It seems like The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and other mainline denominations have been debating sodomy forever. While some ELCA pastors are correctly saying that the debate is about the authority of the Word, that ship sailed long ago for the ELCA and the other mainline denoms. It sailed even before they decided that “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” didn’t really mean “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” Sodomy is just the next exit down the highway.
I’ll hazard a guess that all of the mainline denominations would have capitulated on this issue years ago but for one reason: money. Namely, the dollars that older folks throughout small-town America give to the church. The hicks have sadly made their peace with egalitarianism– most don’t even know that it’s a Biblical issue any longer– but they won’t accept sodomy.
Their leadership knows it. They know it’s best to deny the faith at a subdued volume, using measured tones and well-starched collars. Better yet, let’s just talk about unity and teamwork and caring and skip the controversy altogether. How it must annoy these moderate modernists when the loudmouths on both sides start riling things up! Let us have peace, friends.
The mainline churches will continue shrinking. At some point they’ll reach that critical mass where the political activists in the leadership will finally outnumber their foot-dragging modernist brethren. And then the stragglers who still stand on a modicum of Biblical authority will see their leaders get the boot. And that will be that.