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Old 03-29-2005, 01:55 PM   #1
Uglygreen
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Default LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

Perhaps someone could enlighten me. I grew up and was confirmed in a LCMS (Luthern Church Missouri Synod) church and as an adult have mostly attended a ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) church. I am pretty comfortable in both. Lately, after a long absence, I have kind of been attending a little of each.

I want to land in one particular congregation. I want to continue to grow in faith, doing so as part of a church community. I will talk to the pastors of the two churches I currently attend about the differences, but was hoping to get some insight here first before hearing the pastors "sales pitch" (just joking).

Obviously the similarities far outweigh the differences, and I like both churches. In some ways I feel more comfortable in the ELCA church and more challenged in the LCMS church. There are good points to being comfortable and there are also good points to being challenged, but even those differences are pretty minor for me today.

So beyond the pat answer of "more liberal / more conservative", the question is what’s the nuts and bolts difference between the LCMS and the ELCA?

Brad

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Old 03-29-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

LCMS vs. ELCA – them are fightin’ words!

From the LCMS website:

Quote:
A. The three main areas of difference between the LCMS and the ELCA are the following:

1. The doctrine and authority of Scripture. The LCMS believes that the Bible is without error in all that it says. The ELCA avoids making such statements, holding that Scripture is not necessarily always accurate on such matters as history and science. Differences between the LCMS and the ELCA on the authority of Scripture also help to explain why the ELCA ordains women to the pastoral office, while the LCMS does not, and why the LCMS unequivocally rejects homosexual behavior as contrary to God's will, while the ELCA has yet to take an official stand on this issue.

2. The ELCA, while affirming its commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as witnessed to in the Lutheran confessional writings, also tends to emphasize the historical character of these writings and to maintain the possibility of dissent to confessional positions that do not deal directly with the Gospel itself understood in a narrow sense.

3. The level of agreement necessary to join together in one church body. While the LCMS believes that the Bible requires agreement in all that the Bible teaches, the ELCA holds that disagreement in some matters of doctrine, such as the mode of Christ's presence in Holy Communion, do not prohibit church fellowship.

The biggest is point #1. The ELCA doesn’t strictly hold to historical Christian views and does not consistently take a literal view of Scripture. This is also seen in point #2 where the ELCA takes Scripture and Lutheran confessional writings and “modernizes” them. In order words what was true in the 1st century culture is not the same today; now we are more “enlightened” and for example we now know that homosexual behavior isn’t “really” against God’s will – it was just a mindset back then. They tend to add in present social and world views into Scripture, rather than letting Scripture speak for itself.

Point #3 points to the ELCA focus on an ecumenical purpose. They don’t dialogue about differences but just go along with just about any “Christian” belief. For example they are even in official church fellowship with the Christ of Christ which holds to no stated historical Christian perspectives or to the three major creeds.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

Uglygreen,
If I were you I would stick to LCMS, I personly don't know anything about either one 'BUT'!! From the People that I trust in thier teachings,I have only heard them recomend LCMS. Teachers such as R.C. Sproul, Hank Hanagraph and others. Just to let you know where I am comeing from, I was reborn in a Conservitive Baptist Church And am now atending Good Shepard Comm. Church, I belive that the BIBLE is the inspired word of GOD, we are saved by FAITH in Jesus Christ,and Christ alone and the BIBLE is the measurering rod that we test ALL that is taught. I know I have not stated every thing that I belive. but I think you can probably get what I am getting at.
In Christ's Love
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Old 03-29-2005, 10:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

You mean the chief difference isn't in the potlucks' casseroles??
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

Quote:
You mean the chief difference isn't in the potlucks' casseroles??
Oh, I forgot to mention the most important thing – how could I have missed that. Thanks, Letsfish!
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

To further complicate issues, don't forget about WELS (they have a few churches in the area).


This is what WELS says about LCMS



"The Wisconsin Synod terminated fellowship with the Missouri Synod in 1961 because of differences in the doctrine and practice of church fellowship. Over the years the Missouri Synod had departed from the doctrine and practice of fellowship long held by the members of the Synodical Conference in which the Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod shared confessional fellowship.
The Wisconsin Synod teaches that agreement on all the teachings of Scripture is necessary for all forms of fellowship. The Missouri Synod teaches that full agreement is necessary only for altar and pulpit fellowship. Wisconsin teaches that the same scriptural principles apply to all forms of church or religious fellowship. All joint prayer is an expression of fellowship. Missouri teaches that there can be joint prayer that is not an act of fellowship. In practice Missouri also indicates that full agreement is not necessary for worship at occasional joint Christian celebrations, Reformation services, convocations, rallies. Some Missouri pastors allow "ecumenical wedding services" at which pastors or priests outside their fellowship may participate.

Wisconsin practices "close" or "closed" communion, inviting to our altars only those who are members of congregations in our fellowship. Although Missouri officially teaches "close(d)" communion, many pastors and churches practice "open" communion, allowing joint communion with those not in doctrinal agreement with the Missouri Synod.

There are also differences in the doctrine of the church and ministry between the two synods. Wisconsin teaches that God has not ordained any particular form of the church. The invisible church is present in the local congregation and the synod. Both can be called church in the same sense. Missouri's official teaching seems to be that the local congregation is the only "divinely appointed" form of the church. By contrast the synod is a human arrangement.

Wisconsin teaches that the pastor of a local congregation is only one form of the divinely instituted public ministry. Other forms are teachers, professors, called administrators, etc. The specific form is determined by the church's call. Missouri seems to teach that the only divinely instituted form of the public ministry is that of pastor of a local congregation. All other positions are auxiliary to this. However, there appears to be a number of different teachings on the church and ministry current in the Missouri Synod.

