God’s Yes and No: A Response to the Violence in Charlottesville, VA

The good news of the gospel is a profound “YES” spoken to humanity. Yes, we are justified by grace through faith. At the same time, the good news of the gospel contains within it a clear and unequivocal NO; otherwise it is not good news. It is a NO to the ways we sin against God and our neighbors. It it is a NO to white supremacy and anti-Semitism and its many expressions on full display in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend: flaming torches, Nazi chants, intimidation, physical violence, and murder. It also is a NO to attempts to justify white supremacy, including appeals to free speech and many sides.

 There are no sides when it comes to proclaiming this gospel. There is but one place to stand, to speak, to act, and to pray. It is the place where Jesus stands, alongside of and for the sake of the liberation of people of color from exploitation and oppression perpetuated by white persons and groups in order to advance their own wealth, power, and privilege.

United Lutheran Seminary joins those who have proclaimed God’s NO to the hatred and violence on full display not only in Charlottesville over the weekend but also each and every other day throughout the United States of America. We stand in solidarity with Bishop William Gohl and other alumni of our predecessor schools who made public witness in Charlottesville against racism. We pray with the ELCA conference of bishops for God’s kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. Trusting in the Spirit’s work among us, we commit ourselves to peace, justice, and reconciliation, without which our proclamation of the gospel rings hollow.

On behalf of United Lutheran Seminary,

The Reverend Dr. Theresa F. Latini, President
The Reverend Dr. Kristin Johnsten Largen, and
The Reverend Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Co-Deans


Also signing in agreement to this statement are members of the faculty:

The Rev. Dr. Wayne Croft
The Rev. Dr. Katie Day
The Rev. Dr. Maria Erling
Dr. Vincent Evener
The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman
The Rev. Dr. John Hoffmeyer
Dr. Michael Krentz
The Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard
The Rev. Dr. Mark Oldenburg
The Rev. Dr. Storm Swain
The Rev. Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman
The Rev. Dr. Gilson Waldkoenig
The Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann
The Rev. Dr. Martin Zimmann
The Rev. Dr. Alison de Forest
Mr. Evan Boyd