The Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church of America of my youth dropped Swedish from its name years ago. I remember it focused on piety, no ballroom dancing, alcohol, card playing, farming with a tractor on Sunday or even movies. Times changed and it found it could grow by going lite of those old taboos. It is called the fastest growing Protestant denomination. But, its officials have not left behind one old taboo, homosexuality.
Some of its pastors have performed gay marriages. We all know homosexuality has become the marque sin in conservative Christianity. Nothing brings in dollars or scares them away more than this issue.
Several months ago, a pastor at the student center of the denomination’s only college, North Park in Chicago, performed a wedding for two men she knows well. The denomination has temporarily suspended her pastoral credentials. A hearing is scheduled.
If the history of other denominations is repeated, here is what we can expect. There will be lots of reference to prayer. Then there will be parsing of the denomination’s rules and of what the Bible says. There will be more prayers, a new committee formed to work something out and so on. There may be a breakaway denomination called “Reformed”.
All this this uses up a denomination’s money. A conservative fiscal approach would be to announce, “We don’t how our rules apply here. The Bible does not say explicitly gay marriage is a sin. If you don’t like what this pastor did, move on. It wasn’t your wedding.”