Top Lutheran stories of 2015

Top Lutheran stories of 2015 December 30, 2015

So what were the biggest stories or most important developments in confessional Lutheranism for 2015?  I have come up with 6, which I give after the jump.  We really need 10.  Can we come up with 4  more?In no particular order. . .

1.  The major confessional Lutheran church bodies are not in fellowship with each other, though they used to be.  But they are talking now and released a  report on the substantial progress they have made in coming to agreement.

2.  The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is a conservative church body, with the ability to discipline and expel pastors who don’t go along with its theology.  But it hasn’t exercised that ability much lately.  But it did in 2015, expelling the heterodox pastor and professor Matthew Becker.

3.  The LCMS dissolved its relationship with the Boy Scoutsover the issue of gay scoutmasters, part of a stronger stance on cultural issues that characterized this year of legalized same sex marriage and attempts to limit religious liberty.

4.  After extensive dealings and alleged agreements with liberal Lutherans, the Vatican reaches out to confessional Lutherans.  After all, the Lutheran World Federation disagrees with Rome on the male priesthood, homosexuality, marriage, and other moral issues, areas that are in much greater harmony with conservative Lutherans.  So the confessional International Lutheran Council began high level dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.  Despite the Pope’s seeming openness to intercommunion with Lutherans, which his handlers denied and confessional Lutherans would reject anyway, the goals of the talks are more modest:  “mutual enrichment leading to a discovery—or re-discovery—of a certain shared apostolic, catholic heritage.”

5.  The fastest growing and one of the largest Lutheran church bodies in the world, Ethiopia’s Mekane Yesus (“the place of Jesus” [a good alternative name to “Lutheran,” in my opinion, focusing on the real presence of Christ rather than the person of our founder]) broke away from the Lutheran World Federation in 2013 over that organization’s position on sexual morality and its low view of Scriptural authority.  So the church with over 7 million members turned to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to help rebuild its theological foundations, which had become pretty shaky and intermingled with other teachings.  For one thing, these Lutherans didn’t even have the Lutheran confessions in their own language!  The LCMS has been helping with the theological education of pastors.  This year the Lutheran Heritage Foundation translated the Book of Concord into the Ethiopian language of Amharic and gave a copy to all pastors, who reportedly have received it with great excitement.

6.  Muslim immigrants pouring into Europe from war-torn and ISIS dominated areas of the Middle East are posing a huge problem, especially for European nations.  Germany’s independent confessional synod known by the acronym “SELK” –a member of the International Lutheran Council and a church body in fellowship with the LCMS–is  evangelizing Muslim refugees, filling their churches with hundreds of new converts.

What else happened within confessional Lutheranism in 2015?




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