The senior pastor of Messiah
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota announced his
resignation on Sunday over pressure to marry gay and lesbian couples.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America leaves it up to individual congregations to decide whether to
marry gay couples.
In August, Pastor Steve Berntson
expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage in an August
“While many in the congregation
expressed their appreciation for my taking a stand on this issue,
many others voiced strong opposition,” Berntson told his
congregation on Sunday. “A number of families left Messiah.
Others have stated that they may do so if my position becomes church
told WDAY: “As a pastor, bound to uphold the Word of God, I
couldn't go in a different direction.”
Berntson has held the position at
Messiah since 2009.