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Anti-gay Lutheran pastor heads his own church-split

Timothy Kincaid

November 24th, 2009

In August of this year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America took strongly affirmative stances in welcoming and supporting gay Christians, including allowing gay and lesbian ministers in lifelong monogamous same-gender relationships to serve as ELCA pastors.

Immediately, conservatives encouraged pastors and congregations to break from the ELCA and to join together in their own new denomination united by their rejection of gay men and women. And, indeed, the ELCA has lost many churches since their decision.

Among the many tales of disassociation comes this one from Little Falls, Minnesota, in which the church did not vote to leave the ELCA. What happened next is worth notice, even if Lillian Kwon spun the story absurdly. (Christian Post)

The Little Falls church defeated a motion to withdraw from the ELCA by a vote of 160-96. It also voted 95-73 not to affiliate with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, which allows gay clergy as long as they are celibate.

So those who lost the vote did what they do in many such situations. They split from the congregation to start their own church.

Church splits are hardly rare. But those who know the etiquette of pastoral service will see the problem with the following:

Bjorge is currently leading a group of people who left First Lutheran to start their own church, Faith Lutheran. He was called by the group to serve as their pastor.

So the pastor, Rev. Nate Bjorge, did not leave to seek a position with a congregation in another community that better suited his theology. Instead, he is staying in town to run a rival church (most likely created at his instigation) to the one that did not vote in accordance to his ultimatum. He is behaving punitively and in the most petty manner possible.

There is no law or – due to his separation – even denominational force to stop Bjorge. He’s entitled to try and be as destructive as possible to the church whom he previously had pledged his servitude.

But Nate Bjorge’s behavior has made his character perfectly clear. Rev. Nate Bjorge is just plain tacky.

Comments

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Lindoro Almaviva
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

This kind of behavior is so common in protestant churches in Puerto Rico I was baffled it actually made the news here.

Carter
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

This is simply the most distgusting article I have ever read. I graduated a few years after Nate, and am happy to tell you that he lives by his concience, not by agenda. He is hardly “antigay”. We have a mutual friend from high school that is gay, and I can confirm that this gentleman truely is a friend to Nate. Obviously Nate just feels that non-celibate gay clergy is against God’s Word and he is allowed to take that belief, as I suspect he is somewhat better versed in The Word than the average reader of this column. How typical is it for a left wing media source to limit his free speech, much less limit the speech of a Pastor to his flock.

Priya Lynn
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

Get off it Carter, no one is limiting his free speech, he’s free to say whatever he wants but no one is entitled to speech free from criticism.

John
January 12th, 2010 | LINK

How many times in the article did the author point out that the pastor could do whatever he wanted?

Carter, I doubt this is “the most disgusting article (you) have ever read,” since nowhere in the article is there any limit on this homophobic bigot’s speech.

This victim worship from right wing homophobes is getting old and tiresome. Perhaps a group huddle and new strategy is in order.

Bill
January 25th, 2010 | LINK

As a member of First Lutheran I can say that we are better off without Nate – he was very ineffective as a pastor and if you weren’t with him and/or didn’t support his views you were against him. When he gave his ultimatum during a sermon that if we as a church body failed to vote to leave the ELCA he would leave us that was the final straw – had he stayed many of us would have left. True leaders don’t quit when the going gets tough – I could not leave my men in a fire fight because I didn’t agree with how the commander was fighting the battle. Nate is a quitter plain and simple and just like other churches he has been at he has left ours in disarray.

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