Lutherans in Minnesota

Minnesota District WELS supports marriage amendment

Delegates to the WELS Minnesota District Convention at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, lined up at microphones to discuss a memorial supporting the Marriage Amendment to the state’s constitution. Metro Lutheran photo: Bob Hulteen

As part of the organization’s official business, delegates to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s (WELS) Minnesota District convention voted overwhelmingly on June 13 to support the November ballot item pertaining to changing the Minnesota constitution to declare that marriage is a commitment between one man and one woman. With little dissension, a memorial titled “Proposed District Response to 2012 Minnesota Marriage Amendment Issue” was adopted.

The memorial resolved that “our churches and leaders use the months ahead as a ‘teachable moment’ to encounter greater study of what God in his Word says is his will for man and woman in marriage, utilizing resources available from various WELS sources, [Christian Life Resources], and others.”

“The resolution specifically states it is not an act of politics,” the Rev. Arnold Lemke, member of the Christian Life Ministries board of control told Metro Lutheran. “It is intended to be used in education.” Lemke said that the memorial does not compel people to vote one way or another as, he acknowledged, some individuals may disagree with the memorial that raises moral issues consistent with WELS perspectives.

Concern about the 2011 translation of the New International Version (NIV 2011) of the Bible has touched off discussions about what Northwestern Publishing House’s (NPH) official translation should be.

Lemke, also a member of Metro Lutheran’s board of directors, said that recent leadership by the Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of WELS, on issues of conscience was instrumental in delegates feeling empowered to enter into “the second or secular kingdom.” It is in this context that the memorial states “whereas in recent times both state and federal interests increasingly appear to be ready to move against some of the most basic teachings, practices, and consciences of people and their churches,” that delegates by voice vote supported the amendment.

Choosing a translation for the publishing house

Concern about the 2011 translation of the New International Version (NIV 2011) of the Bible has touched off discussions about what Northwestern Publishing House’s (NPH) official translation should be. NPH is the publishing arm of WELS. The church has established a Translation Evaluation Committee (TEC) and a Translation Feasibility Committee (TFC) to consider appropriate alternative translations or the possibility of producing its own translation.

Pastor Eric Schroeder, a member of the Special Matters Floor Committee that considers translation issues for the district, led delegates through consideration of numerous passages in NIV 2011, the English Standard Version, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible, all under consideration for use by NPH. Concerns range from familiarity of language to gender inclusiveness of the text.

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