In 2010, Pastor Grabenhofer participated in a Same Sex Marriage Roundtable Discussion on the campus of Corning Community College. You can read his presentation at the link above. The following is the official LCMS position quoted directly from www.lcms.org/faqs/lcmsviews.
In light of all the recent publicity about same-sex marriage, where does the LCMS stand on the issue?
God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32). Homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 18:22, 24, 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9–20; 1 Tim. 1:10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1:26–27). The LCMS affirms that such behavior is “intrinsically sinful” and that, “on the basis of Scripture, marriage [is] the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:2-24; Matt. 19:5-6)” (2004 Res. 3-05A). It has also urged its members “to give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual ‘marriage’ ” (2004 Res. 3-05A). At the same time, the Synod firmly believes “the redeeming love of Christ, which rescues humanity from sin, death, and the power of Satan, is offered to all through repentance and faith in Christ, regardless of the nature of their sinfulness” (1992 Res. 3-12A).
What is the Missouri Synod’s response to homosexuality?
The Missouri Synod believes the Bible teaches homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s Word and will, and the LCMS seeks to minister to those who are struggling with homosexual inclinations. In 1992, the LCMS adopted Res. 3-12A To Develop a Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families. This resolution reads as follows:
Whereas, Many voices in our society as well as in various church bodies are expressing the view today that homophile behavior is acceptable alternative lifestyle; and
Whereas, The Word of God clearly condemns homophile behavior in Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:26-27, and 1 Cor. 6:9; and
Whereas, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in convention in 1973 stated: “That the Synod recognizes homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful”; and
Whereas, The Commission on Theology and Church Relations document on Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective, states, “Whatever the causes of such a condition may be ... homosexual orientation is profoundly ‘unnatural’ without implying that such a person's sexual orientation is a matter of conscious, deliberate choice. However, this fact cannot be used by the homosexual as an excuse to justify homosexual behavior. As a sinful human being, the homosexual is accountable to God for homosexual thoughts, words and deeds.” (Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective, p. 35); and
Whereas, The redeeming love of Christ, which rescues humanity from sin, death, and the power of Satan, is offered to all through repentance and faith in Christ, regardless of the natures of their sinfulness; and
Whereas, The need exists to make available a carefully developed Law/Gospel ministry plan to congregations and other institutions in order to minister to those who are troubled by their homosexuality; and
Whereas, It is necessary for the church to expose and resist the sexual idolatry of our society; therefore be it
Resolved, That The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, in convention, reaffirms the position it stated in 1973, “That the Synod recognizes homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful”; and be it further
Resolved, That the President of the Synod direct the appropriate boards and commissions to develop a plan for ministry usable by congregations, campus ministries, institutions, and agencies in the Synod, for the purpose of providing biblical and Gospel-oriented ministry to persons troubled by being homophile in their sexual orientations and to their families; and be it finally
Resolved, That the goals to be pursued by such a plan for ministry be
- to offer to our world biblically alternative models of sexual celibacy outside of a committed, permanent heterosexual marriage and same-gender social, but not genitally sexual, deep friendships;
- to confront the individual with his/her sinfulness, and call him/her to repentance;
- to help the individual recognize that God can rescue individuals from homosexual orientation and practice;
- to assure him/her of forgiveness in Christ, contingent upon sincere repentance and faith in Christ, and to assure him/her of the love and acceptance of the church;
- to assist the individual to rely on Christ's love and strength to abstain from homophile behavior;
- to help the individual to bear his/her burden without fear of recrimination and rejections by his/her sisters and brothers in Christ;
- to find ways of ministering to families which include persons of homophile orientation;
- to do all this patiently, persistently, and compassionately in the love and Spirit of Christ, who says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”