The following was written as an editorial for the congregational newsletter of Trinity Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Nate is a student at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.
We're in the midst of a swirling debate: Is it beneficial for the ELCA to accept full communion with the Episcopal Church USA and its "historic episcopate?" The answer to this questions is a resounding NO! It is a step backwards, for both denominations, to come into such full communion in sharing legislative and liturgical practice.
The goal of cooperative ministries is admirable as well as essential. But we must embrace our differences in denomination, instead of eliminating those differences for the sake of superficial unity. Why? Because those differences are what reflect and faith. Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Methodism, Catholicism, etc. all exist to strengthen faith by allowing free and faithful worship. To jeopardize such choice by forcing complete communion is to deny free choice and ultimately decisions based on faith. We are not puppets. We are individuals by God's grace, and must choose religious and denominational practice as individually sees fit...rather than be forced to adhere to ideals with which we do not necessarily agree.
How then can unity be realized? Simply, we must unite as Christians who share the same essential belief: Jesus Christ was born and died for our sins. The rest is human pomp and circumstance, best left separate in allowance of individual (denominational) faith building. It is not acceptable that we simply ignore or deny denominational differences. Discussion and critical thought are basic elements of faith building. Denominations practice differently because they believe and perceive differently, between them stimulating an examination and discovery of varied truths. Who are we as humans to decide which way is right or wrong in God's eyes? If there were only one way to worship and experience God, and we were positive of that way, real faith would fail to exist. With all the answers, who needs faith?