Author Topic: Church of the Lutheran Brethren  (Read 17238 times)

Richard Kidd, STS

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Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« on: July 10, 2008, 11:21:19 AM »
I brought up the topic in an earlier post about the possibility of The LCMC and AFLC getting together since their congregational polity is close with the exception of Womens ordination. I wonder about the Church of the Lutheran Brethren? Is there anybody here from that church?
Are we mainly ELCA, LCMS, with a few LCMC and AFLC ?

Tom Eckstein

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2008, 06:11:37 PM »
I brought up the topic in an earlier post about the possibility of The LCMC and AFLC getting together since their congregational polity is close with the exception of Womens ordination. I wonder about the Church of the Lutheran Brethren? Is there anybody here from that church?
Are we mainly ELCA, LCMS, with a few LCMC and AFLC ?

I'm an LCMS pastor in Jamestown ND and I'm very good friends with the local Lutheran Brethren pastor.  The LB has about 110 congregations in the US and their seminary is in Fergus Falls, MN.  Their theological history is Pietism, but that is changing as younger pastors as being trained in Confessional Lutheran theology at their seminary.  Some of their professors received their higher education at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis -- one of them getting his ThD under Norman Nagel (hardly a Pietist!).

At the most recent LCMS convention we declared Fellowhship with the AALC.  Who knows.  Maybe in a few years we can start having talks with the Lutheran Brethren.
I'm an LCMS Pastor in Jamestown, ND.

Richard Kidd, STS

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2008, 06:40:13 PM »
I brought up the topic in an earlier post about the possibility of The LCMC and AFLC getting together since their congregational polity is close with the exception of Womens ordination. I wonder about the Church of the Lutheran Brethren? Is there anybody here from that church?
Are we mainly ELCA, LCMS, with a few LCMC and AFLC ?

I'm an LCMS pastor in Jamestown ND and I'm very good friends with the local Lutheran Brethren pastor.  The LB has about 110 congregations in the US and their seminary is in Fergus Falls, MN.  Their theological history is Pietism, but that is changing as younger pastors as being trained in Confessional Lutheran theology at their seminary.  Some of their professors received their higher education at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis -- one of them getting his ThD under Norman Nagel (hardly a Pietist!).

At the most recent LCMS convention we declared Fellowhship with the AALC.  Who knows.  Maybe in a few years we can start having talks with the Lutheran Brethren.


The AALC was a gutsy move and if the LCMS talks with LCMC and AFLC then the Lutheran difference may be realized. The ELCA has ecumenical relations with the more liberal and moderate groups while ignoring their conservative Lutherans and even groups like the Evangelical Covenant church with Lutheran roots similar to their ecumenical partner the Moravan Church. These groups are more pietist than confessional though.

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2008, 06:52:20 PM »
The AALC was a gutsy move and if the LCMS talks with LCMC and AFLC then the Lutheran difference may be realized. The ELCA has ecumenical relations with the more liberal and moderate groups while ignoring their conservative Lutherans and even groups like the Evangelical Covenant church with Lutheran roots similar to their ecumenical partner the Moravan Church.
The AALC was formed in opposition to the ELCA. Why would they be interested in an agreement with us? The AFLC was formed somewhat in opposition to the ALC. Why would they be interested in an agreement with us?

As I understand their history, the Evangelical Covenant Church is similar to the Haugean church, formed in opposition to the State Church of Sweden. (Hauge was in opposition to the State Church in Norway.) Some Haugeans have been merged into bodies that have become the ELCA, and some have remained separate. The Evangelical Covenant Church has always remained a separate body.
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Richard Kidd, STS

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2008, 10:15:14 PM »
The AALC was a gutsy move and if the LCMS talks with LCMC and AFLC then the Lutheran difference may be realized. The ELCA has ecumenical relations with the more liberal and moderate groups while ignoring their conservative Lutherans and even groups like the Evangelical Covenant church with Lutheran roots similar to their ecumenical partner the Moravan Church.
The AALC was formed in opposition to the ELCA. Why would they be interested in an agreement with us? The AFLC was formed somewhat in opposition to the ALC. Why would they be interested in an agreement with us?

