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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'No' to Called to Common Mission

Nineteen people, mostly Reformation scholars, asked ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson and the ELCA Church Council to reject Called to Common Mission because of its content and concerns about how it was developed.

The letter says the "majority of Lutherans feel ... they are hearing only the voice that favors adoption of CCM." Its opponents ask, "Why are we being forced to adopt the historic episcopate" when the ELCA affirmed the church's present understanding of ministry in 1993? Even though the ELCA may want full communion with the Episcopal Church, does the ELCA want to alter its traditional polity and structure?

On content, the letter argues that the historic episcopate "cannot be clearly demonstrated from either Scripture or the breadth of traditions in the early church," "that it ties our hands for the future," and that it suggests there is "no church without bishops."

The group asks that the current interim sharing of the eucharist be continued because it "recognizes that our respective understandings of ministry define us but do not divide us."

Several conferences on CCM have been held at ELCA seminaries. At The Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, Michael Root, a professor of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, and one of the CCM drafters, said, "That our church body would not be in communion with such a church [Episcopal] is something I believe we will have to answer for on the last day ...."


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