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The Rev. Stanley Kenneth Nelson, Plymouth, Minn., Published July 27 2012

‘Evangelical’ is a misnomer

Some years ago now, when I was a staff chaplain at Regions Hospital, I remember a former Minnesota governor say something like the following to an audience of about 1,000 pastors. He hoped no one would take the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to court for truth in labeling, referring to the word “evangelical.”

A Google search “what is an Evangelical?” includes this distinction: “Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority.”

To have a former presiding bishop of the ELCA appeal to his brothers, “The Catholic Bishops of Minnesota,” in the Star Tribune, Dec. 8, 2011, and tell them they are making “a significant mistake” when they “work for the adoption of the so-called marriage protection amendment” was ludicrous to me. It was the priest Martin Luther who challenged his brothers because he discovered the teaching in the Bible that “the just shall live by faith alone.”(Romans and Galatians).

Then to have the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA vote on Feb. 17 to go “on record against changing the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman” suggests the possibility of their ignorance of what the Scripture teaches about that very matter. Jesus does care about “these sons and daughters of my church!” quoting the former bishop. He also reserved his harshest criticisms for the religious leaders who disregarded the very words of God contained in the Scriptures.


Nelson is a 1960 graduate of Fargo Central High School and a 1964 NDSU graduate.