"Gay flag" by Guanaco is licensed under Public Domain

Evangelical group hoped to shut down debate on gays. That may not be possible.

Jul 5, 2019

By Yonat Shimron

In voting to expel a Minneapolis congregation and two pastors from its ranks at its annual meeting last week, the Evangelical Covenant Church attempted to close off debate about LGBTQ inclusion.

Explaining the majority’s decision, ECC President John Wenrich argued that the church and the two pastors were “refusing to live in harmony with our communally discerned position.” If further discussion were allowed, Wenrich wrote to church members in May, “we will continue to devote time, energy, and resources to conversations we have held now for more than 20 years.”

But if church leaders hoped the expulsions would reinforce its position on heterosexual marriage and abstinence outside of marriage, there are signs it may not be entirely successful.

For one thing, First Covenant Church, the prominent and historic Minneapolis congregation expelled from the ECC’s roster last week, is not alone in extending full rights to LGBTQ members.

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