Evidently the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America skipped some steps in the slippery slope of theological liberalism. They had previously had a transvestite bishop who was quickly removed for racism last year. But now they have their first openly homosexual bishop, in their mainline denomination.
Jeff R. Johnson, from Berkeley, Calif., was elected Sept. 17 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during a live synod assembly. Johnson was elected on the fifth ballot, with 226 votes. The Rev. John Keuhner, pastor of Unity Lutheran Church of South San Francisco and bridge pastor of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church of San Mateo, Calif., received 168 votes.
According to the announcement, the bishop-elect has served as pastor of University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley and as a member of the Spiritual Care Team at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, since 2013. Previously he served as pastor of First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco (1990-1999), as a mission developer for Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries in San Francisco (1990-1995), as HIV education director for Lutheran Social Services of Northern California (1988-1989), as assistant night minister for San Francisco Night Ministry (1987-1988), and was an intern at the Lutheran Office of Public Policy and at First English Lutheran Church in Sacramento (1986-1987). Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts in history and Bachelor of Arts in German from California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, in 1984, and his Master of Divinity from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in 1988. Johnson was ordained in 1990.
The ELCA boasts nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. But this denomination went apostate a long time ago. Though they’ve had homosexual priests for a while, Johnson has broken a brown ceiling in the liberal denomination’s hierarchy.