The Columbia Declaration is not merely a statement of support for the actions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly regarding LGBT people and their families. It also provides a set of resources intended to "to demonstrate how we as theologians of the church believe the actions of the Assembly are consistent with our biblical and confessional traditions." The professors recommend the resources "to all thoughtful Christians and encourage and pray for those looking for a deeper understanding of these matters."
Among the many helpful passages found among the resources is this one from Dr. Brian Peterson:
It has been my goal . . . to show how someone can read [the Scriptures] with a high regard for their authority over the life of the church, and still speak in favor of the proposals adopted by the ELCA regarding homosexuality. As one who supported (and supports) these proposals, I do not believe that doing so constitutes the abandoning of the Bible’s authority. Honesty and the commandment not to bear false witness against others requires that we not confuse our disagreements about the meaning of these texts with faithlessness, heresy, or the denial of Scripture’s authority.For informal discussion about the Columbia Declaration, see the comment section of the recent post in Pretty Good Lutherans.
Here is the full text of the Columbia Declaration:
We, the undersigned members of the present and former faculty of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, support the actions of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.Current Faculty Members who signed
We are aware that many congregations are struggling with the actions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly related to homosexuality. We are also aware that other congregations are encouraged by these actions and welcome the opportunity to live them out in their congregational life and mission.
We are professors at a seminary of the ELCA that prepares qualified and approved candidates for ministry in the church as pastors and lay rostered leaders.
We believe that the ELCA’s Assembly actions are consistent with the biblical and Lutheran confessional tradition. We therefore support the opening of the roster of the ELCA to qualified and approved candidates for ministry who are in lifelong, committed, publicly accountable, monogamous same-sex relationships. We also support the actions of the Assembly that create the possibility for individual congregations who so choose to bless same-sex unions.
We understand that faithful persons can disagree on the matters addressed in the resolutions passed by the Churchwide Assembly. We commit ourselves to seeking and supporting ways for the ELCA to continue together in life and mission in the midst of these disagreements, and we offer the resources on this webpage to demonstrate how we as theologians of the church believe the actions of the Assembly are consistent with our biblical and confessional traditions. We commend them to all thoughtful Christians and encourage and pray for those looking for a deeper understanding of these matters.
The Rev. Dr. Julius Carroll, Associate Professor of Contextual Education
The Rev. Dr. Daryl S. (Tony) Everett, Dewey F. Beam Professor of Pastoral Care
Dr. Lynn Feider, Director of the Library and Professor of Bibliography
The Rev. Shauna Hannan, Assistant Professor of Homiletics
Dr. Robert D. Hawkins, Leonora G. McClurg Distinguished Professor of Worship and Music, Dean of Christ Chapel
Dr. Susan McArver, Professor of Church History and Educational Ministry
The Rev. Dr. Brian Peterson, Professor of New Testament
The Rev. Dr. James Thomas, Associate Professor of Church and Ministry and Director of African American Ministries
Retired and Emeriti Faculty who signed
The Rev. Dr. H. George Anderson, President Emeritus
Dr. Agneta Enermalm – Tsiparis, Professor of New Testament, Emerita
The Rev. Dr. Carl F. W. Ficken, Professor of Theology and Culture, Emeritus
Dr. Scott H. Hendrix, Professor of Church History, Retired
The Rev. Dr. Paul T. Jersild, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Emeritus
The Rev. Dr. Nicholas K. Mays, Professor of Contextual Education, Emeritus
The Rev. Dr. Harold Park, Professor of Christian Education, Emeritus
The Rev. Dr. H. Frederick Reisz, President Emeritus
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ridenhour, Professor of Homiletics, Emeritus
The Rev. Dr. Charles P. Sigel, Professor of New Testament, Emeritus