Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
|Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ|
|Theology||Moderate to Conservative|
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) is an association of Lutheran congregations in the United States. It describes itself as an affiliation of autonomous Lutheran churches and not a denomination. It began in 2001 in response to the liberalization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). LCMC is characterized by the traditional stances it takes on Lutheran polity, biblical authority, and human sexuality. The group describes itself as "centrist" or "mainstream", noting that it stands between the more liberal ELCA and the more conservative Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) and other Lutheran church bodies in North America.
LCMC was started by the WordAlone Network as an alternative for local churches who no longer felt that they could remain in the ELCA and work to reform it. In 2001 the organization began with 31 congregations as charter members. As of December 2014 membership was reported as 836 congregations, including 719 US congregations in 40 states, the U.S. Territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as over 100 congregations in 14 other countries (including Belarus, Cambodia, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, and Vietnam). LCMC is now the fourth largest Lutheran group in the United States, after the ELCA, LCMS, and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).
Polity and beliefs
LCMC is congregational in structure, rejecting the historic episcopate of the ELCA, the denomination to which most LCMC members had previously belonged.
The beliefs of the LCMC are based on the Bible and the Lutheran confessions in the Book of Concord. On one important issue, LCMC stands apart from other conservative confessional Lutheran denominations: it permits but does not require the ordination of women as pastors. Some congregations' constitutions and bylaws allow only men to be installed into the Office of Holy Ministry.
LCMC believes that God's intent for marriage is that it be between one man and one woman and therefore does not bless same-sex partnerships or permit congregations to be members if they have non-celibate gay pastors or call and install a non-celibate homosexual pastor. LCMC's has grown from about 230 member congregations to over 800 (as of April 2014) since the ELCA changed its standards on clergy sexuality in August 2009, making it the 4th largest Lutheran Church in America. The LCMC does, however, continue to promulgate certain liberal tendencies including the ordination of women pastors.
The LCMC has an evangelical catholic and charismatic strand. They have been falsely accused of being low church, however, this is baseless as many congregations hold to liturgical forms and vested celebrants when leading worship and administering the Sacrament of the Altar. The LCMC brings together the Sacramental, Evangelical and Charismatic nature of the church into one fold.