The biographical notes on my Touchstone writings have for years noted my theological training at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. I found this meant I was frequently mistaken for a Lutheran, which I am not, so in 2005 I wrote an explanatory note on this site which included these remarks:
. . . . because my own theological viewpoint
is as opposed to the liberal Lutheranism of that school as it could possibly
be, it is most unlikely that the Lutheran School of Theology, if it is paying
attention at all, is pleased to have its name appear next to mine on the pages
of a magazine like Touchstone--so here I do it the service of issuing a
disclaimer on its behalf.
In another sense, however, I regard myself as a true son of that institution. People like me, who manage to squeak out of mainline academies, are, I often think, products and representatives of the prayers and gifts of the faithful who gave to those schools with the understanding that a considerably different gospel than moves groups like the ELCA and its flagship seminary was being taught there. It is not, after all, your grandfather's (well, at least your great-grandfather's) Lutheranism that is promulgated by the typical seminary of that synod, but something far more, shall we say, evolved.
Well, there comes a time when even such tenuous ties must be severed, when any fraternal association with the ELCA must be renounced. This month the delegates to its biennial convention approved a resolution that urged all denominational leaders not to discipline (as it has in the past, in accordance with church rules) sexually active homosexual clergy in “faithful committed same-gender relationships.”
Of course, we are seeing a great deal of effort on the part of ELCA officials, who obviously fear the effects of this resolution on church life and funding, to nuance what this means. But a brief visit to the blogsites of Lutheran homosexual activists makes it clear that they understand its significance. Something immensely important has happened; the floodgate is now in fact open. The ELCA joins a number of other mainline Protestant denominations as, as one Catholic observer put it, just another Sodomite sect.
No doubt we will now begin to see, as we did in former years among the Episcopalian traditionalists, the embarrassing spectacle of denial, declarations that “I didn’t leave the ELCA, the ELCA left me,” profession of loyalty to something that no longer exists, local resistance, and splintering. People who anticipate a large harvest for the Missouri Synod don’t understand the dynamics of American Lutheranism. I can predict with fair confidence, however, that the (fairly conservative) ELCA majority will continue to slide deeper into the dotard’s sleep of nescience and morbid tolerance that allowed this to happen in the first place, now and then mumbling something unintelligible about the gospel, Lutheran tradition, and evangelical catholicity. I hope I’m wrong, but doubt it.
One small thing that will happen, however, is that the name of the Lutheran School of Theology, that Urquell of silliness and pretension, that notable sniffer of whatever airs blow from the theological academy of hell, will no longer appear in my biographical note. “Marty,” contrary to one of its advertisements, would not be proud, and we all have our limits.