A North Dakota pastor has resigned his position due to his views on same-sex marriage.
The Grand Forks Herald reports that Steve Berntson, senior pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in north Fargo, has stepped down from his position because he believes in a traditional view of marriage and thinks the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), of which his congregation is a part, may soon embrace same-sex marriage.
Currently, the ELCA does not require pastors to endorse or perform same-sex marriages, and leaves it up to local congregations to decide their stance on this issue.
However, Berntson believes the ELCA will eventually change their views on the issue of same-sex marriage, and he doesn’t want to be in a position in which his faith and beliefs are at odds with his vocation.
Berntson added that he has had conversations about same-sex marriage and what Messiah Lutheran Church’s stance is on the issue with his congregation in the past. Many of them, he says, agree with him and hold a traditional view of marriage.
Berntson says he has also talked with his congregation about possibly leaving the ELCA, but ultimately has decided to resign his position to avoid controversy, since his views also differ from the ELCA on other issues such as abortion.
Publication date: October 7, 2015