As I understand their history, the Evangelical Covenant Church is similar to the Haugean church, formed in opposition to the State Church of Sweden. (Hauge was in opposition to the State Church in Norway.) Some Haugeans have been merged into bodies that have become the ELCA, and some have remained separate. The Evangelical Covenant Church has always remained a separate body.


Good point Brian. Wishful thinking on my part. Many will not bend on Open Communion and Womens ordination. It is interesting that the LCMC is getting evangelism ideas from the Evangelical Free Church(another pietist group that came from Norwegian, Danish and Swiss Lutheran mission groups.

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2008, 10:35:50 PM »
My wife's extended family makes up about 10% of the Lutheran Brethren population, I swear.  We attend a family reunion every 4 years and I have met many of them.  They are quite pietistic.  The story goes that my wife's grandfather, the oldest of 10 children, was away at college when an itinerant Lutheran Brethren preacher came by and converted the rest of the family.  So he stayed in the mainline Lutheran church while the rest became quite active in the Lutheran Brethren.  Rev. Paul Ulring of the CORE Steering Committee is a descendant of this family. 

I never get the impression they are real keen on inter-Lutheran stuff.   I never hear them bad-mouth other Lutherans, they are just very much to themselves.  They run a small Bible school, Montana Wilderness School of the Bible where several of my nephews attend or will attend.  They fund many missionaries abroad.

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2008, 11:19:53 PM »

As I understand their history, the Evangelical Covenant Church is similar to the Haugean church, formed in opposition to the State Church of Sweden. (Hauge was in opposition to the State Church in Norway.) Some Haugeans have been merged into bodies that have become the ELCA, and some have remained separate. The Evangelical Covenant Church has always remained a separate body.

Within the past fornight I had the opportunity to preside at a Memorial Service in one of the ECC's newest  congregations (at the invitation of the congregation's pastor, who was on vacation) which, ironically, is one of the oldest German Reformed congregations in York County, Pennsylvania, predating the Revolutionary War.

St. Paul (Wolf's) left the UCC within the past year over scriptural authority issues manifesting themselves in the national UCC's support for abortion on demand and the full GLBT agenda.  The final flashpoint was the General Conferences's desicion on Sunday July 4, 2005, to support gay marriage.

There is another UCC congregation with equally deep German Reformed roots poised to make the same move, and still another (slightly younger) contemplating that action.   Altogether, the United Church of Chirst has lost four congregations in this County in the past decade and a half--with another two in process.

We should heed this portent of what may come.
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TravisW

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2008, 11:59:51 PM »
My family attended the CLB for a few years in the mid-80s, jumped ship for about 10 years, and again attend there.  My oldest brother went to their High School (Hillcrest Lutheran Academy) in Fergus Falls, and he worships at an LB church in Moorhead.  There is some variance in practice, to be certain.  At least in my hometown (Maddock, ND), the church has always been more involved with the Evangelical Free congregation in Esmond than with any local Lutheran congregation (even the one on the other side of the parking lot).  As is common in the Hauge-derived churches, it's extremely low church.  They're very strong on foreign missions and the inerrancy of scripture.  While I believe that they subscribe to the unaltered Augsburg Confession, they don't tend to emphasize sacraments very much.  Insofar as ecumenicism is concerned, my impression is that they are somewhat cloistered when it comes to other Lutheran congregations.  One potential weakness that I have seen is a predisposition toward what I call "Lutheran Baptist" theology (basically, decision theology) which once again undermines the Lutheran understanding of salvation and the sacraments.  In that sense, they can be something of a paradox. 

Bear in mind, this is just based on my experience with one small congregation.  There's a great deal of congregational autonomy in the CLB, so my experience may not (and is very likely not) indicative of the practices of their synod as a whole.  That being said, I think if they made an ecumenical move toward the ELCA, the devil would probably start shopping for hockey skates. 

