Human Sexuality and Sexual Behavior A Social Statement of the American Lutheran Church, a predecessor church body of the ELCA (1980): Renewing Our Ministry

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1. For many persons sexuality is so emotional a topic that they are uneasy at its mere mention. They hesitate to discuss sexuality with the dignity and respect it merits. To them various forms of sexual behavior are so abhorrent that they would drive the sexual sinner from the fellowship. Yet in self-righteousness over feeling so superior to other persons they may incur the condemnation the Lord spoke in Luke 18:14.

2. The church often has left the impression that the “sins of the flesh” are largely sexual sins. It has neglected the implications of its understanding of the wholeness of the person—a body, mind, spirit being. It has seemed to be so fearful of the height and depth and breadth and mystery of human sexuality that it relegated sexuality to the unmentionables of procreation. Its moral pronouncements were strong on the Law, weak on the Gospel.

3. Our concern is that The American Lutheran Church reject this anti-sexual element in its tradition. Of course it will seek to combat the evils, the abuses, the corruption, the exploitation associated with human sexual behavior. It will teach positive values to overcome the false values our culture offers. The American Lutheran Church will emphasize the good, the beautiful, the personal- and community-building qualities inherent in human sexuality lived in accord with the whole counsel of God.

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