words "bound conscience" was used a lot. But what happens when peoples' "bound consciences" clash?

That is what is going on here involving people of passionate convictions that oppose each other. A female bishop just told us that bound conscience is not an excuse for personal desire but the whole system of using "bound conscience" as a guide for action seems to have broken down. Seems to me that consciences must be informed by something. Martin Luther said his conscience was captive to the Bible. One Chinese-American approached a mike to ask the same question. "Does this mean everyone would do what they want in the name of conscience?" she asked. "Our conscience changes depending on the environment." [more]
If a Protestant is not "bound by the Scriptures" with a "conscience...captive to the Word of God," then what can "bound conscience" possibly mean? One hopes it doesn't simply mean that they "do what is right in their own eyes."

And so ELCA goes the way of the Episcopalians and, one fears, the mainline generally.

Lutherans vote yes on gay 'relationships' - Belief Blog - Washington Times

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