Friday, November 20, 2009

Baltic Bishops Rock!

At the present time a common witness of churches is vitally important, therefore we express our
deepest concern about modern tendencies that weaken the fellowship among Christians and cause
divisions in and among churches. The recent decisions made by some member churches of the
Lutheran World Federation to approve of religious matrimony for couples of the same gender and
to equate such conjugal life with marriage or to ordain non celibate homosexual persons for pastoral
or episcopal office epitomize these tendencies that are tearing apart fellowhip among Christians. We
affirm that the marriage is the conjugal life between a man and a woman and that a homosexual
activity is incompatible with the discipleship of Christ. We believe that in following the modern
trends, churches are departing from the apostolic doctrine of human sexuality and marriage. We see
the Lutheran communion and eccumenical efforts endangered by such decisions and actions
because they lead to a situation where the Lutheran churches, members of the Lutheran World
Federation are not able to fully recognize each others ecclesiastical offices, to exchange the
ministries and to participate together in preaching the Word and celebrating the sacraments.

We call upon our Lutheran sisters and brothers to unity and co-operation based upon the foundation
of Holy Scripture and loyalty to the Lutheran confessions. Contemporary challenges demand a
firm stand based upon timeless truths and values. The common understanding of the Gospel by
churches is a treasure we cannot afford to lose and it needs to be passed on to the current and future
generations. Our mission is to be faithful in that which we have received, God’s mercy. We are to
serve our Lord and our neighbours thus until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of
the Son of God (Eph. 4:13)

Archbishop of Riga Janis Vanags
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia

Bishop of Daugavpils Einars Alpe
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia

Bishop of Liepaja Pavils Bruvers
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia

Bishop Mindaugas Sabutis
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania

Archbishop Andres P├Áder
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Archbishop emeritus Kuno Pajula
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Bishop Einar Soone
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

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