Lutheran associations, with an often bewildering array of abbreviations, have come and gone over the years. The ELCA was formed by the ALC, the LCA and the AELC. The ALC and the LCA were successors to yet other groups, such as the ULCA. Today, besides the ELCA, we have the LC-MS, WELS, LCMC, AFLC, the AALC, and others.
And, of course, we have our own WA. WA formed LCMC, which is now an independent Lutheran church body. WA has also helped to organize, and now partners with, two new groups--Lutheran CORE and LC3. What's with this alphabet soup of Lutheran organizations? Do we really need all of these organizations? Do we even care what they are and what they are doing? An examination of all of these organizations would be too much for one short article. I would, though, like to address Lutheran CORE and LC3, which are the newest and probably least well-known of these groups.
Lutheran CORE--the Lutheran Coalition for Reform--is a group of congregations, pastors, laypeople and reform groups within the ELCA. The members of Lutheran CORE work together to preserve adherence to the Word of God, as traditionally interpreted by the Lutheran confessions within the ELCA. Information about CORE is available at www.commonconfession.net/index2.html. The question often arises as to the purpose of CORE in contrast to the purpose of WA. To a large extent, WA and CORE support the same goals with respect to reform within the ELCA. CORE, however, is broader based. CORE provides a vehicle for traditional Lutherans within the ELCA to work together on issues that they all support. For WA, the imposition of the so-called "historic episcopate" as a result of the adoption of CCM--Called to Common Mission, the full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church U.S.A--was wrong, and WA continues to work for the suspension or repeal of CCM. Other Lutheran reform groups, however, do not consider CCM unacceptable. WA is eager to work with these other traditional Lutheran groups and individuals on issues where we do agree. CORE provides a vehicle for pursuing these joint efforts.
LC3--Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession--is an association of ELCA congregations that work together in common mission. Its website is located at www.commonconfession.net/index1.html. LC3 is, in many ways, what might be called a small "s" synod. It is a gathering or meeting of Christians walking and working together. Like CORE, LC3 is an organization of traditional Lutherans who uphold Lutheran confessional teachings. Unlike CORE, LC3 is primarily an association of congregations. Further, in contrast with CORE, the goal of LC3 includes cooperation for mission, not just reform of the ELCA. LC3 congregations work together in order to teach the Gospel and to serve our neighbors in a Biblically and confessionally faithful manner.
This Lutheran "alphabet soup" can be confusing at times. But, good work is being done by these groups. WA is seeking to work with all traditional, confessionally-minded Lutherans and groups in service to the Gospel. Lutheran CORE and LC3 are an important part of that effort.