LCMS, NALC Leaders Release Statement on Talks

LCMS, NALC leaders release statement on talks
Representatives of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the North American Lutheran Church released a statement Dec. 16 about their discussions Dec. 15-16 in St. Louis. The statement follows.

An initial discussion was held on 15-16 December 2011 between representatives of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and North American Lutheran Chnalc.gifurch (NALC). The meeting was held at the invitation of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. The NALC had also committed itself in its formal ecumenical statement to meetings with the LCMS.

The NALC is a newly formed Lutheran church body committed to biblical and confessional Lutheranism with over 300 congregations and over 100,000 baptized members. It was organized in August 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.

The NALC was represented by Bishop John Bradosky and  Emeritus Bishop Paull Spring, the Rev. Dr. James Nestingen (retired seminary professor), the Rev. David Wendel (NALC ministry coordinator), and the Rev. Mark Chavez (NALC general secretary). President Matthew Harrison, the Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (assistant for Church Relations), the Rev. John Pless (professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.), and the Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer and the Rev. Larry Vogel from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations were the LCMS representatives. President Rev. Robert Bugbee of Lutheran Church–Canada attended as a formal observer.

Among his comments on the meeting, Bishop Bradosky said, “I am deeply grateful for the gracious hospitality of President Harrison and his competent staff. Our dialogue transcended all of our hopes and expectations. The level of openness, honesty and trust evident in our conversations was commensurate with those whose relationship had spanned years. That experience may be based on the fact that our common commitment to biblical authority and theological integrity has spanned many years to our formal meeting.”

President Harrison noted, in part: “The NALC fervently desires to take the Scriptures and the Lutheran confession seriously. These men are creedal Christians who share our own convictions on fundamental issues of life and sexuality. We do have real differences and they will not be easily overcome. But the outcome is the Lord’s.”

Discussion of theological and ecumenical issues facing each church took up much of the meeting time. Areas of cooperative work between the church bodies also were considered.

The group heard presentations by Barb Below from the President’s office on LCMS restructuring. The Rev. John Fale of the International Missions office of the LCMS reported on the Synod’s work of mercy.

The meetings between the churches will continue, with the next meeting planned for May 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. Plans for future meetings include time to address matters of difference and agreement between the churches.

President Harrison’s entire statement is available online at www.lcms.org/president and Bishop Bradosky’s full statement is available at www.thenalc.org.

Posted Dec. 16, 2011

LCMS-NALC Discussions

NALC-LCMS Discussion Group

On 15 – 16 December 2011, representatives from The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) held discussions in Saint Louis, MO, at the LCMS International Center. NALC Participants included Bishop John Bradosky, Dr. James Nestingen, Bishop Emeritus Paull Spring, Rev. Dave Wendel (Chair of Ecumenical Relationships Committee). LCMS participants included President Matthew Harrison, Vice-President Herb Mueller, Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations, Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, Executive Director of the CTCR, Rev. Larry Vogel, CTCR Staff, and Rev. John Pless, Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, President of the Lutheran Church Canada (LCC) attended the LCMS-NALC discussions as an observer.

President Robert Bugbee (LCC), Bishop John Bradosky (NALC), and President Matthew Harrison (LCMS)

The NALC was constituted on August 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio, at a Convocation organized by the church reform movement Lutheran CORE. One year earlier, a similar gathering of Lutheran CORE had directed its leadership to develop new organizational alternatives for faithful Lutheran Christians in North America.  In response to numerous requests from congregations for the creation of a new Lutheran church body, Lutheran CORE developed A Vision and Plan for the North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran CORE, published in February 2010. The NALC largely  consists of congregations that broke away from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) primarily over the position the ELCA took regarding human sexuality. NALC consists of approximately 250 congregations.

Dr. Albert Collver and Dr. James Nestingen

The meeting between the LCMS and the NALC began with a tour of the CHI Museum at the International Center, followed by a brief discussion of the NALC’s history, and an update on the LCMS restructuring. The nature of ecumenical relations was discussed as well as issues affecting both church bodies. Future discussions are planned between the LCMS and NALC.

— Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations