The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


WordAlone: 'The Bible reads sinners'

Under the theme “The Bible Reads Sinners,” 330 Lutherans from at least 175 ELCA congregations gathered April 29 to May 1 for WordAlone Network’s convention at Calvary Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minn.

“The title of the ELCA’s official response to the North Carolina Synod request, ‘Book of Faith: Lutherans Read the Bible,’ is what gave the idea for the convention theme ‘The Bible Reads Sinners,’ ”said WordAlone director Mark Chavez, an ELCA pastor. “The Bible is the inspired word of God according to the ELCA constitution, not just a book of faith.”

In 2005 the North Carolina Synod asked the ELCA to undertake a study of the Lutheran understanding of the authority and interpretation of Scripture. WordAlone members believe that understanding must include, among other things: the centrality of Christ in Scripture, the plain sense of Scripture, the distinction between law and Gospel, the relationship between Scripture and church and between Scripture and confession, the unity of the Bible as the inspired and written word of God, Scripture as its own interpreter, and the authority of the Bible.

In response, ELCA Secretary Lowell G. Almen said the “Book of Faith” theme hearkens back to “The Bible—Book of Faith,” a mid-1960s education effort of the American Lutheran Church, an ELCA predecessor. He said the current “Book of Faith” initiative is in keeping with the ELCA’s constitutional declaration of “the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.”

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Embracing diversity