Lutheran CORE

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Lutheran CORE, or Coalition for Renewal, is a community of confessing Lutherans spanning several Lutheran church bodies, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and the North American Lutheran Church.

Lutheran CORE describes itself as:

  • A confessional and confessing unity movement for all Lutherans who identify with the purposes of Lutheran CORE;
  • A churchly community, grounded in Word and Sacrament, and rooted in the Holy Scriptures, the ecumenical creeds, and the Lutheran Confessions;
  • An association, not a church body, providing a sense of Christian community and Lutheran identity;
  • A coalition of congregations, individual lay persons, pastors, synods, church bodies and other reform renewal movements.[1]

Purpose of Lutheran CORE[edit]

  • Strengthen the renewal of personal faith and congregational life, and foster a sense of churchly community and identity among its supporters and partners.
  • Serve as a community of faith for its members, nurturing a dimension of the church as a larger Christian fellowship and fostering mutual support and encouragement in the Christian faith among its members.
  • Support and counsel all individual members who seek to live in accord with Biblical and confessional teachings and practices in their churches and in the world.
  • Be an advocate and prophetic voice to churches within the Lutheran community, and work for reform and renewal under the Word of God.
  • Cooperate with Lutheran churches and entities and support ministries within them; conduct joint ministries with Lutheran church bodies; and, as may be needed, provide alternate resources for congregational life in worship, Christian education, and youth ministry.
  • Work for the outreach of the Gospel, following the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) as a priority in the life of Lutheran CORE.
  • Develop a means for ongoing theological reflection and conversation on issues related to Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and personal and social ethics.
  • Provide counsel to congregations and individuals in their financial support for the mission of the Church, encouraging support for ministries that are reflective of Lutheran CORE's convictions and commitments.[2]

Confession of Faith[edit]

Lutheran CORE confesses:

  • The Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
  • Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
  • The proclamation of God's message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  • The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.
  • 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, "according to which all doctrines should and must be judged" (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Part one).
  • The Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of the Church.
  • The Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
  • The other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.
  • The Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God's mission in the world.
  • Lutheran CORE honors and accepts The Common Confession (2005) as a summary of teachings otherwise affirmed in the Lutheran Confessions.[3]


Lutheran CORE was formed in 2005 as the Lutheran Coalition for Reform. Its efforts were focused on working for reform of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Its organizers were a coalition of groups that had previously worked together to uphold traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality in the ELCA. Lutheran CORE focused on several areas where it opposed changes in ELCA teaching. Those areas are outline in a statement of faith called The Common Confession.[4]

Following decisions by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August 2009 to adopt a social statement on human sexuality that legitimize homosexual relationships and to allow pastors to be in committed same-sex relationships, Lutheran CORE changed its name and focus to Lutheran Coalition for Renewal. The organization no longer focuses on reform of the ELCA but rather on providing an alternate form for church fellowship for Lutherans regardless of church body affiliation.

Lutheran CORE's 2009 Convocation, held in September 25–26 in Fishers, Indiana, asked that a proposal for the "reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism" be prepared and brought to the 2010 Convocation. In November 2009, it was announced that a new church body would be formed, the North American Lutheran Church. The official document "A Vision and Plan for The North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran CORE, a Community of Confessing Lutherans" was released February 18, 2010.[5] Lutheran CORE's 2010 Convocation, in August 26–27 in Grove City, Ohio, approved the formation of a new church body, the North American Lutheran Church, and the continuation of Lutheran CORE as a community of confessing Lutherans regardless of church body affiliation.

The North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran CORE, through their Joint Commission an Theology and Doctrine, approved an official pro-life stance on abortion in the document "The Lord Is with You" - A Word of Counsel to the Church - The Sanctity of Nascent Life", on December 14, 2012.[6]

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