Talk:Confessional Lutheranism

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It is common for self-styled Confessional Lutherans to accuse other Lutherans of holding a "quaetenus" view of confessional documents. The constitution of the LWF, however, states: The Lutheran World Federation confesses the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the only source and norm of its doctrine, life and service. It sees in the three Ecumenical Creeds and in the Confessions of the Lutheran Church, especially in the unaltered Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism of Martin Luther, a pure exposition of the Word of God." ( The ordination rite of the LBW (Occasional Services, p. 194, has the ordinand say: The Church in which you are to be ordained confesses that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and are the norm of its faith and life. We accept, teach, and confess the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds. We also acknowledge the Lutheran Confessios as true witnesses and faithful expositions of the Holy Scriptures."

In other words, these churches also consider themselves to be "confessional", and not merely in a "quatenus" sense, though they may be accused of de facto holding such a stance by more conservative Lutherans. Janko 15:17, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Confessing Movement[edit]

I removed this reference because of its irrelevance. One might comment that a group might use "confessing" or "confessional" as self-reference when they feel that a status confessionis has arisen, such as the "Confessing Movement" about homosexual clergy or the "Confessing Church" against so-called "German Christians" under National Socialism, but otherwise, this reference is confusing, since the "Confessing Movement" is pandenominational and centered on a particular issue. Janko 11:29, 30 July 2006 (UTC)Janko


I have tried to remove a great deal of POV from the article (mostly against the "mainline" side, but also one phrase that seemed a bit unfair to the "confessional" position). I ask others (especially Lutherans, who doubtless know more of the finer points) to do whatever they can. Carolynparrishfan 15:46, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. Still, this article fails to account for the claim of many "mainline" Lutheran churches (a better expression might be "LWF member churches"), which is that they do accept and live according to the Book of Concord. Specifically, the ELCA and the state churches of Sweden and Finland say this in their constitutions, in contrast to the various German church bodies which apparently changed their confessional basis after WWII. To truly understand the position of the "confessional Lutherans" as identified by this article, it seems necessary for a reader to know that virtually all Lutherans consider themselves "confessional." In that sense, the debate is largely hermenutical. Michael Church. (talk) 16:21, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm troubled by the apparent unequal treatment in the opening two paragraphs. Confessional Lutheranism is presented as "completely faithful to the teachings of the Bible", while other Lutherans are presented as following what is merely "their interpretation of the Bible." From a purely sociological point of view, any understanding of any text, such as the Bible, would require some method of interpretation, such as hermeneutic, exegesis, historical-critical, or historical-literal. I would put forth that the opening does NOT present a neutral POV; instead it presents the POV of how Confessional Lutherans view their movement and other Lutherans. In contrast, the talk page contains examples (see Quia-Quatenus) of non-Confessional Lutherans (also not a neutral POV) describing themselves differently. Likewise, I'd imagine a non-Lutheran and more so a non-Christian would characterize the two camps within Lutheranism yet another way. I think such an outsider's insight would be particularly useful in developing a more neutral POV. Would it be useful to add perhaps ", as they understand such teachings" after "completely faithful to the teachings of the Bible" in the first sentence to take a more sociological viewpoint? (In the interest of full disclosure, I'm currently an Anglican and formerly belonged to an LWF member church.) Msramming (talk) 12:49, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

Confessional vs confessing[edit]

I wondered if there was any connection to the anti-Nazi Confessing Church, which after all was also within Lutheranism. (Other movements with "confessing" in their name are not such a problem, since they're not particularly Lutheran.) The comment above by Janko suggests that there is no connection, but if this is a common confusion, then it would be useful to have that stated clearly in the article. (I don't want to write anything myself, since I have only circumstantial evidence for any conclusions.) --Toby Bartels 19:34, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

No, there is no connection, although there are some Confessional Lutherans who look to writings of individuals in the non-Confessional "Confessing Church" for inspiration.--Epiphyllumlover 03:47, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe it is sufficient to refer to the Confessing Church as "non-Confessional" as its constituent members adhered to the Book of Concord. The Confessing Church, however, is better characterized as a movement within the Evangelical Church of Germany during the Kirchenkampf (Church Struggle) that accompanied the rise of the Nazis to power. (talk) 06:56, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Harmony with related article[edit]

This topic seems to be related to Confessionalism (religion). We should work to bring the two articles into a better relationship with one another. Fishal 20:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Views on the Pope[edit]

I removed this sentence: "In 1932 the LCMS adopted A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod." As far as I can tell, that Doctrinal Position document says nothing about the Pope. A reference to it may belong elsewhere in this article, though, and it is available here. Dkurth (talk) 21:03, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

