Let's Talk

Living Theology inthe Metropolitan ChicagoSynod
Volume 9, Number 1
Spring 2004
The Vocation of the Laity



Though it was one of the last things I really wanted to do, Ifelt obligated to argue for traditional Christian sexual ethics at two“dialogues” or “debates” sponsored by the Northern Illinois Synod and theCentral/Southern Illinois Synod in November 2003.  The task was made easier by the presence ofMartha Stortz as a debate partner.  Weare friends of long standing, which made any lapse into angry exchange veryunlikely.  The situation was helped bythe scrupulously fair “refereeing” of Troy Hedrick, another friend of longstanding.  No hissing against or applausefor either presenter. 

The following text contains the most persuasive case I canmake for faithfulness to our traditional Christian teaching on sexuality.  I offer it to Let’s Talk, a journal thatI have followed and admired from afar. The journal represents a posture of openness in a synod that seems tohave made up its mind.  But I know thereare many in the Chicago Metro Synod who are committed to the kind ofperspective I articulate.  I hope thisessay strengthens their resolve to resist the church-splitting changes that arebeing proposed by many in the ELCA. Further, I hope this essay stimulates the latter group to think again,because they simply have not made the required overwhelming case for change inteachings of such duration and universality.

RobertBenne, Director

Roanoke College Center forReligion and Society

Salem, Virginia



Whythe ELCA Should Uphold Traditional Christian Sexual Ethics
Robert Benne