Look for these monthly features on what we believe which will focus on social statements and social messages adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
It is quite probable that you have been asked a question that begins with "What does the church say about…?" You may have even been asking the question. And why wouldn’t we? Especially in our current society we can’t seem to escape any number of news stories and Facebook posts that will make us ponder what the church might say and even how we as faithful Christians might respond.
The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective is the first social statement adopted by the ELCA. Although it is over 25 years old it still reads with a fresh voice in our current wilderness.
Faith is active in love; love calls for justice in the relationships and structures of society.
In short, it is our Christian faith that compels and propels us into the world to care for our neighbor and God’s creation. We are freed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be a reconciling and healing presence in the world. We exercise our calling by being wise and active citizens.
But, as the statement reads, "Christians fulfill their vocation diversely and are rich in the variety of gifts of the Spirit. Therefore, they often disagree passionately on the kinds of responses they make to social questions." Even our most passionate responses does not change the faith we share, but makes it that much more important for us to deliberate together on the challenges we face in the world. There may not be easy answers, but we must struggle together to know how to better live together.
Take time to think about these questions:
- Preachers, are you proclaiming a commitment to God’s justice?
- God’s church is called to service and advocacy in response to disasters, poverty, discrimination, social policies, and economic arrangements (to name a few). How does your congregation do this? Is it through words? Actions? A ministry of presence?
- How do you carry out your baptismal vocation in your everyday life? Do your actions and words reflect a responsibility in the world?
This social statement emphasizes a commitment to expecting and encouraging deliberation on issues through diverse perspectives and resources of faith and reason so that the people of God may be equipped to be disciples and citizens that help build the common good.
Learn more about this social statement and download it in English or Spanish here.