Constitutions Are Not Set in Stone

Article excerpt

WHEN CONVICTION, like certainty, is not informed by critical thought and an evaluative process, it can be more dangerous than half-truths or even lies--to paraphrase Nietzsche.

In the current controversy outlined in the September issue of the Anglican Journal, the National Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) will deliberate on the jurisdictional authority of the Eastern Synod, which in July adopted a motion allowing the blessing of same-gendered persons. NCC will consider the ELCIC constitution, bylaws and policies of national/synodical responsibilities as the primary basis for its decision. Within these parameters, the verdict might seem straightforward: to uphold the authority of the national church convention, which in 2005 first rejected same-sex blessings as a national policy.

On the other hand, if constitutions and convictions, like doctrine and dogma, were set in stone, then the Christian church would never have accepted Jews and Gentiles, blacks and slaves, children and women as equals of (white) men. If there is never struggle and change, never reformation and transformation, then neither is there the ability by the church to address the human concerns and problems of our time, in which case living truth itself dies, no matter whose interpretation of Scripture.

The authority of parishes to bless the unions of gays and lesbians is, of course, not just a domestic matter within the territory of the Eastern Synod, but is a sphere for national consideration, as it is also a foreign-policy issue with international ramifications. …