Lutheran Churches of the Reformation
|Lutheran Churches of the Reformation|
Orthodox Lutheran Conference|
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations (1979)|
Orthodox Lutheran Confessional Conference (2006)
The Faithful Word
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The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation (LCR) is an association of Lutheran congregations. The LCR has its roots among groups of Lutherans that broke with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the middle of the 20th century, and was formally incorporated in 1964. Church services are generally traditional and reverent in the style of the mid-1900s conservative Christians.
The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation teach that the Bible is the only authoritative and error-free source for doctrine. It subscribes to the Lutheran Confessions (the Book of Concord) not in-so-far-as but because it is an accurate presentation of what Scripture teaches. It teaches that Jesus is the center of Scripture and the only way to eternal salvation, and that the Holy Spirit uses the gospel alone in Word and Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) to bring people to faith in Jesus as Savior and keep them in that faith, strengthening them in their daily life of sanctification.
The doctrine of the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation is summarized in Franz August Otto Pieper's Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod and Wallace H. McLaughlin's We All Believe in One True God: A Summary of Biblical Doctrine.
The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation publishes One Accord, a monthly devotional and news magazine, and The Faithful Word, a quarterly theological journal.
The Martin Luther Institute of Sacred Studies in Decatur, Indiana, is the seminary and teacher's college of the LCR.
The LCR is governed through annual conventions where delegates of the congregations vote. Doctrinal resolutions must be unanimous, or those in the minority will be suspended from the LCR. The day-to-day business of the LCR is run by the Council, whose members are elected to three year terms, commissions, and committees.
For missions, the LCR has a missionary-at-large to serve those who have moved away from their congregations and other like-minded Lutherans. Abroad, the LCR supports congregations in Nigeria and Kenya and has trained pastors for the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation in Nigeria. The LCR has also held seminars to train pastors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As of March 2009, about 1,300 people are baptized members of LCR congregations.
Relation to other Lutheran groups
The congregations in the LCR and the Concordia Lutheran Conference were organized as the Orthodox Lutheran Conference (OLC), in 1951. The OLC split in 1956 after Prof. Paul E. Kretzmann suspended church-fellowship with some congregations after they charged him with teaching error in class. These congregations formed the Concordia Lutheran Conference, while the others, along with Kretzmann, joined with more conservatives leaving the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod to organize as the LCR.
The LCR discussed church-fellowship with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in the 1960s, but declared that the differences regarding the doctrine of Church and Ministry were divisive of church-fellowship in July 1970.
The Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations (FLC), is a group of congregations that left the LCR in 1979 after a dispute concerning the proper procedure of excommunication. The congregations of the FLC joined the Concordia Lutheran Conference circa 2004.
For a time in the 1990s, the LCR was in official church-fellowship with the Illinois Lutheran Conference (ILC). The ILC was organized in 1979 after three congregations left the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synodin protest when a pastor was suspended because of claims he made regarding the King James Version of the Bible. There was controversy between the ILC and the LCR'regarding the "appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and the doctrine of Church and Ministry. The LCR severed the fellowship because of differences discovered during the controversy over the "appearance of evil".
In February 2006, five congregations and four pastors suspended church-fellowship with the rest of the LCR when, in the wake of a disagreement regarding the doctrine of the ministry, an LCR congregation was dissolved through legal action by certain members, most of whom were female, who disagreed with their pastor. This led to accusations of female suffrage by one side and legalism by the other. The LCR was never asked by both sides of the congregation to adjudicate the division. The congregations that suspended fellowship in February 2006 withdrew their membership from the LCR in April 2006 after a special convention called to address the controversy refused to discuss the matter of female suffrage and the aforementioned dissolution. A position paper titled The Ministry and Auxiliary Office with Respect to Legalism that was presented at that conference in an attempt to resolve the controversy has since been adopted unanimously by the remaining congregations of the LCR. Another LCR position paper titled Liberty or Death written to draw attention to different kinds of legalism was subsequently adopted in July 2007. Those congregations that withdrew membership with the LCR have declared church-fellowship with each other and have since organized the Orthodox Lutheran Confessional Conference (OLCC). A sixth congregation, in Hudson, Michigan, later withdrew from the LCR over the same issues, and remains independent.
The LCR believes that the local congregation is the only divinely ordained church organization, and does not refer to synods or denominations as churches. This separates the group from some other conservative Lutherans such as the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
The congregations of the LCR use the King James Version of the Bible for all public uses, the 1943 "Blue" edition of Luther's Small Catechism in confirmation instruction, and The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941. The LCR does not, however, hold to the King James Only position, since it recognizes the traditional Hebrew and Greek, for the Old and New Testaments respectively, to be authoritative over any translation.
In 1990, the LCR passed a resolution titled "Procreation" stating that birth control, in all forms, is sin, although the denomination "allow(s) for"..."exceptional cases (casuistry)", for example, when the woman's life or health is at risk.
Congregations of the LCR follow 1 Timothy 2:12 in practicing male-only suffrage in congregational voter's assemblies. This represents alignment with the most conservative Lutheran bodies in the U.S., and departs significantly from its parent body, the LCMS, which permits its congregations local discretion on the matter.
The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation, hold to Brief Statement of 1932, which confirms the long-held traditional beliefs of the Lutheran Church as documented in the Book of Concord, including: inerrency of Scripture, Divine creation in six days, a young earth, the divine institution of the local congregation, the divine institution of the local office of the ministry, closed fellowship, and of the antichrist.
- http://www.lcrusa.org/brief_statement.htm Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod
- http://www.orthodoxlutheran.org/pdf/We%20All%20Believe%20In%20One%20True%20God.pdf We All Believe in One True God: A Summary of Biblical Doctrine
- "The Faithful Word". www.lcrusa.org.
- "The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation: A Synopsis". Lutheran Churches of the Reformation. Archived from the original on July 30, 2001. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- LWF Statistics 2009 Archived June 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "A Little Lecture on Little Little-Known Lutheran Synods - Essay File". 7 July 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2010.
- "Fellowship of Lutheran Congregations". 9 March 2002. Archived from the original on 9 March 2002.
- "The Ministry and Auxiliary Offices in respect to Legalism". lutherantheology.com.
- "Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod". Concordia Publishing House. 1932.
- Official LCR website
- Interchurch Relations in Recent Years by Edward C. Fredrich
- A Little Lecture on Little Little-Known Lutheran Synods by Edward C. Fredrich
- The Doctrinal Differences Between the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the Church of the Lutheran Confession, The Concordia Lutheran Conference, and the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation. by Lyle W. Lange
- WELS Topical Q&A on differences between WELS and LCR