In a service held at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Saturday, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) installed its first openly transgender bishop. It’s the first time an openly transgender person has been appointed as a bishop in a major Christian denomination.
The Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer, who was born a woman but now refers to herself as a man and uses the pronouns “he” and “they,” will lead the church’s Sierra Pacific Synod for a six-year term, overseeing nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and Northern Nevada.
Rohrer received 209 votes, barely beating out Rev. Jeff Johnson, pastor of Berkeley’s University Lutheran Chapel, who received 207 votes.
“I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer said.
Rohrer has previously served as the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco, as well as a chaplain coordinator for the city’s police department and a minister to the city’s homeless and LGBT community.
With approximately 3.3 million members, ECLA is one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States.
By approving a transgender bishop, the ELCA is not only violating Christian theology established at the first council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, but it is also abandoning the writings of German theologian and church reformer Martin Luther, in which the denomination claims to have its “roots.”
In his 1522 work “The Estate of Marriage,” Martin Luther wrote that sex is immutable and that God has “divided” it “into two classes, namely, male and female.”
In the first part we shall consider which persons may enter into marriage with one another. In order to proceed aright let us direct our attention to Genesis 1:27, “So God created man… male and female he created them.” From this passage we may be assured that God divided mankind into two classes, namely, male and female, or a he and a she. This was so pleasing to him that he himself called it a good creation (Gen. 1:81). Therefore, each one of us must have the kind of body God has created for us. I cannot make myself a woman, nor can you make yourself a man; we do not have that power. But we are exactly as he created us: I a man and you a woman. Moreover, he wills to have his excellent handiwork honored as his divine creation, and not despised. The man is not to despise or scoff at the woman or her body, nor the woman the man. But each should honor the other’s image and body as a divine and good creation that is well-pleasing unto God himself.
It should come as no surprise that the ELCA is moving toward a more progressive view of sexuality. The ELCA claims to have a reverent view of Scripture, but it does not believe the Bible is God’s inerrant Word.