Update: On Friday, Sept. 23 the individual resigned from membership at Cornerstone Lutheran Church, Carmel, IN.
Today an older and more experienced pastor encouraged me and other pastors to understand that now is not the time only to complain privately about how a LCMS congregation in Carmel, IN has received into membership a man who identifies himself as a "woman." This situation has been intentionally publicized by the man on the internet as he seeks to be the prophetess of transgenderism in the LCMS. Instead, the pastor encouraged us to contact our District Presidents and urge them to contact Indiana District President May.
Normally I have no interest in the arcane rules by which the LCMS operates and deals with issues. I don't write letters to synodical officials about controversial events. But I see this as such a critical moment in the life of the LCMS as we respond to the culture's sexual ideology that I actually took the the time to write my District President. I encourage other pastors and lay people to do the same. I provide my letter here in the hopes that it will assist others. It was sent to my excellent and faithful District President in the Southern Illinois District, President Scharr.
As I understand it, the proper channel by which a LCMS pastor outside the Indiana District should respond to the situation in Carmel, IN is by contacting his own District President. I am writing to urge you to contact Indiana District President May and impress on him the importance of dealing with the pastors and congregation in Carmel in a way that is true to the biblical witness about God’s creation of man as male and female, and the body God gives to each individual.
The congregations of the LCMS share in fellowship with one another. As the Church has confessed since the beginning on the basis of 1 Cor. 10:16-17, the Sacrament of the Altar is the sacrament of unity. Those who commune together confess that they believe the same thing. It is not possible for there to be a congregation in the LCMS that publicly accepts a transgender “woman” into the fellowship of the altar without fracturing the fellowship of the synod.
I shared this situation with my congregation yesterday at Bible class and taught about the biblical response to transgenderism. I did so in order to prepare them for the likelihood that it will appear in the national news. They were shocked by this development and asked in disbelief how it was possible for a congregation of the LCMS to do this. They are of course correct. And their response raises a larger issue. If the LCMS is unable to answer this clearly and desively, and instead allows the situation to stand, how can Good Shepherd be in fellowship with the congregation in Carmel? And by extension, how can Good Shepherd continue to be in the fellowship of the LCMS that allows a public denial of God’s ordering of creation to exist within it?
Naturally I understand that one must allow some time in order to deal with this. But by the same token, the LCMS has a history of avoiding issues and allowing them to drag on. This is not an occasion when this can be allowed to happen. I know I am not the only pastor who is asking the questions I raise in the previous paragraph. I write in order to urge you to see this as a decisive and critical moment as the LCMS deals with the sexual ideology of our culture and to act accordingly as you interact with President May.