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Luther, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland: A Gender-Sensitive Historical Analysis

Philosophical Faculty, School of Theology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland
Religions 2020, 11(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010048
Received: 20 December 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 14 January 2020 / Published: 18 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Luther’s theology and Feminism)
The issue of whether to accept same-sex relationships as marriages has been under discussion worldwide in recent years, including in the Nordic countries, such as Finland. While in other Nordic countries, the Lutheran churches officiate same-sex marriages, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) has rejected it on theological grounds that are largely based on Reformation Era sources. This article examines the constitution committee report that was used as the basis of the decision made by the General Synod of the ELCF in May 2018 to not accept same-sex marriages. Through close reading of the report and performing content analysis from a gender-sensitive historical perspective, the article claims that the validity of the arguments of the report can be called into question, due to the lack of a hermeneutical awareness of the differences between the sixteenth and the twenty-first centuries, and the highly selective use of the sources from the Reformation Era in the document. The article concludes by pointing out that making use of the Reformation heritage in theology, instead of replicating the arguments of the sixteenth century, would have produced a theologically and historically more solid report, which could well have been in favor of extending the view on marriage in the ELCF. View Full-Text
Keywords: Martin Luther; Reformation Era sources; The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland; same-sex marriage; gender; sexuality; power; hierarchy; hermeneutical awareness; use of history Martin Luther; Reformation Era sources; The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland; same-sex marriage; gender; sexuality; power; hierarchy; hermeneutical awareness; use of history
MDPI and ACS Style

Mikkola, S. Luther, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland: A Gender-Sensitive Historical Analysis. Religions 2020, 11, 48.

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