A landmark ecumenical summit took place May 3-5, 2013 at Church of the Holy Communion, Dallas, Texas. The theme of the meeting was “Biblical Teaching on Marriage and Sexuality.” Presentations and discussion focused on the shared historic understanding of marriage as a holy estate, divinely created by God to be the union of man and woman. The result of the gathering was a common statement of affirmation on marriage, which follows.
The ecumenical summit and Affirmation of Marriage was the result of ongoing multi-lateral consultations between the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).
As North American culture wrestles with issues of marriage and family, the participants of this ecumenical dialogue sought clarity and agreement on Scriptural teaching, with the intention of developing a common statement. A draft was presented and discussed, and a final form is now ready for release. The statement is intended to provide clear, concise instruction to clergy and members of the participating denominations, but also to be an unequivocal affirmation of Biblical teaching with regard to marriage between male and female as an essential human foundation for home, family and society under the Church’s One foundation, which is Jesus Christ.
“Our Lord immensely blessed us in these Anglican-Lutheran consultations,” said The Rev. Mark Chavez, General Secretary of the North American Lutheran Church. He continued, “The Lord has gathered us as one in Him with strong agreement in our confession of the Christian faith. Our agreement includes the biblical norms for marriage and sexuality. I am hopeful for our common statement and for mutually presenting a clear biblical teaching of marriage and sexuality throughout our churches that will be a blessing for all of North America.”
The Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton, a bishop of the Anglican Church in North America and host for the summit, said of the gathering, “God calls His people in every generation to proclaim the clarity of the Gospel to the points of greatest confusion. In our generation, marriage and sexuality have become the points of cultural confusion that keep the western world from grasping the most important image of God’s relation to His people, marriage. Confessional believers must learn again to speak with one voice.”
“The Affirmation on Marriage is now provided to NALC pastors and congregations as a positive teaching tool,” said the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism. He added, “Our prayer is that the common statement will be studied in adult classes, used in catechetical instruction and perhaps even shared in marriage preparation and enrichment seminars.”
The Rev. John Bradosky, Bishop of the North American Lutheran Church, states, “We now commend this ‘Affirmation of Marriage’ to our denominational bodies—the NALC, the ACNA, the LCC and the LCMS. We trust that God will use it to strengthen and upbuild the gift of marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation for families, communities, congregations and the world!”
Other participants were the Very Rev. Dr. Jonathan S. Riches, Reformed Episcopal Seminary (ACNA); the Rev. Dr. Frederic Baue (LCMS); the Rev. Kenneth M. Hennings, president of the Texas District (LCMS); the Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, Executive Director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (LCMS); the Rev. Professor John Pless, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (LCMS); Professor John Stephenson, Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada (LCC); the Rev. Larry Vogel, Associate Executive Director of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, (LCMS); and the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism, (NALC).
For further information, contact: The Rev. Dr. David Wendel ([email protected] or 614-777-5709).
Read or download “An Affirmation on Marriage”