A CNN BeliefBlog reported this week that a Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Connecticut who offered a prayer at the recent interfaith vigil held for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting has now apologized for doing so. Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church Rob Morris said he violated a rule of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod against participating in joint worship services. Apparently his taking part in the vigil could be construed as endorsing “false teaching” since some among the audience had differing beliefs.
Synod president Matthew C. Harrison wrote an open letter saying that he “could draw no conclusion other than this was a step beyond the bounds of practice allowed by the Scriptures.”
“There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don’t matter in the end,” Harrison continued.
Morris then wrote another open letter apologizing for his actions, but he also defended his decision. “To those who believe that I have endorsed false teaching, I assure you that was not my intent, and I give you my unreserved apologies,” he wrote, saying he believed his prayer was “not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy.”
One of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on December 14 was a member of Morris’ church.
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