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.