Two Lutheran Tribes
Published on: November 17, 2010
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  • Craig Arthur

    What about the Wisconsin Synod? WELS and ELS represent a significant third tribe of American Lutheranism. ONe could reasonably argue that WELS represents the truest interpretation of Luther’s teachings. As a confessional and evangelical church, it is th polar opposite of what ELCA has come to represent.

  • Paul

    Your comparison of the ELCA to Methodists and Missouri to Southern Baptists certainly echoes some things I understand Pelikan said before converting to Greek Orthodoxy.

    From my exposure to Missouri I wouldn’t wonder if more than a few of that tribe wouldn’t agree with you in private. About six to eight years ago I heard a Concordia Seminary (Fort Wayne) professor speak at a evening program at a local Missouri congregation. (As it happens a former pastor of this congregation is the new Missouri president. I don’t recall if Harrison was present at this talk though.) Believing that only Missouri flavored Lutherans were present the professor said that Missouri had become Southern Baptists with sacraments.

    No one present (and this included some of his fellow faculty members) argued with him.

  • From what I hear about Concordia these days, there is some controversy among Missouri Synod Lutherans about their identity – a controversy that centers on liturgy: For more traditional LCMS churches, the Lutheran Confessions and traditional liturgy are most important. For a growing group, though, evangelical-style belief and worship (i.e., more biblicistic belief and more informal liturgy) are seen as the key to evangelizing.

    By this, I mean to affirm Paul’s comment above but to clarify that neither the traditionalists nor the “Southern Baptists with sacraments” have yet won the day.

  • John G Bateson

    I’ve been an ELCA Lutheran pastor for just over 15 years of my life. However, in my own lifetime (I’m now 61) I have been a ULCA Lutheran, an ALC-1 Lutheran, and ALC-2 Lutheran and since 1988, and ELCA Lutheran. Yet I feel like someone who has stood on one place on a stage, only to have a different spotlight shine upon me. Now there is a real possibility that the current ELCA spotlight will be dimmed. One reason is that the ELCA leaders ignored the fact that we are a patchwork quilt, not a wall of cast concrete. Unlike it’s predecessors,the ELCA has lost credibilty over the years because of it’s slavish commitment to the so called social gospel, which is really the Law wrapped in a Gospel envelope. As for me, all I want to do is sing God’s praises and take care of my people. I fear that in the coming years, it will be difficult enough to do just that. Why? Because the ELCA is now a church that nobody can believe in.

  • John G Bateson

    I’ve been an ELCA Lutheran pastor for just over 15 years of my life. However, in my own lifetime (I’m now 61) I have been a ULCA Lutheran, an ALC-1 Lutheran, an ALC-2 Lutheran, an LCA Lutheran, and since 1988, and ELCA Lutheran. Yet I feel like someone who has stood on one place on a stage, only to have a different spotlight shine upon me. Now there is a real possibility that the current ELCA spotlight will be dimmed. One reason is that the ELCA leaders ignored the fact that we are a patchwork quilt, not a wall of cast concrete. Unlike it’s predecessors,the ELCA has lost credibilty over the years because of it’s slavish commitment to the so called social gospel, which is really the Law wrapped in a Gospel envelope. As for me, all I want to do is sing God’s praises and take care of my people. I fear that in the coming years, it will be difficult enough to do just that. Why? Because the ELCA is now a church that nobody can believe in.

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  • Nixon is Lord

    Pelikan became OCA; the descendents of the Russian Orthodox in Alaska.

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