1Ptr5v67

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2008, 12:30:28 AM »
I have several friends in the CLB.    I agree that they have strong congregational autonomy,  and as a result there is a fair amount of variation in practicing theology from congregation to congregation.    But the attached from wikipedia,  in my opinion,  gives a reasonably accurate summation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Lutheran_Brethren_of_America


Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America (CLBA) is a Lutheran denomination of Christians rooted in a spiritual awakening at the turn of the 20th century. A spiritual revival swept through a large part of the Midwestern United States in the 1890s. Lutherans who were influenced by this fervor rejected several former beliefs as incompatible with their newfound spirituality. They rejected the idea of receiving the unconverted into full membership or admitting them to Communion, replaced liturgical ceremonies with simple worship services, and formed new congregations to worship and serve according to these dictates of conscience. Five such Lutheran congregations met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 17, 1900 and organized a synod named the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. Its Constitution was patterned after that of the Lutheran Free Church of Norway. The Lutheran Bible School, forerunner of the current schools in Minnesota, was founded in 1903 in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

The CLBA emphasizes the foundational place of the Bible, stating, "We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and free from error. It is authoritative for faith and conduct." Other beliefs include the triune Godhead; total depravity; the eternal Son-ship, Virgin Birth, sinless life, substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection, and personal return of Jesus; infant baptism; and Holy Communion. In addition to the denominational statement of faith, the church adheres to the following historic confessions: the Apostles' Creed, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, the Augsburg Confession, and Luther's Small Catechism. Its strong emphasis on missions and evangelism, its stand for non-liturgical worship and a church composed only of confessing Christians differentiates it from most Lutherans in America. The CLBA considers itself to be "Lutheran in theological tradition and evangelical in practice."

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren has 123 congregations with almost 15,000 members in the United States (114) and Canada (9), as well as about 1500 congregations in Cameroon, Chad, Japan and Taiwan. Its offices, the Lutheran Brethren Seminary, the Lutheran Center For Christian Learning, and the Hillcrest Lutheran Academy are located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. The CLBA is lead by President Joel Egge since 2001.

http://www.clba.org/
« Last Edit: July 11, 2008, 12:36:20 AM by 1Ptr5v67 »
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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2008, 02:57:54 AM »
The AALC was a gutsy move and if the LCMS talks with LCMC and AFLC then the Lutheran difference may be realized. The ELCA has ecumenical relations with the more liberal and moderate groups while ignoring their conservative Lutherans and even groups like the Evangelical Covenant church with Lutheran roots similar to their ecumenical partner the Moravan Church.
The AALC was formed in opposition to the ELCA. Why would they be interested in an agreement with us? The AFLC was formed somewhat in opposition to the ALC. Why would they be interested in an agreement with us?

As I understand their history, the Evangelical Covenant Church is similar to the Haugean church, formed in opposition to the State Church of Sweden. (Hauge was in opposition to the State Church in Norway.) Some Haugeans have been merged into bodies that have become the ELCA, and some have remained separate. The Evangelical Covenant Church has always remained a separate body.

No Brian, maybe the question should be why don't we (the ELCA) want anything to do with them? Maybe the question should be Why are we more interested in forming alliances with denominations who disagree with us on the real and bodily presence of Christ in Holy Communion then we are with our fellow Lutheran church-bodies? Why would we be more interested in forming partnerships with a denomination who's theology says that through our own best efforts and piety we can achieve perfection then we would with fellow Lutherans who share our belief that we are but sinners who can only be made rigtheous through faith in Chrsit?

And lest you say "They're the ones who don't want us." That may be true to a certain extent, but the truth is it works both ways Brian. One of the ELCA country congregations out here couldn't afford to have VBS one year. The local LCMS pastor heard about this. inquired about it and graciously offered to do VBS for them. Welll one of the local ELCA clergy didn't like that idea so he went running to the bishop who the put the whole thing to a halt. Of course if it had been a lesbian UCC pastor, well that would have been fine. Of course the ELCA pastor didn't then provide VBS for them. And I have seen this reflected in people in the ELCA's attitudes toward the LCMS. 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2008, 03:00:40 AM by RevSteve »
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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2008, 07:00:45 AM »
Pastor Bliss writes (re the Lutheran Brethren):
...maybe the question should be why don't we (the ELCA) want anything to do with them? Maybe the question should be Why are we more interested in forming alliances with denominations who disagree with us on the real and bodily presence of Christ in Holy Communion then we are with our fellow Lutheran church-bodies?
I comment:
You are mistaken. Our ecumenical agreements mean that we have found sufficient (not full, but sufficient) agreement on the eucharist in order to have fellowship.