Because Scripture assigns the headship role to men and a helping role to women, only men serve in offices and roles that involve an exercise of authory over other men. Missouri does not allow women to serve as pastors but allows women to serve in a number of areas which involve the exercise of authority over men.

A continuing problem in the Missouri Synod seems to be an unwillingness or inability to exercise doctrinal discipline with those who teach and practice contrary to Scripture or the public doctrine of the Missouri Synod. "



This is what the WELS website says about ELCA "Q:
I was wondering what the differences are between the WELS and the ELCA. What issues caused a disctinction between the two and what do the two have in common?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A:
The leading theologians of the ELCA have abandoned confessional Lutheranism and have attacked and undermined some of the most basic doctrines of Scripture. Although the ELCA may give some lip service to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, the doctrine of the confessions are not maintained. There may still be a few "conservative" pastors in the ELCA, but they are members of a church body that tolerates false doctrine. Below are listed some teachings of WELS and corresponding false teaching tolerated in the ELCA.
1. WELS teaches that the Bible is the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God. The ELCA tolerates the view that the Bible contains many errors.

2. WELS teaches that Jesus' words and actions as reported in the Gospels are true and accurate history. The ELCA tolerates the teaching that Jesus did not say or do many of the things ascribed to him in the Gospels.

3. WELS teaches that Genesis 1-3 is a factual, historical account and that Adam and Eve were real people. The ELCA tolerates the teaching that Genesis 1-3 is a myth.

4. WELS teaches that Jesus' death was a true payment for the sins of the world. The ELCA tolerates the teaching that the "theory" that Jesus' death was a payment for sin is one of several theories which could explain his death.

5. WELS teaches that eternal life is possible only through faith in Jesus. The ELCA tolerates the teaching that it is possible to be saved without faith in Christ.

6. WELS teaches that extramarital sex and homsexuality are sins. The ELCA tolerates the teaching that extramarital sex and homosexuality may be all right if practiced in a loving relationship.

7. WELS teaches that churches must agree on all doctrines of Scripture before they can practice church fellowship together. The ELCA teaches that it is not necessary or possible to agree on all doctrines of Scripture. Fellowship is practiced without regard to doctrinal differences.

8. WELS teaches that it would be contrary to Scripture for a woman to serve as a pastor. The ELCA teaches that what the Bible has to say about the role of man and woman in the church has no authority today. Therefore women may serve as pastors."












Here is some more info from an ELCA website.

"ELCA and LCMS

The differences between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) largely arise from historical and cultural factors, although some are theological in character.

When Lutherans came to North America, they started church bodies that reflected, to some degree, the churches left behind. Many maintained until the early 20th century their immigrant languages. They sought pastors from the "old country" until patterns for the education of clergy could be developed here. Eventually, seminaries and church colleges were established in many places to serve the Lutheran churches in North America and, initially, especially to prepare pastors to serve congregations.

The earliest predecessor synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was constituted on August 25, 1748, in Philadelphia. It was known as the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States. The ELCA is the product of a series of mergers and represents the largest (5 million member) Lutheran church body in North America. The ELCA was created in 1988 by the uniting of the 2.85 million member Lutheran Church in America, 2.25 million member American Lutheran Church, and the 100,000 member Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. Previously, the ALC and LCA in the early 1960s came into being as a result of mergers of eight smaller ethnically-based Lutheran bodies composed of German, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Slovak, Dutch, and other folk.

The LCMS sprang from German immigrants fleeing the forced Prussian Union, who settled in the St. Louis area and has a continuous history since it was established in 1847. The LCMS is the second largest Lutheran church body in North America (2.7 million). It identifies itself as a church with an emphasis on biblical doctrine and faithful adherence to the historic Lutheran confessions. Insistence by some LCMS leaders on a literalist reading of all passages of Scripture led to a rupture in the mid-1970s, which in turn resulted in the formation of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, now part of the ELCA.

The ELCA tends to be more involved in ecumenical endeavors than the LCMS. The ELCA, through predecessor church bodies, is a founding member of the Lutheran World Federation, World Council of Churches and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. The LCMS does not belong to any of these.

The pattern of Scripture interpretation generally practiced in the ELCA seeks to consider carefully the meanings of passages and their form, including the time and place in which passages were written. Emphasis is placed on the message of a specific text within the context of Scripture. As indicated in the ELCA's constitution, "This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life." For more information on the history and current documents of the ELCA, look at other resources linked to the "About the ELCA" section of the ELCA Web site. Another resource related to this topic is the bulletin insert series "With Confidence in God's Future.""
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

Forget to mention that all 3 agree on Jello fruit salad..... and Foldgers coffee.
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Old 03-31-2005, 08:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

Quote:
Forget to mention that all 3 agree on Jello fruit salad..... and Foldgers coffee.

This should be official church doctrine. You can’t be a Lutheran church unless “coffee” is an official line item in your annual church budget…..

Let me check. Let’s see…..Fellowship….and line 2. Yep, there it is Coffee! Whew, I guess we’re OK. :tongue:
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Old 03-31-2005, 08:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

As far as Church doctrine goes :whazzup: :whazzup: :whazzup: as for the fruit salad and the coffee, I get that I guess I am a simple man, I simply love Jesus. and please enlighten me on the cowbell
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Old 04-01-2005, 05:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

fishnwHim,

PM me your email address and I will send the video (approx. 4.2 megs) which explains all :grin:.
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

So, let me see if I've got this right. What we need is more cowbell ? Right on, I can see it , we do need more cowbell !!
I have been enlightened !!
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Old 04-01-2005, 06:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: LCMS vs. ELCA - whats the difference?

The cowbell avatar is from Will Farrell from Saturday night live!
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