Dissident Lutherans Forming New Denomination

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A new Lutheran denomination is being formed for congregations who are opposed to the gay-friendly policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Last August, the ELCA National Assembly voted to allow gays and lesbians to be ordained as clergy.

However, Lutherans who oppose the action say the new policy contradicts scripture. So far at least seven Evangelical Lutheran congregations have voted to leave the church. According to church insiders, an additional 28 congregations may also vote to leave.

As an alternative, a group of Lutherans who left the denomination have formed the North American Lutheran Church.

Rev. Mark Chavez of Landisville, Pa. is director of the group Lutheran CORE, which is overseeing the breakaway. He said organizers are "united in a common confession of the Christian faith and commitment to submit to the authority of God's Word over all matters of faith."

Although, the size of the new denomination remains unclear. So far, several hundred congregations appear to be moving toward a permanent split with the ELCA.

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