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Ecumenical proposals strain ELCA-LCMS relations

If the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America votes in August to declare full communion with the Episcopal Church and three Reformed churches, it will further strain relations with the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, LCMS leaders said.

ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson said, "We received the impression that although they would be disappointed in our moving ahead with the ecumenical proposals, at the same time they do cherish and would seek to maintain the common work we do together."

The two ecumenical proposals were discussed at a meeting of the Committee on Lutheran Cooperation, a 12-member group with six members from each church body. The committee includes Anderson and LCMS President A.L. Barry.

During the meeting Anderson asked, "Where would the LCMS see the ELCA regarding the apostolic faith [if the proposals pass]? Do we teach it or not? Are we in it or not?"

Barry responded, "Many in our fellowship would feel that if you adopt these ecumenical proposals, you will have left your stance on the Lutheran confessions."

Anderson told the committee, "Our people would not see this as defining us as farther apart," adding that many in the ELCA pray for stronger ties with the LCMS. Barry had noted earlier that many members of LCMS congregations "have ties to and a genuine love for the ELCA."


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