When we were members of Lord of Life in the late nineties, it was small and struggling. But after standing up for the gospel of Jesus Christ, its weakness in the eyes of the bishop became a great strength. As Paul says, in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female." (Galatians 3:28) Isn't it obvious that in Christ, there is neither straight nor gay?
The ELCA was then struggling with the issue of sexuality, especially homosexuality. (And truth be told, the larger church body struggles even today with this gospel issue.) Lord of Life's pastor, the Reverend Steven Sabin, was removed from the roster of ELCA clergy in 1998 because he is both an excellent pastor and he is gay, a combination that the local bishop just could not accept. Even bishops have trouble understanding Christ at times.
Although the Bible does contain references to sex, there is no clear directive given by either scripture or the new testament on the subject of specific sexual activities. What is clear is the directive to love our fellow man, and to tear down the barriers that separate men. This is Jesus's prime directive. We think it's clear that the ELCA's policy regarding Gays and Lesbians prior to 2009 was flawed, because it does not follow this directive – the ELCA policy sought to divide people into groups, rather than admitting that we are all one in Jesus Christ.
The following information is related to the actions of the ELCA to remove Pastor Steve Sabin from the roster of ELCA pastors, soley because he is gay and refused to lie about it.
But the ELCA couldn't stop God's truth from spreading, and they couldn't stop Steve from being part of it. Steve continued his ministry, serving as pastor at Christ Church in San Francisco.
At the 2009 Synod Assembly, the ELCA formally changed their policy to allow gay and lesbian clergy to serve in the church.
And in 2010, 12 years after being expelled, Steve was welcomed back into the ELCA roster.