A Lutheran bishop who went against scripture and defied denominational policy on ordaining homosexuals, is dead at 75 reports the Los Angeles Times.
Egertson, a senior lecturer at California Lutheran University and a longtime advocate for the inclusion of gays in the life of the church, died Wednesday of a heart attack at his home in Thousand Oaks, the college announced.
In 1994, Egertson was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Southern California (West) Synod, which included Kern, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. He defied church policy in 2001 by joining three retired bishops to ordain the Rev. Anita Hill. Gays and lesbians could be ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America only if they vowed to be celibate, and Hill was in a committed relationship.
“I went there because I wanted to protest this policy and ecclesiastical disobedience is a perfectly respectable form of protest speech,” Egertson told The Times after resigning. “I knew punishment would go along with this, but one theory of passive resistance is to break the laws and take the consequences so that the law is reconsidered.”
You can break man’s law, but breaking God’s law and encouraging others into rebellion against God will come to no good end. Some clergy like Egerston who turn their backs on the truth, do so because of a homosexual family member. Part of the responsibility of a bishop is to hold fast to the truth of the scriptures given to us by God.
Egertson’s eldest son, Greg, is gay and was denied ordination after graduating from a seminary because of the policy banning non-celibate gays. The ban was ended in 2009.
“My dad believed from the beginning that his beliefs and what he was seeking the church to do was the best thing for the church,” Greg Egertson said Sunday.
Its a sad testament that such people who should be standing for the truth and speaking it in love, even if it is a family member end up compromising and promoting sin. In 2007, Atlanta based gay cleric Dennis Meredith first defended his son’s homosexuality in opposition to scripture, then two years later announced his own homosexuality. But parents have a responsibility to tell their children the truth. It doesn’t matter if they are homosexual or robbing a bank, committing adultery or falsifying taxes, wrong is just wrong.
Perhaps at one point in his life Bishop Egerston knew and spoke the truth, but he turned against it and lobbied for the acceptance of a destructive lifestyle. In doing so, he too became guilty as a partaker of the sins of another.
Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:32
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. 1 Tim 5:22