To the editor:
Thank you for including the article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the religion section on July 23. While the tone of the article suggested that Professor Matthew Becker had somehow been victimized by an overly zealous leader of our church body, it did get certain facts correct.
Back in 1974 (14 years before Dr. Becker was ordained), the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod took a strong stand regarding the authority of Scripture and how its study is to be approached. Certain seminary professors were called to repentance by our national convention for teaching a liberal historical criticism. Rather than repent, they left the LCMS, along with some congregations, and eventually ended up in the ELCA, where such teachings are the norm.
When Dr. Becker was ordained, he knew the confessional standards of our church body, what we believe, teach, and confess regarding Scripture, and he promised in his ordination vows to uphold those standards. He has consistently violated the standards in public writings and speeches. Over the past several years, he has been shielded by bureaucratic maneuverings, while the majority of our clergy and members have called for his repentance or removal. In fact, last month our Ohio District convention passed a resolution calling for his repentance and for his district president to exercise appropriate ecclesiastical supervision. That supervision has now been exercised, and I am sure Dr. Becker will be welcomed into the ELCA, a church body that agrees with his liberal teaching.
Oh, and the article was correct. We do believe, teach, and confess that God’s word is inerrant, infallible, and the only authority in matters of faith. We do accept what the Bible teaches about the creation of the world in six days (gasp), about the sin of homosexual conduct, about the roles of men and women in the church, and about the sanctity of human life. Because of our certainty regarding the authority of Scripture, we can confidently proclaim the good news it declares about Jesus — that God loved the sinful world so much that he gave his only begotten Son over to death on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and that forgiveness and eternal life are received only by God’s grace through faith in a risen Christ.
The Rev. Kenneth Castor, Pastor
Redeemer Lutheran Church