Pastor Bliss:
One of the ELCA country congregations out here couldn't afford to have VBS one year. The local LCMS pastor heard about this. inquired about it and graciously offered to do VBS for them. Welll one of the local ELCA clergy didn't like that idea so he went running to the bishop who the put the whole thing to a halt.
I comment:
It could be that our ELCA bishop did not want one of our congregations to be involved in a program that would possibly have violated the LCMS rules on fellowship. So the bishop advised our congregation not to help the LCMS congregation break the rules of their denomination.

Pastor Bliss:
Of course if it had been a lesbian UCC pastor, well that would have been fine.
Me:
We are in full fellowship with the UCC. We do not fully agree on the standards for ordination, but we are in full fellowship.

Pastor Bliss:
Of course the ELCA pastor didn't then provide VBS for them. And I have seen this reflected in people in the ELCA's attitudes toward the LCMS.
Me:
I try hard to maintain a friendly attitude to the LCMS. But what are we to do when they have declared us "heterodox," apostate, deny our people the sacrament, and try to make it clear to the world that they are not like us? Don't you think this affects the attitudes of ELCA people towards the LCMS?
 

Terry W Culler

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2008, 07:58:14 AM »
I am a pastor in the AFLC.  We are not in formal fellowship with anyone because the Association has no authority to bind the consciences of congregations, therefore no authority to enter into any fellowship.  While there is a Haugean element in our Association, we have many congregations with different backgrounds.  What we do share is a commitment to the AC and to the idea that the local congregation is the right form of the the Kingdom of God on earth.  Just two years ago we adopted a formal statement against ordaining women so I doubt there will be much relationship witht he LCMC. One of the Lutheran Free Church statements from the 1940"s says (I'm paraphrasing)  we understand that in the eyes of the world we don't appear to be very successful, but we feel we have our part of the work of the Kingdom to do.  We wish all other Lutherans well in accomplishing their part of that work. In my mind that encapsulates a great deal about Free Lutheranism.
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Richard Kidd, STS

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2008, 08:15:08 AM »
I am a pastor in the AFLC.  We are not in formal fellowship with anyone because the Association has no authority to bind the consciences of congregations, therefore no authority to enter into any fellowship.  While there is a Haugean element in our Association, we have many congregations with different backgrounds.  What we do share is a commitment to the AC and to the idea that the local congregation is the right form of the the Kingdom of God on earth.  Just two years ago we adopted a formal statement against ordaining women so I doubt there will be much relationship witht he LCMC. One of the Lutheran Free Church statements from the 1940"s says (I'm paraphrasing)  we understand that in the eyes of the world we don't appear to be very successful, but we feel we have our part of the work of the Kingdom to do.  We wish all other Lutherans well in accomplishing their part of that work. In my mind that encapsulates a great deal about Free Lutheranism.

Thanks for the info Pr Terry! Are you in much contact with the Church of the Lutheran Brethren?

Terry W Culler

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2008, 08:41:36 AM »
I personally have no contact with any CLB folks.  I've never even met one.  I'm told that one of the differences between the AFLC understanding of the congregaion and the CLB understanding is that they hold that the congregation should consist of sanctified saints only whereas we hold that the Church writ large is composed of the people of God who are known only to God, but the local congregation can and probably will have both believers and non believers in the body.  It's a little like the disagreements among New England congregationalists in the 17th and early 18th centuries.  Now this might be incorrect information since I have no firsthand knowledge, so take it for what it's worth.
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TravisW

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Re: Church of the Lutheran Brethren
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2008, 09:33:41 AM »
I personally have no contact with any CLB folks.  I've never even met one.  I'm told that one of the differences between the AFLC understanding of the congregaion and the CLB understanding is that they hold that the congregation should consist of sanctified saints only whereas we hold that the Church writ large is composed of the people of God who are known only to God, but the local congregation can and probably will have both believers and non believers in the body.  It's a little like the disagreements among New England congregationalists in the 17th and early 18th centuries.  Now this might be incorrect information since I have no firsthand knowledge, so take it for what it's worth.
Blessings
Terry


Pr. Culler, I'm certain that you're correct.  Prospective members to the congregation generally have to give some type of testimony before becoming official members.