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Letters - Immanuel Church: A time to say 'here I stand'

Many leaders in the ELCA in Minnesota (but perhaps not the majority of the laity) have come out in opposition to the MN Marriage Amendment and the natural/biblical definition of marriage.

We wish to be clear that our Lutheran congregation, along with many others, unequivocally confesses otherwise. Specifically, we believe:

• There is one and only one definition of marriage that God instituted and intended for all people of all time.

• Marriage is "the lifelong union of one man and one woman into one flesh, entered into by mutual consent and promise." (Evangelical Lutheran Synod Catechism)

• This universal understanding of marriage is clearly attested to in Scripture (Gen. 1:27-28 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 7:2-3; Eph. 5:31).

• This understanding of marriage is also confirmed throughout history in all cultures in which no government has unmistakably given legal sanction to gay marriage, until the last ten years where a handful of countries and six states are now engaging in such an experiment.

• The purpose of the God-ordained marriage is for establishing the most unique loving companionship and the raising of children by a father and a mother.

• God also intended such marriages to be the foundation of civil society; where such marriages break down, are dishonored, or re-defined, civil society is endangered.

• Current trends (like the recent acceptance of homosexuality) should not trump the will of God, but vice versa: God's will is timeless and ought to trump popular trends.

And in case one may think that congregations like ours are intolerant or unloving, we also make this clear confession:

• Like Christ, we love sinners. In fact, we are them. We come to church because we are sinners.

We come confessing our many, many sins. We come because we seek, find, and receive full and free forgiveness in Christ who offers to us what he so painfully bought on the cross.

For that reason, we invite to our worship service anyone and everyone -- the selfish, proud, greedy, idolaters, thieves, adulterers, homosexuals, murderers -- who wishes to find real forgiveness and help in a world that can be so burdensome, painful, and hopeless. We can offer no greater love.

Please note: leaving the ballot blank on this amendment will be taken as a "No" vote. If you wish to support this amendment you must vote "Yes." -- Immanuel Lutheran Church of Audubon, member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS)