As I write this Reflections, our country, church and society is in the first weeks of another “new normal.” On June 26, by a 5–4 vote, the United States Supreme Court legalized gay and lesbian marriage in all 50 of our United States. The ruling, hoped for by some and feared by others, is now the law of our land. How, in this new normal, shall we then live as the people of God who believe, teach and confess the historic faith of the Holy Scriptures and practice faithfully God’s design for marriage, the union of one man and one woman, until death parts them?
This edition of Issues explores the LGBTQ issue and the very far-reaching matter of gay marriage from a variety of perspectives: historical, psychological, biological, theological and political. I hope you find helpful the insights provided by our authors, editorial contributors and book reviewers. I believe each of our writers has contributed important insights that will be useful as you address LGBTQ issues and gay marriage matters in your congregation and community.
On June 26, The Washington Post carried an opinion piece by Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, titled: “Why the church should neither cave nor panic about the decision on gay marriage.” While I appreciated the content and tone of the entire article, I found Moore’s conclusion especially meaningful. He concludes:
We [Christians] see that we are strangers and exiles in American culture. We are on the wrong side of history, just like we started. We should have been all along.
Let’s seek the kingdom. Let’s stand with the gospel. Let’s fear our God. But let’s not fear our mission field.
Moore’s words are a good reminder that we are “pilgrims here, our home above” and that while here we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world in a sin-stained world awaiting the final return of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord of all. Thus, with the hymn writer we pray:
Thou camest to our hall of death,
O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air,
To drink for us the dark despair
That strangled our reluctant breath.
How beautiful the feet that trod
The road that leads us back to God!
How beautiful the feet that ran to bring the great good news to man!
O Spirit, who didst one restore
Thy Church that it might be again
The bringer of good news to men,
Breathe on Thy cloven Church once more,
That in these gray and latter days
There may be those whose life is praise,
Each life a high doxology to Father, Son and unto thee. (LSB 834 vv. 3-4)
This edition of Issues ushers in a new editor and revised emphasis for the journal. A few words about each.
Dr. Russell Moulds, Concordia Professor of Education and Psychology has served Concordia since 1988 as Director of Counseling and Career Planning and, since 1990, as Professor of education and psychology. In January 2015 he was appointed editor of Issues in Christian Education following the retirement of Rev. Dr. Marvin Bergman. Prior to serving as the publication’s editor, Moulds was a member the Editorial Committee since 1998 and responsible for the editorials section of Issues. In January 2015 he also was named the first director of Concordia University, Nebraska’s Two Kingdoms Network, made possible through the generous support of the Jeanne Lillich and Christopher Cassel and the Lillich Foundation of Lincoln, Nebraska. For the past 15 years of his teaching ministry, Moulds has researched, analyzed and written about the two kingdoms doctrine, a doctrine central to effectively providing a Lutheran, Christ-centered education.
With this edition of Issues readers will note the journal remains committed to serving the church and her workers while addressing current and longstanding issues. The present edition focuses on “The LGBT Disputes,” and the fall edition will focus on the image of God and views about human nature. In addition, readers will find Issues addressing more Two Kingdoms, Christ and culture themes such as: science and religion; the church and public education; the church and end of life issues; social justice and the theology of the cross; and the distinctives of Lutheran higher education in coming editions.
This fall Issues will go live with a web version readable online that does not require having to download a PDF file. And, while not an organ of the Two Kingdoms website, Issues will serve as a companion to the new site and give our readers access to a rich assortment of current news items, examples for teaching, essays, biblical texts, online articles and other resources that promote and discuss Lutheran identity and the teaching heritage of the Lutheran church. The resources assist with strategies for curriculum development and apply Reformation insights to education for the church and world. They also provide course content examples and cases for a two kingdoms analysis and other theological intersections.
It is my prayer that God will continue to bless the work of Dr. Moulds in these exciting new roles as he works to serve the greater church, her workers, congregations and laity. Please join me in welcoming, Dr. Russell Moulds as the editor of Issues in Christian Education.