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Letter: Supports David Gaither for Senate District 44

One Plymouth resident traces the reason for his support for Gaither.

To the Editor:

Some years ago now, when I was a staff chaplain at Regions Hospital, I remember a former Minnesota Governor say something like the following to an audience of about 1000 pastors. He hoped no one would take the new ELCA to court for truth in labeling, referring to the word "evangelical." A Google search "What is an Evangelical?" includes this distinctive: "Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority."

To have a former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America appeal to his brothers, "The Catholic Bishops of Minnesota" in the Star Tribune, December 8, 2011, and tell them they are making "a significant mistake" when they "work for the adoption of the so-called marriage protection amendment" was ludicrous to me! It was the priest, Martin Luther, who challenged his brothers because he discovered the teaching in the Bible that "the just shall live by faith alone."(Romans and Galatians).

Then to have the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA vote on February 17 to go "on record against changing the state Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman" suggests the possibility of their ignorance of what the Scripture teaches about that very matter.

Jesus does care about "these sons and daughters of my church!" quoting the former bishop.  Jesus also reserved his harshest criticisms for the religious leaders who disregarded the very words of God contained in the Scriptures!

As Archbishop Nienstedt of the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese said to me in a recent email: “I appreciate the sentiments that prompted you to write.  Let us continue to work and pray for the passage of the Marriage Amendment.” As a protestant I am grateful for one of his parishioners, David Gaither, who will support that amendment.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. S. Kenneth Nelson

Brian Matthews October 04, 2012 at 03:30 PM
This is a great letter. My concern is that by adopting or refuting this Constitutional amendment we believe something will change. There are over 515 laws in statute and rules that won't change the marriage definition. So why adopt a constitutional amendment?
Kelly October 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
The Bible isn't really the place to go for defining the legal contract that is marriage. Churches can marry, or not, whomever they want, but government should not be bound by biblical translations or mandates. I doubt Rev. Nelson would recommend that we adopt myriad other "norms" identified in the Bible, such as how female adulterers are dealt with.
Ken Nelson October 09, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Thanks for your feedback, Brian. The information and videos available at MinneosotaForMarriage.com answered my questions about the need for this amendment. Many changes are apt to follow that I suspect you will not want if this is not passed.
Grace McGarvie October 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM
A Christian marriage can be defined any way the particular church wishes to define it, but we have separation of church and state, and that means a civil marriage should not be defined by the Christian church. The Bible also clearly states that any man who lays with another man should be put to death and end up in Hell. Do you think we should do that? The Bible endorses Polygamy, do you think we should change our laws to bring that back? In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits. In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and numerous concubines. In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon's son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. I could site more evidence, but suffice it to say - marriage is not only a religious thing it is a legal thing that gives spouses certain benefits under law. That is what gay partners seek. When I say I support gay marriage, I am referring to civil marriage. I want gay people who are committed to each other to have the same rights, responsibilities, and benefits as married heterosexual couples: the rights to inheritance, insurance, social security, pensions, hospital visiting, taxes. property ownership, decision making, funeral arrangements, etc.
Ken Nelson October 16, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Thanks for your feedback, Kelly. Your doubt is accurate. The Old Testament is explained in the New Testament. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I so appreciate the mercy He showed to the woman taken in adultery. Many of our laws are founded on Biblical principles.
Ken Nelson October 16, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Thanks for your feedback, Grace. Your name is special! A Christian marriage is only defined in the Bible. The reason there's such a division among religious leaders, in my opinion, is because some believe the Bible is the written Word of God, and others reject that idea. The first class I took in theology was to study what Jesus Christ said about the Scriptures in the four Gospels of the New Testament, and then write a summary. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I take His point of view. He refined what was in the Old Testament: a fascinating study! He updated the Old Testament with His teaching.
Grace McGarvie October 16, 2012 at 09:46 PM
In response to "some believe the Bible is the written Word of God, and others reject that idea. The first class I took in theology was to study what Jesus Christ said about the Scriptures in the four Gospels of the New Testament, and then write a summary. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I take His point of view." and you are urged to continue in that point of view within your church - define marriage any way you want, but quit messing with our constitution! The church can marry or not marry who they choose but they should not be imposing their point of view through law on those of us who disagree with their point of view.
Ken Nelson October 16, 2012 at 09:51 PM
So many of our laws are founded on Biblical principles. The idea of the separation of church and state does not prohibit that.
Grace McGarvie October 16, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Like you should not lie, steal or kill - those are universal principles of almost every culture and existed before Christ, and probably before Moses - Many Biblical principles are today considered barbaric - like stoning adulterers, and taking your enemies children and bashing their heads on the rocks. Preach your biblical principles in your church - our laws are made by people in the legislature, not the bible
Kelly October 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Rev. Nelson, the principles our laws are founded on are not exclusive to the Bible, so to suggest that the intrusion of religion into law, especially the granting or deprivation of contractual rights, is justified by "Biblical principles" doesn't hold water. I won't even get into how you interpret the Bible because it's irrelevant. We are not a Christian nation, and we are not a theocracy.
Kelly October 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Rev. Nelson, Where do you live?

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