With church splitting over same-sex marriage, pastor quits

Rev. Steve Berntson, a pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in north Fargo, has quit his job to protest a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

WDAY says Berntson is blaming the 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage for quitting, even though it doesn’t force him to perform same-sex weddings.

And the the most current Evangelical Lutheran Church in America social statement doesn’t force him to, either. It takes no position and leaves it up to individual congregations. That apparently is the problem, as Berntson sees it.

WDAY says some parishioners support same-sex marriage. And others, according to Berntson, quit Messiah in protest of his position.

“As a pastor bound to uphold the word of God, I couldn’t go in a different direction,” he told the TV station.

The bishop of the synod said losing a conservative voice makes for less of a church “when we don’t have those differing opinions and different ways of approaching Scripture.”