Exodus International, the world's largest interdenominational ministry helping those conflicted by same-sex attraction to live a life that reflects the Christian faith, is troubled by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's vote today to allow congregations to hire clergy involved in same-sex relationships. Exodus says this is a clear move away from biblical teaching on sexuality and a disconcerting approach to this issue.
The 559 to 451 vote came today amid intense disagreement at the ELCA's annual convention being held in Minneapolis. The church denomination also voted on Wednesday to affirm a broader social statement on human sexuality that acknowledges multiple views on homosexuality.
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"We are greatly troubled by this decision," said Jeff Buchanan, Senior Director of Church Equipping for Exodus International. "God's timeless design for human sexuality was intended for one man and one woman. No church denomination can abandon this indispensable biblical truth without diminishing the global Christian church and causing greater confusion for those already conflicted by their sexuality." Buchanan oversees the Exodus Church Association, an interdenominational network of more than 120 churches nationwide working to help those experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction.
Nate Oyloe, an Exodus ministry leader who presented his personal testimony of overcoming homosexuality at teh ELCA's conference in Minneapolis, added, "In my life, homosexuality didn't just encompass my attractions, it defined my identity. As a Christian seeking to live by and be defined by the truth of Scripture first, I concluded that I could not pursue both. I am saddened that as a result of the ELCA's decision, others will find it harder to obtain the biblical answers and compassionate support that helped me to experience life-giving freedom."