Altar and pulpit fellowship

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Altar and pulpit fellowship describes an ecumenical collaboration between two Christian organizations, and is a Lutheran term for full communion,[1] or communio in sacris,[2] but without the Hegelian implications sometimes inferred by the term "full communion."[3] Altar refers to the altar in Christian churches, which holds the sacrament of Holy Communion. Pulpit refers to the pulpit, from which a pastor preaches. Altar and pulpit fellowship is therefore a specific understanding of "doctrinal agreement and confessional unity" that "allows the pastors of one church to preach and celebrate Holy Communion in the church of another".[4]

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has altar and pulpit fellowship with 38 other churches: seven in Africa, eight in Asia, 12 in Europe, eight in Latin America, and three in North America. The LCMS also calls these organizations "partner churches".[5] The American Association of Lutheran Churches says their altar and pulpit fellowship with the Missouri Synod means the two church bodies are "separate but interdependent",[6] and that pastors of each organization may be called to permanent pastoral positions in the other.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Called to Common Mission: A Lutheran Proposal for a Revision of the Concordat of Agreement" (PDF). Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 1999.
  2. ^ "Denominations - Frequently Asked Questions - The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  3. ^ That is, in a Hegelian system of organization, authority is not top-down, but rather bleeds in at multiple (possibly all) levels. See Hegel's Philosophy of Right. This Hegelian concept of authority is incompatible with the doctrine of the Lesser magistrate. In history some Lutheran churches resisted the state (or state church) through the employment of the doctrine of the Lesser magistrate. As the result it should be understood that their descendants would not wish to employ Hegelian philosophy in organizational and fellowship matters
  4. ^ The Lutheran Understanding of Church Fellowship. Office of the President and Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. 2000.
  5. ^ "LCMS Partner Church Bodies - The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  6. ^ "Inter-Church Relations". American Association of Lutheran Churches. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  7. ^ "Operating Agreement II: Issues Resulting from the Movement of Congregations/Pastors between Rosters" (PDF). American Association of Lutheran Churches; Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. November 9, 2009.