General Lutheran Church

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General Lutheran Church, Inc.
General Lutheran Church emblem.png
ClassificationProtestant
TheologyChristian Universalism
GovernanceSemi-Congregationalist
Origin2014
Indiana
Official websitehttp://www.generallutheran.info

The General Lutheran Church, Inc. is a small Lutheran denomination[1] organized on March 9, 2014, and incorporated in the State of Indiana on October 26, 2017.[2] It was founded when ministers of four other Lutheran church bodies who objected to various positions held in their respective churches, specifically regarding atonement, women's ordination, worship styles, and the Lutheran Confessions, met to discuss these and other issues of concern. This meeting led to the establishment of the General Lutheran Church and to its endorsement of universal salvation, women's ordination, and flexibility with regards to liturgical matters. The church claims to be a successor to the former Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of America.[3]

Theological statement[edit]

The General Lutheran Church values the Lutheran Confessions as expressed in the Book of Concord, other works by Martin Luther, and the writings of Samuel Simon Schmucker as theological guides, and allows its ministers and congregations the liberty of conscience to interpret and apply the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions. The church also supports the right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures. The denomination does, however, expect congregations and ministers to abide by the following set of beliefs:

  • *Belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. -- John 1:18
  • *Belief that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of all. -- First Corinthians 15:22
  • *Belief that the Bible is a sufficient guide for faith and practice. -- Matthew 4:4
  • *Belief in two Sacraments: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. -- Mark 22:14-20
  • *Belief in the just retribution for sin. -- Colossians 3:25
  • *Belief that there is a wideness in God's mercy. -- Ephesians 2:4-7

The denomination bases its belief on universal salvation from Martin Luther's statement, "God forbid that I should limit the time of acquiring faith to the present life. In the depth of the Divine mercy, there may be an opportunity to win it in the future,"[4] and from the New Testament: "And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself"(John 12:32), "Everyone will see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:6), and "Our hope is set on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10).

Polity[edit]

The General Lutheran Church is a semi-congregationalist denomination headed by the General Leadership, which consists of the Dean, the Deputy Dean, and the Provost of the Institute of Pastoral Ministry.[5] The Dean is the presiding officer, executive administrator, and spiritual leader of the denomination. The Dean is invested with the responsibility of ensuring the purpose and mission of the General Lutheran Church are carried out and that the Statement of Faith and the general principles of the Christian faith are adhered to. Responsibilities include overseeing and regulating issues related to the administrative, legislative, ministerial, evangelistic, educational, missionary, benevolent and other interests of the denomination.[6] The Deputy Dean is appointed by the Dean and serves to assist, advise, and counsel the Dean. The Deputy Dean has no decision-making powers. All final decisions regarding polity and procedure belong exclusively to the Dean. The National Leadership exercises no control or authority over individual congregations or pastors and only serve in an advisory capacity. The National Leadership assists pastors in crisis situations or by request.

Pastoral training[edit]

The General Lutheran Institute of Pastoral Ministry offers free certificate courses in systematic theology, Lutheran history, pastoral counseling, biblical languages, pastoral theology, and the Lutheran confessions to meet the academic requirements for ordination as a General Lutheran minister.[7] The courses are taught by qualified faculty who all hold degrees from institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education or hold accredited status in their respective countries.[8]

Social statement[edit]

The General Lutheran Church is opposed to same-sex marriage, the ordination of practicing gays and lesbians, and abortions not medically necessary. However, engaging in abusive or malicious behaviors towards the gay and lesbian community, all immigrants, and those who have made the difficult decision to have an abortion are prohibited. The denomination condemns racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and all other types of hate and discrimination at all levels.[9][full citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ELCA Yearbook Committee, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 2018, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Minneapolis, November 2017.
  2. ^ "INBiz: Your one-stop source for your business". bsd.sos.in.gov. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  3. ^ "General Lutheran Church". www.generallutheran.info.
  4. ^ Luther, Martin; Atkinson, James, Editor. Luther's Works, Volume 44: Christian in Society I, p. 428. Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1966.
  5. ^ https://directory.elca.org/Pages/index.aspx/directories/lutheran-church-bodies-in-us-and-canada
  6. ^ Constitution and Bylaws of the General Lutheran Church
  7. ^ http://generallutheran.info/institute-of-pastoral-ministry.
  8. ^ http://generallutheran.info/faculty.
  9. ^ "General Lutheran Church". www.generallutheran.info.

Further reading[edit]

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