Evanger initially was a part of the old Norwegian Synod, which, in 1917, joined with others to become the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (NLCA). In 1946 the NLCA dropped the “Norwegian” from the name and became the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC). In 1963 the ELC joined with the American Lutheran Church and the United [Danish] Evangelical Lutheran Church to become the American Lutheran Church (ALC), with the Lutheran [Norwegian] Free Church joining in 1963. It joined in fellowship with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). In 1989, the ALC joined with the Lutheran Church of America (LCA) and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) to from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The LCA itself being a merger in 1962 of the United Lutheran Church in America, the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the [Danish] American Evangelical Lutheran Church. The AELC had been formed from congregations that left the LCMS church in 1976. As the ALC considered merging with the LCA and AELC churches, questions were brought forward about the change in constitution from the confession that the bible is “inerrant” and “infallible” to “the authoritative source of norm for faith and life”. In October of 1986 an open letter was sent to the ALC churches by Bishop Lowell O. Erdahl, assuring them that this change was true to what the founders of the church knew and intended from the beginning. Fredrik A. Schiotz, last president of the ELC and first president of the ALC wrote, “the ALC holds that inerrancy referred to here does not apply to the text but to the truths revealed for our faith, doctrine and life.” Additionally, that understanding was held and taught by Professor Ole Hallesby of the conservative seminary in Norway. In 2009, the ELCA changed its policy and allowed gays and lesbians who were in committed, life-long, monogamous relationships to serve as rostered leaders in the church. Evanger spent time studying the issues and other possible church associations. They took a vote to leave the ELCA in January 2011, and needing 66% for the vote to pass, it failed by 7%. However, bylaws were added to the constitution upholding the traditional view of marriage, that Evanger will not call a pastor of same-gender orientation, nor will civil unions or public recognitions of same gendered couples be allowed in the church or presided over by a pastor serving Evanger, yet the church will welcome all people as children of God and treat them with kindness and respect.
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