Learning from the Lutherans

The 219th General Assembly (2010) sent to the presbyteries an amendment to G-6.0106b that emphasizes the high standard of joyful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and ceases to rely on one contested interpretation of Scripture concerning sexual ethics.  Commissioners also voted to recommend that the PCUSA engage in dialogue about marriage.

As these conversations continue in the coming months, Presbyterians could benefit from studying the Social Statement approved last summer by our Full Communion partner the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust.

An excerpt:

What, then, does trust in relation to human sexuality look like when understood in terms of service to the neighbor? In responding to this question, we reflect on God’s love for and continuing involvement in creation and on the saving action of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world. We look to Scripture, to the Lutheran Confessions, to the social and physical sciences, and to human reason, mercy, and compassion. In so doing, we boldly but humbly affirm that trustworthy relationships and social structures will:

  • promote, value, and respect the human dignity of each individual;
  • protect all from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm;
  • demonstrate mercy, compassion, and justice for all, especially the “least of these”—those who are most vulnerable in relationships and in society;
  • ensure accountability and responsibility in relationships and the community;
  • promote the welfare of individuals and the common good of society; and
  • value the security and protection afforded through the making of promises, including social and contractual commitments.

These foundational and protective conditions provide the necessary context and support for trusting relationships that are:

  • loving, that include and reflect an abundance of agape (unlimited love, forgiveness, compassion, care, and concern), eros (passion, excitement, and joy), and philia (care for the neighbor);
  • life-giving, where affirmation is mutually shared, encouragement is given and received, and individual talents are nurtured and supported;
  • self-giving in the face of both opportunities and challenges;
  • fulfilling, that is, a place where a spirit of joy and an atmosphere of peace prevails;
  • nurturing of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being;
  • marked by truth-telling and honesty;
  • faithful in word and deed, including sexual fidelity;
  • committed, demonstrating loyalty in the face of difficult as well as good times;
  • supportive for all who grow old, are vulnerable, or are weak;
  • hospitable, offering support and encouragement to others;
  • a blessing to society and serve the good of the neighbor.


  1. http://Thomas%20L.%20Fultz says

    Would you evaluate the organization GLAADBlog.org from its Reader Comments on Amendment 10-A Vote Chart taking into consideration the advertisers displayed. Is it a demonstration of the conditions providing the necessary context and support for trusting relationships?

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