Arizona Mega Church Confronts Gay Cleric Issue

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An Arizona mega church is cutting ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Glendale Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz., says it's on a different path than the ECLA.

The church cited the denomination's lack of support for Israel, its more liberal interpretation of scripture, and its support for homosexuality as reasons for leaving.

"The ELCA has chosen to focus millions of dollars and really hijack what we believe is the call of the body of Christ," said Walt Kallestad, senior pastor of the congregation.

"They think we are biased or that we do not like or love gay and lesbian individuals. That is not true," he said. "Where we differ dramatically is that scripture is very, very clear that it is a sin."

Kallestad said social activism is distracting churches from spreading God's gospel.

The group Lutheran Coalition for Renewal, or Lutheran CORE, may also leave the ECLA.

CORE chairman, Paul Spring, says the ECLA has fallen into heresy.

Last month, the denomination voted to ordain gay clergy in homosexual relationships.

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