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Walking away from the church

In your reprint of the Fargo Forum article, "ELCA votes to allow non-celibate homosexuals to serve in the clergy" (Page 1, Aug. 23), presiding Bishop Mark Hanson is quoted as saying in a press conference: "It would be tragic if we walked away from one another" (i.e., separated).

It's appalling when a bishop uses double-speak. The traditional side of this debate has not "walked away" from anything or anyone. We are standing firm where the Church has stood for 2,000 years, and where Lutherans have stood for 500 years. It is Bishop Hanson and his revisionists who have "walked away" from us.

Prominent Lutheran theologians and Lutheran church leaders from Third-World countries have written Bishop Hanson pleading that the ELCA not take this path, which can only "embarrass" and weaken the message of the holy catholic (Christian) Church worldwide. The revisionists have also "walked away" from these pleas from missionaries and church leaders living in Islamic and other countries.

The bishop knows full well that the majority of ELCA Lutherans cannot and will not "walk away" from the clear teaching of Scripture, and "the faith once delivered to the saints," as 559 revisionist voting members have now done, in the name of the entire ELCA membership

When statements like this are made for public consumption, the bishop obviously would like people to think that the real tragedy is whether we "walk away from one another." But the real tragedy is if we walk away from Scripture and are silenced into simply going along and getting along... apparently the direction he would like to have us go.

The Rev. Norman P. Olsen