New Denomination to Rise in Lutheran Church Due to Gay Rift

Church leaders unhappy with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's decision to allow non-celibate gay and lesbian pastors into its ranks are expected to come together and vote this week to create a separate denomination.

Lutheran The AP reports:

"Leaders of 18 former ELCA churches are expected to vote Friday to create a brand new Lutheran denomination that they claim will follow the Scriptures more faithfully: the North American Lutheran Church. 'The issue is departure from the word of God,' [Richard] Mahan [lead pastor at St. Timothy in Charleston, W.Va.] said. His church has already voted twice to end its longtime identity as a ELCA church, also ending an annual $36,000 in tithing to the denomination…As of early August, 199 congregations had cleared the hurdles to leave the ELCA for good, while another 136 awaited the second vote needed to make it official. In all there are 10,239 ELCA churches with about 4.5 million members, making it still by far the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. And the breakaway members gathering in Ohio will face their own challenges if they vote to start another denomination at a time when attendance at mainline Protestant churches is falling and denominational distinctions appear irrelevant to a growing number of churchgoers."


  1. says

    “The issue is departure from the word of God.”

    No, it isn’t. The issue is discontinuing the second-class Christian status for gay people. Unless these people also murder their disobedient children, the “word of God” has little to do with this. And what’s more, everyone knows it.

  2. White Label says

    The Lutheran “CORE” ( started within weeks of the vote in Minneapolis. A college friend is one of the leaders in the movement, and it’s discouraging to see what closed-minded people they have become since becoming a pastor. I had hoped that her seminary training would have taught her greater compassion, but it only emphasized her strict interpretation of the Bible.

  3. Fenrox says

    Yay! Division leads to dissolution. Split yourselves fascists, its the best thing you can do for us all.

    Also 36,000 in tithing! That’s a nail in the coffin as it is.

  4. MTC09 says

    There may be a silver lining to this, at least from a Progressive Christian standpoint.

    For awhile now the mainline American Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church had talked about joining forces, but one issue prevented both of them from doing so: Gay marriage and the allowing of gay clergy and acceptance of homosexuality. Eventually, the more hateful people in the Episcopal Church were persuaded to branch off and become the American Anglican Church (really it’s the same as the Episcopal Church only they hate the gays). Now it seems the same thing is happening for the Lutherans.
    What this means is, the progressive original denominations no longer have that roadblock preventing them from combining forces. And regardless of anybody’s belief here, I think the consensus would be that more non-hateful Christians is better than a majority of hateful ones.

  5. TANK says

    Well, you’ll have a majority of hateful ones regardless, mtc…

    How you dance to justify your fairytales. It’s not pathetic, though…it’s just really fuckin’ dumb.

  6. castaway says

    I’ve always thought their logo was a huge symbol of how devisive religion is. Maybe the new group can be a little more inclusive and mix up the colors a bit. Just sayin.’

    Oh, and this new tool bar w/ the Towle Alert thingy is really f-ing annoying. How do I make it go away?

  7. bobbyjoe says

    They’re going to follow the scriptures more faithfully?

    Well, then I guess they’ll also be vocal advocates for slavery, since the exact same books in the bible (Leviticus and the writings of Paul) that say anything about homosexuality also spend a lot more space explaining why slavery is fine and dandy with God.

  8. 1♥ says

    Re:”to create a brand new Lutheran denomination that they claim will follow the Scriptures more faithfully”

    So they want to bring back slavery.

  9. Matt26 says

    I am a Lutherian and for me it has also been a protest (Protestant) from the main church (of the Middle Ages) in Europe (the Catholic Church). It should always take new routes and without fear show where the rest of the religious family should follow.
    In this part of the world national Lutherian churches are questioning at the moment what is marriage and do gays have right to marry in churches. I live in a liberal corner of the world but even here we face the difficulties to be seen as equals in the church.

  10. Xwards says

    Why don’t they just become Missouri or Wisconsin Synod Lutherans? It sounds like it’s about power to them.

  11. Christopher says

    Why does everyone bring up slavery and shrimp and ham sandwiches when trying to show the hypocrisy of Christians opposing gays. There is a much MUCH better thing to hit them with, and that is divorce. Jesus never said a word about gays (duh) but the new testament records THREE TIMES that he said that those who remarry after divorce are guilty of adultery, unless it is because their spouse has been sexually unfaithful. So, if Christians REALLY want to save marriage, they should be advocating for STRICT divorce laws that require you to prove your spouse has committed adultery before you divorce, if you ever plan on remarrying. That’s “straight” from the Lord’s mouth, not Paul’s, not Leviticus.

    But, of course, Christians NEVER mention this, because it would require them to have to hold themselves to the same standard they’re trying to hold everyone else.

    SO HIT THE WITH DIVORCE, NOT SHRIMP. It is where they are most vulnerable people.

    PS The new pop-up Towleroad thingy is evil.

    PPS Lutherians? Aren’t you going to ask us to take you to our leader?

  12. BG Ness says

    The new NALC is nothing new. The 400 year history of lutherans in the New World has always been turbulent. A hundred rifts have created a hundred new church bodies. Then subsequent merging created further new ones. This ongoing drama largely defines the church’s identity. Ordaining gay pastors is only the latest rift of many.

  13. MTC09 says

    Ah, I love how my second time commenting on this blog, which I read almost every day, I just got called “fucking dumb” for a rather innocent post. Sure makes me feel welcomed in my own community.

  14. TANK says

    When you’ve opened yourself up to the legitimacy of bigotry, while even denying that you’re bigoted and supporting equality, everything has a silver lining, doesn’t it? A dog can only hope for scraps…er, a “progressive christian,” even.

  15. Christopher says


    You got called fucking dumb by Tank. That pretty much means the rest of us fucking love you!

  16. Merkava says

    Hey tank, take the plank out of your own eye and condemn Torah/Old Testament hate as well as the tribal hate it inspires!