To whom it may concern: Unless both the WELS and the CLC have recently (meaning the last decade or so) made official public statements to the effect that they believe the Pope to be the antichrist, which I doubt very much, this section is grossly false and misleading. How do I know this? I was raised in the WELS, have been a member of several congregations (St. Matthew's, Benton Harbor, MI; Faith, Dexter, MI; St. Mark's, Flat Rock, MI; St. Paul's, Monroe, MI), attended Huron Valley Lutheran High School (Westland, MI), and also attended Michigan Lutheran Seminary (Saginaw, MI) with the intention of entering the ministry. My family also occasionally attended services at a CLC church (Faith, Coloma, MI), and I attended the school affiliated with that church for two years. The only time I ever heard anything about the Pope as antichrist was during the mid/late 1980s when Seventh Day Adventists left leaflets on all the cars in the church parking lot at St. Mark's during Sunday morning service indicating, among other things, that the Pope was the antichrist (& that if you added up the Roman numerals on his tiara they would equal... can you guess??? ...666!!!) and that everyone in the world but Seventh Day Adventists was going straight to Hell. As a matter of course, everyone from the Pastor on down thought that, aside from the extreme rudeness involved, the whole thing was laughable.

All the above being said, I would like to stress the fact that I hold no brief for either the WELS or the CLC. I have never been a member of the latter, and was kicked out of the former on October 14, 1990 (supposedly, there is no such thing as excommunication in the WELS; but for all intents and purposes, both myself and Pastor John Gore of St. Paul's were excommunicated that year). I am not going to go into the doctrinal & theological issues involved, but suffice it to say that I still refuse to re-join the WELS, despite having been invited to do so more than once over the ensuing two decades by various Pastors of my acquaintance. I simply would like to make it abundantly clear that, unless I have somehow missed an extreme, radical shift in the belief systems of these denominations, the idea that they teach or preach that the Pope is the antichrist is absolutely ridiculous.

If anyone is interested in the beliefs which the WELS or CLC actually do hold, I will happily try to get that person or persons in touch with my (at this point, for obvious reasons, very few) remaining contacts in the ministry. My e-mail address is:

Liam S. Williamson —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:59, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Here is a statement, directly from the website of WELS: "Therefore on the basis of a renewed study of the pertinent Scriptures we reaffirm the statement of the Lutheran Confessions, that “the Pope is the very Antichrist” (cf. Section II), especially since he anathematizes the doctrine of the justification by faith alone and sets himself up as the infallible head of the Church." This seems pretty clear to me. Carissimi (talk) 17:25, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

The reference for the disagreement between the LCMS and WELS is splittings hairs. The source of the reference in no way explicitly points to a disagreement with the LCMS nor does it spell out a clear discrepancy from the definition of either. Furthermore, the article cited by Williamson above uses the words "Pope" and "Papacy" interchangeably. Find an article which they state a disagreement, or else the last sentence should be amended. (talk) 18:57, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Conservative vs. Liberal[edit]

These terms have different meaning to different people, inside and outside church circles, to the point of losing any real meaning. I see very little point in using and/or pepetuating useless "labels". Christ was himself a radical, to follow him is radical. Luther was a radical in his time, as were many of his collaborators, so, to follow him is radical? Suffice it to say, there are many Lutherans who ascribe to some pretty odd, arguably archaic, and debatably non-scriptural notions that reach beyond the realm of The Book of Concord. They not only hold to that work, and to the Word, but do so in the sense of their narrow, finite, understandings, denying their own fallibility, their own humanity. Very unsettling to this layperson. I recommend that this section be removed from the article, as it has no foundation, is unsourced, and is seriously non-neutral in POV. That it is linked from other sources related to Lutheranism also troubles me. There seems to be a lot of fragmentation going on, which creates confusion, makes managing the different articles difficult, and quite honestly, makes POV sections like this "viral". VaChiliman (talk) 22:43, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

That statement was made over three years ago, the section has been hit with a reference tag since 2007. I would agree it should be deleted completely until such time as it is properly sourced. In fact, much of the article has elements of POV pushing. And I would doubt in the extreme that non-polemic sources would be found, as I have yet to see any Lutheran denomination acknowledge a banner of being a "Liberal" denomination or church. (My own POV is that the L-word is thrown around by denominations that *might* self-identify as Conservative. But really, let's first find objective sources that would define who the "conservatives" and "liberals" are that don't have a dog in a fight with one another. Adding: And then one try to find reliable sources which correlate 'conservative' and 'liberal' to a particular confessional stance, again in a NPOV fashion. Good luck with that. Attaching a 'liberal' or 'conservative' banner in Lutheranism, theologically, is rather ludicrous. But again, this is my POV so I'm not just going to be bold. Yet.) 02:48, 2 November 2012 (UTC) 02:51, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Move to -ism?[edit]

Since this page is mostly about an ideology, would not Confessional Lutheranism be a better page name? Fishal (talk) 16:22, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Support and requested CSD for current redirect. --JFHutson (talk) 16:28, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

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