Secondary Separation

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Fri Sep 19 2003 - 11:57:41 EDT

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    George wrote: "E.g., the 1968 doctrinal statement _This We Believe_ of
    the Wisconsin
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod explicitly teaches that creation took place in
    "six normal
    days" and rejects evolution & any attempt to interpret scripture to bring
    it into accord
    with evolution. They would not say that everyone who thinks the earth is
    old or accepts
    evolution is going to hell, but they do say that that person teaches
    false doctrine &
    would refuse church fellowship with him or her."

    Can I ask you to comment further on this?

    What I understand is, that if I teach, in any venue, that the earth is
    old, that I cannot be a member of that church? And that I cannot even
    ATTEND that church? And that members of that church ought not have any
    Christian fellowship with me?

    When I first became a Christian, in 1961 or 1962, we attended an EUB
    church, pastor Jim Miller, who was very fundamental. Jim and I became
    friends -- we had fellowship as families, even long after we had both
    moved to different cities, until the early 70s.

    One day I received a letter from Jim. He had become a GARB, and had gone
    over entirely to the fundamentalist camp. His letter was to tell me
    that, since I was unable to renounce fellowship with my brother, an ELCA
    minister, and my parents, ELCA members, that he, regretfully, was going
    to have to break fellowship with me. The principle, he said, was that of
    "secondary separation," which sounds much like what the Wisconsin
    Lutherans are espousing.

    Jim had been a close friend, and our families had been close, dining
    together, vacationing together, worshipping together. I wrote him back,
    but he declined to answer. It hurt to lose him. It still hurts.


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