RNS—New rival North American Lutheran Church Unveiled

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saying they're done with efforts to reform the nation's largest Lutheran body, dissidents have unveiled blueprints for a rival denomination, the North American Lutheran Church.

The new body, which will hew to a more traditional line on issues of human sexuality, is expected to be formally launched in August as a conservative alternative to the 4.6 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

So far, at least seven Evangelical Lutheran congregations have voted to leave after the Chicago-based denomination lifted restrictions last summer on non-celibate gay clergy. An additional 28 congregations appear poised to leave.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

21 Comments
Posted February 26, 2010 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. MotherViolet wrote:

Would the LCNA join a ‘concordat’ with ACNA?

makes sense!

Church of the Word

February 26, 8:29 am | [comment link]
2. AndrewA wrote:

So the LCMS isn’t good enough for them?

February 26, 10:04 am | [comment link]
3. evan miller wrote:

#2 That was my thought too.

February 26, 11:16 am | [comment link]
4. Sarah wrote:

Kind of like various Continuing organizations weren’t good enough for ACNA.  Nor was the REC or APA good enough for congregations to join—they had to start a new organization entirely and then invite the REC or APA to enter.

Perhaps this new Lutheran entity will invite the LCMS to join.

But the truth is, there are some big theological differences between the current departers from the ELCA and the older departers.  Just as there are some big theological differences between the current departers from the PCUSA [most of them going to the EPC] and the earlier departers from the PCUSA [PCA]—in the same way the departers from the TEC.

My own theory is that those differences exist now between those who left TEC for ACNA and those who will [someday] leave TEC later on.  And thus, there will most likely be a new organization for those as well.

February 26, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
5. Harry Edmon wrote:

I posted this earlier on SFIF:

As a member of the LCMS, I understand there are three basic issues that can separate the LCMS from the more orthodox elements of the ELCA:

1. Women’s Ordination.
2. Closed Communion (aka Close Communion).
3. Our understanding of Biblical Inerrancy - including our belief in a literal 6 day creation.

I don’t think our stance against abortion is an issue, but I may be wrong.

February 26, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
6. Eugene wrote:

I think it all comes down to power.  You can not lead a group out of a denomination (say,TEC)  and join an existing Anglican group: you (the leader(s)) may not be elected as Bishops or AB!  (They probably already have several anyway)

In the case of LCMS and the “new” ELC folk:  women’ ordination is surely an issue!  In fact the one thing all those who plan to leave their respective denominations have in common is their position on gays in the ministry.  All the rest they could and have lived with for decades!

February 26, 1:00 pm | [comment link]
7. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Yes, Sarah (#4).

You’re right that there are some very big differences within the ACNA that pose a perpetual threat to break up our new movement.  But on the whole, I myself am quite encouraged by what I’m seeing so far.  The ACNA is beginning to reverse the regrettable tendency of conservative Anglicans to fragment into ever smaller groups that we’ve witnessed for so long, as the incorporation of the REC and AMiA along with Anglo-Catholic dioceses like Ft. Worth and San Joaquin shows.  Of course, how well this highly diverse coalition will survive and cohere and grow into a truely unified new church still remains to be seen.  But I’m impressed and grateful for the signs of growing unity that I’ve observed as an insider.

But the creation of the new NALC does create some interesting new dynamics and challenges.  The ACNA and the NALC share more than just the letters NA.  There are exciting chances for some cross-fertilization of ideas and mutual encouragement and perhaps even cooperation.  Personally, with my own tendencies toward theological dogmatism and valuing creeds, a firm commitment to modern biblical scholarship, and my ardent catholic side, I’m much closer to some of my “evangelical catholic,” Pro Ecclesia Lutheran friends than some of my low church and more conservative Anglican friends in the ACNA.

The New Reformation has begun.  And I’m pretty sure it won’t be limited to just Anglicans and Lutherans.  As was the case in the 16th century, this new 21st century Second Reformation may unfortunately get rather messy and confusing with lots of diverse reforming movements springing up.  But I’m firmly convinced that it will nonetheless be ultimately good for the Church as a whole.  As Jaroslav Pelikan said about the first one, such occasional Reformations are “a tragic necessity.”

David Handy+
Admirer of Luther (along with Wesley and Newman, two other great, radical reformers)

February 26, 1:21 pm | [comment link]
8. Ad Orientem wrote:

OH!  What a surprise, a new Protestant denomination.

As for talk about “communion” with the ACNA I think that’s a bit precipitous given that the ACNA doesn’t know what it believes or stands for beyond that it is NOT TEO and doesn’t like blessing unnatural acts.  This is a body that houses people who do not accept the validity of female clergy with others who do, it has dyed in the wool evangelicals and Calvinists alongside people who are staunchly high church and leaning towards Rome or Orthodoxy.The only thing holding the ACNA together is Ms. Schori and the crowd at 815.

Anyone want to take odds on one or more new “Anglican” denominations forming out of the ACNA within the next 5 years?

