Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America
|Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America|
|Theology||Moderate to Conservative|
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 from the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America 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. It has been noted for practicing open communion, teaching premillennialism, and not having the laity receive absolution from the pastor.
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 about 8,860 baptized 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 has been led by President Paul Larson since 2014.
Presidents of the CLBA
- Knut O. Lundeberg 1900–03
- J. J. Peterson 1903–04
- E. M. Broen 1904–05
- H. L. Westel 1905–08
- E. M. Broen 1908–14
- E. H. Gunhus 1914–24
- M. E. Sletta 1924–34
- E. H. Gunhus 1934–38
- M. E. Sletta 1938–48
- C. E. Walstad 1948–53
- D. A. Erickson 1953–54
- M. E. Sletta 1954–56
- D. A. Erickson 1956–68
- E. H. Strom 1968–86
- Robert M. Overgaard 1986–2001
- Joel Egge 2001–2014
- Paul Larson 2014–Present
- Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America
- Church of the Lutheran Brethren - Canada
- Lutheran Brethren Seminary
- Hillcrest Academy
- CLB Network | News, Resources and Community
- Fredrich, Edward C, A Little Lecture on Little Little-Known Lutheran Synods (PDF), WLS Essays
- CLBA, Association of Religion Data Archives.
- Faith & Fellowship | Magazine, Bookstore and Publishing
- Levang, JH, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, 1900–1975: A Believer's Fellowship — A Lutheran Alternative.
- Churches and Church Membership in the United States (1990), Glenmary Research Center.
- Melton, J Gordon (ed.), Encyclopedia of American Religions.
- Mead, Frank S; Hill, Samuel S; Atwood, Craig D, Handbook of Denominations in the United States.