The Lutheran Hour

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The Lutheran Hour is a U.S. Christian radio program in North America. First broadcast on October 2, 1930, and functioning as an outreach ministry of Lutheran Hour Ministries, it is a Christian outreach radio program. Beginning on April 24, 2011, Rev. Gregory Seltz became the Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.

The Lutheran Hour is the flagship program for Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM), which is a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches.


In 1917, a group of 12 men attending a convention of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in Milwaukee met to settle a $100,000 debt incurred by the Church body. They accomplished that goal, and in the process, formed the Lutheran Laymen's League (LLL).

Radio programming[edit]

In 1930, the LLL made a commitment to fund one year of broadcasting a weekly national radio program to be called The Lutheran Hour. The first program was broadcast October 2, 1930. The program's speakers have included Dr. Walter A. Maier, Dr. Armin C. Oldsen, Dr. Lawrence Acker, Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, Rev. Wallace Schulz, Dr. Dale A. Meyer, and the Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus.

Originally a KFUO program, 'Woman to Woman' (1991-2011) hosted by Phyllis Wallace began airing nationally in 1993 as a program of Lutheran Hour Ministries. Guests included Kurt Warner, Wynona Judd, and Barbara Mandrell.

International ministries[edit]

In 1940. the LLL ministry began The Lutheran Hour, broadcast by Dr. Andrew Melendez in Spanish. That same year the LLL opened its first international ministry center in the Philippines. Five years later, it opened a ministry center in Australia. With the scope of the organization becoming more worldwide in nature, the word "international" was officially added to the LLL's name in 1927.

1990s onwards[edit]

In 1992, due to the popularity of The Lutheran Hour radio program, the International LLL chose Lutheran Hour Ministries as the overall identity for its media outreach programs.

Current and past speakers[edit]

2002 Removal of speaker Wallace Schulz[edit]

In July 2002, weeks after his promotion from associate speaker to main speaker, Dr. Wallace Schulz was involved in an LCMS controversy that resulted in his removal from the show. Acting in his capacity as LCMS Second Vice President, Schulz suspended LCMS Atlantic District president David Benke, ruling that Benke, by taking part in an inter-faith prayer event at Yankee Stadium to commemorate the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, had engaged in syncretism and unionism, practices prohibited by the LCMS. (Benke's suspension was later overturned on appeal.) The show's board of governors, shortly following Schulz's elevation to main speaker, had requested that he recuse himself from the Benke adjudication to avoid "a conflict of interest" in his duties to the International Lutheran Laymen's League, which operates Lutheran Hour Ministries and had not taken an official position on the Benke case in order to avoid alienating members holding differing views on the issue. When Schulz accepted the Benke case, the board relieved him of his duties while keeping him on the payroll, stating that the radio program had been "compromised" by Schulz's participation in church politics,[1][2] and that it might serve to "polarize" the International Lutheran Laymen's League.[3] The League offered Schulz a return to the show under condition that he accept stipulations for future conduct, but Schulz refused to accept these restrictions and thus did not return to the show.

Schulz's removal, like the Benke case itself, proved controversial within the LCMS. His supporters argued that Schulz had a constitutional duty to rule in the case, and thus could not recuse himself upon the board of governors’ request.[4] The Rev. Eric Stefanski, in a column published by the conservative LCMS group Concord, accused the International Lutheran Laymen's League of waging "a massive, twisted PR battle" against Schulz, and of presenting him with "ultimatums that no pastor could agree to without denying his Ordination vows."[5] Supporters of Schulz also argued that a drop in financial receipts at the ILLL, which led to layoffs and program cancellations in 2003, were attributable primarily to donor and listener dissatisfaction over the speaker's removal.[6][7] Opponents of Schulz's actions praised the decision to suspend the speaker, with may arguing, as a column published by the liberal LCMS organization Jesus First stated, that those who disagreed with Schulz's actions were "working hard to present views more representative of this church."[8]


External links[edit]