February 26, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
9. Ross wrote:

If ACNA does make overtures towards NALC, you should bear in mind that at least some of the support for NALC seems to be coming from Word Alone.  WA was formed to resist the compromise on episcopal ordination that came out of the TEC/ELCA communion agreement, so you may not want to open with, “We can offer you apostolic succession!”  smile

February 26, 3:38 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah wrote:

Hi NRA, I wasn’t commenting on the differences within ACNA—I agree with you that there are differences.  But my comment was about the theological differences between the “old Leavers” and the “new Leavers”—and how in a decade or so there will be yet another set of “new Leavers” who have theological differences with what will then be the “old Leavers.”

Thus, “My own theory is that those differences exist now between those who left TEC for ACNA and those who will [someday] leave TEC later on.  And thus, there will most likely be a new organization for those as well.”

February 26, 4:30 pm | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#8 Ad Orientem [haven’t you got there yet?]

This is a body that houses people who do not accept the validity of female clergy with others who do, it has dyed in the wool evangelicals and Calvinists alongside people who are staunchly high church and leaning towards Rome or Orthodoxy.

Yes, isn’t it wonderful?  That is the joy and the richness of Anglicanism.
But I suppose you might not think so, which is, presumably why you are Orthodox….or one of the denominations of it at any rate.

Blessings.

PM

February 26, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
12. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 11,
PM,
Orthodox is Orthodox.  There are no Orthodox denominations.  There are local Orthodox churches or jurisdictions.  A small distinction, but a rather important one I think.

Under the mercy,
John

February 26, 5:51 pm | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#12.  Thank you so much Ad Orientem.  Now can you talk me through the Moscow Patriarchate not recognising the Estonian one, and the Moscow Patriarch and the Ecumenical Patriarch fighting each other over control of churches in France?  I am all ears.

February 26, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
14. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 13
PM,
Nothing new here.  Just the same history repeating itself over and over again.  Petty men in high office playing politics with God’s Church.  It has nothing to do with doctrine.  There is a fierce rivalry between Constantinople and Moscow over prestige and also over the the EP’s claim to jurisdiction over the entire world outside the national borders of the various local Orthodox churches.  These among other issues are on the agenda for the much discussed Great Synod of the Orthodox Church which some are likening to a possible OEcumenical Council.  Preliminary discussions have been ongoing for several years and a meeting to help map out the agenda was recently concluded in Switzerland.

For the record there is widespread annoyance among many of the local churches with Constantinople’s pretensions.  But these are all issues which will be hammered out in due course.  As I said above.  There is nothing new here.  Only the names and dates have changed.  You can find the same disputes in the 11th century and in the 5th.

Under the mercy,
John

February 26, 8:19 pm | [comment link]
15. AndrewA wrote:

Thus, “My own theory is that those differences exist now between those who left TEC for ACNA and those who will [someday] leave TEC later on.  And thus, there will most likely be a new organization for those as well.”

I wonder what name will be left over for a new “Anglican” or “Episcopal” church which will be formed when the last batch of reactionary Integrity types leave because they just can’t find in within themselves to be inclusive of the paederasts.  Then there will be the shameful schisims over sheep love.

February 26, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
16. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Then there will be the shameful schisims over sheep love.”

Yes indeed—why cannot there be unity in diversity!?

; > )

February 26, 8:27 pm | [comment link]
17. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#14 Thanks Ad O for the interesting background.  Isn’t it curious how much Christians argue with one another.

February 26, 8:41 pm | [comment link]
18. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re 16
Sarah
Diversity is fine, as long as it does force compromise on essentials.

Under the mercy,
John

February 26, 9:02 pm | [comment link]
19. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re 17,
PM,
If we weren’t arguing about something we wouldn’t be Orthodox.  I belong to a church that has managed to attain and maintain for nigh on a thousand years relative accord on matters of essential doctrine.  And yet we start throwing furniture at each other if someone mentions the word “calendar.”

Lord have mercy,
John

February 26, 9:05 pm | [comment link]
20. Sarah wrote:

But the sheep-lovers do not see enacting their particular minority sexual orientation as a matter of “essentials.”

And schism is worse than heresy!

; > )

February 26, 11:01 pm | [comment link]
21. The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS wrote:

The WordAlone Network had already established Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and it has received nearly 7 score congregations since the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly in August. 

NALC is being formed for those must leave the ELCA but desire a stronger ecclesiastical structure than LCMC, which was formed for those who oppose apostolic succession via the historic episcopate.  Thus, NALC isn’t going to worry a whole lot about WordAlone’s concerns. 

As it is, ACNA and Lutheran CORE (and some of its constituent movement) leaders and representatives have been engaging in informal dialogue for several months, though whether this will lead to ACNA and the proposed NALC being in full communion in the future, only the Lord knows.  Many of those driving the formation of NALC hope for it, though, and the sooner the better.

February 27, 2:48 am | [comment link]
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